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Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch)

Select Route:
Brain, The TR 
Chimney, The T 
Joe's Place T 
Nose, The TR 
Practice Session T 
Prize, The T 
Standard Route T 
Thriller Arete T 
Unknown (Left of Practice Session Right of The Brain) T 
White Face, The T 
Rest Day:
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From MP's sister site: MTB Project
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Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch)  

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Location: 44.2581, -71.2523 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 9,916
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Robert Hall, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: James Otey on Jun 5, 2007
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The premiere crag of Pinkham Notch sadly goes under the radar for many ambitious trad climbers. An excellently varied plethora of trad and toprope routes from 5.4 to 5.12 are just waiting to be climbed, but they are not noticed nearly as much as their big brother, Cathedral Ledge. Square ledge is never completely deserted, though traffic is thin compared to other flagship crags in northern New Hampshire. At times in the summer, however, it can get quite crowded, as it is a popular crag for group functions. Though hikers wont hinder your climbing in any way other than asking lots of questions, they often hike to the top of the ledge for its excellent views of the Presidential Range and Tuckermans Ravine.

Because Square Ledge is largely surrounded by trees, one can almost be certain of finding a nice shady spot while still being able to watch the day's proceedings.

Square Ledge is quite unique in terms of rock type. It features a horizontally running schist, mixed in intermittently with strips of quartz. The schist provides excellent friction for the feet, yet the crimps are not too sharp as one would imagine- still pleasantly positive though.

With an excellent variance of routes ranging all the way up to 5.12b, square ledge is a great crag to bring new climbers for toproping, or intermediates looking for their first traditional lead. Square ledge also provides a great opportunity to challenge oneself on hard routes that don't fit the traditional mold. At two pitches and 130 feet, Square Ledge also makes for a memorable first multi-pitch. The views and atmosphere are wonderful, and the approach isn't that long.

Getting There 

West of route 16, Square Ledge is easily seen from the parking area at the AMC center in Pinkham. After finding a spot in the huge parking lot, cross route 16 to find a well defined trail. Follow it across a wooden bridge until you reach an intersection. Turn left, following the sign to Square Ledge. After about 20 minutes of moderate hiking, the trail will deposit you at the base of the main face: the 130 foot section on the far left side of the Ledge.

Climbing Season

Weather station 0.6 miles from here

10 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch):
Standard Route   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 2 pitches, 130'   
The Chimney   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch   
Unknown (Left of Practice Session Right of The Brain)   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 30'   
The Brain   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     TR   
Thriller Arete   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch   
Browse More Classics in Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch)

Featured Route For Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch)
Emily on Standard route

Standard Route 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c  NH : Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch...
Climbing up the middle of three cracks on the main face, Standard Route is a classic. Though it can be done in one push, most prefer to break it up into 2 pitches. The first belay is usually about 2/3 of the way up the face on a small ledge. This allows the belayer to always be within sight of their leader. One can choose to either follow the crack system to the summit, or use the massive face holds. Either way, engaging climbing awaits all the way to the summit- just play it to your strengths....[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch) Slideshow Add Photo
View from the top
View from the top
Climber from Boston on the main face on a chili da...
Climber from Boston on the main face on a chili da...

Comments on Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch) Add Comment
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By Ladd Raine
From: Plymouth, NH
Jun 5, 2007
In the past hikers have tried to climb up Square Ledge, this has resulted in at least one death in the past two years, please educate any/all hikers you might see trying to free-solo Square Ledge.
By rdlennon
From: New Hampshire
Nov 10, 2008
For those looking to boulder as well as climb some of these great routes, there is a very nice schist boulder near the base of the main face, just right of the approach trail. Reminiscent of Rumney, this boulder has several moderate lines (V0-V5) that follow aretes and rails using crimps. The right hand side of the tallest face has an excellent problem (anyone know names?) and the slab on the back has some crimpy face problems. There is a smaller boulder nearby that could be cleaned.
From: Gilmanton, NH
Oct 26, 2009
Another climb of note is a 5.10ish finger crack that breaks off left onto the steep face half way up "The Chimney" route. It protects well, and is on par with the other classic hard route "Thriller Arete."
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Apr 27, 2012
i just deleted the "closed for peregrines" note attached to this... the official closures list from the audubon notes Square Ledge-Albany NH... this crag is in jackson i think...
By Jeffrey.LeCours
From: New Hampshire
May 9, 2012
I'm confused. The link at the top of this page still mentions a closure. fs.usda.gov says closure for "Square ledge in the Sandwich Wilderness." and accessfund.org has a link to this Square Ledge page.
By Glenn Cilley
From: Laconia, NH
May 9, 2012
There is another Square ledge on Mt. Passaconaway, in the Sandwich Wilderness, which is closed for nesting.
By john strand
From: southern colo
May 9, 2012
Yet another Square Ledge is outside Berlin,, 350' and one route
By Jeffrey.LeCours
From: New Hampshire
May 10, 2012
Thank you for the clarification! The link on accessfund.org leading to this page was misleading. :)
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