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South Face - Lower
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Cinema Gully 
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Cinema Gully 


Type:  Ice, 3 pitches, 600', Grade III
Consensus: WI2 [details]
Season: Keep in mind it is south facing and commonly thin
Page Views: 4,711
Submitted By: ESG on Mar 27, 2008

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BETA PHOTO: Cinema "Gulley", Lower part thinner than...


This is a great climb that ascends the slabby and beautiful South face of Mt. Willard that you can't miss as you drive North through Crawford Notch on US302. It is a classic climb and lives up to it's hype, although it can often be busy on weekends. There are several bulges on a moderate angle slab with the longest at the top. There are 2 main exits form this climb. To the left it stays at a sustained Grade 2 and to the right it is usually closer to Grade 3.

The climb can possibly be done in 3 long 60m pitches. Belays can be made in several ice bulges and unless things line up perfectly another pitch will be necessary. So, keep this in mind, especially if you are doing the right hand exit.

The easiest and recommended way back to the tracks after the climb is to follow the tree ledge to the right, until you come to an exposed ice slab (the base of the "Upper Slabs", 3 / 3+) at which point you can lead across this (a few yards of Grade 2 to 3, depending on conditions) for 40-50 ft to where snow usually resumes. Move a bit further right and look for a large (oak,maple?) tree below. [At this point you are well right (100 +/- feet) of the slabs, and should be directly below "Upper Hitchcock Gulley" 3 to 3+. The large tree is the top anchor for Lower Hitchcock Gully. Rappel into and down Hitchcock Gully. [Be sure no one is leading UP the gully, 5.4 - 5.6 rock, without a lot of pro.] A single 70m get you over most of the difficulties, but some may prefer doubled 60m's. Use your judgement to decide whether to downclimb or rap. Take care always, but especially if you are first down after a snowfall as may be short ice steps hidden under the snow.

Some people continue up a climb on the upper part of Mt. Willard and follow the descent directions from there. It is, however, a significant trek to the summit.


Follow Rt302 North into Crawford Notch State Park. Park at the top of Crawford Notch, preferably before the visitors center, and walk along the obvious railroad tracks under the face of Mt. Willard. Ten to fifteen minutes will bring you to the first significant break in the trees and the climb will be obvious above you. Check for conditions and please contribute to the site if you value this resource.


In thin conditions some shorter screws may help if you are uncomfortable running it out between bulges. The anchors are in ice, so bring enough ice screws for 2 anchors or equipment to make threads in a pinch. Trees are available at the edge of the route, but the climbing to get to them will usually be tricky and this is not recommended.

Photos of Cinema Gully Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Midway up cinema.
Midway up cinema.
Rock Climbing Photo: An overview of Cinema Gully, the decent, and the s...
BETA PHOTO: An overview of Cinema Gully, the decent, and the s...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jeannette enjoying Cinema Gully on March 27th, 200...
Jeannette enjoying Cinema Gully on March 27th, 200...
Rock Climbing Photo: Jarod my 7 year old son on the WI2 bulge
Jarod my 7 year old son on the WI2 bulge
Rock Climbing Photo: Getting aggressive with a swing on Cinema Gully.  ...
Getting aggressive with a swing on Cinema Gully. ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Cinema Gulley, with climbers starting the right ex...
Cinema Gulley, with climbers starting the right ex...
Rock Climbing Photo: Cinema Gully from the tracks
Cinema Gully from the tracks

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