Ice, 400 ft (121 m), 3 pitches, Grade IV,
Avg: 4 from 5
FA: John Bouchard, Rainsford Rouner Feb. 1976
> NH Ice & Mixed
> - Franconia Notch
> Cannon Ice Climbs
Omega is one of the classic hard winter routes in New England. This ephermal icefall comes into shape perhaps once or twice a season, and can disappear with a day's rain or sun. The first pitch (full 60 m) climbs a thinly iced slab up to a cave (fixed pins--backup with gear). Depending on conditions, this may involve somewhat desperate drytooling. The second pitch can be done as a very long pitch or broken up into two pitches. It traverses left out of the cave onto sustained and steep columns. At the top of the climb, you can belay from a tree in the woods or a set an ice anchor (the ice is thicker at the top). To descend, either intercept the Black Dike descent trail further back in the woods or traverse about 20 feet right on a snowy ledge at the top, and set V-threads. A double-rope rappel will get you to the cave. You can rappel from the pins there to the ground.
First ascent: 1976, John Bouchard and Rainsford Rouner
A few hundred meters left of the Black Dike. Approach on the Black Dike trail, but begin traversing left well before the base of the cliff. It is about a hundred feet to the left of an obvious buttress.
Ice screws (mostly shorter ones, with maybe a few longer ones for the top), a standard rock rack (single set of cams, 0.3-2; single set of stoppers), and some pitons. There may be a few pieces of fixed gear on the route. Depending on how fat the ice is, you may need mostly screws, or you may need a lot of rock gear. You will have to work hard to find gear. Expect to be running it out.
Omega. 28 Feb '09.
Photo from NEIce.com by Will Mayo or Andy Tuthill. 12-4-07
Bryan Becker starting the 3rd (crux) pitch of Omega in 1979. He floated up the pitch - clearly in the zone.
Rick Barrett on Omega
Joe Mucci photo of pitch one almost to the belay "cave".