Type: Ice, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade III
FA: unknown
Page Views: 25,472 total · 188/month
Shared By: BrianWinslow on Feb 3, 2008
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

You & This Route


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Description

The route starts as an easy snow gully over boulders. After approximately 1000 ft the gully narrows and gets steeper. [NOTE: The beauty of this climb is its alpine nature, really confined walls, especially the right wall. The easiest line over most of the ice is on the right side, usually then moving to the center. Directly up the center is usually 3- to 3. The climb's submitter indicated "Climb six pitches of water ice 2, steps split between easy snow gullies." I guess if you belay each pitch from the first ice to the top it's 5 or 6 pitches, but in normal snow years many of these pitches will be only about 1/4 to 1/3 ice, the rest high-angle snow. R. Hall]

If the trail is broken a quick party could complete the climb in half a day, but if conditions are poor it could take quite a bit longer.

There are a few variations at different points of the climb.

Location

The Southern most gully on the mountain. Park along the east side (Webster-side) of rt 302 about 1/2 mile north of the Webster Cliff Trail, and about 1/2 mile south of the "Willey House". There is an old sign frame and usually a plowed pull-out. You should be directly below the gully, which is really only visible for a narrow stretch of road about 1/8 mile in each direction. If you're lucky a trail will be broken in the snow and easy to follow, and the stream crossing (the Saco "river") will be easy. (It's done at an old broken dam.)

[Feb 2016 NOTE: The gap at the old dam seemed to have widened a bit, or there's less driftwood stacked up against it, so it seems most folk are parking at the Webster Cliff Trailhead, crossing the Saco on that trail's bridge, then walking up stream (left) on the Saco River Trail for about 0.4-0.5 mi. to the climber's path on the uphill side of the dam crossing.
Rather than hiking all the way to the dam area, you might save 2-3 min., as others have done, by cutting right on a 30-to-45-degree diagonal starting at a 12 ft high boulder on the Saco Trail with a blue arrow. This intercepts the gully very low. R Hall Admin.
]

Once across the stream, you'll cross the Saco River Trail and continue in the woods to the gully. Usually, 200-300 vertical ft of snow gives way to the main ice flow, which is easiest on the right, crossing to the left. More snow, and occasional ice, leads to the top. The total climb is about 2000-2400 vertical feet from the car.

There are at least two "usual" alternate endings: a 5.5 rock on the right just above the main ice, and an easier NEI WI3 (or rock) "shallow corner" higher up, also on the right.

To descend, hike straight up into the woods from the top of the climb for a few minutes and intersect with the popular Webster Cliff trail. Turn right (South) and hike out to the road. You will likely need to hike North once on the road to your car. It would be possible, though difficult, to rappel the route.

Protection

A light rack of screws, maybe snow pickets depending on conditions. I didn't use any rock gear though there are some options.

Photos

lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
my dad and i did shoestring the other day and i just wanted to add a few things...

thank you, whoever packed out the trail cause i wouldn't have found the gully on my own without a compass...

we did a few variations cause there were a few parties climbing at the same time and all were fun and a little harder than the standard route...

my favorite pitch was the Rock finish chimney... i did it with just my gloves and a rack of nuts... it would be easier and less scary to dry tool (as my dad did when he followed) and bring a couple cams and long slings to sling blocks as the chimney steepens and other gear is hard to find... the climbing is moderate though so don't sweat it just go for it... Jan 27, 2009
matthewWallace
Sandwich, NH
matthewWallace   Sandwich, NH
has anyone gone up this in the summer? Jan 27, 2009
Devin Krevetski
Northfield, VT
Devin Krevetski   Northfield, VT
Considering the amount of rockfall on the snow during the winter, I wouldn't want to find myself in this area in the summer when the rock isn't frozen in place Jan 28, 2009
matthewWallace
Sandwich, NH
matthewWallace   Sandwich, NH
fair enough it prob is a good idea if i stay away then.. Jan 28, 2009
Dave Leydet
West Point, NY
 
Dave Leydet   West Point, NY
 
Climbed this yesterday with my dad. It isn't in yet, but there are a couple WI2 steps that have some decent WI2 on them. Plenty of options for slinging trees for belays. The rock looks like it could take some KBs but i didn't feel the need to place any. Dec 28, 2011
Andrew Blease
Bartlett, NH
Andrew Blease   Bartlett, NH
I climbed this on the 22nd of December. It had been warm-ish and rained the day before. Down low was wet, and the small ice steps were rotten, but up high the ice was good and snow conditions were great for kicking steps and moving quick. Don't get discouraged if the ice down low isn't in great shape. Dec 25, 2012
Hey all, A beginner climber here. Have done 2-3 climbs (rated WI2-4) as follower. I am planning to do this climb with partner with similar skill on jan 19th-20th. We have all the gear & skills to use it. Wanted to check on the current conditions of the gully. Solid thick ice / stable snow and any mix of those two should be good for us. Jan 14, 2013
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
iceclimbingforums.com/forum…
and NEClimbs.com are two good sites for local conditions, if you aren't already familiar with them. Jan 14, 2013
Forrset Pials
New York, NYC
Forrset Pials   New York, NYC
Tried to do this yesterday (Sunday, January 7th, 2018) Snow conditions were horrible, didn't even finish the approach, the snow was up to our waist and extremely dense. It took us 1.5 hours to wade .5 miles in the snow. I reccomend bringing snow shoes or skiis or waiting until the snow packs down and/or melts a little bit. Jan 8, 2018
Jonathan Steitzer
West Lebanon, NH
 
Jonathan Steitzer   West Lebanon, NH  
 
Found the rock finish covered in thin wind sprayed ice today. Steeper than it looks from below, it had a microroof that I left to my right as I climbed past. Definitely harder than any other part of the climb, and a very fun variation. If it's in you should check it out. I'll add a pic to the gallery so other can identify it.

cdn-files.apstatic.com/clim… Jan 19, 2018
Peter Brandon
North Conway, New Hampshire
Peter Brandon   North Conway, New Hampshire
Bring a bunch of double length slings for the rock finish and you can likely leave the rock gear at home. I threw a stubby in at the base before the chimney, then slung 3 chockstones on the climb itself. Not too many gear options anyway, the rock quality is shit. Very fun way to finish the climb albeit a bit awkward at times, especially with a pack. Jan 29, 2018
Tim E  
Did this climb on January 31st. Low snowpack, all trails packed out very well. Seems like the ice itself was a little more challenging than last year. I think usually the snow fills in a lot of this climb but this years lack of snow means lots of those snow fields just don’t exist. Took the left hand exit and it was basically a snow ladder with excellent foot holds. A good packed out trail straight back to Webster Cliff trail as well. It was snowing a bit today but I think it was light and the trails should still be nice and packed out. Feb 1, 2018
David
 
David  
 
+1 on the approach from Webster Cliff TH; there doesn't seem to be a pullout plowed by the sign frame this year and there is no trail broken out from where the pullout used to be.

+1 on bringing 2-3 double length slings to sling chockstones for the rock finish; they were all I used for pro despite bringing rock gear. Climb is 3 pitches this year and we used all of a 70m rope on each pitch + still did 20-30' of simuling on p1 and p2. Feb 11, 2019