Type: Trad, Alpine, 800 ft (242 m), 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Joe Cote, Roger Martin, 1972
Page Views: 144,132 total · 672/month
Shared By: Andy Casler on Nov 8, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, Lee Hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan S, Robert Hall

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Description Suggest change

Moby Grape is the second most popular route on Cannon, behind the Whitney Gilman Ridge. It is a classic 5.8 wall climb, perhaps more due to the shared experience between those who have climbed it, the exposure, and the adventure - and less to do with its quality (read loose rock).

The Conn buttress borders the right side of the big wall section and Moby Grape climbs up the center of this buttress. Though the original first pitch climbed the left corner of the buttress, Reppy's Crack, a splitter in the truest sense of the word, has become the pitch of choice.

*Rapping this route after the first pitch should be reserved for emergencies. Aside from the bolts at the top of the first pitch you shouldn’t expect to find fixed anchors.  .

*Lots of variations exist. Have fun.  

[Note: while given here in 7 pitches it can be broken up many ways. There are several route descriptions in the comments section. R. Hall ]

Pitch 1, 180’ (Reppy's Crack) 5.8: Climb the obvious splitter crack. This has been called the best hand crack in New Hampshire. Follow the crack up and right then back left to directly above the start on easier rock, stopping at a bolted belay. (FA'd by Phil Nelson and Allen Wedgewood in '65)

Note 1 - The original start is a quality pitch of the same length as Reppy’s to the same chains. It follows the left side of the buttress (starting about 25’ left of Reppy’s Crack) and climbs past a bolt about 20’ off the ground, continuing up the strenuous wide layback until traversing to the right onto the face at a bolt and up the finger and hand cracks to the chains. It does still have one spooky block and a bit of friable rock up high. Big cams make it PG. A more strenuous start than Reppy's. Cannon 5.9.  

Pitch 2, 140’ (The Triangular Roof) 5.8: Climb 50 feet of broken rock (careful). You can avoid the loose rock in the chimney by going left or right. Climb up cracks to the prominent triangular roof (either directly or, more easily, going from left to right). Belaying on the face above the roof is safer and cleaner than going to the ledge. (Lots of loose rock on the ledge and challenging to make a safe belay).  

[Historical note: the triangular roof is quite "geologically young", having formed about 1968-69 due to rockfall. Prior to that time the old ConnCourse route climbed an inside corner to a set of "rising steps" on a slab. R. Hall]

Pitch 3, 120’ 5.7: Move up and right following a flake system around the corner. Continue ascending until you reach a right-facing arching corner.

Pitch 4, 90’ (The Finger of Fate) 5.8 PG-13: Climb the arch and step right to reach a prominent fin of rock (“The Sickle”). Ascend to the huge flake known as the Finger of Fate. This flake looks dubiously connected to the cliff but is actually pretty solid. Either chimney up the left side of the flake or hand traverse (campus if you dare) along the right side. A few spooky, poorly-protected slab moves lead to a large ledge with a huge left facing flake.

NOTE (see  Comments- 6/22/23 and 7/8/23 Pitch 4 has a washing machine sized rock ready to come off the wall in the wet area as you traverse. And Grant Simmons reply’s that it hasn’t gotten worse in the recent past. 

Pitch 5, 160’ (The Boulder Problem) 5.7:  From the belay, walk left about 30 feet to a dike, make a tricky move (“The Boulder Problem”) and then climb an easy slab up to a grassy ledge (optional belay). Follow cracks up the next face, trending right past a tricky sequence requiring good balance and a cool head to get to another long ledge. Go to the right and belay near the left side of a huge fallen pillar.

Pitch 6, +/-60’ (The Cave) 5.7: Climb the fun corner in the left side of the pillar to a roof (“The Cave”). Make a move to the right to exit the corner and continue up and right to build a belay in good rock.

Alternate finish, +/-250’ (Kurt’s Corner) 5.8: From above the Cave move, zig-zag up and left to get to the huge, left-facing corner system. Belay at the base of the corner, then follow it all the way to the highest point of the cliff. Kurt’s Corner often stays wet when the rest of the cliff is dry, so scope it out from the parking area. 

Pitch 7, +/- 200’ 5.8: Follow discontinuous cracks and slabs up right, then straight up, aiming for the beautiful splitters on the horizon. This section involves scrambling intermingled with short sequences of good 5.8 climbing.

Please note: If you think you might be off route near the top, don't worry many people are unsure of the best way to go here. Luckily there are many different options that will take you up. If you climb to a dead end, try moving over to find another way to go.[ This sage piece of advice was added by one of the foremost NH climbers .] 


Descent: The trail can be hard to find. Scramble right from the end of technical climbing and you'll find a trail leading downhill that trends climber's right (north). Follow the trail, which is mostly on slab and is well established. It takes a couple of switchbacks and tends to be closer to the edge of the cliff than you might expect. If you are struggling through spruce or down climbing you've lost the trail, turn around and go find it. When you find the cables and rods that failed to keep the Old Man on the mountain, follow the waterslide (a cemented water diversion apparatus that obviously didn't work) downhill until you pick up an obvious, well-worn climbers’ trail. The trail will bring you to the trail on the west side of Profile lake. Turn right to head back to the climbers lot.


Return to start of route: [From Krutz in the comment section] Walk down the descent trail about 20 minutes. Look for faint climbers trail that cuts hard right where the main trail hangs a left (about halfway down, where the steepness starts to ease off). Better to be too low than too high. You should emerge at the base of the slabs. From there, it's about 15 minutes walk back to the start of MG.

Protection Suggest change

Standard trad rack. Can be nice to have doubles to No. 3 and tape gloves, though not necessary. Two ropes are required for rappels. Don't forget your helmet--this is Cannon after all.