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The Northeastern Crags

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
(He was Killed for His) Big Red Shoes T 
Beanstalk Crack, The T 
Bigfoot was Here T 
Br'er Rabbit T 
Encour du Bottom feeder T 
Farewell Ronald McDonald T 
Happy Camper T 
Jolly Green Giant, The T 
Mountain Minor T 
Pick a Card T 
Sojourn of Arjuna T 
Squeeze Box T 
Steady Yeti T 
Wiessner Corner T 

The Northeastern Crags  


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Location: 44.03984, -71.39582 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,327
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M Sprague on Sep 2, 2011
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BETA PHOTO: An overview of the Northeastern crags.

Description 

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 only partially explored so far, but recent development has uncovered a bunch of quality 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, and 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
Todd Shaffer low on the Jolly Green Giant

These cliffs are quite featured compared to the Main Wall, with many good looking crack lines that rank right up with some of the best one and two pitch cracks in the state, mostly fingers and hands, but also including a few 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.

This is a great spot to enjoy Greens in the summer, when you can get baked off the south facing Main Wall, as the morning sun turns to shade early in the day. It is also the closest, with the approach being a moderate hike just under an hour. The same shade can make late Fall's short days feel especially cold once the sun is off.

The earliest established route that I have been able to confirm to date is Ward and Paula Smith's Premarital Blisters, put up in 1994.
It wasn't until 2013 that a more sustained effort of new route exploration began, after a quicker way in was discovered. There is quite a lot of rock out in this area, with some cliffs not even touched yet (2014), so there will likely be lots of more routes to come.


The middle part of this area (shown here mountainproject.com/v/10727117... ), 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. The upper part of 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.

Getting There 

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
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.

Climbing Season



Weather station 10.9 miles from here

14 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',6],['5.10',4],['5.11',1],['5.12',2],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',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 The Northeastern Crags:
Squeeze Box   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   
The Beanstalk Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   
(He was Killed for His) Big Red Shoes   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
The Jolly Green Giant   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 80'   
Farewell Ronald McDonald   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   
Mountain Minor   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 115'   
Br'er Rabbit   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   
Bigfoot was Here   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   
Browse More Classics in The Northeastern Crags

Featured Route For The Northeastern Crags
One more day of scrubbing out, pop the anchor in and this should be ready. 70 feet of fingers to hands.  10a? Maybe this weekend , if I don't get carried away by the flies

The Beanstalk Crack 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  NH : Greens Cliff : The Northeastern Crags
A 75 foot fingers to hands crack running straight up the wall. - Start just to the left, off a nice flat starting stone and head up to a single bolt. Layback up until you can get a nice flat edge right of the crack and begin plugging gear. The crack gradually widens to great hand jamming, ending at a goode horizontal jug for clipping the anchor. Conservatively two and a half stars in my book....[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of The Northeastern Crags Slideshow Add Photo
Todd Shaffer low on the Jolly Green Giant
Todd Shaffer low on the Jolly Green Giant
Sawyer Pond Approach to The NE Crags of Green's
BETA PHOTO: Sawyer Pond Approach to The NE Crags of Green's
Lines climbers left of Premarital Blisters.  Hard to tell what these are exactly-- cracks or seams?
Lines climbers left of Premarital Blisters. Hard ...
Potential two pitch route with 2 finishes in the middle of the Beanstalk Wall. (see <a href='http://www.mountainproject.com/v/108130438' >mountainproject.com/v/10813043...</a> ) It will need quite a bit of trundling and cleaning and a few bolts on the second pitches plus bolted anchors, but will be pretty classic if done.  <br /> <br />3 photos stitched together <br /> <br />
BETA PHOTO: Potential two pitch route with 2 finishes in the m...
all buffed up..Bigfoot Was Here(the arete) and The Jolly Green Giant (right of the tree)
BETA PHOTO: all buffed up..Bigfoot Was Here(the arete) and The...
Part of the Premarital Wall - It looks nasty here, all wet, but it is about 80 feet tall, just off vertical and covered with finger cracks. There is one route currently here, Premarital Blisters 5.11 that needs to be rescrubbed.
BETA PHOTO: Part of the Premarital Wall - It looks nasty here,...
..and another one to the left, ..and another, and...   Lots of scrubbing to do
BETA PHOTO: ..and another one to the left, ..and another, and....
Top of the sharp orange arete
Top of the sharp orange arete
This is a smaller wall further NE than the premarital wall.  Not great looking by the standards of Greens.
This is a smaller wall further NE than the premari...
The Green Gully <br />This is a very foreshortened image of the big green gully that runs all the way up the full height of the two tiers about in the middle of the Eastern Crags. The top half of what you can see here is overhanging and about 30 feet across. I am pretty sure there is an upper section that is blocked from view from where I was shooting, and the gully runs down below where I was standing, at a lower angle. Judging from the wetness and position relative to the sun, I bet a ton of ice builds up here in the winter.
BETA PHOTO: The Green Gully
This is a very foreshortened image...
Here's the view from one pitch up on the northeast crag.
Here's the view from one pitch up on the northeast...
The right-hand most of the Northeastern crags, closest to Sawyer Pond
The right-hand most of the Northeastern crags, clo...
Very foreshortened picture showing the wall with two finger crack projects, about  100 feet tall. The right one goes up to the bush and then the crack angles up to the top of the arete. The left starts out of the picture and goes up towards the big pine at the top.
BETA PHOTO: Very foreshortened picture showing the wall with t...
Deep in the NE jungle, Premarital Blisters - Needs a rescrub, but other than that it looks like a great climb.
Deep in the NE jungle, Premarital Blisters - Needs...
A better look at the offwidth/chimney Mark mentions in one of his photos.  This thing looks really cool and won't need much cleaning (?!).  Kinda of reminds me of a bigger, scarier version of London Bridges in Acadia.  The arete to the left looks amazing and there is likely a face climb on the face facing the camera.
A better look at the offwidth/chimney Mark mention...
Early exploratory picture of 'Squeeze Box' and 'Happy Camper' (left hand second pitch hand crack) before they were climbed
BETA PHOTO: Early exploratory picture of 'Squeeze Box' and 'Ha...

Comments on The Northeastern Crags Add Comment
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By M Sprague
Administrator
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.
By jim.dangle
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.

Jim
By M Sprague
Administrator
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.
By jim.dangle
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?

Jim
By M Sprague
Administrator
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.