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Upper Cliff
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The Start 

YDS: 5.9- French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
Page Views: 1,167
Submitted By: lee hansche on May 31, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: The Start... i feel like if i had smaller hands or...


I don't know who put the minus in the grade of this route but they were either wicked tough or really mean.... By modern standards, it would be given a 5.9 without second thought, but then again what do modern climbers know compared to our elders, how to sew cracks up with gear then talk about how hard they are.... OK, I'll shut up....

The next crack right of Double chin is The Start and the start is the crux.... Perhaps 15 feet of bad-sized, jam cracks (for me it is wide fingers/thin hands, purple or green Camalot.... I find it hard to do anything but slide out.... When you get it, though, it feels great and after the first part you gain a good face hold and better jamming to a stance, and more moderate climbing to the summit....


The next crack right from Double Chin (5.6).


Regular rack.... Belay from top on gear or from trees....

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By Bryan Gilmore
From: Your Mama
Jun 17, 2007

5.9-, what are you talking about? The Start was only 5.8 when I did it for the first time in ah... something like 1988. Man, I just keep getting better.

By jason seaver
From: Estes Park, CO
Jul 27, 2008

Growing up in the area, I remember this being one of the benchmark 5.8's. I also remember my Dad telling me a good story about it. When he and his friends started climbing in 1969-1970, Pawtuckaway was the closest crag to their homes. He was familiar with The Start, but I don't think he had climbed it yet. He and his friend were meeting Joe Cote out at the Upper Cliff one day and arrived a little after Joe did. When they walked up to the crag, Joe was nonchalantly finishing up a third-class ascent of The Start and it completely blew my Dad away. 5.8 was nearly as hard as free-climbs got at the time, and there Joe was, soloing on one.

By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Sep 10, 2009

I did it again and felt it was straight up 5.9... after another 30 laps maybe it will start feeling 5.8... i find the most helpful thing is figuring out how to put all your weight on your feet...

thanks both of you for your historical views... Joe Cote is the man, i always enjoy running in to him and talking about as much of the old days as he will let me get away with... He is super inspiring and equally humble... On the topic of routes getting harder, Joe and I have talked about some of his FAs getting harder with time, not sure if thats the case with the Start but its a bit polished these days...

By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Sep 10, 2009

I'm with you Lee, .5 or .8 may be the historical grade, but definitly a .9 in my book.