|The Left Cliff
The Left Cliff of Owls is a fairly big cliff, a bit over 250 feet tall at the highest, with many features, with routes up to 4 pitches long. All types of climbing can be found here except wildly overhanging jug hauls (though there are still plenty of steep, exposed routes). At present, this cliff has the most completed pitches of the two main cliffs. There are some great slab and face routes, particularly on the Alaskan Wall and the White Owl Face, but the Left Cliff is generally more featured, so has more aretes, corners and crack systems then the Right Cliff.
The approach trail drops you off pretty much in the middle of the cliff. You will see the lower bolts of " Owling Good Time", a nice 5.9+/10a just to the left, leading up a shallow corner above a ledge. If it is not wet it is a good single pitch introduction to the cliff, with some stemming at the bottom to limber up, pockets and a corner crack to get you in the gear plugging mode. Heading left from this route, above the trail, you will see an alcove with a big dike in the back, home to "The Smoky Dike" and to it's right, "Ruffled Feathers". Due to it's convenient bolts and location, RF is often used for a warm up in the morning despite it's crumblyness.
Continuing to the left is the area described in the RGC-Open Spaces section, defined by the boundaries of the start and finish of the 4 pitch RGC (Roger Gagne Classic), a superb 5.8+ route, that would be a great way to get to know this part of the cliff. It works it's way up and right across the wall, with great climbing and incredible positioning. It starts way to the left, about 50 feet past where the space below the cliff pinches down and the trail steps up onto a flat rock (start of "Owl's Highway), and works it's way over to finish, laybacking up a hanging pillar, just to the left of the Smoky Dike.
Past the RGC, you will come to the 100ft. bolted arete of Butolicious 12a/b. High above it, there is a giant slot at the top of the cliff, with a huge flake making up the right side that looks like Texas. This is the beginning of The Sporty Owl Area, home to big corners, aretes and cracks, which runs left to the sharp bolted fin of "Talon" 12a.
From "Talon", the cliff makes a 90 degree turn and runs up the hill, gradually diminishing in height, with the face turned towards Sawyer Pond, then returns to the main plane as a much shorter cliff, before breaking down. Just beyond "Talon" is high and quite dramatic, but the rock quality is considerably less than the rest of the cliff, suffering from crumblyness. Halfway up this side wall is the bolted route "Bird's Eye View" 5.10, that gives this section it's name.
Going right from the approach trail, you pass under a short wall and up to where the cliff makes a huge corner. From the Smoky Dike to here is The Alaskan Wall, named after the superb 12a "Alaskan Slab". Another quality, all bolted line here, that goes at a bit easier grade, is "Lonesome Owl" 10c, Owl Cliff's granite version of Rumney's "Lonesome Dove", just left of the corner.
The shear wall to the right of the corner is The White Owl Face, home to a number of super classic one pitch Owl's test pieces, including Brady Libby's 12c finger crack, "Crack of the Future", Ward Smith's sport routes "Owl Cliff Club" 12b/c and "Attack of the White Owl" 5.13, along with "White Owl" 11d/12a, another of Owl's classic finger cracks.
Around to the right and above The White Owl Face is the tall buttress of The Laughing Owl Area, which includes the slab to the right. The trail takes you around the lower portion of the buttress and up to the upper part, dropping you off at the level of the start of the cracks of "Egg Cracker" 5.10 and "Laughing Owl" 5.9, plus the slab that makes up the right end of the cliff. This area contains the most concentrated moderate climbing of the cliff including "Bubbles" 5.6, a crack in the slab leading to overlaps, and the fun slab to a seam of "Aquarium" 5.8.
The ethic of the persons putting routes up at this cliff have been to clean them well, place good quality 2 bolt anchors with sturdy quicklinks, bolt where necessary, but use traditional gear when able without being fanatic. So you should find most climbs well protectable, which isn't to say there wont be opportunities for flight time. Use your judgment. Off set cams and nuts are good to have for some of the flaring cracks and a stick should be used to clip some of the first bolts. The nature of the routes and the set up of the anchors means that you can climb and descend most with a single 60 m rope.
Follow the directions to the Oracle Boulders in the Owl's Cliff main heading. From the upper slope side of these boulders, turn left and follow the trail west, along the hillside and up, passing other fine boulders along the way. The trail will drop you off in front of the route "Owling Good Time" @ N44.04473 W71.36181. It will probably take you about 10-15 minutes to get from the Oracle Boulders to the Left Cliff, assuming you don't stop to boulder and pick mushrooms.
31 Total Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',13],['2 Stars',13],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]
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Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Left Cliff:
Featured Route For The Left Cliff
Crack of the Future 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b NH
: Owl's Cliff (off Kancamagu...
: ... : White Owl Face and Laughing...
A tour de force..a wonderful trad line that has been called one of the best crack climbs in NH, though it actually climbs more like a really fun intricate face climb, well protected by small wires and cams. You do have to know how to finger jam though. Good foot work is a must.The White Owl Face has two classic finger cracks. This is the left hand, harder one, that shares the same start as the sport route that goes out the central flake, "The Owl Cliff Club". Where the sport route heads up and ...[more] Browse More Classics in NH
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