Gorilla Head - This is off the SE buttress of East...
West of Greeley ponds is a rock extrusion of schist and granite Much is smooth dark and possibly of a high iron content. furthest sections north are granite. About a mile from the ponds west is 1/4 mile+ long disconnected walls that far to the south are split by a giant dike (in winter known nowadays as "The Drool of the Beast" It is in the middle of nowhere and there's piratically nowhere to go after climbing it to get off of it in summer or winter. Therefore rappelling from the dike's decent rock ending is often necessary in winter. Beyond the dike south is a 200+ brown slab. I've heard rumors of someone bolting a route up the brown slab. Rumors are unreliable. The slab being there is reliable. I haven't been to the slab yet but from a distance on the East Osceola Trail I got a clear view of it. I believe the slab is granite. For sure there's good rock out there on both sides of the Dike. It's just very hard too find this section because of the many rolling hill mounds between the ponds and the raised extrusion. I approached the cliff in summer directly from the ponds and it was terribly long and nothing to see except trees and more trees because of the hills. When I approach this extrusion again it will be from the Kang. before I reach the ponds so that I can diagonal in avoiding all of those rolling hill mounds. Past the ponds heading south by trail from the Kangamagus Highway is another ledge system, that is mostly granite. The approach is reasonable but the approach should be made from Waterville Valley instead. I believe the trail is accessible to bicycles. This section are ledges facing slightly southeast. The highest section (edit - called by some Gorilla Head) is furthest south 200+ft very steep and lacking natural removable protection features. To get there take the Greeley Ponds trail (road) until there is a fork heading uphill westerly. Follow this road trail until the cliff bands comes into view. I firstly bushwhacked up to this section and believed it was the best approach until I brought my friends up the bushwhack. They were pissed off to see below and south of the cliffs it was a short scramble to the road trail from base of the highest cliff's talus field. There are two unnamed moderate climbs here on the northern most side buttress, past the steepest central ledge that were done by my friends and I that day. 1 pitch length for each (100ft) and we rappelled from stunted pine trees. These ascents were done in 09,1981. We all had been climbing for a year and a half and my judgment on what was climbable then must be based upon my inexperienced viewpoint. I did a solo further north of this granite section that began steep and tapered off to becoming a slide scramble.
Bushwhack up heading west a mile or so from Greeley ponds. I don't use the East Trail to Osceola. Head up before the ponds or keep right of the East Osceola trail and keep going west for the crag. It would be best to find it when the leaves are off the trees. Even in the winter climbers find themselves frustrated wandering around the base of this extrusion not knowing whether to head north or south. If the extrusion is broken up by small trees in slab gullies and mossy slab walls head south. The southern side of the ponds ledges should be approached from Waterville Valley. Their distances being about equal (2-3 miles).
Timber Camp trail, which breaks left off of Greeley Ponds tr. before the ponds and shortly after the turn to Goodrich Rock when coming from Waterville Valley, will get you up within striking distance of Gorilla Head, the southern most of the crags Bradley is describing here. Take the trail up to the high camp and then you have about 1/3 mile of shwacking
At lowest northern side of this section of rock get up onto it, to do a long technical friction traverse left south to a sustained crux near the end of pitch. You are now at the Bombay dike reached 30+ ft off the ground above a ceiling. Here on out the climb is very exposed at 5-5 up outside edges of this Bombay dike 100+ feat until it forks, one way is a vertical dead end and the other a hard pan dirt ramp. I was on a one way trip and had to get up to the forest. A lousy dangerous finish to a b...[more]Browse More Classics in NH
By M Sprague Administrator From: New England Nov 12, 2012
Note - Nov 2012, Greeley Ponds Trail north of the Timber Camp Trail and up to the ponds was wiped out by the hurricane, including the bridges. It is now posted with Forest Service closure signs. Before the closure sign, the trail is passable, but is quite washed out in places and has trees across, so taking a bike to cover the flat section is now less worthwhile