|The Northeastern Crags
To the left of the Main Wall of Green's is a series of crags designated The Northeastern Crags, mostly in a line running north and facing east. These are mostly undeveloped so far, but offer promise of many future routes in a very beautiful setting. They overlook the wonderful Sawyer Ponds Scenic Area basin, with great views across the ponds to the cliffs of Mt. Tremont and Owls. Looking more SE you can see all the way to Mt. Chocorua, and north to Mt. Washington.
| || Todd Shaffer low on the Jolly Green Giant |
These cliffs are quite featured compared to the Main Wall, with many good looking crack lines, mostly fingers and hands, but also including a surprising number of chimneys and the fantastic arete Bigfoot Was Here 12b. Most of the cliffs are one or two pitches tall and a little off vertical, over and under. There are a few outlying slabs that may be worthy, judging from a cursory look.
The earliest established route that I have been able to confirm to date is Ward and Paula Smith's Premarital Blisters from around the turn of the century. Aaron Rashaw did say he saw some bolted routes coming in from Livermore road, so there may be more hidden away. 2013 saw a flurry of new routing activity with a collection of quality routes going in, so now it is very worthwhile making the hike out, even if you only like to do established climbs.
The middle part of this area (shown here www.mountainproject.com/v/107271173 ), which probably has the most potential, is composed of two tiers of cliff band, split by a landmark giant wet gully. The top of the gully is overhanging, but the lower portion is low angled enough to allow access between the bands. This gully might provide good ice climbing if you can get yourself out there in the winter.
Be aware, if you climb over here, that these crags lie within the Sawyer Ponds Scenic Area, so have somewhat more restrictive rules, including no camping below the ridge towards the pond and possibly no power tools. Be especially aware to be low impact visually and noise wise. You are basically in an amphitheater for anyone down at the ponds and it is a pretty magical spot. Luckily, since there are so many cracks, not many bolts should be needed. This is a place to go light in impact, by just going for the very best lines and leaving the rest be IMO.
If the gate is open, the most direct way seems to be from the north via Sawyer River Rd. Drive the 4 miles all the way in and park at the large clearing on the right. Hike up the road a minute, past the gate, and cross the big footbridge on your left. Continue on the trail like you were going to Sawyer Pond, but just before crossing the second bridge (not counting the little one right after the first) leave the trail on your right, walk along the stream bank ~100 feet, then bushwhack south, heading up the hill to the ridgeline. (Be careful not to beat out an obvious trail when first leaving the bridge so as not to draw up the yahoos who hike into the pond, who will end up leaving shit paper and otherwise trashing the area) Once in a few hundred feet you should be able to pick up the way climbers have been walking in. Look for some pink tape to help guide you. Eventually you will reach a notch just south of the Knoll where you can drop in and traverse under the cliffline south to the Land of Cracks and the landmark sharp arete of Bigfoot (1 hr, 1.4 miles) It is another 5 min further to the Premarital Wall, crossing the mouth of the the big green gully on the way. The Beanstalk Wall is the tier right above the Premarital Wall. To get to it start up the gully a little then angle out of it to the left above the PM Wall and up. The cliffs are a little complicated, so it will take some exploring to learn the terrain, especially if trying to find the tops for new route cleaning. See the directions in the main Green's section for a little more information. Here is a Link to a GPX file including a track into the Northeastern Crags and some useful waypoints that can be loaded into a GPS or viewed on Google Earth.
| || Sawyer Pond Approach to The NE Crags of Green's |
If you are already at the Main Cliff - From the right side of the Main Wall, drop down off the boulder ledge directly below the fire ring. You will find a narrow slot that acts like a stairway down. At the bottom, head left like you were going over to Eco Challenge, but then angle out from the wall and look for some tape. If you try to stay next to the wall, like if you were going to the top, you will end up bushwhacking through some very heavy vegetation further on. The tape will lead you along past boulders, slightly down, then up on to a plateau. Continue across the plateau and you will then take a right and drop down (up left takes you most directly back to the Sawyer Pond parking) to a steep vegetated gully with deadfall and some 3rd class scrambling. It is a little hideous here. Fixing a bit of rope would make the way down and especially back up better. This gully will drop you down to the base of the buttress on the left side of the upper tier, the Beanstalk Wall.
To continue to the lower tier, traverse under the Beanstalk Wall until you get to the obvious two pitch Y crack, where you head out from the cliff and down, cutting into the lower part of the green gully that separates the Premarital Wall on your right and the Land of Cracks to the left.
It is about 20 minutes to get from the Main Wall over and scramble down to the upper tier, another 5 down to Bigfoot.
7 Total Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',5],['2 Stars',2],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in The Northeastern Crags
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Northeastern Crags:
Featured Route For The Northeastern Crags
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|By M Sprague|
From: New England
Sep 2, 2011
I posted up some photos from my recon trip over here late last fall so those who are in to exploring will have some idea what is there and the best approach. It was hard to get good shots through all the trees, but they should give some idea of the potential.
Aug 3, 2013
Last week I decided to bushwhack into the Premarital Crag from Sawyer Pond Road after being intrigued by the pictures Mark Sprague posted. The initial approach took 2 hours, the first 45 minutes of which was enjoyable climb up and increasingly steep wooded slope until I came to small mossy slabs that likely make up the northern extent of Green's. From there I could see Owl's across the valley and further to the south a higher crag that likely made up the southern extent of the Eastern Crags of Green's. The next hour was quite rugged as I traversed very steeps slopes with lots of leaf-covered scree, blow-downs, large boulders, and one perilous loose section. It was hard to follow a straight line and the path I took including much toing and froing and some hemming and hawing. I had-- ambitiously in retrospect-- planned to follow underneath the cliffs so that could scope and document potential new routes. This proved impossible as I had underestimated the scale of the cliff system, the ease of moving close to the cliff, and my patience for bushwhacking. Eventually, however, I came upon the Premarital Wall.
From here I decided to take a more direct line out. I dropped down off the premarital wall trying to trend north along a path of least resistance. This area at the immediate base of the cliff is thick with large awkward, moss covered boulders, which make for slow going even in the good conditions I had. After a few hundred feet my passage became progressively easier and I continued until I encountered a small stream that disappeared into some large boulders. A little further along there was a small indent that led to a slight crest. With the nearby presence of water and the available flat protected ground, one could camp relatively comfortably here. From there I followed a vague and gentle ridgeline down until I eventually saw a small patch of open water that indicates the wetland surrounding Sawyer Pond. Rather than cross the marshy area I traversed the higher slope again and crossed a narrow strip of boulders (possible an old scree field from one of the gullies above) and continued north where I could hear the river. The area around the river is thick and difficult to walk in so I had hoped to avoid crossing immediately at the spot where the Sawyer Pond path comes closes to the river. However, I grew impatient and fought my way down to the river and across, which then involved a length tree-whack through thick little spruce (unpleasant and slow). The walkout from the Premarital Wall to my car took 1 hour total.
In short, I think this is probably the best approach to the Eastern Crags but it will take gaining some familiarity with the topography to make it really work. Were I to do it again I would combine the the early stages of my ascent with the early stage of my descent. I would cross the Sawyer River in the same place (where the river and the path all but meet) but rather than charging straight up the ridge I would ascend only so far as I was out of the thick woodland surrounding the stream, then I would traverse the gentler lower elevation slopes before trying to move up to the vague crest where I found the stream. From there approaches could be made to individual sections of the cliff. I would estimate with a better path it would take ~45 minutes to ascend to this point less for the descent. It is possible that this may yet prove the fastest walking route to the main face but that remains to be seen. It is worth noting that this lies within the Sawyer Pond Scenic Area, though I canít find any information online about what that designation means. It is also worth noting that biking any part of the route is infeasible as it only follows an existing path for a short stretch and even that part is quite rough.
In the fall, when I am feeling masochistic again and the absence of leaves makes for better visibility, I hope to return to forge a better path and maybe even do some climbing.
|By M Sprague|
From: New England
Aug 6, 2013
Jim, I found a pretty good way in a couple weeks ago from the north. I took the Sawyer Pond trail in to the second bridge (not counting the mini one), then bushwhacked pretty much south, bearing a little east, up the ridge to bring me above the second cliff from the north, that I was calling the Knoll. I think the picture you posted was of the furthest north, smaller one. From the top of the Knoll I followed the ridge line above the rest of the N Eastern crags then joined the game/climber's trail to the Main cliff. It took about 1:25 walking back out that way, so it was about half that time to the Knoll. I still have to rap in from the top of the Knoll and check it out, but from the base it looked like it had nice potential. It looked to be at least a full rope length tall.
I and some other folks are going to be going back to work on projects now that the weather is getting better. Shoot me a message if you would like to hook up. Note - Below the NE crags is in the Sawyer Pond Scenic area, so we are not really supposed to camp there, only at the actual Sawyer Pond shelter. Up above if you are discrete and low impact may be OK. I believe the rules are in the 2005 White Mountain Forest Management Plan, but the FS site is not working well and the link for the plan doesn't seem to get you there any more.
Aug 8, 2013
Thanks for the invite, Mark. I was really impressed by the sheer scale of the Green's. It's almost like another Cathedral and Whitehorse. I'm also impressed with sheer scale of the cleaning efforts involved. Everybody who climbs there owes you a beer so . . . that should be around 8 beers.
On the subject of the scenic designation: I can find out online what this means exactly. The Park Service's back country camping pamphlet says camping is not allowed within a quarter mile of either big or little Sawyer Pond. By my eye the eastern crags of Green's are outside that range so camping beneath them shouldn't be a problem. Definitely worth it to keep a low profile.
Also, If I am reading you route description right you went right up the ridge from the sawyer river and then traversed the ridge above the cliffs. How was ease of movement up there?
|By M Sprague|
From: New England
Aug 8, 2013
Not directly up from Sawyer River, but from the stream that runs out of Sawyer Pond and joins Sawyer River; from the second bridge on Sawyer Pond Trail. If you stray to the west of the ridge it gets hideously thick with that dense low spruce that you experienced. I'll post up a map once I get it fine tuned.
As far as the Scenic Area designation, I believe I got my information about the rules from the Forest Management Plan, which unfortunately doesn't seem to come up on the FS site anymore.