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Rainbow Slabs

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1. Left Side 
2. Height of Land  
3. The Mid Section 
4. The Perfect Wave 

Rainbow Slabs  

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Location: 44.0209, -71.2561 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 5,242
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: David Aguasca! on May 8, 2008  with updates from Robert Hall and 1 more
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If you've driven down the Kancamagus, chances are you have seen Rainbow Slabs. The 200 feet of southeast-facing, water-streaked granite offer moderate but extremely run-out friction climbing.

Getting There 

The description in the Handren guide is a bit confusing, and it MAY, in fact, be the ancient route to the far south ("Left End") of the slab.
The usual approach is described well in Webster's Guide: If the river is high, (or cold!) walk up the Nanamocomuck Ski Trail from Albany Cover Bridge parking. [The first 0.9 mi. is now a superhighway due to logging, and one can only guess at how long it will take for the loggers to move on and destroy all the landmarks in THIS description!?] At 0.9 mi the trail crosses a stream on a bridge and then bears left. It then crosses a 2nd and 3rd large bridge (ignore a couple of smaller 'bridges'); the 3rd being relatively new [photo]. 2 minutes further you'll reach the "9KM/ 5.6Mi" sign; here leave the trail [photo], look for small cairn on a log [photo] and then hike up the fairly well trodden path. At first it is on slabby rock in a (usually dry) watercourse. After about 1 min.'s walking the path bears left out of the watercourse; after about another 2 minutes it bears left again, walks through open woods then swings left and crosses another (usually dry) stream (cairn on each side). It then continues, with a few flags, to a stream crossing (again, 2 cairns) where WATER is available except in the driest of summers. From here it climbs steeply for 3-4 minutes, generally up-and-right reaching the slab at the junction of the Mid-Section and the Perfect Wave slabs. The whole approach should take no more than 12-15 minutes from the Ski Trail. To get to mid-section climbs like Face Dances, True Colors take a short path on your left which crosses high and then descends to the "toe" of the cliff.
If the river is low, you can save quite a bit of walking by wading across. Historically, the usual place was 0.6 miles West of Lower Falls at a gravel pull out. [Also used for Crack-in-the-Woods.] Once across the river and back on the Nam--- Ski Trail, one must WALK BACK DOWN (i.e. downstream direction) ABOUT 0.3-0.4 MILES TO REACH THE NORMAL APPROACH AS DESCRIBED ABOVE. This includes going over an old bridge; if you miss the climber's turn-off you'll hit the NEW bridge. (Going into the woods too early is the normal problem people have.)
Another possible crossing place is 0.2 mi. West of Lower Falls. Park (wheels off the road) in the EASTBOUND DIRECTION between a "CURVE"-sign and a "PEDESTRIAN /35MPH" sign. Cross the road, find a small sandy beach, and wade across the river. Your "target" is an orange, triangular rock on the other side. Exit the river on the downstream side of a large downed tree. The Nam--Trail is a few feet into the woods. Walk UPSTREAM on the NAM--Trail for 150 feet to the 3rd bridge (the "new" bridge), thence 2 min to where the climber's trail turns off. If the river is low enough to cross here, it takes me less than 20-25min. of hiking (plus 5 min or so to change out of wading shoes) to reach the cliff. You could also park at Lower Falls (fee) and walk the 0.1-0.2 mi. up the Kanc.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.8 miles from here

7 Total Routes

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

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rainbow Slabs:
Face Dances    5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 200'   3. The Mid Section
Perfect Wave   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   4. The Perfect Wave
Take A Giant Step   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   4. The Perfect Wave
Browse More Classics in Rainbow Slabs

Featured Route For Rainbow Slabs
40 ft Corner of Coloring Book

Coloring Book 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  NH : Kancamagus Crags : ... : 3. The Mid Section
P1- Climb up to a right-leaning flake; climb the flake and then up [Var.] to the base of the right-facing corner. Climb this and belay it its top. 180 ft 5.7 Variation: Once on the slabby area above the flake, move right to a piton belay (belay stance for the climb "Bruin") and either split P1 into two (making a 3-pitch climb) or run out the corner pitch with P2 as described below. P2- The FA went up to the trees at the top of the slab, but most will probably want to just climb left...[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of Rainbow Slabs Slideshow Add Photo
50 ft after this abandoned logging road bears right from the Nam--Ski Trail the Climber's Path branches right up a usually dry streambed.
BETA PHOTO: 50 ft after this abandoned logging road bears righ...
The "New" bridge, about 2 min. East of the turn off for the climber's trail.
BETA PHOTO: The "New" bridge, about 2 min. East of the turn of...
view from waterfall area
BETA PHOTO: view from waterfall area
This is the river crossing described in both Webster and Handren's guides, 0.6 mi West of Lower Falls. (Photo taken on the same day as that of the crossing 0.2 mi. W of Lower Falls.)
BETA PHOTO: This is the river crossing described in both Webst...
A possible river crossing spot (not the crossing described in Webster or Handren) located 0.2 Mi west of Lower Falls. Ideally, you want the "gauge" rock DRY. Hiking poles or sticks highly recommended.
BETA PHOTO: A possible river crossing spot (not the crossing d...

Comments on Rainbow Slabs Add Comment
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By Russ Keane
Jul 3, 2014
Holy moley, this is IMPOSSIBLE to find. We walked all over the place, in circles, all day, and never found it. How can that be? It was frustrating.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 4, 2014
Did you start at Albany covered Bridge or cross the river ??
By Russ Keane
Jul 15, 2014
The river was too high to cross, so we parked at the Albany Bridge. I have the new Handren guide, and felt pretty comfortable that I followed all the directions: Find the intersection with the logging road, walk up a stream, etc). It was just so hard to see anything through the trees. We were very very close, I am sure. In fact we ended up finding one portion of the long crag up there, but I am not sure where it was.

Truly an elusive cliff.