|GPS:||44.722, -70.869 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||4,517 total · 92/month|
|Shared By:||Silas Miller on Nov 20, 2016|
|Admins:||Ladd Raine, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall|
Most of these cliffs are too remote and are on private land, so access has historically been low key. It is important to be respectful of the wildlife in these wilderness climbing locations.
C Bluff, located next to C pond, in Township C (population 0), answers the call for adventure. You won’t find any crowds, or over bolted boring sport climbs, or phone reception. Instead, you’ll find an all day affair that involves mountain bikes, wildlife, isolation, wildly exposed multi-pitch trad routes, and new route potential on large grained granite! All the ingredients to satisfy your urge to explore.
The first and second documented climbs went up the tallest section, 500ft, located just left of center. FA: C Monster 5.9 III 500ft Pokey Amory & Randy Baker summer of 2011. Their topo is included in the photos for C Monster. Great trip report of the second ascent posted here. So far, Erik Brooks and myself (Silas Miller) have done four other routes, most of which seem to be mostly 5.9 with 5.11 cruxes. There is huge potential for more routes, lots of face routes and some very large overhangs. Most routes we have done have a few stainless 3” bolts where needed and bolt anchors with rap biners. No double ropes needed! The routes are either walk off, or can be rapelled with a single rope. We couldn’t resist putting up a three pitch sport route though, C Legs, which turns out to be a phenomenal and sustained route. Read the rest of the info here, but for the best chance at success, download the topos for each route and the interactive map for the approach to your phone before leaving home.
Very large grained granite (pegmatite?), typically consisting of 0.5-3” quartz and feldspar crystals. This results in surprisingly solid, highly textured, knobby faces with irregular cracks. The rock lacks the sort of grain that creates the nice predictable features typical of finer grained granite. The upper middle-right area of the cliff does have a large fine grained intrusion with attractive looking rock, but it doesn’t tend to have any cracks or features to climb. Surprisingly difficult and runout. The main areas are quite interesting, generally protectable, and varied.
C Bluff is generally 5-10F degrees colder than Conway NH. Because it faces due south, the sun shines but a west wind really rips over the pond and funnels through the valley at the foot of the bluff. Bugs are on par with most of New England, mosquitoes not so bad, but flies and ticks can be thick. Climbing before or after the leaves are out is recommended. I wouldn’t go there if the forecast is warmer than 80F.
C Bluff is on the east end of the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to several small rare plants, birds, and of course the peregrine falcon. The peregrines roost on a disconnected portion of the cliff, located to the west. The only route that may be too close (within ¼ mile) would be The High C’s. We did climb it in the summer and were not harassed by the birds. Either way, these birds need to be left alone until late August. You know the drill. Check out the state summary.
The cliff and pond are most likely owned by logging companies. Typically these companies allow access for recreation, including climbing, but do not permit such things as camping, fires, or obstructing logging equipment. The area also falls within the Wildlife Refuge, which also allows access for recreation. On the drive in, before the gate, there is currently much logging activity so watch for trucks and machinery. To preserve access, please tread lightly. This is private land and an important state ecological area.
C Bluff is located 20.1 miles north from the turn onto route 26 in the town of Newery. The approach is a little complicated and involves 6 miles of dirt roads (small cars are fine), 3 miles of bike riding, and 15 minutes of hiking, all with many forks and turns. View the map I’ve made here, which hopefully you can load in Google Maps and follow on your phone. There is no cell reception north of Bethel or anywhere near C Bluff, so load everything beforehand.
Driving Detail: From RT 26, turn onto Andover road (paved) for 2 miles, turn LEFT onto a gravel permanent logging road. There is a permanently open gate here. There is a large network of these roads, and the best bet is to have a satellite map pre-loaded. From the entrance of the dirt road, at 2.2 miles to stay RIGHT, at 3.7 miles stay LEFT, at 5.0 miles stay RIGHT, at 5.3 stay LEFT, and then RIGHT at the last to intersections for total of about 6 miles to the gate.
Biking Details: After the Gate, ride about 2 miles to the sand pit, staying LEFT at the first intersection, and RIGHT at the second which is at the bottom of large hill. At the sand pit, take a left and continue riding along a grassy logging road as it zigzags towards the cliff. Stay LEFT at any intersections until the road stops about 200ft from the pond. Ditch the bikes here. Follow the heavily overgrown logging road up and to the RIGHT for about 300ft, then turn LEFT and head straight for the cliff and into the woods. At this point, the idea is to follow faint deer/climber trail as it crosses the stream and stays 50ft to the left of the boulder field.
Trail Details: You will quickly descend into a streambed, which is crossed to find a lonely truck sized boulder. At the boulder, head straight up hill, staying to the left of a slight ravine and the overgrown boulder field, following intermittent deer trails. After 10 minutes and about 200ft from the cliff, head diagonally RIGHT over a couple rocks to the toe of the cliff. At this point, C Monster and The High C’s are to your left, all the others are to the right. This approach is much easier when the leaves are not on the trees. I may put a few flags on the trail at some point.
Days w Precip