Type: Trad
FA: Henry Barber and John Bragg, 1973
Page Views: 5,521 total · 39/month
Shared By: Jay Knower on Apr 17, 2007
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

You & This Route

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Vultures is the striking thin finger crack that splits a blank wall to the left of the obvious roofs. If you aren't into sport climbing or you want a warm up before the harder stuff, Vultures is probably the route you came here to do.

It doesn't look that bad, really, as the wall is a bit undervertical and there seems to be many options for your feet. The crack is splitter, and it looks like it offers some good fingerlocks. You might think to yourself that Vultures could be a quick tick, that it's massive reputation as one of the harder 5.10s in New Hampshire is a bit overblown.

I thought these things, that is, until I found myself ten feet up, with one gray TCU in, blindly groping at the crack that most decidedly would not accept my fingers. And those footholds that looked so great were just bad small enough, or polished enough, or something, that they did not inspire confidence at all. In a word, I underestimated the crack.

This is what I think Vultures really is: a standing testament to the climbing skill of its first ascentionists and a testpiece that is sure to test climbers from any era.

Yeah, so climb the thin crack to bolt anchors. It doesn't look too bad, does it?


Thin. TCUs and stoppers. I didn't use anything bigger than a yellow TCU.


lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
i couldnt agree more with this description... however when i went for my onsight my belayer told me about the groundfall potential and how desperate it felt when you got in to it...so it went well... a must do for anyone who wishes to climb hard thin cracks... Apr 18, 2007
Brad Parry  
Fantastic single pitch line- aesthetic and climbs great. I found that it protected quite well off the deck with small nuts and larger BD micros; then up to a purple or green C4. Oct 25, 2007
Chris Duca
Downingtown, PA
Chris Duca   Downingtown, PA
There is an extension to this route called "Carrion" (FA--Nick Yardley) and clocks in at about 11c/d. It protects well with a couple a pins, a nut placement, and a couple of small cams. It begins at the anchor of Vultures, steps up then climbs out to the right to another set of anchors about 40 feet away. Mar 8, 2008
I'm a lady with small fingers and an affection for finger cracks. I don't know if I missed something, but I barely jammed the crack at all until after the crux--which for me, was all face moves. I agree that Vultures is a well protected route, but the pro was a lot harder to place than I had expected. I wouldn't call it an easy tick, regardless of finger size. Definitely a great route, but not a good one to underestimate with the crux so near the ground. Jun 5, 2008
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
A classic NH finger crack- your fingers don't fit and the route becomes largely face climbing and footwork. Also try the Tr just to the right, nice moves.

john Jun 12, 2008
Richard Dana
Eugene, OR
Richard Dana   Eugene, OR
Great description, great climb. Oct 4, 2012
bura do
New Hampshire
bura do   New Hampshire
Not a crack climb, rather face climbing with trad gear. Still, really fun movement. The gear is really good, especially if you are used to climbing on rusted pins and the other outdated equipment at Cathedral. It was very wet at the top after rain, all of 5.8 up there, but made the big ledge very slick. Oct 12, 2015
frank minunni
Las Vegas, NV
frank minunni   Las Vegas, NV
I was told it was 5.9 when I did it. I thought it must be the hardest 5.9 in the world. Even at 5.10 it's pretty stiff. Dec 3, 2015
Andy Casler
Plymouth, NH
  5.11b PG13
Andy Casler   Plymouth, NH
  5.11b PG13
Gear beta: I found it very useful to stem between a nearby block and the footholds on vultures in order to reach a solid nut placement as my first pro, clip it to the rope with a single carabiner, step down, and then restart the route with the beginning protected. I found the start solidly PG13, maybe even R, without that beta. Oct 10, 2016
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
Yikes ! R..? really? it's bit thin but takes good gear all the way. Oct 10, 2016
Andy Casler
Plymouth, NH
  5.11b PG13
Andy Casler   Plymouth, NH
  5.11b PG13
I think it could be R without a nut protecting the opening sequence, definitely.

Though it does take great gear the whole way, getting protection for the cruxy start is problematic. You have to be about 6' tall to reach the first possible nut placement from the ground, and I don't think it's possible to get a stance to place that first nut while climbing the route. However, stemming off the nearby block got me high enough to place it.

Without that nut protecting the start, the first gear is a cam at the lip (where the finger crack starts, about 12 feet up). Getting to that point is insecure 10d, and the stance you have to place the cam is tenuous. Falling to the ground from here could cause an injury. Oct 11, 2016
S. Neoh
S. Neoh  
See mountainproject.com/v/11065… for how a relatively short person (wonderwoman is about 5'8") could place the gear protecting the start which is admittedly rather thin for .10+. I am 5'5" and when I lead the route 20 years ago (gasp!), I did something similar to protect the thin start. After it was sent in '73, I am sure the climb was rated 5.10+ G. Almost ridiculous by "modern standards" but it is what it is. Oct 11, 2016
john strand
southern colo
john strand   southern colo
Sorry all, I'm not buying an R rating. You foot is maybe 3-4' off the deck,,use a spotter if you think you'll fall off.

It's crack climb, not a sport climb. Oct 12, 2016
Will McFarland
Rumney, NH
Will McFarland   Rumney, NH
I walked up the ramp to the right to place a 0 TCU, the TR'ed the bottom face. I found there to be great jams in the crack with bad footholds. The crux about 15 feet up is over quickly. Jul 18, 2017
Tim McGivern
Medford, ma
Tim McGivern   Medford, ma
5/5/18: If you are 5'10" or taller, stand on the rock near the base and reach up on your tip toes to place a small nut in a perfect construction. If you are short, thread another nut to extend, or have your belayer place it. Tie that nut off with another smaller nut in the opposing direction, and cinch a sling between the two. Clip a biner to the top nut, clip your rope through the biner as pro, and get up there. When your left hand is in the chalked up slot to the left (about 8' up), and your right hand is on a good crimp/seam just to the right of your left hand, you can place a blind nut in the crack before making the big move out right. After that you'll be able to figure out stances and nuts pretty easily. The climbing gets easier the higher you climb. Don't block your finger jam with the nut. You'll need it to make the big move right. May 6, 2018