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Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Agent Orange T,S 
Agronaut, The S 
Banana Head S 
Bete Noir T,S 
Big Papa T 
Big Rip, The S 
Confederacy of Dunces T,S 
Dance Connection S 
Dikenstein S 
End of the Tether T 
Eyeless in Gaza S 
Frigid Relations S 
Mithras S 
Pastryworks S 
Promised Land, The S 
Razor Crack T 
Romper Room S 
Rough Boys T 
Sewer Rat  T 
Shadowline T 
She's Crafty S 
Stiletto T 
Sundog Delight  S 
Tar and Feather T 
Tits Out for the Lads T 
Vanishing Point S 
Vultures T 
Yellow Matter Custard S 

Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff 


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Location: 44.005, -71.2393 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 32,535
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Jay Knower on Apr 17, 2007
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E-man climbs (then downclimbs and reclimbs) Dikens...

Description 

What if I were to tell you that a stellar sport cliff exists just outside the traditional stronghold of North Conway, New Hampshire? What if I said that this cliff offers high-quality bolted routes and that this cliff is decidedly different from Rumney? What if I said that this cliff saw the first emergence of "sport" ethics in New England and that one route actually sported a bolted-on gym hold. Would you believe me?

Probably not, and that is why Sundown Ledge is almost always deserted. Maybe it's because most climbers around North Conway set their sights on bigger and more grandiose objectives on Cathedral or Whitehorse. Maybe it's because the sport routes start at 5.11+ at Sundown where at Rumney, you can clip bolts on everything from 5.3 and up. At any rate, people seem to have forgotten about Sundown. Maybe it's a good thing that Sundown has faded from popularity because when the crowds get bad at Rumney, yet you still want that bolt-clipping fix, then Sundown is pretty much the perfect crag.

Plus, the sport climbs at Sundown are pretty slabby by modern standards and consist mostly of strenuous pulling on small edges up vertical or slightly overhanging walls. This place is no Orange Crush, that's for sure. While a few quality trad climbs exist, most notably the Henry Barber fingercrack testpiece Vultures (10d), it's the sport climbs that bring people to this quiet crag. Romper Room (12a) is the perfect little sport climb, and Eyeless in Gaza may very well be the best 12b in all of New England. Yellow Matter Custard (13a), The Argonaut (13a), and Pastryworks (13b) offer harder challenges for those who have maintained their dime-edge crimping technique that they cultivated in the eighties.

For a comprehensive look at Sundowns many crags, including the even lesser traveled outlying areas, Ed Webster's guidebook works well. The Rock Climbing New England guide lists the more popular routes at Sundown's main walls. Conway and North Conway, about ten miles away, hold every amenity imaginable.


Getting There 

All roads lead to the Kancamagus Highway, the scenic artery that cuts east/west across the state. On the eastern end, about ten miles west of Conway, you will see the Covered Bridge Campground on the north side of the road. Park on either side of the bridge in a lot (the bridge is closed in winter). Cross the river if you haven't already done so, and find the Boulder Loop, a heavily traveled hiking trail.

Set off on this trail and bear right (east) when you get to a fork. After about ten minutes, you should see the big cliff on your left. That's it. If you see a cairn, head up the talus to the base. If you miss the cairn, head up the talus to the base.


28 Total Routes


['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',19],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',2],['5.11',7],['5.12',12],['5.13',4],['>=5.14',1],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff:
Razor Crack   C1     Trad, Aid, 2 pitches   
Stiletto   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   
Rough Boys   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Vultures   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad   
Agent Orange   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
Tits Out for the Lads   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
The Big Rip   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport   
Romper Room   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
The Promised Land   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 60'   
Shadowline   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 50'   
Frigid Relations   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Eyeless in Gaza   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   
Confederacy of Dunces   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 70'   
Mithras   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport   
Vanishing Point   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport   
Big Papa   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad   
Yellow Matter Custard   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport   
Browse More Classics in Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff

Featured Route For Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff
Ladd Pulling the lower of the cruxes

Eyeless in Gaza 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b  NH : Kancamagus Crags : ... : Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff
Eyeless might be the perfect sport climb. It's long, but not an endurance nightmare. It has cruxes, but the route could not be considered bouldery. It has a few heartbreaking moves at the top that don't seem that bad when you're fresh, but when you're pumped, it's a whole different story. In other words, you have to consider yourself a true sport climber to send Eyeless.This might explain the shenanigans that went into sending this route. Climbers attempted this route for a few years before it w...[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff Slideshow Add Photo
1:Police and Theives 5.12c <br />2:She's Crafty 5.12c <br />3:Arrgonaut 3.13a <br />4:The Sewer Rat 5.14a <br />5:Exodus 5.12b/c <br />6:The Promised Land 5.12d
1:Police and Theives 5.12c
2:She's Crafty 5.12c
3:...
Muel taking a short and poor rest just before the lower crux.
Muel taking a short and poor rest just before the ...
1:Vanishing Point 5.12d <br />2:Toothless grin 5.12a (to the roof) <br />  Summer Teeth 5.13a   (out the roof <br />3:Razor Crack 5.13c A1 <br />4:The War Between Love and Hate 5.13d/v9
1:Vanishing Point 5.12d
2:Toothless grin 5.12a (to...
1: Dikenstein 5.11c <br />2:Glueless    5.14a
1: Dikenstein 5.11c
2:Glueless 5.14a
1:After the Fox 5.13c <br />2:Crank Case 5.11a <br />3:Midnight Groove 5.8 <br />4:Vultures 5.10d
1:After the Fox 5.13c
2:Crank Case 5.11a
3:Midnigh...
1:The Pastery Works     5.13b <br />2:yellow Matter Custard 5.13a <br />3:Frigid Relations      5.12b <br />4:Romper Room           5.12a
1:The Pastery Works 5.13b
2:yellow Matter Cust...
1.Flirting With Dikes 5.10d <br />2Eyeless in Gaza 5.12b <br />3:Mythras 5.12c <br />4:Confederacy of Dunces 5.12d
1.Flirting With Dikes 5.10d
2Eyeless in Gaza 5.12b...
1:Big Papa 5.12d <br />2:Banannahead 5.13b <br />3:the big rip 5.12a <br />4:black sunday 5.7 <br />5:Agent Orange 5.11b
1:Big Papa 5.12d
2:Banannahead 5.13b
3:the big rip...
Main Cliff seen from Far Cliff
BETA PHOTO: Main Cliff seen from Far Cliff
Comments on Sundown Ledge--Main Cliff Add Comment
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By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Jun 14, 2007

Getting there,
The road you pull off the highway from is only about 6.5 mi West of Rt 16 and the hiking trail goes up to the left as son and you see a substantial talus field running roughly parallel to the trail on your left.

Do Not take the marked hiking trail to "the ledges" it doesn't go to the climbs, it is for hikers.

By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Jun 14, 2007

This cliff is AWESOME, I went there for the first time yesterday, what an amazing, cool looking and deserted place, ideal for getting away from Rumney gym rats.

By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
Feb 28, 2009

I would say that aside from Waimea, Sundown might be the best 5.12 sport cliff in all of New Hampshire. The Promised Land, Romper Room, The Big Rip (a few pieces needed), Eyeless in Gaza, and Mithras are all classic, interesting 5.12 routes that would be popular anywhere.

By S. Neoh
Oct 4, 2009

Is bete noire still a route being climbed at Sundown?
It has been more than 15 years since I last visited Sundown so my memory of it is rather sketchy. I think it might be by Big Banana. Difficulty is about 5.11a or 5.11b. I seem to remember it to be either fully or mostly bolted. Climbs face to slab to overhang, I think. I enjoyed the climb, though not as classic as Vultures or Romper Room.

By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
Oct 4, 2009

BÍte Noir has been getting climbed lately. I've seen a number of people on it, though I haven't climbed it myself. It looks pretty cool, maybe a bit slabby.

By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Oct 4, 2009

I got out there and climbed it the other month. It feels like the cruxes of 3 different routes copied and pasted to make one weird but fun route. All the hard moves are bolt protected, but cams are needed as well.

By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Oct 1, 2010

We need a nice overview topo for this cliff.