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Elephant's Head

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Elephant's Head  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 2,200'
Location: 44.2136, -71.4065 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 4,173
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey.LeCours, Robert Hall, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Fred Keith on May 23, 2007
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Elephant head is an easy-access crag for short cli...


One of New Hampshire's pint-sized gems, Elephant's Head is a west facing, 1 pitch dome-like crag situated up and to the right above Rte. 302 just as you go north through Crawford Notch.

Looking back from little Saco Lake after you pass through the notch, it resembles an Elephant's visage with one of NH's classic 1 pitch routes, The Trunk (5.4 - 5.5), heading straight up the broad arete of the trunk following flakes and cracks.

This fun little crag has all the basics: great rock, good pro, a picturesque setting and a quaint quality of exposure and position...right above the road. This of course encourages the requisite tourist rubbernecking and Kodak moments and beginners (and vets) feel heroic as cars pass directly underneath their feet.

An afternoon's suggested outing is leading up one of the "Trunk" routes (5.5 or so) and then throwing a top-rope on some harder moderates down the "cheek / eye" (5.7 - 5.8).

High frequency of climbing school use. The "Trunk" routes use gear anchors in bombproof cracks; the "harder moderates" on the North/West face use a 1/2" bolt, and an older Aluminum-hangered 3/8" that is driven into what is now "hollow rock", so BACK IT UP!

Getting There 

From North Conway, follow Rte. 302 North - past Attitash Ski Area and the town of Bartlett - continuing into Crawford Notch State Park. About 21 miles past Bartlett, you drive right up through the "notch".

Parking can be found immediately on both the right and the left or near the train station / Saco Lake.

This has one of the shortest approaches on the planet.

The short-steep path to the base starts at a gray-and-white banded boulder on the side of the road just underneath the crag. Step up on the boulder's right side and follow it steeply up and to the base.


From the top, descend the well worn trail - part of the AMC Hiking Trail Overlook - back and then down to the left to Saco Lake.

Or...to avoid the scramble back up to your packs, a single rope rap can be down the "cheek" side past a tree and some ledges to the base. (see "North" / "West" top-rope climbs)

A standard rack is good with some modern small gear for lower section. Routes on the "cheek" ("North"/"West") side are sparse and usually TR'ed, although the left-most crack accepts finger-sized-and-smaller nuts and cams; it was led with 2 or 3 pitons in the late 1960's.

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 4.3 miles from here

5 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Elephant's Head:
the Trunk   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   
left variant   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Classics in Elephant's Head

Featured Route For Elephant's Head
Looking up the Trunk. Route goes up the right side...

the Trunk 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a  NH : WM: Crawford Notch : Elephant's Head
Start on "steps" to the left of the pine tree 10ft up. Moving up the right hand side of the obvious arete splitting the cliff, follow cracks and corners up the line of least resistance, finishing on the cracks on the left. Gear Anchor 5.4-5.5 For a spicier variation stay as proper to the arete as you can (5.7+) [Admnin's NOTE: This variation may ??? be "The Ear" [ 30 ft , 5.7 ] as listed in Webster...."climb a thin vertical crack in the center of the face". It is also pos...[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of Elephant's Head Slideshow Add Photo
The view North / West towards the Train Station, t...
The view North / West towards the Train Station, t...
Top of Elephants Head looking into Crawford Notch
Top of Elephants Head looking into Crawford Notch
A "White Elephant" !
A "White Elephant" !
Jim Mirabella on Left Variant
Jim Mirabella on Left Variant

Comments on Elephant's Head Add Comment
Show which comments
By john strand
From: southern colo
Nov 21, 2009
Really nice, easy climbing
By patrick donahue
From: Gunnison, Colorado
Oct 23, 2010
does anyone know if there is any other climbing here other then these 3 climbs?
By Kai Troester
From: Pepperell, MA
Sep 1, 2011
I believe the GPS coordinates are: 44.213587,-71.40648
If they are added to the area it will show up in the map, which is nice.

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