Cannon Cliff Rock Climbs
Mammut has produced top quality climbing ropes for almost 150 years!!!
The set of Revelation ropes pictured are my personal top choice of ropes for high end multi pitch rock or ice routes. I have used these ropes for well over ten years and my reasons are clear – the Revelation is a high quality lightweight rope with outstanding handling for climbing and belaying. The super dry treatment has a couple of benefits. The ropes are resistant to dirt and water and the slick finish provides exceptional glide and friction properties on the rock. When used as a set – two of these ropes slide with ease through the direct belay device with two climbers in action.
These Mammut Ropes have many features that set them as a leader in the industry and make a big difference for climbers and guides on the rock, ice and alpine routes.
Colorful sheath twines of the Revelation in Ocean and Duodess.
Revelations in action – two ropes used like one.
Grib and Bill climbing Kurts Corner – I am using a direct belay with a self locking belay plate off the master point of the anchor. This allows the two climbers to move together – efficiency and speed is achieved over a long route.
Cannon Cliff – New Hampshire.
Cannon is a high end alpine rock and ice climbing area which stands alone in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Cannon is known for longer complex multi pitch routes, unpredictable fractured rock and unstable mountain weather. This adds up to high end excitement in the mountains.
Finger of Fate – the above shark fin feature is hanging on by a thread!!!
Bill, Grib and I climbed the Whitney Gilman last spring. We had an such an amazing day on Cannon we planned this climbing trip – the ascent of Moby Grape.
Moby Grape 5.8 – Grade III
May seem like a simple undertaking when viewed from the guide book.
Actually Moby Grape is one of the longest 5.8 crack routes in the area. There are many difficult cruxes, the route finding is complex, and the length just keep on coming. Nine pitches of quality climbing set you on top of the world – views below of the Pemi Valley and across to the summit of Lafayette.
The striking Whitney Gilman Ridge.
Bill climbing the sharp cracks leading up to the stout triangle roof moves.
Committed to the Core
Mammut USA – – Bill (CEO) and Gribbin (Marketing Manager) at work in the mountains.
Personally I am very proud to be included as one of the sponsored Mammut Athletes and my commitment stands strong. For over ten years I have put Mammut products to the test at my work while guiding and at play pushing the grades climbing on the rock and ice routes. The exceptional quality, innovative design, functionality have made these clothing and technical products stand out as the best in the industry.
Yesterday was a blast – it was a pleasure to get out and climb with Bill and Grib. Another day is in the works for the ice – which is coming fast. Yesterdays cool morning showed a taste to come of the flavor of winter.
Much Thanks to Bill and Grib for believing in Mooney Mountain Guides and myself.
It is the middle of the summer rock season and Cannon is in prime condition. Last week I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days up there. The plan is always flexible and it needs to be this way – as routes can be seeping water, other parties are there and weather can change the plan. Our plans were for the VMC but upon arrival the main wall was soaked from the previous days thunderstorms. We opted for two pitches of Union Jack, then Reppy’s to get our day started. By mid day the main wall started to dry and Tom and I were excited for the Lab Wall. We were able to fire 5 pitches. By then it was time to descend. This was the right choice as when we hit the ground the skies opened up in a deluge. Happy to be on the ground we hike out slowly. The change of plans worked out and we had a pretty good sampling of Cannons finer pitches.
Union Jack – Vertigo start.
Tom working the tight finger crack on Union Jack.
Selfie high on Lab Wall.
Tom on the steep headwall pitch of the Lab Wall.
Traverses protected by old bolts are quite exciting for both the leader and follower.
Waterfalls came down the face quickly.
Terry and I have been a bit fixed on the Rumney scene and we both needed a break from the schist. Moby is a long and fun climb and we had not been on this together in some time. Bright sunshine and a warm breeze it was a perfect day for us to be up high on Cannon. The route was completely dry even up into Kurt’s Corner. It was awesome to move fast and light – on a Monday morning.
Terry getting her day going on the lower pitches of Moby Grape.
Triangle roof pitch – jamming through the crux.
Topping out on Kurt’s corner.
Cannon – there are a few more weeks – maybe two months to get out on a dry ice free Cannon. Join me for a tour of this amazing alpine rock playground.
Marc and I met up last week to get two awesome days of climbing.
Marc warming up on pitch one.
Marc – top of first pitch.
Exciting traverse to the belay anchor.
Marc high over the Black Dike area on the Pipe pitch.
Marc at the top of the Whitney Gilman!!!
Ridge running has always been one of my favorite workout activities. Putting on the trail shoes, carrying a small pack with the essentials, and moving light and fast gives a feeling of a free spirit in the mountains. Lightweight travel and quick moves over boulder strewn trails leave the miles behind as one runs along the trails and ridges in the high peaks.
The Whitney Gilman Ridge is another type of ridge running adventure. The vertical 5th class kind! The game is played in a similar way, lightweight gear, efficient movements, and quick transitions all add up to topping out on the ridge in a short amount of time. The Whitney Gilman Ridge route is positioned along an exposed knife edge of stone, the route wanders back and forth with moments of exceptional exposure over the dark north wall. The route is somewhat committing as descending is not an easy task – there is certainly an excitement factor on this climb. This is Cannon and getting to the top in a timely way is the common goal.
The Whitney Gilman – 600ft of technical 5th class climbing.
Bill – happy to be back on Cannon!!!
Today we had a slight breeze and light cloud cover – this kept conditions quite nice on this hazy, hot, and humid day.
Team Mammut in action – Grib coming over the exposed pipe pitch, great vistas of the Lafayette Ridge from this spacious belay ledge, and Grib on the final corner pitch.
Pitch 5 has a steep corner system – excellent climbing high on Cannon.
The pitch 5 exposed belay station perch.
Great times – back in action on Cannon.
What a fantastic climbing area – right in our backyard of NH.
Mooney Mountain Guides calls this blog posted trip the New Hampshire sampler – a day of sport climbing, a mountain adventure, and an alpine rock day on Cannon Cliff. This three day action packed event is not one for a week heart or mind.
Steve is a motivated man, when he sets his sights on a climb, a goal, a project he gives it 100+ percent. This was crystal clear from the beginning. United a not so favorite airline of his canceled his flight earlier this week and within a short time Steve was in the car racing from New York to New Hampshire. The weather pattern was solid, a mid week break from Peppercom was needed, and the body and mind were ready to climb.
Rumney Rocks was the first stop on Tuesday. The skies had cleared from the weekends low pressure and the cliff was drying out fast. A visit to the Jimmy Cliff got us off on the right tune, Bonsai was next with a fine display of sending a project by MMG guide Alex, and then to complete we ventured over to the Main wall for a steep technical face climb that put on the first of many pumps during the week.
A quick cardio workout romping up the Clippidy Do Dah!!!
Main Cliff action as Steve nears the belay.
Off to a good start.
The great weather continued on Wednesday which happened to be our Mt Washington mountain day. To both our surprise the mountain was in late winter condition with snow and ice covered trails from the Cog Station to the summit. There has been over 1 foot of new snow since May first which is quite unusual even for the rock pile. The new snow along with brisk temps and a stiff breeze make us feel like we took a step back in time by a few months.
Thanks to Julbo for keeping our vision in order – excellence with eyewear for mountain travelers and more.
Bluebird skies, wild rime ice, all in all a spectacular day.
The summit cone was tough – bear down and keep on trucking.
The prize Steve’s 13th time on the summit
The base area – four thousand feet lower – in spring time condition.
Our third day – time to ramp it up!!!
Cannon Cliff is New Hampshires finest alpine rock area. Our 1 hour approach to the Whitney Gilman wanders up the steep talus field to the base of the serpentine ridge. The WG ridge is a classic old school 5.7 route first completed in 1929. This was our last day objective and we were set to take it to the top.
All the movement skills are put to the test climbing on Cannon. Cracks, faces, loose shattered rock, wildy exposed moves as one works back and forth along the 600ft ridge climb. The Whitney Gilman Ridge can make one feel like they are climbing in the Alps.
The final pitch – Steve jamming and liebacking the final corner to the top.
The descent – snow and ice again?
Micro spikes on the Guide Tennies was the ticket home.
Steve and MMG guide Alex blasting home on the return.
Steve has come to New Hampshire many times to climb with MMG. This trip was one of the finest, it was
full of SERF – Surprises, Educational, Rewards, Fun time for all.
Thanks to Steve – for this amazing three day sampler.
The Whitney Gilman Ridge – a New Hampshire Classic rock climb for sure. This route receives many ascents over each season, at times there can be 4 to 5 parties on the route. One would think the rock is solid and sound but I find that the ridge is a heads up experience that requires precise movements and route finding up the stone. There are many areas that the climber must tip toe there way through the section to avoid creating rockfall on themselves and others below. Cannon is know for this adventure type of climbing and it is one reason many climbers have high respect for the area.
This was my second time on the route this week and each time I climb the ridge it is a truly amazing and fun experience. Over the years I may very well have logged 75+ ascents. It is through knowing the route this well that allows me to be able to guide guests with confidence up this wild and exposed terrain.
Mike and I met early this morning in Plymouth. Right of the bat he gave me a large package of the homemade cookies his wife Amy had baked for me. This day was shaping up nicely, the good treats and fun times began right away. We drove up 93 to the notch. The 1000 ft talus approach was a full warm up for our bodies, we arrived at the base at 730am and had the route to ourselves. I prefer to climb the ridge in 6 pitches, with each pitch ending on a comfortable ledge. This gives us good communication while climbing and good spots to recover and refuel. The technical part of the route usually take s 4 to 5 hours and today we arrived on the ridge top at 12:30. Mike enjoyed a great climb, full of exposure and three challenging cruxes.
First views of the wall.
Our delicious homemade power cookies – Thank you Amy
Whitney Gilman – Cannon Mountain NH
On the talus approach – a good pre climb full body warm up.
Videos, cameras, phones – lets log this event.
Wide cracks right on the deck – ready, set, go.
The Twin, a favorite rope system – The Mammut Twilight’s in action.
Guide Tennies doing the work, keeping me lighter and comfortable with excellent performance.
Mike managing the ropes.
Climbing on the spine of the ridge.
The exposed north wall – looking into the chasm.
Pitch number six – on top of the world.
Bring hoodies and bug spray – there were a few around.
Mike – Great to see you thanks so much.
Its been a great week to be out in the NH mountains. Finally we are having sunny days with cool breezes and the climbs are mostly dry. Jason and I got lucky with our Cannon plans as our scheduled day was bluebird and crowdless. Getting back on the Whitney Gilman Ridge was excellent with fun climbing in the amazing and exposed location high above Franconia Notch.
This was Jason’s first multi pitch climb and he climbed the entire route in good style. No slips or falls just good solid movements with the occasion crux to ponder. Great prep for Jason who may be heading to the Tetons to climb the Petzolt Ridge on the Grand Teton.
Whitney Gilman Ridge – Jason.
Pemi Valley looking south.
Mid way up the route.
Splitter granite cracks in places.
Exposure high o the fourth pitch.
The final pitch – 600 ft of climbing done.
Thanks Jason, great to climb with you. Hope to see you this summer.
Spring is guide training and education time at Mooney Mountain Guides. While Art was off in Eldorado teaching a Rock Instructor Course, I got the Single Pitch Instructor season underway in Franconia Notch with Steve, Nadya, Paul and Matt. The SPI course is designed to serve as both a stand alone educational experience for those working in single pitch settings, and as a building block for higher level AMGA rock guiding courses.
Working from the top of the cliff or from a stance in middle of a cliff reached by leading is an essential part of the SPI curriculum. Effective stance management is crucial to provide the best possible guest experience in top managed settings. Above, Nadya has constructed a clean and organized lowering system using a munter hitch (out of the frame) backed up with an autoblock on her harness, positioned her rope stack neatly and out of the way on her side of the stance, and has great line of sight. Nice!
All climbing anchors need to be solid enough to withstand the highest foreseeable loads in a given situation. For professional guides and instructors, there is more to the equation. Professional anchors need to be clean and efficient in terms of the time and equipment used to build them. Above is a close up of a sound working anchor, constructed out of just 3 pieces of solid protection, the static rope, and a few carabiners. Note the crafty use of clove hitches to distribute the load between the 2 pieces on the left. As rigged above, about half of any load will be applied to the small cam on the right, which is perhaps less than ideal, but all of the placements, including the small yellow cam, are so good that it’s a non-issue here.
What goes up must come down, and so rappel instruction is a fundamental part of the SPI bag of tricks. Working from the same anchor shown above, Steve has assembled an ideal instructional work space. The line of descent he’s selected begins low angle and steepens only gradually to ease his guest’s nerves. He’s positioned himself with excellent line of sight all the way down the cliff and is securely clipped in to the anchor masterpoint. A separate belay is in the system as a backup. Finally, the rappel line itself is fixed in a releasable fashion to facilitate assistance techniques should anything become stuck in the rappel device.
Paul and Matt got in on the rappel instruction practice as well. Here Paul, in instructor mode, is providing clear and concise coaching to Matt, playing the role of student. Technical proficiency is of course essential for a climbing instructor, but a calm, professional demeanor and outstanding teaching skills are just as vital.
Thanks for a great course Paul, Nadya, Matt and Steve! I look forward to seeing you all at the crags this summer.
Derek Doucet, MMG
Whitney Gilman Ridge NH.
Looking down the steep 5.8 variation.
MMG Guide Stephen on Cannon.
Wild exposure on the top pitch of the route.
Thank you Dan for a really great adventure .
This day on Cannon was different. I was being guided with Ken by MMG Guide Matt Ritter. You see Matt is getting prepped for his Rock Instructor Exam and he is looking for mileage on a variety of routes. Ken and I teamed up for a two to one ratio on a Cannon Classic – The Whitney Gilman Ridge.
In this role I was able to take a few different photos from below. What a great day, the team, the weather and no crowds. As you can see Cannon is a great place to be during the fall climbing season.
Suns out guns out.
Pitch One the Whitney Gilman.
Ken enjoying Cannon the alpine playground.
The crux pitch.
Cannon one of my favorite climbing areas for sure.
Thanks to Ken and Matt for a great day.