Avg: 3.2 from 87 votes
|Type:||Ice, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade III|
|Page Views:||21,476 total, 179/month|
|Shared By:||BrianWinslow on Feb 3, 2008|
|Admins:||Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey.LeCours, Robert Hall|
DescriptionThe 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.
LocationThe 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.