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Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch)
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Standard Route 

YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 130'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.4 French: 4a Ewbanks: 12 UIAA: IV ZA: 10 British: VD 3c [details]
FA: Bill Putnam, Brooks Dodge
Page Views: 2,310
Submitted By: James Otey on Jun 5, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (33)
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Emily on Standard route


HISTORY: The FA of this route was done in 1943 by Bill ("William Lowell") Putnam and Brooks Dodge in 1943. (Brooks was the son of Joe Dodge, who ran the AMC's Pinkam Notch camp from its inception in 1922 to 1959 [1928-1959 as Manager of the Hut system]), probably (?) just before Bill went to Camp Hale, Colorado to train the 10th Mt Division. Bill would later take part (as a Pvt.) in "removing" the Japanese from Kiska Island (Alaska) the only US territory Japan occupied during WWII. Here his climb to the volcanic high point of the island took a bit longer than anticipated and resulted in AWOL, the "punishment" for which was to lead the entire company up as a training exercise the next day. During action in Italy in 1945 with 10th Mt. Division he took shrapnel to the chest (lungs) and missed the action at Riva Ridge and Mt Belvedere, but (now as a First Lieutenant) took part in the final push into northern Italy. After the war he would make the 2nd ascent of Mt St Elias in Alaska, lead many trips to the Adamant-Austerity range in the Selkirks of British Columbia, and serve as both President and Honorary President of the American Alpine Club.

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.


Standard Route starts on the far left of Square Ledge by a prominent corner leading up the the middle of 3 fingercracks. Anchor to one of the two Birches.


Standard Route will pretty much take anything you have on your rack. It protects quite well using anything from wired nuts, to aliens, all the way up to the blue camalot. Needless to say, your standard Catherdral rack will work famously.

Photos of Standard Route Slideshow Add Photo
Emily getting to the top
Emily getting to the top
Emily topping out
Emily topping out

Comments on Standard Route Add Comment
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By T. Moon
Jun 9, 2007

Square Ledge is a fun crag to visit, especially for beginning leaders. This route was my first real trad lead. It is always much cooler in Pinkham Notch than down in the N. Conway area so it is a nice refuge on those sticky summer days. Beware of large crowds of summer campers and climbing school students!
By rdlennon
From: New Hampshire
Oct 10, 2008
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c

It's fun to walk up towards the ledge behind a family or camp group, then solo Standard Route while they take the hiker's trail around. They never fail to show utter bewilderment.
By Barrett Stetson
Jul 26, 2010

Wondering if I started this in the right spot. Had to climb up about 20 ft before I could place my first piece. Most of the rest seemed good for pro though and the climbing was easy and fun. Great view at the top. Definitely a pretty long route though (130' I think guidebook said), don't plan on lowering if you do it in one pitch!
By Gabe K
Oct 27, 2010

Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether this could be led using only nuts, or at least only passive pro? Thanks.
By Adam Wilcox
From: Candia, NH
Oct 27, 2010

I suspect it was led before cams were invented but after pitons fell out of fashion...
By john strand
From: southern colo
Dec 15, 2010

I think the f/a was in 1943
By Mike McLean
May 22, 2013
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13

Did it in a single pitch; went to the tree way back then extended my belay to the side of the cliff to bring up my second who hauled our sneakers.

I'm not 100% sure I actually did the correct route because there are options all over ... but it was fun and the quality of the rock superb.
By Russ Keane
Jul 3, 2014

Fun, nice climbing. But incredibly easy. Never felt challeneged, even given the 5.4 rating.
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