Elevation: 2,350 ft
GPS: 44.257, -71.246 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 18,033 total · 125/month
Shared By: James Otey on Jun 5, 2007
Admins: J Beta, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall
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The premiere crag of Pinkham Notch sadly goes under the radar for many ambitious trad climbers. An excellently varied plethora of trad and toprope routes from 5.4 to 5.12 are just waiting to be climbed, but they are not noticed nearly as much as their big brother, Cathedral Ledge. Square ledge is never completely deserted, though traffic is thin compared to other flagship crags in northern New Hampshire. At times in the summer, however, it can get quite crowded, as it is a popular crag for group functions. Though hikers wont hinder your climbing in any way other than asking lots of questions, they often hike to the top of the ledge for its excellent views of the Presidential Range and Tuckermans Ravine.

Because Square Ledge is largely surrounded by trees, one can almost be certain of finding a nice shady spot while still being able to watch the day's proceedings.

Square Ledge is quite unique in terms of rock type. It features a horizontally running schist, mixed in intermittently with strips of quartz. The schist provides excellent friction for the feet, yet the crimps are not too sharp as one would imagine- still pleasantly positive though.

With an excellent variance of routes ranging all the way up to 5.12b, square ledge is a great crag to bring new climbers for toproping, or intermediates looking for their first traditional lead. Square ledge also provides a great opportunity to challenge oneself on hard routes that don't fit the traditional mold. At two pitches and 130 feet, Square Ledge also makes for a memorable first multi-pitch. The views and atmosphere are wonderful, and the approach isn't that long.

Getting There

West of route 16, Square Ledge is easily seen from the parking area at the AMC center in Pinkham. After finding a spot in the huge parking lot, cross route 16 to find a well defined trail. Follow it across a wooden bridge until you reach an intersection. Turn left, following the sign to Square Ledge. After about 20 minutes of moderate hiking, the trail will deposit you at the base of the main face: the 130 foot section on the far left side of the Ledge.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Standard Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
The Chimney
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
The Brain
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Thriller Arete
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Standard Route
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 2 pitches
The Chimney
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad
The Brain
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
Thriller Arete
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
More Classic Climbs in Square Ledge (Pinkham Notch) »

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Ladd Raine    
In the past hikers have tried to climb up Square Ledge, this has resulted in at least one death in the past two years, please educate any/all hikers you might see trying to free-solo Square Ledge. Jun 5, 2007
New Hampshire
rdlennon   New Hampshire
For those looking to boulder as well as climb some of these great routes, there is a very nice schist boulder near the base of the main face, just right of the approach trail. Reminiscent of Rumney, this boulder has several moderate lines (V0-V5) that follow aretes and rails using crimps. The right hand side of the tallest face has an excellent problem (anyone know names?) and the slab on the back has some crimpy face problems. There is a smaller boulder nearby that could be cleaned. Nov 10, 2008
Gilmanton, NH
BALDY   Gilmanton, NH
Another climb of note is a 5.10ish finger crack that breaks off left onto the steep face half way up "The Chimney" route. It protects well, and is on par with the other classic hard route "Thriller Arete." Oct 26, 2009
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
i just deleted the "closed for peregrines" note attached to this... the official closures list from the audubon notes Square Ledge-Albany NH... this crag is in jackson i think... Apr 27, 2012
Jeffrey LeCours
New Hampshire
Jeffrey LeCours   New Hampshire  
I'm confused. The link at the top of this page still mentions a closure. fs.usda.gov says closure for "Square ledge in the Sandwich Wilderness." and accessfund.org has a link to this Square Ledge page. May 9, 2012
Glenn Cilley
Laconia, NH
Glenn Cilley   Laconia, NH
There is another Square ledge on Mt. Passaconaway, in the Sandwich Wilderness, which is closed for nesting. May 9, 2012
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
Yet another Square Ledge is outside Berlin,, 350' and one route May 9, 2012
Jeffrey LeCours
New Hampshire
Jeffrey LeCours   New Hampshire  
Thank you for the clarification! The link on AccessFund.org leading to this page was misleading. :) May 10, 2012
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, ME
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, ME
The write-up makes "Squedge" (as it is sometimes referred to) out to be a kind of off-the-beaten-path gem. It is a gem, but it is also a very popular spot with the local guide services, not to mention the nearby Appalachian Mountain Club's Pinkham Notch Camp. Six topropes pretty much monopolize the area and that happens on a very regular basis. Don't head up there on a nice summer Saturday and expect to have the place to yourself. Go midweek or be prepared to cooperate! Also, it's pretty high in elevation so has a considerably shorter rock season than the valley areas (like Cathedral/Whitehorse). Oct 9, 2015
Dhane Knakkergaard
Intervale, NH
Dhane Knakkergaard   Intervale, NH
One of the first crags to dry after the rain as well.
Also, it's not in the book, not on here, and BALDY already mentioned it, but that 10ish finger crack is real fun. Get on it if you here and looking for something a lil more engaging than the "standard routes". Sep 9, 2018