Elevation: 2,587 ft
GPS: 44.012, -71.503 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 1,721 total · 15/month
Shared By: bradley white on Jul 1, 2009
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall
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West of Greeley ponds,  On the eastern flank of Mt Osceola, is a rock extrusion of schist and granite Much is smooth dark and possibly of a high iron content. furthest sections north are granite.

About a mile from the ponds west is 1/4 mile+ long disconnected walls that far to the south are split by a giant dike (in winter known nowadays as "The Drool of the Beast" It is in the middle of nowhere and there's nowhere to go after climbing it to get off of it in summer or winter. Therefore rappelling from the dike's decent rock ending is necessary in winter. Beyond the dike south is a 200+ brown slab. I've heard rumors of someone bolting a route up the brown slab. Rumors are unreliable and the slab ends at the dike. I haven't been to the slab yet. I believe the slab is granite.
There's good rock out there on both sides of the Dike. It's just very hard too find this section because of the many rolling hill mounds between the ponds and the raised rock extrusion. I approached the cliff in summer directly from the ponds and it was terribly long and nothing to see except trees and more trees because of the hills. When I approach again it will be the same as I did in winter way before diagonal up to the crag bands avoids all of those rolling hill mounds.

Past the ponds heading south by trail from the Kancamagus Highway is another ledge system called Painted Cliff by hikers but known as Gorilla Head to climbers. The approach is reasonable but  should be made from Waterville Valley instead of the Kanc. I believe the trail is accessible to bicycles. This section of ledges are facing slightly southeast. The highest section, Gorilla Head is furthest south and 200+ft of very steep lacking natural removable protection features. To get there take the Greeley Ponds trail (road) from the valley until there is a fork heading uphill westerly. Follow this road trail until the cliff bands comes into view. I firstly bushwhacked up to this section and believed it was the best approach until I brought my friends up the bushwhack. They were pissed off to see below and south of the cliffs it was a short scramble to the road trail from base of the Gorilla Head. There are two unnamed moderate climbs here we did. 1 pitch length for each (100ft) and we rappelled from stunted pine trees. These ascents were done in 09,1981. We all had been climbing for a year and my judgment on what was climbable then must be based upon my inexperienced viewpoint then. I did a solo further north of this granite section that began steep and tapered off to becoming a slide scramble.

Getting There

Bushwhack up heading west a mile or so from Greeley ponds. I don't use the East Trail to Osceola. Head up before the ponds or keep right of the East Osceola trail and keep going west for the crag. It would be best to find it when the leaves are off the trees. Even in the winter climbers find themselves frustrated wandering around the base of this extrusion not knowing whether to head north or south. If the extrusion is broken up by small trees in slab gullies and mossy slab walls head south. The southern side of the ponds ledges should be approached from Waterville Valley. Their distances being about equal (2-3 miles).

From Waterville, Timber Camp trail, which breaks left off of Greeley Ponds tr. before the ponds and shortly after the turn to Goodrich Rock , will get you up within striking distance of Gorilla Head, the southern most of the crags Bradley is describing here. Take the trail up to the high camp and then you have about 1/3 mile of shwacking

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North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
Who came up with "Gorilla Head"? This is widely known as "Painted Cliff."




youtube.com/watch?v=VllKPj-… Mar 3, 2017
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Hikers call it "Painted", climbers gave it the name "Gorilla Head" I presume (I'm not sure when, but that is how I have heard it referred to by Waterville Valley climbers). If you look from around the trail junction the cliff looks amazingly like a gorilla head; also, it is less confusing with all the other painted walls/cliffs.

Last time I was on Greeley Ponds Tr I was on snowshoes trying to keep up with people on skis so I didn't stop to take a picture but, with the new trail layout, I was really noticing the gorilla similarity. Besides, Monkey Village is across the valley Mar 3, 2017
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
The ongoing search for an Old Man substitute.. Mar 4, 2017
Andy Elliott
Hampton NH
Andy Elliott   Hampton NH
Anyone been up there recently? Are there any bolted lines up the steep part? It looks like it could be epic. May 6, 2018
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Epic just to scramble around to the left with a big static rope and safely get it anchored. It looks like lots of loose rock and krummholtz up there. Bring various sized crowbars. Sep 26, 2018