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Areas in Cannon Cliff

0. Henderson's Buttress 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 11 / 11
1. Whitney-Gilman Area 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 3
2. Duet Area etc 24 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 24 / 24
3. Big Wall 11 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 11 / 11
4. Moby Grape Area 10 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2 / 0 / 11 / 11
5. Slabs 19 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 20 / 20

Description

Cannon Cliff is the tallest and most respected cliff in New England. The climbs are long, the weather is bad, and the rock is exfoliating. Every climber who heads up to do a route on Cannon understands that the undertaking is a considerable one.

This is not to say that the routes are bad, however. The popular routes ascend pristine granite and can be over ten pitches long. Just don't stray from your chosen route, as you may find yourself in one of Cannon's many heavily eroded vertical gullies.

Rockfall is a common occurrence on the cliff. The Old Man, a natural outline of a face in the rock and New Hampshire's famous state symbol, fell off the cliff a few years back. An entire pitch, the Whaleback Crack, parted from the face in the 1990's and created a swath of fresh talus at the base.
This is the rough estimate of the areas i split cannon in to...

Located in Franconia Notch, the cliff faces east and many a climber has been caught unawares by fast-moving storms coming from the west. Plus, a long talus approach leads to the base and can be heinous if the talus is wet or snow covered.

Do not let the above description dissuade you. Cannon offers the chance for the experienced climber to find alpine serenity on a remote, unforgiving, and challenging wall.

Getting There

All roads lead to Interstate 93 and I-93 runs through Franconia Notch. The big cliff is on the west side of the road. You can't possibly miss it.

The parking area is on the north end of the cliff. It is only possible to access the lot from the southbound side of 93. If you are coming from the south, head past the lot and get off on the next exit (the Tramway exit). From here, reverse directions and head south into the lot.

Winter climbs

For descriptions of Cannon's excellent winter climbs, including the super-classic Black Dike, see Cannon Ice Climbs.

80 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Cannon Cliff

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 80
Lakeview
Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 423
Whitney Gilman Ridge
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 31
Duet
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 25
Lightning Crack
Trad, Alpine
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
 346
Moby Grape
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 66
Slow and Easy
Trad, Alpine
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 31
Consolation Prize
Trad, Alpine
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 87
Reppys Crack
Trad, Alpine
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 49
Union Jack
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A0 R
 91
Vertigo
Trad, Aid, Alpine 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 34
Raven Crack
Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 47
Sticky Fingers
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 72
VMC Direct Direct
Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 48
Duet Direct
Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 17
Labyrinth Wall Direct
Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Lakeview 5. Slabs
 80
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 8 pitches
Whitney Gilman Ridge 1. Whitney-Gilman Area
 423
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Duet 2. Duet Area etc
 31
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Lightning Crack 2. Duet Area etc
 25
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Alpine
Moby Grape 4. Moby Grape Area
 346
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
Slow and Easy 2. Duet Area etc
 66
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine
Consolation Prize 5. Slabs
 31
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine
Reppys Crack 4. Moby Grape Area
 87
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine
Union Jack 4. Moby Grape Area
 49
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
Vertigo 4. Moby Grape Area
 91
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a A0 R Trad, Aid, Alpine 4 pitches
Raven Crack 2. Duet Area etc
 34
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad, Alpine 3 pitches
Sticky Fingers 2. Duet Area etc
 47
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
VMC Direct Direct 3. Big Wall
 72
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 9 pitches
Duet Direct 2. Duet Area etc
 48
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad, Alpine 2 pitches
Labyrinth Wall Direct 3. Big Wall
 17
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad, Alpine 7 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Cannon Cliff »

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Photos

Ladd    
Check out the article in Alpinist vol. 21 Oct 12, 2007
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
Basilisk has scanned an old guidebook for Cannon. You can download it here. Feb 15, 2009
I was told there was a way to descend from the bottom of the cliff face by going to the right of Lakeview and following a trail.

Last Sunday, I was up at Lakeview at about 10AM and it was jam packed and backed up by a slooooooooooow group; looked at Weisner Dike and there was a sllllloooooow group there as well.

Considering there was bound to be a huge clusterf*ck at the last pitch, I figured I'd just walk back down and go somewhere else; there is something that looks like a trail for a few hundred feet ... then nothing. I ended up bushwhacking straight down for 95% of the descent and ended up directly on the left side of the parking.

Anyway; word to the wise: That trail is somewhat overgrown. Oct 13, 2011
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
Im in the middle of redoing Cannon Cliff's organization. I just have to move the photos now. As you look around let me know if any routes are out of place. The area descriptions are just rough drafts so far. Oct 24, 2011
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
I was about to add lab Wall- it's been quite a while and my meager notes are somewhat sketchy. Anyone else ??? It's such a great,demanding climb. Oct 24, 2011
The wind blowing down through the Franconia Notch can be strong and cold, a windproof jacket and maybe even a light hat is probably a good idea even in the summer. Jun 22, 2013
Rich Brereton
Pownal, ME
Rich Brereton   Pownal, ME
Anyone feel like posting info on Benedictus? Can't say I'm qualified. Aug 9, 2013
Jeffrey LeCours
New Hampshire
Jeffrey LeCours   New Hampshire  
There is an awesome Gigapan of Cannon Cliff taken by Jim Surette on the Museum of the White Mountains website. It's fantastic how far you can zoom in! This is a great resource when planning out your climb at Cannon.

MotWM's viewing area is 400 pixels tall but gigapan allows up to 800 pixels tall. Here is a direct link to a larger viewer. I tried to get it full screen but it took just enough effort for me to lose interest -- this one's good enough. :)

gigapan.com/gigapans/148041…

So Mark... how many beers do you think it will take to get Jim to gigapan Green's? Apr 25, 2014
Rich Brereton
Pownal, ME
Rich Brereton   Pownal, ME
Anyone know if Jon Sykes is planning to do a new edition of Secrets of the Notch? Jul 31, 2015
Jeffrey LeCours
New Hampshire
Jeffrey LeCours   New Hampshire  
Rich, Sykes & Cunningham have put a lot of time into a new book for the notches that will cover route descriptions for Crawford, Zealand, Franconia, Kinsman, and Olivarian Notches. It's been "coming out soon" but surely will be worth the wait. Jul 31, 2015
Eric8
Maynard, MA
Eric8   Maynard, MA
There facebook pages says they were targeting summer 15 for whatever that is worth...
facebook.com/groups/valhall… Jul 31, 2015
Does anyone have any info to find the decent. My friend said it was challenging. I haven't been able to find a guidebook and plan on using the info from this site, but there is no decent info. Plan on trying Moby Grape this weekend.. Oct 13, 2015
Daniel Weisman
Seattle, WA
Daniel Weisman   Seattle, WA
I can confirm that there has been significant destruction at the top of the Moby Grape approach trail (bottom of vertigo). Looks like a big chunk came out from under Moonshadow. Lots of trees were knocked down, and the trail was in pretty rough condition from about 50 yards to the top.

In the photos you can see that a big block came out, and there's now a pretty treacherous looking roof/hanging flake directly above the top of the approach trail.

There was also a lot of falling ice today. Wear your helmet and be careful up there!








#longtimelistenerfirsttimecaller Oct 24, 2015
Will Ryan
New England
Will Ryan   New England
The best guide book for cannon is "The Notches: A Rock Climber's Guide to the Western White Mountains of New Hampshire" The new version just came out in February 2017 and you can buy it here. eaglecliffpub.com Jun 5, 2017
m russi
New Haven, CT
m russi   New Haven, CT
The previous link to Jim Surette's Gigapan no longer works. Here's a working one, as of July 2017: gigapan.com/gigapans/152938 Jul 18, 2017
Loren Wood
Bloomington, IN
Loren Wood   Bloomington, IN
Our car was broken into mid-day on 9/5 parked at the trail to the prow. Broke a window and stole a pack. Just an FYI to be vigilant. Sep 6, 2018

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