Type: Trad, 350 ft, 4 pitches
FA: 1931 leland pollock, Payson Newton, Robert Underhill
Page Views: 4,003 total · 28/month
Shared By: lee hansche on Apr 20, 2007
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

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A bold route for the times... Very typical of the climbs that were popular around this time, following a line with trees and other natural options for protection such as boulders and threads... The crux however is still not well protected even now with our modern gear...
Since it was done in the early 30's you might say it could be a good beginner trad route but it doesn't lend itself to safety for the less experienced climber... Loose rock, run outs, and awkward moves are all things that might make for an epic if you are not well practiced... That being said i would recommend doing Thin Air, Fun House to Upper Refuse, and a few slab routes before this one... But thats just me...

Pitch 1:(5.5) Start up the right leaning ramp as for Turners Flake (5.8) and continue right to the to the base of Toe Crack, the moves stepping right are tricky but not hard once you get it... Belay from Here...

Pitch2: Head right and in to the chimney... Follow the chimney up past a chockstone to a fixed belay in the cave... Fun chimney climbing...

Pitch 3: (5.7+ R) This is the R crux section, take a deep breath and be cool... climb up the right hand wall (5.6 R) making some hard for the grade moves to clip a fixed sling, what a relief, you are safe... After this you continue up the chimney on easier climbing to a tree belay (watch out for loose rocks)...

Pitch 4: (5.5) Follow the gully to the top (this part is a little less classic and dirty from what i remember but its been a few years).. From the top walk to the right or hitch hike down...

A great climb of this type but bring your spirit of adventure... have fun...


The obvious chimney that marks the right side of the Thin Air face...


Standard rack will do...


With all due respect, rating P3 5.6 is a clear sandbag. Even the guidebook calls it 5.7+, and that is about fair. The crux is steep, slippery, and most definitely not 5.6. Jul 17, 2008
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
Sorry i was going by Ed Websters book which had it listed at a nice old school 5.6 R... i personally agree with you and Jerry Handrens book so i will change the description and leave this comment as a historical reminder of how things were... though im always torn about things like this cause i do respect those who came before me and the bold way they graded there climbs... Jul 18, 2008
True - these old timers were bold, and their ratings reflect that. There's been a lot of grade inflation in climbing as well as in schools! Jul 29, 2008
I could be wrong, but I thought that the true pitch one started in the dike almost directly below (and slightly right of) toe crack. Whether it's pitch one or not I found this variation way scary since tight chimneys with old pitons for pro tend to raise my blood pressure anyway. Using the Turner's flake ramp is way better climbing not to mention a lot less stressful (for me at least). Dec 1, 2008
Jonathan Steitzer
West Lebanon, NH
Jonathan Steitzer   West Lebanon, NH  
hey Zigs,

That's a direct variation, and a 5.7+ Apr 15, 2012
Don MacKenzie
Seattle, WA
  5.6 R
Don MacKenzie   Seattle, WA
  5.6 R
I climbed this today (well, pitches 3 and 4 after starting on Toe Crack) and I am going to dissent and say that I think that 5.6R is about right for the third pitch. The moves were maybe on the stiff side for 5.6 but certainly not 5.7+.

I was able to get a medium cam maybe 7 or 8 feet off the ledge. It doesn't protect for long, but it let me go up, clean off some holds, and work out the moves, downclimbing in between. The hardest moves were above this gear, probably looking at a fall back to the ledge (so the R rating is justified), but it's a short crux and the climbing eases up before you are looking at a really nasty fall. Just watch your step and don't overgrip.

That said, I'd stay well away if it were wet.

All in all I thought the climbing on pitch 3 was fun and worthwhile. The second chimney sequence and the roof above it were good fun. With a little more traffic it would be a lot cleaner too. But as it was, it was clean enough to climb with no drama. Jul 20, 2012
kevin neville
Oconomowoc WI
kevin neville   Oconomowoc WI
The Direct Start is downhill to the right, a stair-step dike up to an offwidth. If your technique is better than mine, maybe it's not so bad. But I found it brutally physical and a little scary as I left the second bolt behind. 5.8. Glad I did it, feel no urge to do it again. You can also do the first pitch of Repulsion at 5.8, up the dike then break left and follow the crack system to the base of Toe Crack. Oct 27, 2013
Randy Peterson
  5.7 PG13
Randy Peterson  
  5.7 PG13
We took three people up this route on 6/13/15. We started on what the book called "Standard Route Direct" which went straight up the dike to the bottom of Toe Crack. A couple tough moves in there but really fun climbing. Pitches 2 and 3 are great and just like the route beta above says they are.

The final pitch is extremely DIRTY (at least right now). None of us thought that it was 5.5, it seemed more difficult and be careful of the rope drag. I found a newish looking bolt to clip once you come over the top of the gully and get ready for the crux-y section. I would recommend bringing a couple extra finger sized cams to protect the long crack and the moves toward the top of the climb.

I'm not sure if we did the final pitch right, but it definitely had my heart pounding. Even with a tricky final pitch we had an awesome time and were the only ones climbing this route. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. Jun 18, 2015
Russ Keane
Asheville, NC
Russ Keane   Asheville, NC
The comments of Don Mackenzie above are spot-on. That crux is definitely tricky... and yes you are looking at a nasty fall, but it's not super-crazy thin or crimpy. As of Oct 1 2015 there is a nice new sling hanging down from the lowest chockstone in the crux, so with a move or two off the deck you can get pro and then go from there safely.

Overall there are some thrilling sequences. It's interesting to be in that gully, with the caves and bats and all the aura. The pull-out onto the arete way up high is a great moment. Very old school style climbing, quite enjoyable and thoughtful, and not easy by any stretch.

We did ToeCrack to Standard, then finished up Pine Tree. (all at night by headlamp). It was wild!!!

Oct 2, 2015
Peter Lewis
Bridgton, ME
Peter Lewis   Bridgton, ME
I love Don MacKenzie's comment that "a little more traffic" would help clean up a route first put up in 1931. Sure, it's not as popular as nearby routes, but sheesh, it's had a lot of ascents. Hysterical. Jul 12, 2017
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
  5.7 R
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
  5.7 R
The last time I was in the "cave" (probably about 2015, after doing P1 and P2 of "Repulsion" where P2="Toe Crack") I'm sure there were 2 shiny bolts in the cave wall.

Sounds like these are "gone"...or was I hallucinating ? (It could have been longer ago than 2015, on another Toe Crack ascent.)

In the "old days" we always considered this a 5.6....but remember that at that time the "Brown Spot - Boilerplate" moves on Whitehorse Std were considered 5.4, and if you could lead 5.7 that you'd never climbed, you were probably in the top 5-10% of climbers in the northeast. Aug 15, 2017
Kittery, ME
Cron   Kittery, ME
I did the route yesterday. No bolts in the cave. Hope it stays that way. Aug 16, 2017
Etha Williams
Somerville, MA
Etha Williams   Somerville, MA
The slings at the R crux are looking worse for the wear and could use replacement. Oct 8, 2018