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Routes in Main Cliff

Agent Orange T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Agronaut, The S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Attrosity S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Banana Head S 5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c
Bete Noir T,S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Big Papa T 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Big Rip, The S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Bon Temps Rouler T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Captain, The T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Carrion S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Confederacy of Dunces T,S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Dance Connection S 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
Davey Jones Locker T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Dikenstein S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
End of the Tether T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Eyeless in Gaza S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Frigid Relations S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Midnight Groove T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mithras S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Pastryworks S 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Pointy Teeth S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Police and Thieves T 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Promised Land, The S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Razor Crack T C1
Romper Room S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Rough Boys T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Sewer Rat T 5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a
Shadowline T 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
She's Crafty S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Stiletto T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Summer Teeth T 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
Sundog Delight S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Tar and Feather T 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
Tits Out for the Lads T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Toothless Grin T 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Vanishing Point S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Vultures T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Yellow Matter Custard S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
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Elevation: 909 ft
GPS: 44.005, -71.239 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 35,112 total · 250/month
Shared By: Jay Knower on Apr 17, 2007
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall
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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.

38 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Main Cliff

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 21
Bon Temps Rouler
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
 15
Rough Boys
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 66
Vultures
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 17
Agent Orange
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 13
Tits Out for the Lads
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 59
Dikenstein
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 24
The Promised Land
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 18
The Big Rip
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 48
Romper Room
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 68
Eyeless in Gaza
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 10
Frigid Relations
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 15
Mithras
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 3
Big Papa
Trad
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 6
Confederacy of Dunces
Trad, Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 7
Yellow Matter Custard
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Bon Temps Rouler
 21
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Rough Boys
 15
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Trad
Vultures
 66
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Agent Orange
 17
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Tits Out for the Lads
 13
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Dikenstein
 59
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
The Promised Land
 24
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
The Big Rip
 18
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Romper Room
 48
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Eyeless in Gaza
 68
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Frigid Relations
 10
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Mithras
 15
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
Big Papa
 3
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad
Confederacy of Dunces
 6
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Trad, Sport
Yellow Matter Custard
 7
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Ladd    
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. Jun 14, 2007
Ladd    
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. Jun 14, 2007
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
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. Feb 28, 2009
S. Neoh  
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. Oct 4, 2009
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
BĂȘte 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. Oct 4, 2009
E thatcher
Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
E thatcher   Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
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. Oct 4, 2009
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
We need a nice overview topo for this cliff. Oct 1, 2010
Any topo for this sweet looking crag? Oct 3, 2014
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Handren's 'North Conway" guide covers the crag pretty well (good topos). No overview yet, but you should be able to figure out the order of the subsection topos here on MP. Oct 3, 2014
Christian Prellwitz
Telluride, CO
Christian Prellwitz   Telluride, CO
Does anybody have any information about the sweet boulder to the left of the trail, right at the start of the talus field as you're hiking up to the Main Cliff? It's a rectangular-ish black-ish boulder. It's clearly been climbed on and just wondering about names/grades, etc. I thought the overhanging face with the thin seam had a couple of the best looking problems I've seen at Sundown. Oct 7, 2015
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
If we are talking about the same boulder, I think Dave graham did a few hard problems here.. a V10 and V11 Oct 7, 2015
Christian Prellwitz
Telluride, CO
Christian Prellwitz   Telluride, CO
John- Here's a pic (not a great one, but the only one I've got). It's literally right off the trail to Main Cliff, just before heading uphill through the open section of talus. A really cool crack/seam and the arete to the right of it is cool as well. This picture is of the face with the coolest looking lines.

Oct 9, 2015
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
Sorry Christian, it's been a long time..Dave was a teenager still. I think the arete, but i'm not sure Oct 9, 2015
Christian Prellwitz
Telluride, CO
Christian Prellwitz   Telluride, CO
No worries, John. Your help is still appreciated. Thanks! Oct 12, 2015

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