|Owl's Head Cliff (Oliverian Notch)
Start up E12 and do it's first pitch to the short Oak tree belay. Do second pitch corner to the giant flake and where E12 veers off horizontally to the west, continue up the flake and move right to the left facing corner. Continue up corner until you are able to down climb to the grass covered ledge with protection top roping yourself to this ledge. Set up a semi-hanging belay utilizing a piton, the arch above and crack at your hip for a stopper. From the belay lead up directly through very steep overlaps by a stairway of footholds but (5-7) handholds and then left past small birch tree (5-7+) to move right up to left facing corner (5-7) to move left and up (5-6) to Oak trees for a 50+ft pitch. Rappel from these Oak trees to another Oak tree to the ground.
This climb is a classic because it's so steep and not a severe ascent. First ascents are always dirty and have lichen growth. Climbers could wire brush it and then it would look like every other classic wire brushed climb that is often traveled upon, keeping the lichen and dirt from reforming. So if you don't know what a first ascent means you won't appreciate the atmospheric prospective that is often on routes like this one at Owl's Head, besides it's a south east facing wall prone to plant and tree growth.
Although this is the completed route the final line will summit by a traverse onto E12 finish and the first pitch will be modified to climb a crack east of the Pine tree on the first pitch to a different belay off of a horn where the crack ends. This will be a semi-hanging belay in the same left facing corner of the second pitch. From this horn the climb will join up with the second pitch without the giant flake moves. This way up the cliff should be at the same rating as the climb already done. The horn doesn't have to be the belay because a 60m rope will reach the second pitch belay. This climb is definitely not for the (5-7) maximum difficulty leader. There are situations on the route where a short fall will do injury. For Owl's Head this climb is a very well protected one.
There is a small (large toaster oven) semi loose exfoliating section at the top of pitch three in the left facing corner. It is easily avoided and not a problem unless it is forced off by pulling hard on it or putting protection in the crack, where this corner is separated from the wall. Climb wisely and everyone should stay alive.
This is my last outback crag climb because the odds of injury and possibly death are now stacked up way too high, against me. I couldn't lead any of this climb on the day Ryan and I did this new route. That is because I have chronic skeletal and neurological muscular relationship health issues. This has finally finished me off, from leading anywhere, until I recover again. When I am able to, I will continue off the road climbs rated easy to moderate. I knew this day had to come eventually. After all I have done already more outback crag leading than I thought I would. I am very pleased with how many I have done. I've known since 2002 I couldn't climb anymore. That didn't stop my will to do more climbs. The temptation to do more first ascents on outback crags (especially here) still exist, but I have voluntarily discharged myself from doing anymore permanently. Fu#k that nuero/muscular sh#t! Live free or die. I'll be back climbing in 2010.
Begin on E12
Friends and micro friends and stoppers
The horn at the top of the crack above the Pine tr...
The view westerly from the second pitch. Photograp...
Bradley White, photographer Ryan Barber
The second pitch with it's giant flake.
The first pitch Pine tree and the crack to the eas...
Ryan rappelling down from the top of the third pit...
|By Ryan Barber|
From: Rumney, NH
Aug 28, 2011
I'd like to go back there next year.