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Routes in Garfield Crag

Bow, The T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
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Elevation: 3,031 ft
GPS: 44.174, -71.608 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 2,651 total · 24/month
Shared By: bradley white on Jul 23, 2009
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey.LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall
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On the left side of the cliff are moderate face climbs near the central left highest section is a area shaped like the bow of a ship. Right side of this are inclining chimney grooves and ceilings. Approximately 300ft at highest left central side. most of the crag is less than 200ft. South east facing spur on Garfield Mt. one of the seldom visited granite crags there is. It is illegal to do any drilling in wilderness designated areas and no fixed pitons.

Getting There

Turn left at Thirteen Falls Campground and follow trail towards Mt. Lafayette. When trail crosses Franconia Brook, keep heading straight on an old logging road. When logging road terminates to being mostly forest head uphill for 1 mile heading slightly east. When slope gets steep your underneath it and keep going up. If slope doesn't get steep after much walking you missed and you'll have to try again. Not easy to find.

Shortest distance to car parked 6-7 miles. Longest distance to car 10 miles. Shortest distance is by Garfield Trail to the A.T. follow it east to trail leading down to 13 Falls. Don't go to Falls, instead cut traverse across slope until crag comes into view.

Another way is Gale Head Trail to Gale Head Hut and walk south and down past Hut to 13 Falls. Easiest and longest way: take Wilderness Trail to Franconia Brook Trail to 13 Falls Campground.

Day trips from 13 Falls Campground would be a good way to do multiple visits. I would ski into the area in the winter to ice climb and in 1987 I left gear out there over the winter near the cliff. That made climbing out there for me simpler. I just needed to camp. Don't light any fires outside of designated campgrounds because it's illegal to camp outside of designated camping areas.

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Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
WOW ! Someone else went in there! Back in 1965 I "spyed" this cliff from the Bonds and took a compass bearing. I called it the "SouthWest Shoulder of Mt Garfield". The next summer ( 1966) I convinced a couple of my school climbing buddies to march in. It took all day to get to a place to camp.
On 4th of July weekend 1966 we established a basecamp on the stream that flows about 1/3 to 1/2 mile from the cliff. (A BEAUTIFUL Campsite!, I can still remember the flat camping and fine pool.) A compass bearing of 26 deg. ( Mag.) brought us to the face, where we climbed a 80 ft ( +/-) chimney to a ledge. The ledge was wide. ( 2-3 feet??) A beautiful crack led upwards for ..?? 75-80 ft? THIS I free climbed and aided (mixed) to the top. No one followed, that day in Boston the temp. set a record for the hottest July day on record, at least, that's my recollection. [Maybe it was only the hottest 4th of July on record, to that time.] Most of the (soft iron) pins are probably still in place. Looking at a "blow-Up" of the photo with routes marked, I am 99% sure the four "P's" (pitons, I assume) on the right end of the mid-height ledge are from that ascent. [NOTE: This was done "pre-Eastern-Wilderness-Act".)
It was written up in Appalachia's CLIMBs section, probably in summer of 1967 edition.

Bob Hall
Jun 18, 2014
bradley white   Bend
Its so exciting for to see from Dave Custer route lines and read from Rob Hall his 1966 ascent. My first try at this ledge was alone in sneakers no rope. I went almost to the top and quit because of wet slimy rock. It was doable and no reverse after slime. It is an early 1940? ascent I repeated guessed because of pin on route found. It looked like that time zone but old pin rusting in wet rock can be from decades later. Its goes up left diagonally from the center area and very easy. I got to see the top where all the ice water comes from. A paradise slope of vegetated beauty in summer. Down climbed it. I heard that Andy Tuthill and Chris Ellms used to go here in the mid seventies via Garfield Trail and then cut across from trail down to Thirteen Falls to crag. Its third party information and I have been to ledge this way. The block of doom on the Bow that stopped my continuance is higher right in a v groove slot or corner. I don't see any line here yet and likely the block is still perched there ready to kill. I also didn't see a line to go up left, oops. Just as well and the brad's doom block, its a fine name for it. what's one loose block to another one anyway? Jun 20, 2014
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
Brad, sound's like you had an adventure! ("Sneakers and Slime"...what a route name to keep in the back pocket!). I'll check with Chris Ellms next time I see him (He's still quite actively climbing.), but my guess is if he went there with Andy, it was only once. The top of the shoulder must be horrible bushwhacking.

I would think the chances of anybody having been there before us in 1966 would be very slim, and that any old pins you found were ours. Back in those days the Boston AMC climbing "crowd" was pretty "up" on who had climbed what (although WHEN and exact ROUTE DESCRIPTIONS were a different matter) and I was pretty plugged in with them. No one had even heard of the crag.

There was 4 or 5 of us in there for 2 or 3 dry days of climbing, I don't remember where on the cliff others may have climbed, I just remember that one, 75-80ft free-and-aid pitch on what I recall as being a 90-95-degree wall that rose above a 2-3ft wide x 20-40?ft long ledge, which itself was a (short) pitch of climbing above the base. I lowered or rapped off a tree (don't remember which, nor whether I left a sling-and-biner or just put the rope around a tree) and pulled most of the Chromoly-Pins, left most of the soft steel stuff. In that era it was still common practice to leave at least some of the pins on new routes. (Nuts were still 3-4 years away.)

Finally, two minor points: I usually go by "Bob", not "Rob", and the area (although called the "Pemi Wilderness" for decades) did not become official "Wilderness" until after passage of the "Eastern Wilderness Act" in 1975 which amended the original Wilderness Act of leaving the pins in 1966 wasn't "illegal"!
Oct 28, 2014
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
Talked with Chris Ellms and he confirmed he'd been in there "and climbed some off width". Nov 10, 2014

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