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Dropline

WI5, Ice,  Avg: 3.9 from 30 votes
FA: Rainsford Rouner, peter Cole and Rick Wilcox, Feb 1976
New Hampshire > NH Ice & Mixed > Frankenstein Ice > 7. Dropline Area

Description

This was a very sought after line that many tried before it went down in February 1976. To think that it was climbed with the equipment that was available then is quite impressive. When I look at the state of the art gear I'm climbing with and look at intimidating routes like this that were climbed before I was born on gear that would send me back a few grades it just amazes me.

Pitch 1: Start below the painfully obvious perfect drip on the wall above. Climb the normally very thin slab which is more scary than difficult due to the lack of protection. Really it's maybe grade 3 climbing but the higher up you get the harder it seems. As you get toward the top you can get a couple screws in but by that point you are through the worst of the first pitch. As you get to the base of the main icicle step to the left to a sheltered belay stance. We belayed from a few medium sized cams.

Pitch 2: Well if you are leading this pitch take a deep breath and commit yourself. You are looking at a long and pretty much straight up icicle that is usually only a few feet thick when it's in good. The bottom can be hollow but as a whole it is solid. Fighting the pump is the name of the game and if you are well-conditioned to steep pumpy climb it might be just a nice way to spend a day. To many it represents an ultimate goal. However you look at this climb you will no doubt agree that it is a classic. Top out the cliff and hit the trees for a nice view while you belay.

Location

The very obvious yellow icicle between Standard Route and Dracula. Start beneath the icicle on slabs that are often thin.

Protection

Enough screws to make you feel happy. A few cams are nice for the belay.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Rainsford Rouner leading the crux pitch on the FA of the 'Dropline' in Feb 1976.
[Hide Photo] Rainsford Rouner leading the crux pitch on the FA of the 'Dropline' in Feb 1976.
Rainsford Rouner on the first pitch of the 'Dropline' on the FA in Feb 1976
[Hide Photo] Rainsford Rouner on the first pitch of the 'Dropline' on the FA in Feb 1976
Dropline as of 24 Feb '08.
[Hide Photo] Dropline as of 24 Feb '08.
Dropline, 03 March, 2008. Photo by Alex Satz.
[Hide Photo] Dropline, 03 March, 2008. Photo by Alex Satz.
Dropline
[Hide Photo] Dropline
Dropline Feb. 2018
[Hide Photo] Dropline Feb. 2018
Dropline Feb. 2018
[Hide Photo] Dropline Feb. 2018
Starting 2nd pitch. Photo by Alex Satz.
[Hide Photo] Starting 2nd pitch. Photo by Alex Satz.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] DEFINITELY bring medium sized cams (tricams or hexes in similar sizes will work just fine as well) for the p2 belay anchor. You will hate your life without them. Feb 22, 2011
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
[Hide Comment] How long is Dropline? May 25, 2013
Russ Keane
Plymouth, NH
[Hide Comment] Hah, considering how famous this climb is, how many EPIC photos are out there.. this page is struggling!! Jan 31, 2017
Nick Grant
Natick, MA & Tamworth, NH
[Hide Comment] Rainsford Rouner was an absolute crusher in his day. Super strong and fearless. The picture of Rains on the crux pitch (included in the gallery above) is perhaps THE quintessential New England ice climbing picture. Sep 6, 2019