This description covers the rock route. The Pinnacle is perhaps more notable as a winter climb, and should be listed separately as such. The summer route is a classic alpine rock climb.The Pinnacle, located high on Mt. Washington in Huntington Ravine, has been an objective of mountaineers dating back to the Underhills. It has a long and interesting history, explained at length in Webster's 3rd edition guide. An ascent of the route is a fine adventure, easy enough for the less experienced but cla...[more]Browse More Classics in NH
Huntington Ravine has been climbed since the 1930's. The Pinnacle Buttress climbs vary from extreme aid (North wall above Pinnacle Gully) to easy moderate (East facing face).
Most climbers start at the base of the gully and traverse up south via a ledge ramp onto the face. There are lots of variations but climbing is limited to one section of the buttress. Lots of fixed pins on the crux section on the east face that is the 3rd pitch. So many pins that it can be confusing on this pitch. Basically the more direct and to the right a climber goes on this pitch the harder the climbing is. The hardness is between (5-8 or 9). At this section if a climber breaks out left at the first encounter of difficulty the climbing it will get easier quickly. Also this steep wall of the 3rd pitch can be avoided by climbing far to the left up a ramp at about (5-5). After the 3rd pitch stay near the north edge of the buttress. Highly exposed and easy (5-4) for 2 more pitches up this ridge. From the top of Buttress hike down anyway you want or summit Mt. Washington. I haven't been to the buttress in decades. Then there were no rappel anchors. Escape meant leaving gear. There isn't any special gear need to do the east face and a minimal trad rack will do with one rope.
The central Gully Buttress head wall is a different story. This area is between Pinnacle and Central Gullies. All the climbs I know of encounter extreme (5-10) moves at least. Route finding is problematic. The wall is about 700+ft. and longer if you include the fourth class finishing after the steep stuff. The climbs have long run outs on the slab sections. It would be best to use a guidebook's route description to ascend this wall.
The rock is unique to N.H. It is coarse and knobby therefore remains sticky in damp conditions. The weather is serious here. Climbers are forced off this area because of sudden temperature drops and it is impossible to see bad weather coming in from the west. It's as alpine as N.H. gets. Views are spectacular.
just a heads up, a good thing to know if you are new to the ravine is that there is a guide board showing the routes that are in the ravine just out side of the harvard cabin on the fire road leading to the ravine, it's adjacent to the avalanche board.