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Rob Frost on Liquid Sky, 2001.
Though initially climbed as an independent multi pitch route to the right of the Prow, most people these days only climb the crux third pitch, as the other two are now covered in lichen and that weird bio-crust Cathedral tends to develop.
I will describe the money pitch as I do not have experience with the other pitches.
Liquid Sky is perhaps New Hampshire's most aesthetic hard route, as the crux pitch climbs a very thin crack that slashes right across the overhanging wall right of the Prow, 400 feet or so off the ground. The difficulty is contained in this twenty foot stretch of crack. When the crack jogs upward and climbs directly up the wall, the holds become bigger and the climbing becomes less technical.
To start, get yourself to the Space Station belay, the third belay on the Prow. You can climb up the Prow to reach this hanging stance. More likely, though, you can rap from the top of the cliff to a belay at the top of the LS crux pitch. Fix the rope here and rap again (still with the same rope) to the Space Station Belay.
Climb up right off the belay, up the blunt arete that marks the very edge of the wall (5.12a). Two pins can be found at the start of the crack. You might chose to stick clip one or both of them. Once the crack is gained, engage in uber-technical climbing, using the angling crack for sidepulls, underclings, anything that makes your feet stick on the little nothings on the blank wall. The crux is moving from the last pin (which, by the way, is tied off because it sticks out about an inch. A tied off sling is usually in-situ) to the bolt at the end of the angling crack. From here, steep climbing (5.11+) with better gear leads to the two bolt belay stance.
All of the gear on the angling crack is fixed. You may chose to prehang draws on the pins and the bolt as you rap down to the belay stance.
Small gear, long runners. A sling to tie off the crux pin if it's not already there. Two ropes (one to fix as a rap line, one to use for climbing.) Ascenders to climb back up to the top. Maybe a portaledge.
Most people rap in from the big tree on top of the Prow. Of the two sets of anchors, Liquid Sky climbs to the ones closest to the The Big Flush. The other anchors are for Edge of the World.
Once you rap to the top anchors, it is relatively easy to lower the climber down and top belay on the upper portion of the route. The lower traversing portion is difficult to work if being lowered from the top. If going for the lead, fix the rope and continue down, swinging a bit to the climber's left, to the Space Station belay.
Starting the crux. Photo by Jay Conway.
The crux on Liquid Sky with the tied-off pin clear...
The crux right hand hold on Liquid Sky. From here,...
2nd Ascent, September 1989
|By Jay Knower|
From: Plymouth, NH
Feb 15, 2007
At the risk of jinxing myself, the tied-off pin is bomber. I spent an entire season falling onto it, and it held me.
Dec 18, 2012
History of Yellow Brick Road and Liquid Sky. After John Bouchard retreated due to a hernia about half way up the yellow wall Jeff Pheasant and I returned in 1976. I bolted the rest of the yellow wall to join the cracks of what is now know as Liquid Sky followed this on normal aid to the top.