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Areas in White Ledge

East Buttress 6 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Left Wing 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Main Wall 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Right Wing 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Elevation: 1,588 ft
GPS: 43.973, -71.216 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 13,636 total · 185/month
Shared By: chinos on Oct 1, 2012
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall
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A White Ledge Short History by Brad White (North Conway)

White Ledge has been known about in North Conway climbing circles for a long time but not fully explored till now. After a failed attempt to find this cliff 30 years ago I pretty much gave up on it till the fall of 2010. Rumor had it that over the years other people had hiked to the base checking it out but most had chosen not to return to climb. Having seen it from a distance many times, I figured that a day spent looking in the woods was in order. Matt Peer offered to join me figuring that a hike was at least good for training. We found the cliff quite easily with the leaves off the trees and were immediately impressed with the climbing potential.

We returned just as snow was about to fly and rappelled the cliff finding one old fixed piton and a few old pin scars (Old Route), one old quarter inch bolt of 1970’s vintage on a run out slab and nothing else. I was amazed that not even a single piece of webbing or rappel ring was found. (While cleaning in the spring of 2012 two other fixed pitons were discovered under the moss and dirt on P2 of Trail of Tears that were removed by finger strength alone.)

Over the Winter and spring of 2011, I set out to contact older climbers such as Ed Webster, Paul Ross, Rick Wilcox, Joe Cote, Steve Larson, Chris Noonan and Mike Hartrich to name a few and asked if they had ever climbed here or knew of anyone who had. All said that they knew of the cliff but had not climbed there personally or knew of anyone else who had. I checked older copies of the North Conway new route books and climbing journals but no one had claimed (that I could find) to have done any climbing here even though we knew that some climbing had been done.

Matt Peer and I made the decision to develop the cliff in the summer of 2011 as a modern traditional climbing area with occasional bolt protection where good gear was not available and a few bolt anchors in useable locations. Deciphering what could have been climbed very boldly and what has not been climbed at all, is very difficult when the first explorers declined to record their adventures for others to follow. I am sure that this is someone’s secret cliff but the climbing is too good to keep it hidden forever.

I am listing most climbs as “First Recorded Ascents” even if they were not completely climbed before as listed. We have arranged the climbs pitches in a logical order by difficultly and location. The cliffs slabby nature allows for a bit of mixing and matching of pitches if you are so inclined and many different combinations of pitches have been done. We cleaned the routes and established fixed protection and rappel anchors where needed.

The cliff can be rappelled down the left or right side with a single seventy meter rope. If you have a 60M or less, you will need to bring a second rope or walk off. You will need to have a full modern rack including the smallest cams and nuts, tri-cams and regular cams to a #3 Camalot sized piece to adequately protect most of the climbs. If special gear is needed it is noted in the pitch descriptions. This noted gear is not always absolutely necessary but using it will keep the climbs reasonably well protected. At times a second set of medium cams or medium sized pieces will be helpful for belays. The climbs mostly follow natural features and protection possibilities avoiding bolt intensive development whenever possible.

The headwall area of overlaps and corners suffer from seepage and a few wet streaks after heavy rains but most of the middle and lower pitches dry fairly quickly. Protection ratings are given for certain pitches that may require more attention. Expect a few Whitehorse slab style run outs but in general the protection (with work) is good. This cliff faces south and is sunny and warm early in the spring and late into the fall.

Getting There

White Ledge is located just off the White Ledge Hiking loop trail located in Albany, NH on RT 16, South of Conway. Park in the White Ledge Campground. Use the visitor parking section, just inside the gate on the right. The trail starts at the back right side of the campground, start here.

Walk .3 miles to the loop intersection and take the right-hand path (more like "straight-ahead) marked as the "Loop Trail". [NOTE: This is the longer way to the summit, but the shorter way to the base of the ledge. Also note that as of spring 2018, the ONLY sign at this intersection is "Loop Trail 2.4 Mi"; the sign for the left-hand trail, which is the "direct" route to the summit, is missing.] Walk another .3 miles to another signed intersection and turn left onto the loop proper. (Right takes you back to Rt. 16 on an old logging road.) Walk a little less than a mile up the trail till you come to a flat saddle at the height of land. Continue downhill 5 minutes or so and you will come to an 18-inch natural granite step in the trail that is a small dry streambed. A faint yellow trail marker is on a large dying tree 15 feet ahead on right. Walk 30-50 feet further to a small cairn on the left and then follow occasional cairn(s) and path left (Northwest).  At one point you'll hike up the dry streambed for 15-20 ft and then cross over right. Soon a house sized boulder with a cool cave underneath can be seen.The base of the cliff is directly uphill 300 ft from this boulder through talus.

The best way to get thru the talus is to circle around the right side of the boulder. [Now [2018] very well cairned.] This deposits you at the base of the Main Slab; walk up and left for Left Wing.

The approach time is about 35 minutes to one hour from the parking lot to the toe of rock at a modest pace with the majority of hiking on the trail.

If you top out on the cliff after your climb and want to hike back rather than rappel, walk back about 400 feet moving (Northwest) slightly downhill/right and you will soon cross the hiking trail. (see photo of map & directions)
   For the fastest way back to the campground, turn left (uphill).  If you want to get back to the base of the climb, turn right (downhill) and follow the approach path when you get to it.

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This place is pretty sweet! people need to check it out Jun 26, 2013
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, Maine
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, Maine
This place is REALLY sweet. People simply must check it out. Brad White can sniff out good cliffs like no one else I know (Paul Cormier excepted, perhaps). :-) Oct 19, 2014
Another vote for how awesome this place is! The directions here are spot on. I am pretty sure I have *never* walked up to an outback cliff in New England other than this one. The approach took about an hour, mostly uphill, on a good trail. There is a cairn marking the short bushwack to the cave boulder/ toe of the buttress. This place needs to see more traffic! Lots of options here. Will be back when the black flies are gone. Another note - cliff faces due south, and the rock is black. It gets VERY hot. Jun 14, 2015
Visited this crag recently (07-2015) and hats off to Brad White and Matt Peer it is well worth the trek.After my enjoyable visit my 1st instinct was to post some beta smoothing the way a little bit for the next team to visit, but after a little thought I realized that the discovery was a significant part of the day. What is posted on MP (and NECLIMBS) is more then enough to get any competent team to the top, down and home safely. PLEASE CONSIDER NOT POSTING THOSE TIDBITS OF THE DAY YOU SPENT AT THIS CRAG AND LEAVE AS MUCH DISCOVERY AS POSSIBLE FOR THOSE THAT WILL COME NEXT. Jul 26, 2015
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
Thanks for the CAPS...maybe don't read posts would be easier ?

Or even better don't read route descriptions at all for your adventure...then again, you must be very competent. Jul 27, 2015
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Agree, John. The very point of MP is to share quality information. If you want to discover by yourself, then don't read it. Jul 27, 2015
I find it a little humorous and a bit puzzling that my suggestion should get such a negative response from J. Strand & M Sprague when both of them have spent a good part of their climbing careers pursuing the aspects of rock climbing that have provided them with opportunities for adventure and discovery. Why they would not support an idea that offers a small amount of discovery to others is a mystery. If either of you head out to this crag you can (obviously) offer all the information you want. What I proposed was an idea, let those who visit consider the idea on its merits and do as they see fit. Jul 28, 2015
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Probably better to have this conversation elsewhere (privates or forum). My comment wasn't meant to be negative towards you, merely pointing to the purpose of the site. Jul 28, 2015
Russ Keane
Asheville, NC
Russ Keane   Asheville, NC
This place is really fun. It's in a beautiful, secluded location, with a nice vantage/view facing south east. The crag is quite nice, it's all very easy and mellow style with some interesting features ranging from straight slab to flakes/corners, and even a few cracks. The finger crack is brilliant 5.5/5.6 climbing for sure! With an extremely pretty hike to and from this place, and a decent bunch of multi-pitch lines, it's highly recommended. Nov 22, 2015
Bushwhacking from the White Ledge Trail to the cliff base is no longer necessary (at least for the time being) as there is a very distinct climber's trail with ample cairns to follow. The directions are excellent, although in my estimation the dead tree with the faint yellow blaze is more like 40 feet (vice 15 feet) up on the right side of the trail from the granite step (which is a step up when hiking in this direction).

PLAN TO RAP. Even if you plan to top-out and walk off it would be a good idea to have a way to rap (a 70 meter is absolutely necessary if you want to get from anchor to anchor with one rope). I had the good fortune of sharing the cliff with a gentleman named Ralph who advised me that the last pitch of some of the routes can be very wet and mossy and thus much more difficult than one may be expecting. I did, in fact, leave the last pitch of Go West Young Man for another day and rapped down from the top of pitch three. (Thanks for the advice Ralph!) Sep 11, 2017

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