Tallest Cliff


Original Post
Db5504 · · Perryopolis, PA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 935

Does anybody have a clue what the tallest cliff in the Eastern U.S. might be? I've mostly been looking in the 'Dacks and the Carolinas, but I was wondering if there were any gems I overlooked, you know, besides the 1000+ foot walls in Florida.

Kellen Schröter · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Laurel Knob NC

Richard Dana · · Eugene, OR · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 220

Cannon Cliff in NH, and Wallface Mountain in the Adirondacks are 1 and 2 in the Northeast as far as I'm aware.

Zak Munro · · VT,CO, Bar Harbor ME · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 235

Tabor Wall should also get a mention.

steverett · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 40

Whitehorse Ledge is pretty long as well

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 85

Quebec:
Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/hautes-gorges-de-la-rivire-malbaie/110539172

Cap Trinité

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/cap-trinit/108579005

Tabor wall on Katadin

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/106079917

DOh, , , hey Dave. . ,?

Hey !
Oh man I don't know anything about this, it looks so cool; the North Side of Table Rock Mountain,
South Carolina apparently , it is off limits to climbing? . Has hiking trails though? . . .
So access fund?

Table Rock S.C.

North face
All pictures from a YouTube
Video. .,.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,061

Cannon between "Sam's Swan Song" and "Vertigo" (i.e the Conn Course / Moby Grape area) would surely "win" the title (at least for Eastern USA...don't know about Canada, there's some pretty big ,looking cliffs in, for example, Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland and I'm sure other places too) if you count rock of "significant grade". Thus, for example, Sam's and Moby Grape "maintain" 5.6-5.8 climbing up to the very top, whereas other cliffs often start to "lean back" significantly (e.g. North Basin Katahdin) near the top. I don't know about the big slab areas down in the Carolinas but I think they do to, just like Whitehorse Slab area.

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

The OP's question was "tallest...in eastern US", so those north of the border don't 'count', I guess.

As usual, there is a definition problem as to what constitutes a "cliff". For instance there are some very long 'slides' in the eastern mountains. particularly in the Adirondacks---are they included? Similarly, what about some of the 'alpine' buttresses or steep ridges such as on Katadhin or Mt. Washington. I still think that Cannon 'wins' in the Northeast--my recollection is that the central section is taller than the highest sections of either the Tabor Wall or Wallface, though there may actually be more 'vertical footage' of exposed rock on the Whitehorse slab than on any of them. I'm not familiar enough with the southern crags though to say how they compare with the ones up north. A lot of those 'southern slabs' are actually damn steep!!! I do think that Whitesides, though steeper, is shorter than Cannon (the routes have fewer pitches) but I don't know about Laurel, Table Rock, or even parts of Looking Glass.

Ernest W · · Camarillo, CA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

Laurel Knob - 1200 ft

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

Laurel Knob is taller than Cannon and taller than any of the other cliffs in the SE like Whiteside, Looking Glass, or Table Rock SC.

nbrown · · western NC · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 5,294

Laurel knob is the tallest but Table Rock is definitely the most impressive. Lucky for me they're both about an hour drive away! Side note: only the smaller (but still very impressive) SE face of TR is open to climbing.

Db5504 · · Perryopolis, PA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 935

To clarify, I'm talking vertical, or near vertical. 80+ degrees seems to be a fairly easy arbitrary value. I slipped a little in the post by specifying only in the States. Just in the interest f debate, we can include Canada also, as there are many large cliffs in the eastern part of Canada.

SpencerB BB · · Pasadena, CA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 14

Check out Mt. Thor. It's a bit north on the border but by some metrics is the clear winner both in eastern north America and this world. :)

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

would not even put whitehorse in the mix. in the noth eastern US, cannon is the place to practice for real cliffs. never been to katadin but perhaps that is the best place to practice for alpine?

tradjunkie · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2011 · Points: 0

BLOW-ME-DOWN is actually the tallest, if you are looking at North America east of the Rockies and south of Nunavut. Routes at Blow-Me-Down are in the 1200-1300' range.

MONT-SAINT-PIERRE is of similar height though probably not steep enough - it's got 1650' long (steep but hardly vertical) technical winter routes per the MEC guide, but not so hot for rock climbing. You can weigh that against similar big winter routes on Katahdin, like the Cilley-Barber (2000' NEI 4, per Wilcox).

After that, you get into a tight/pointless race between KATAHDIN, WHITESIDE, LAUREL, CANNON, and CAP TRINITE, all around 1000' for the taller steep rock cliffs and you have to split hairs to decide among them. Just climb them all. The longest route on any of them is probably Sam's Swan Song on Cannon, but I don't know if that's because the cliff is taller there or it just wanders more. Lab Wall Direct is pretty huge too - at 13 guidebook pitches, it's big.

WALLFACE is just a smidge shorter than all those but is next in line. After that, you get another pointless bunfight among other crags with no obvious favorites.

If relentless verticality isn't a requirement, there are longer routes at KATAHDIN, like Pamola Four (5.5), which Selected Climbs in the Northeast pegs at 1500'; the Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England calls 1300'; and Rock and Ice magazine in 2012 called 2000'. So how long is it? Go climb it and decide for yourself. Oh, and try some of the neighboring climbs and see if they're longer.

Those routes at Katahdin knock the Adirondack slides out of any contention anyway.

Whitehorse has long slab routes but the vertical is probably only 600' or so.

I can't say definitively re: Table Rock Mountain, but a quick look at a USGS topo map clearly shows even the northwest side can't be 1000'.

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228
tradjunkie wrote:BLOW-ME-DOWN is actually the tallest, if you are looking at North America east of the Rockies and south of Nunavut. Routes at Blow-Me-Down are in the 1200-1300' range. MONT-SAINT-PIERRE is of similar height though probably not steep enough - it's got 1650' long (steep but hardly vertical) technical winter routes per the MEC guide, but not so hot for rock climbing. You can weigh that against similar big winter routes on Katahdin, like the Cilley-Barber (2000' NEI 4, per Wilcox). After that, you get into a tight/pointless race between KATAHDIN, WHITESIDE, LAUREL, CANNON, and CAP TRINITE, all around 1000' for the taller steep rock cliffs and you have to split hairs to decide among them. Just climb them all. The longest route on any of them is probably Sam's Swan Song on Cannon, but I don't know if that's because the cliff is taller there or it just wanders more. Lab Wall Direct is pretty huge too - at 13 guidebook pitches, it's big. WALLFACE is just a smidge shorter than all those but is next in line. After that, you get another pointless bunfight among other crags with no obvious favorites. If relentless verticality isn't a requirement, there are longer routes at KATAHDIN, like Pamola Four (5.5), which Selected Climbs in the Northeast pegs at 1500'; the Ice Climbers Guide to Northern New England calls 1300'; and Rock and Ice magazine in 2012 called 2000'. So how long is it? Go climb it and decide for yourself. Oh, and try some of the neighboring climbs and see if they're longer. Those routes at Katahdin knock the Adirondack slides out of any contention anyway. Whitehorse has long slab routes but the vertical is probably only 600' or so. I can't say definitively re: Table Rock Mountain, but a quick look at a USGS topo map clearly shows even the northwest side can't be 1000'.
If we're counting slides, which I don't think we are, Left Wishbone on Celo Knob in North Carolina is 2250' of technical climbing with tools in winter or 2250' of 5.2ish in summer. The actual vertical gain from the start of the technical climbing to the bushwhacking at the top is about 1600'. But it averages right at about 45 degrees

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/left-wishbone/108531018

If we're talking longest technical routes, regardless vertical gain, you have to consider the girdle traverses on Cannon (6000'), Whiteside (2300') and Laurel Knob (2265'):

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/magical-mystery-tour-the-girdle-traverse-of-cannon-cliff/109118364

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/laurels-girdle/106400504

https://www.mountainproject.com/v/whiteside-girdle/109379296

If we're including Canada, then all I can say is Baffin. Mt Thor is tops
Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 562

I recall there being a 9000ft, 62 pitch (IIRC) traverse of the Trapps if you're gonna go down that line

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,061

Original question was "Tallest" not "Longest" so I'd think girdle traverses "don't count".

On Cannon: "Sam's" and "Conn Course/Moby Grape" cover about the same # of vertical feet. [Then there's the old Sam Streibert idea about bulldozing away the talus to expose an extra 600-800 ft ! ]

The Chimney Pond Ribs (e.g. Pamola IV) just "gotta" include the approach vertical from near the pond to get anywhere near 1500+'. For example, while the Chimney may be 1500+ft, the crux is probably 25-30 ft with 1-2 moves of 5.4-5.5, and the the rest is class 3-4 (at best)...at least in summer.]

I can't say I've done the Pamola IV rib, but I did do the rib between "The Chimney" and the "Wrong Chimney" (in the same area) and that was mostly Class 3-4, maybe an occasional 5.2-5.3 move. To equate it to "Sam's", or "Moby Grape", or "Duet" (another long Cannon Climb) would be heresy.

As for Wallface...WOW! a big, bad [the only cliff that's "tried to kill me" twice!] cliff , and way out there in the back-country (6-7 miles), with some great routes, and with the deepest degree of respect from me, but again...pick a route, and either the bottom or the top is pretty easy. I'm also 90+% sure it isn't higher than "mid-Cannon", but wouldn't bet more than a "burger and beer" on it.

Ira O · · Hardwick, VT · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 0

I'm pretty sure that Mt Willard is taller than cannon... I could be wrong but I think you can get about 900 ft of climbing in on there. Way better climbing than cannon too, for what it is worth.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

the first 600ft of willard low angle slab then a thick tree band for about 30m the top band about 60m and steeper. nothing that compares to the big wall section on Canon.

Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,061

Yup...Willard is not as high as central Cannon; although it has some long routes. That Upper Band is longer/higher than it looks from the road, especially in the dead-center area (Std Route to Thor) since it is "set back" a distance by both the tree band and the slope of the first 4-5 pitches of the lower band. Most Ice climbers move to the East Slope/Slabs on the far right which is quite a bit lower (60m).

As for Wallface...Yup, my comment forgot about some of the harder routes. Sorry.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply