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Routes in Thin Air Face

Adventures in 3D T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R
DMZ T 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13
Diagonal T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Freedom T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Lancelot Link/ Secret Chimp T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Missing Link T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
No Mans Land T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b X
Pro Choice T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Rapid Transit T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
Repulsion T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Saigons, The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Standard Route T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Thin Air T 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Thinner T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Toe Crack T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Turner's Flake T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Windfall T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Worm Drive S 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Type: Trad, 300 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: John Turner & Craig Merrihue , Aug. 1956
Page Views: 47,010 total, 353/month
Shared By: jeremyadams on Jan 2, 2007 with updates
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey.LeCours, Robert Hall

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Description

Although the crux fourth pitch earns this classic climb's 5.6 rating, new and seasoned climbers alike find adventure on each of Thin Air's pitches.
P1- The run-out (but easy) first pitch gains fixed bong anchors.

P2- Pitch two's traverse protects well, but offers a keen pucker as the ground drops away (and it's sometimes a little wet) en route to bolts. P1 and P2 can be combined when traffic allows.

P3- Pitch three climbs the face into a fun chimney, gaining a ledge (crowds easily, gear anchor takes variety of sizes and gear types).

P4- Starts off following a weakness through an overlap, continues up an shallow corner system, steps left, then up a few feet, then back right, [this last sequence is considered the crux] then up gaining the large ledge below Pine Tree Eliminate (5.8+) via an easy, dirty corner (left) or...climb up and right easily and then get confronted by a tricky, polished slab (5.7 R)

P5? - Many finish the last 30 feet (going left up the "dirty corner") as a separate pitch.

Location

The namesake route of the Thin Air Face is found by following the trail past Cote Boulder past improbable aid routes until the staircase start of the Standard Route chimney is visible on the right. Continue up switchbacks to a dark-brown, featured slab.

Descent: One descent is by following a trail off the right end of the ledge. This trail bends left and gains the summit road in minutes. Hitch or walk down road. Other pleasant options include climbing Pine Tree Eliminate or other more difficult Airation Buttress routes.

Other descent options: Walking the road is more than twice as long as: 1) the climber's trail and/or 2) the mountain bike path.

For the climber's trail from the end of Thin Air hike off to the right, make an easy step up, keep going right until you come to a small step/switch back to get above the smaller crags at the top of the cliff, then head down and right staying pretty close to the cliff edge. This unofficial climbers trail is a bit gritty in spots and approach shoes are nicer than flip flops. It will bring you down to the North End ice climbing area in about 15 minutes.
A faster, and more enjoyable descent, is to use the relatively new mountain bike path. Same as for the climbers trail but after the little switch back trend left a bit towards the road and you should pick up the gentle path. To be 100% positive it crosses the auto road where the big flat rock is about 100 feet down from the parking lot. This path is the perfect angle with soft footing to be able to really cruise down, easily bringing you back to the bottom in about 10-12 minutes. It's best IMO to climb with small packs so you do not need to hike back up the base of the route.

Protection

Nuts and cams up to 3 inches.

Photos

Max Zielinski
  5.6 PG13
Max Zielinski  
  5.6 PG13
I got hit by a styrofoam Dunks cup (with a little coffee) while leading P4 a few days ago. Watch out for unexpected hazards; there are tourists above you!! We heard a glass bottle shatter in the vicinity of Rapid Transit too. Also, beware of rope drag on P4 after the awkward crux Sep 21, 2017
Ryan Gibbs  
 
For what its worth, I saw no evidence of active wasps on 9/16 Sep 18, 2017
Ken Hamel
Bristol, RI
Ken Hamel   Bristol, RI
climbed this yesterday, and I stumbled on the OLD nest, exactly where forecasted, abut 4-5' from the bongs at the top of P1. Empty, as it's been months since it was apparently built. But I touched it by mistake, so if it were active...ouch! Great route, great fun with several other parties of friends ahead of me. Sep 11, 2017
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
  5.6
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
  5.6
Did the route today [ 8/14/17], saw no nest nor wasps on P2 (Traverse Pitch). A few around the P3 belay, but nothing unusual.

Re' the hollow flake on P3. Well marked with a chalk "X" when we passed it. On a mountaineering scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is "solid as Gibraltar" and 10 flakes off at first touch, I'd give this about a "3", maybe a "4". I wouldn't crank a 100% outward pull on it, nor put a cam behind it, but it is reasonably "in there". It is, however, in a direct fall line with the base of Standard Route, so if it gets any loser maybe it should be removed. Aug 14, 2017
zwms  
Adding to Robin's report - the nest is about 4-5 ft. off the pitch 1 belay, tucked into the horizontal. There are some holds low, and it's not too difficult to keep low and then rise back up once you're past the nest. Jul 24, 2017
Robin Agricola
North Easton, MA
Robin Agricola   North Easton, MA
WARNING: Climbed this route on Thursday, July 20, 2017 and there is a very active hornet's nest on the traverse pitch (P2). Please watch where you put your hands, as I could have very easily jammed my hand right into the nest. Move quickly and be aware :-)

On another note, have fun and go crush! Jul 23, 2017
AnthonyD1
  5.6
AnthonyD1  
  5.6
Climbed this route (Thin Air) for the first time on 6/10/2017. Weather was beautiful and the route is awesome. The traverse is something I will never forget. Saw a really cool Granite Toad. Did not get a picture because I was too busy hanging on. NOTE: Don't forget the bug spray. At the start of the route there is a good number of black flies and mosquitos. Once you get off the ground it is a non issue. About 10 feet below the top of the third pitch there is a triangular flake that looks like it may come off soon! This flake is just below the overhanging rock and the tree growing out of the small cave near the end of the third pitch. Jun 12, 2017
Matt Rhodin
Denver, CO
Matt Rhodin   Denver, CO
Remember to protect the second on the first pitch! The leader in our party place like two pieces on the traverse. It was my friend's first time climbing outside and he had the honor of cleaning. Pretty epic experience for him!! He made this weird, unnecessary 5.9 high-step slab move in the face of a 30 ft. pendulum fall. It was great. Oct 4, 2016
ZABain
 
ZABain  
 
Great route with some exciting exposure. I was a little sketched out about the first pitch based on the comments here, but I found a spot for gear 20 ft up (very easy "ladder" up) and then a few more spots before the bong anchors. I started a few feet left and gradually moved right. I wouldn't let the first pitch scare you off, but follow your gut (and your head) if you're uncomfortable.

We linked P1 & P2, and we didn't break P4 into two pitches. If the wind and weather made communication tough, I'd consider belaying after the p4 crux, but otherwise just finish it up. The "dirty corner" ("p5") isn't anything special. We weren't up to finishing up on Pine Tree, so we walked off. The mountain bike path was a very casual hike down.

Climb it in the afternoon to get some shade and avoid overcrowding! Aug 1, 2016
Northeast Alpine Start
Conway, New Hampshire
Northeast Alpine Start   Conway, New Hampshire
Regarding the descent info here I would suggest some edits. The road option is more than twice as long as the climber's trail and a mountain bike path. For the climber's trail from the end of Thin Air hike off to the right, make an easy step up, keep going right until you come to a small step/switch back to get above the smaller crags at the top of the cliff, then head down and right staying pretty close to the cliff edge. This unofficial climbers trail is a bit gritty in spots and approach shoes are nicer than flip flops. It will bring you down to the North End ice climbing area in about 15 minutes. A faster, and more enjoyable descent, is to use the relatively new mountain bike path. Same as for the climbers trail but after the little switch back trend left a bit towards the road and you should pick up the gentle path. To be 100% positive it crosses the auto road where the big flat rock is about 100 feet down from the parking lot. This path is the perfect angle with soft footing to be able to really cruise down, easily bringing you back to the bottom in about 10-12 minutes. It's best IMO to climb with small packs so you do not need to hike back up the base of the route. Finally there is a rappel option with double ropes but it is a bit tricky to get to, involving no-fall 4th class terrain, and is over a very popular route, The Saigons. If you decide to rappel be extra considerate of those below you, and don't use the trees that used to be used in the old Handren guide, their root systems are compromised. Oct 12, 2015
Tom D
New York
  5.6 R
Tom D   New York
  5.6 R
I would not recommend the route for a beginner. While the first pitch is easy, the first piece of gear is around 40ft up and seems detached. A fall would be catastrophic. With that said though, the rest of the climb is great.
I recommend linking pitches 1 and 2, they link easy without route drag (not sure why they are split up into separate pitches).
I also recommend climbing up the pine tree eliminator to reach the top, since the route ends right in front of it. I climbed it naturally since it was in front of me. Sep 21, 2015
The runout 5.2 on the first pitch always gets me. Is there really no pro from the ground all the way up to the little pillar like 40 feet up? This is weird for such a beginner classic climb. Aug 24, 2015
Jfaub
Ottawa, On
  5.6
Jfaub   Ottawa, On
  5.6
Did this on Monday after a weekend of climbing hard in Rumney. We had the route all to ourselves. Definitely classic - for the experience - the climbing is very easy, but I am glad to have done it. Do Airation (5.11a fingercrack) after the last pitch of thin air - it's the icing on the cake. Oct 14, 2014
Mthoresz  
 
I thought this was a great climb. It was my first trip to Cathedral Ledge and I was happy to do a classic climb like this one (bonus: no waiting). Each pitch offered something different, and although not too taxing for the grade, kept it very interesting with the fun traverse, cool chimney moves and scramble up the boulder-y "dirty corner". We finished up with Pine Tree Eliminate, which was a great way to end the day. Exhausting for me, kind of at the top of my grade at the moment, but I was really glad to have gotten it in. All in all, great climbing! Sep 7, 2014
Missing Link isn't bolted, although it shares a start with Secret Chimp, which is (still spicey). May 31, 2014
Jeffrey.LeCours
New Hampshire
 
Jeffrey.LeCours   New Hampshire  
 
It shouldn't be bolted... Missing Link May 31, 2014
J Meagher
  5.6
J Meagher  
  5.6
Climbed this today, let me add to the applause: absolutely phenomenal route! The start and the traverse were soaked but I still found the climbing pretty reasonable at 5.6. Just as a heads up, a couple of blocks at the beginning of the third (crux) pitch seemed a bit loose so take care... May 26, 2014
Ryan Nelling  
 
^^ I agree with Ev Cap - awesome climb for a beginning leader, especially pitches 1 & 2. It's my partner's first season on trad and she was psyched to lead those pitches. I took 3 & 4, and she did the last 40 or so feet up to the Airation ledge. If someone in your party can lead 5.8 - do Pine Tree!!

If choose to rap, you'll need 2 60 m ropes. Traverse to the far left end of the Airation ledge - I placed a few pieces of gear along the traverse, and you'll find rap bolts. An 80 ft rappel gets you to another ledge with an anchor - this is where you'll need to join 2 ropes to get to the ground. We lugged 2 ropes up Thin Air, only to do a single-strand rap off this one since there was another party chilling on the ledge! Aug 9, 2013
Ev Capitan
Portland, Maine
 
Ev Capitan   Portland, Maine
 
This was my first multi-pitch climb and I think it was a perfect introduction. If you are introducing someone to climbing who has little experience, this is a great next step in their progression. It was a perfect blend of confidence-building, and confidence-stretching sequences with roomy but not overly large ledges between pitches. P2 was also an intimidating first traverse but is doable for a new climber. The drive in shows off the promontory to awe them a bit. The climb's views motivate/distract them. And hike down is a nice cool down/debrief. Sep 8, 2012
Meghan Spiro  
 
Loved the crux on last pitch. A small wire protects it well. Spotting your feet prevents any awkwardness. Aug 21, 2012
Shaky block still marked with an X in white chalk.

Thought this climb wasn't worth the hoopla as a Classic. Upper Refuse offers more varied climbing with just as scenic of a view. Would have preferred spending my time climbing Toe Crack to gain Pine Tree Eliminate.

Most exciting move was the 5.8 variation move at the top of P4 to gain the belay ledge. Jul 24, 2012
Jonathan Steitzer
West Lebanon, NH
 
Jonathan Steitzer   West Lebanon, NH  
 
Current Bolt Status (4/7/2012)

2 bolt anchor at the end of p2 (The Traverse)

that's it. all other bolts have been removed. Apr 13, 2012
Rob C.
Freeport, ME
  5.6
Rob C.   Freeport, ME
  5.6
Pretty good climb; the traverse was exciting, I ran the first two pitches together. I enjoyed the chimney pitch - the final pitch was not my favorite. All in all though, worth the trip from Freeport! Oct 11, 2011
Mike McLean  
 
Lee was talking about the traverse itself. The anchors at the end of the traverse are still live and well. Aug 14, 2011
AWinters
NH
 
AWinters   NH  
 
Just curious Aug 2, 2011
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
 
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
 
there was a 2 bolt anchor at the ledge even though there are at least 3 places for natural gear anchors...
the last thing i knew there was a meeting and the locals decided to remove that anchor and 3 bolts on the traverse of pitch 2... these bolts were removed well without marring the rock...
this was years ago not sure if more has happened.... Aug 2, 2011
Mike McLean  
 
Actually I wouldn't gag because I don't know the story ...

I'll take a guess though; people were abseiling off the route because of those bolts and given the high traffic, it was always a clusterf*(k. Remove the bolts; problem somewhat solved.

Guess #2: The whole Nichols story. Aug 2, 2011
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Don't ask. It is a battle ground for a long standing bolt war, that has generated reams of postings on various sites. I think we will all gag if we have to go through it again. Aug 2, 2011
AWinters
NH
 
AWinters   NH  
 
whats up with the chopped bolts at the pitch 3 anchor? Aug 2, 2011
We surprisingly got this route to ourselves today, Memorial Day.

We did the traverse pitched but elected to rap(2 ropes) rather than climb the wet third pitch. Water is seeping from the corner down the face off of the first pin on the third pitch. Just FYI.

This is a great climb. The upper portions are also worthwhile. May 30, 2011
Nathan Stokes
  5.6
Nathan Stokes  
  5.6
The spooky flake is still hanging on, its not hard to work around it. No chalk mark on it right now.
Did (seconded) this yesterday as part of a Thin Air -> Hotter Than hell-> Inferno link up. Had the entire climb to ourselves which was nice. We linked the first and second pitches no problem. May 15, 2010
Pal Pocsi
Budapest, Hungary
Pal Pocsi   Budapest, Hungary
I climbed this route yesterday and the flake was still there. It is indeed super hollow and care should be taken to not pull out on this. I refreshed the X chalk mark. It's relatively easy to just reach up to the next section of flake that is solid and avoid this altogether. Awesome route! Nov 20, 2009
D Goldberg
NH
 
D Goldberg   NH
 
As of July 17, 2009 there is a VERY detached/hollow sounding flake just below the tree/chimney on the third pitch. There was a nice chalk "X" on it when I got there. I didn't dare pull on it. Jul 20, 2009
chris deulen
Castle Rock
  5.6
chris deulen   Castle Rock
  5.6
If by "crux 4th pitch" you mean the random 8 foot boulder problem at the top with a good ledge below it, then yeah, definitely cruxy. Kinda silly, but fun nonetheless. May 1, 2009
Jesse Morehouse
CO
  5.6
Jesse Morehouse   CO
  5.6
My first trad lead and a memorable one. Highly recommended- will leave you with fond memories. Jun 1, 2008