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 descent is a little tricky and the description below may need to be improved by someone who has more experience with it.
The easiest and recommended way back to the tracks after the climb is to follow the tree ledge high and to the right, possibly with a rope line for protection, until you come across an exposed ice slab at which point you can lead across this and then rappel into and down Hitchcock Gully or make a 60m rappel to the next tree ledge and then rappel into and down lower hitchcock gully. It is of course reccomended to continue up a climb on the upper part of Mt. Willard and follow the descent directions from there.
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 www.NEclimbs.com 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. Tress are available at the edge of the route, but the climbing to get to them will usually be tricky and this is not recommended.
Midway up cinema.
BETA PHOTO: An overview of Cinema Gully, the decent, and the s...
Cinema Gulley, with climbers starting the right ex...
Jarod my 7 year old son on the WI2 bulge
Getting aggressive with a swing on Cinema Gully. ...