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The Prow Area
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Unsorted Routes:

Recompense 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

   
Type:  Trad, 3 pitches, 400'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: John Turner
Page Views: 22,685
Submitted By: m-earle on Oct 31, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (123)
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Nick Weinberg leading the last pitch.

Description 

A Cathedral Ledge classic, this route ascends the central buttress known as The Prow. Follow the Recompense/Prow trail from the road, up to a ledge at the foot of the prow.

P1- 5.7- 180'- Climb the obvious crack system heading slightly left to a good ledge with a two bolt anchor.

P2- 5.9- 100' - Step left off the ledge and up to a birch tree. continue up the somewhat awkward chimney (crux) and set up an anchor below the final sweeping dihedral.

P3- 5.9- 100'- Climb the curving dihedral, and up to a big ledge. It is possible to walk off from here, but there are some fun finger cracks off the ledge that will take you to the tourist overlook.

Protection 

A set of nuts (bomber nut placements on the last pitch) and cams. Bring long runners and cordelette for anchors. The route is fairly popular, so a helmet is advised.


Photos of Recompense Slideshow Add Photo
Local climber and photographer Anne Skidmore on the last pitch.
Local climber and photographer Anne Skidmore on th...
Brian working the laybacks up the last pitch of The Prow....
Brian working the laybacks up the last pitch of Th...
Brian reaching through the high traverse variation on pitch 3 of The Prow....
Brian reaching through the high traverse variation...
Looking up at Recompense from the parking lot.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Recompense from the parking lot.
The first pitch of Recompense....
The first pitch of Recompense....
The best moves on the first pitch of Recompense....
The best moves on the first pitch of Recompense......
Pitch one again...
Pitch one again...
Upper Dihedral Awesomeness
Upper Dihedral Awesomeness
The upper dihedral.  Shortly (seconds) after this photo was taken, the cloud above dumped torrential rain, making the casual 5.9 layback somewhat more difficult
The upper dihedral. Shortly (seconds) after this ...
Doug Sabetti on crux of last pitch of Recompense
Doug Sabetti on crux of last pitch of Recompense
Looking up at the crux on Pitch 3.
Looking up at the crux on Pitch 3.
Looking up at the high traverse variation on pitch 3 of Recompense.... Follow the crack then move right at the flake....
Looking up at the high traverse variation on pitch...
The Beast Flake and saddle
The Beast Flake and saddle
The Recompense chimney looking down.... I recommend The Beast flake....
The Recompense chimney looking down.... I recommen...
Looking up the wandering first pitch of Recompense
Looking up the wandering first pitch of Recompense...
Looking down The Beast flake....
Looking down The Beast flake....
Doug Sabetti placing gear at crux of P3, Recompense
Doug Sabetti placing gear at crux of P3, Recompens...
1st Pitch
1st Pitch
Great pitch.
Great pitch.
Dead tree as some natural pro, why not?
Dead tree as some natural pro, why not?
The dreaded chimney downclimb transition from the beast flake
BETA PHOTO: The dreaded chimney downclimb transition from the ...
Ladd stemming and running it out a bit up the classic 3rd pitch corner.
Ladd stemming and running it out a bit up the clas...
Scott Hadley on the final moves.
Scott Hadley on the final moves.
Cody takes in the wonderful view at the base of the top of pitch 2.
Cody takes in the wonderful view at the base of th...

Show All 24 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Recompense Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 4, 2014
By Ian McEleney
From: at large
Dec 19, 2006

Great route, and a great description. Wearing a helmet is a good idea here (especially on the weekend). A cam fell out of the sky while i was roping up for this. The last pitch can be toproped pretty easily.
By Northeastfreak
Aug 15, 2007

The flake that made the "high-traverse" is now gone... Sadly, I ripped it off a few weeks ago. As I committed to it, it grumbled, I stepped back left and with two-fingers, ripped it off the cliff. It was one of the most magnificent "trundles" I have ever whittnessed. It was a good thing that we were doing the route in the pooring rain, because it crossed the approach trail 4 times and nearly made it to the flats below the talus slope. We followed the craters and downed trees until we found it. We humped it back up and laid it to rest, on display, on the side of the trail. If you are familiar with the flake and keep your eyes open, you will see it.
I assure you I didn't pull "too hard" or place gear behind it. I've climbed that section nearly 40 times and have always been aware of its fragility.
It might still be climbable, but its going to be in the 5.12 range...
Tim
By Joe Lee
From: Las Vegas
Jul 25, 2010

On the approach trail, make a right at the base of the cliff. And then continue left up the stone steps. After the first wood staircase, turn left onto a flat granite area with a slab above it. This is the start. The second pitch is actually pretty good. The third pitch is badass.
By kevin fox
From: parker
Sep 7, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

for what it's worth the 3rd pitch felt harder than 5.9. I don't know if it was the humidty and the grease factor of my hands literally sliding out of the crack.
By GMBurns
Sep 21, 2010
rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

damn that offwidth is hard!
By talkinrocks
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 26, 2010

Joe Lee Wrote:

"On the approach trail, make a right at the base of the cliff. And then continue left up the stone steps. After the first wood staircase, turn left onto a flat granite area with a slab above it. This is the start. The second pitch is actually pretty good. The third pitch is badass. "

This is good beta for the traveling climber without a guidebook. Right on the money.
I agree, the second pitch is pretty good, very nice actually, not too hard if you've suffered through some wide pitches. There is bomber gear so that helps. We did it after a rain and it was a bit wet in places, but overall excellent climb, all three pitches are quality.
By twellman
Jun 24, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

There was what looked to be a dried up pool of blood at the belay before the 3rd, dihedral pitch when I climbed this Wed 6/22/11. Anyone know what happened? Did Dracula drop his Nalgene while gettin ready for the dihedral?

An absolutely wonderful, and very well-protected climb.
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Jun 24, 2011

Yes, there was an accident. A guy fell and broke his leg..compound fracture. There is a little about it at neclimbs.com.
By S. Neoh
Jun 24, 2011

Just wondering - is the dead stump still there just b4 the start of P3? I imagine not. We rapped off this bugger to escape an impending storm back in the early 90's. That was exciting and obviously memorable.
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Jun 24, 2011

it was still there last year... it makes a good seat when used just right and helps with rope management :) i would not rap from it however :)
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
May 21, 2012

I've lived and climbed in N. Conway for over 30 years and visitors always ask "What's the best 5.9 on Cathedral?" Yup, it's Recompense. (And here's a hint, the hardest move isn't on the 5.9 pitch!). Funny comment, below, John, you just don't want to admit that you were wearing flannel pajamas when you did it (LOL)
By john strand
From: southern colo
May 21, 2012

i, like paul Ross am rumored to have never done the last pitch
By Kevin D.
From: Palo Alto, CA
Nov 20, 2012

Is there a runout section with bad fall potential on this route? I'm wondering because of the accident in 2011; I couldn't find any details on what exactly happened.
By chris magness
Nov 20, 2012

There is no runout. However, Recompense has had it's fair share of accidents-- a pro or go scenario for some where the leader pumps out and pitches off onto the sloping belay ledge. Stop and place gear, you'll be fine.
By James Simone
Mar 10, 2013

I've never actually climbed all of recompense proper - opting for the Beast flake variation ever time. My partner and I had a bit of an epic actually finding the route the first time we went to Cathedral; with no prior knowledge of the base of the cliff and only old Webster's bible, we climbed a variety of other routes before finally finding this classic.
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Sep 4, 2014

John S., you're wrong, I specifically remember not doing the last pitch with you back in 1985....

And regarding the slightly dangerous reputation the last pitch has, no, there is no runout at all. You could place a bomber piece every foot on this pitch. The danger comes from the fact that (as stated earlier) you are climbing quite a steep layback right off a slopey stance, and if you get pumped out at the crux (about 15 feet up), decide to "go for it", and blow the moves up to the next rest (about 10 feet of climbing), you can slap the slab hard. Take your time, place a high and great piece, step down a little, shake out, and then just blast through. The holds are great. This is the way I always do it, and I can usually get through that crux sequence without any problems, sometimes after as little as a half an hour of fiddling around. :-)