Elevation: 2,644 ft
GPS: 44.0447, -71.3618
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Shared By: M Sprague on Oct 13, 2010 · Updates
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, Lee Hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan S, Robert Hall


The Left Cliff of Owls is a fairly big cliff, a bit over 250 feet tall at the highest, with many features, with routes up to 4 pitches long. All types of climbing can be found here except wildly overhanging jug hauls (though there are still plenty of steep, exposed routes). At present, this cliff has the most completed pitches of the two main cliffs. There are some great slab and face routes, particularly on the Alaskan Wall and the White Owl Face, but the Left Cliff is generally more featured, so has more aretes, corners and crack systems then the Right Cliff.

The approach trail drops you off pretty much in the middle of the cliff. You will see the lower bolts of " Owling Good Time", a nice 5.9+/10a just to the left, leading up a shallow corner above a ledge. If it is not wet it is a good single pitch introduction to the cliff, with some stemming at the bottom to limber up, pockets and a corner crack to get you in the gear plugging mode. Heading left from this route, above the trail, you will see an alcove with a big dike in the back, home to "The Smoky Dike" and to it's right, "Ruffled Feathers". Due to it's convenient bolts and location, RF is often used for a warm up in the morning despite it's crumblyness.

Continuing to the left is the area described in the RGC-Open Spaces section, defined by the boundaries of the start and finish of the 4 pitch RGC (Roger Gagne Classic), a superb 5.8+ route, that would be a great way to get to know this part of the cliff. It works it's way up and right across the wall, with great climbing and incredible positioning. It starts way to the left, about 50 feet past where the space below the cliff pinches down and the trail steps up onto a flat rock (start of "Owl's Highway), and works it's way over to finish, laybacking up a hanging pillar, just to the left of the Smoky Dike.

Past the RGC, you will come to the 100ft. bolted arete of Butolicious 12a/b. High above it, there is a giant slot at the top of the cliff, with a huge flake making up the right side that looks like Texas. This is the beginning of The Sporty Owl Area, home to big corners, aretes and cracks, which runs left to the sharp bolted fin of "Talon" 12a.

From "Talon", the cliff makes a 90 degree turn and runs up the hill, gradually diminishing in height, with the face turned towards Sawyer Pond, then returns to the main plane as a much shorter cliff, before breaking down. Just beyond "Talon" is high and quite dramatic, but the rock quality is considerably less than the rest of the cliff, suffering from crumblyness. Halfway up this side wall is the bolted route "Bird's Eye View" 5.10, that gives this section it's name.

Going right from the approach trail, you pass under a short wall and up to where the cliff makes a huge corner. From the Smoky Dike to here is The Alaskan Wall, named after the superb 12a "Alaskan Slab". Another quality, all bolted line here, that goes at a bit easier grade, is "Lonesome Owl" 10c, Owl Cliff's granite version of Rumney's "Lonesome Dove", just left of the corner.

The shear wall to the right of the corner is The White Owl Face, home to a number of super classic one pitch Owl's test pieces, including Brady Libby's 12c finger crack, "Crack of the Future", Ward Smith's sport routes "Owl Cliff Club" 12b/c and "Attack of the White Owl" 5.13, along with "White Owl" 11d/12a, another of Owl's classic finger cracks.

Around to the right and above The White Owl Face is the tall buttress of The Laughing Owl Area, which includes the slab to the right. The trail takes you around the lower portion of the buttress and up to the upper part, dropping you off at the level of the start of the cracks of "Egg Cracker" 5.10 and "Laughing Owl" 5.9, plus the slab that makes up the right end of the cliff. This area contains the most concentrated moderate climbing of the cliff including "Bubbles" 5.6, a crack in the slab leading to overlaps, and the fun slab to a seam of "Aquarium" 5.8.

The ethic of the persons putting routes up at this cliff have been to clean them well, place good quality 2 bolt anchors with sturdy quicklinks, bolt where necessary, but use traditional gear when able without being fanatic. So you should find most climbs well protectable, which isn't to say there wont be opportunities for flight time. Use your judgment. Off set cams and nuts are good to have for some of the flaring cracks and a stick should be used to clip some of the first bolts. The nature of the routes and the set up of the anchors means that you can climb and descend most with a single 60 m rope.

Getting There

Follow the directions to the Oracle Boulders in the Owl's Cliff main heading. From the upper slope side of these boulders, turn left and follow the trail west, along the hillside and up, passing other fine boulders along the way. The trail will drop you off in front of the route "Owling Good Time" @ N44.04473 W71.36181. It will probably take you about 10-15 minutes to get from the Oracle Boulders to the Left Cliff, assuming you don't stop to boulder and pick mushrooms.

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Left Cliff

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Ruffled Feathers
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
The RGC (Roger Gagne Classic)
Trad 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Owling Good Time
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Lonesome Owl
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Crack of the World
Trad 4 pitches
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
White Owl
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
The Alaskan Slab
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
The Owl Cliff Club
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Crack of the Future
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Attack of the White Owl
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ruffled Feathers Alaskan Wall
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
The RGC (Roger Gagne Classic) RGC - Open Spaces Area
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 4 pitches
Owling Good Time Alaskan Wall
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Lonesome Owl Alaskan Wall
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Crack of the World RGC - Open Spaces Area
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad 4 pitches
White Owl White Owl Face & Laug…
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad
The Alaskan Slab Alaskan Wall
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
The Owl Cliff Club White Owl Face & Laug…
5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Crack of the Future White Owl Face & Laug…
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad
Attack of the White Owl White Owl Face & Laug…
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Left Cliff »

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