Type: Trad, 800 ft, 7 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 9,249 total · 77/month
Shared By: Darin Perusich on Feb 16, 2009
Admins: Jim Lawyer

You & This Route

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P1 - Begins to the left of the arch and climbs to a vegetated ledge, belay from the large crack.

P2 - Climb the crack and traverse right crossing the 2 black smears and head for the right side of the headwall. There is a decent crack to setup a belay about 50ft below the head wall on a small ledge if you can't reach the headwall due to rope length.

P3 - Climb the headwall and climb the pocketed face to an vegetated area (alpine scrub) and set a belay.

P4 - Climb the pocketed face above and left of the vegetation to more alpine scrub and belay in the trees. 5.2X face climbing with zero protection and is completely run out until reaching the trees.

P5 - Climb the pocketed face right of the vegetated area to the bulge

  • *note**
The Adirondack Rock "A Rock Climbers Guide" description works right across this face from this point, we stayed to the left.

P6 - Traverse to the left side of the first bulge and over it. Climb the face to a tree belay on the left following cracks.

P7 - Traverse out right 15ft and climb the face to alpine scrub keeping it on your right. Follow the scrub and climb the face to the large boulder surrounded by alpine scrub. Fight your way through the scrub to the left side of the boulder to a belay.

Bushwhack the remaining 50-100ft to the trail between Pyramid Mt. and Gothics.


Approach: From the St. Huberts parking lot it's a 6 mile hike to the col between Pyramid Mtn. and Gothics Mtn. where there is a bushwhack descent to the base of the climb.

Descend: Follow the Range trail and summit Gothics. Continue to the col between Gothics and Armstrong and descent to St. Huberts.


A full set of nuts, a set of hexes, and Camlots up to BD #4.


Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
  5.6 R
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
  5.6 R
Since this route has now gained some notoriety with its publication in CLIMBING Mag. as an "out of the way route" (it's pretty hard to get a MORE "out of the way route" in the ENTIRE NORTHEAST) I thought I'd add some info.
In 1999 we did what we thought was the 3rd ascent, and (if Goodwin's route really is the easier variant to the right) might have been the 2nd ascent, the first having been done a year or two previously by a group of American Alpine Club-ers led by Mark Meschinelli on one of the hottest days of the year.
But first, if you are going to the effort to get to the bottom of the So. Face of gothics, and, if you can climb at the grade (5.10d), THE SOUTH FACE DIRECT IS BY FAR, FAR-AND-AWAY A BETTER ROUTE!
Especially, if one eliminates the really GRUNT overhang on the 3rd pitch (called 5.9 in the guide book, I've heard it called up to 5.11 by people who know...I aided over it!) and takes the 5.4 variant from the far end of the "Grand Piano Ledge".

Back to the "ARCH ROUTE" Here's how we climbed it:
As Climbed by RH, S. M, R.E. 6/5/99

Approach from the Ausable Lakes valley, climb to Mt Pyramid via the Weld trail (2.3 miles and 2500ft’ from the lower boathouse, or approx. 7 miles and 3300ft’ from Ausable Club parking @ Rt 73). Last water is reached about ½ miles below the trail junction with the trail from Sawtooths. Good views of the So. Face from the summit of Pyramid.
From the col between Pyramid and Gothics, descend left (West, toward Mt. Haystack). Find the faint watercourse as soon as possible because the bushwhacking here is slightly better than even a few feet to either side. The faint (dry) watercourse will turn into a gulley and this, in turn, into a “dike-like” cleft. (Sort of a mini, “super-vegetated” Colden Dike) When we reached a place in this "dike" where there appeared to be a 20-30ft drop off on rotten vegetation, we moved North (i.e right facing downhill, moving towards the climb) out of the gulley approx. 100 ft and reached some slabs where the base of the So Face could be seen about 150ft below. 20ft up got us to a sturdy tree, and a 165ft rappel over easy slab dropped us to a “island” of vegetation, where a hidden grassy ledge allowed us to walk to the actual base. About 45min. from the col. NOTE: Staying in the “dike” it might be difficult to judge where to come out of the vegetation to reach the slide.

START: We started on the left of one set of black streaks, and right of another.
1)Approx 140’ 5.5 Climb up, at one point about 30’ up, zig left then back right to avoid a hard friction move (5.6-5.7 following). About 50-60 off the ground, get in a couple of good nuts and then traverse right (unprotected) to a belay near the top of a bulge. {One might climb directly to this belay from right of the right-most black streaks.} I remember this belay as being JUST "adequate", and may even have used a baby angle pin.

2)Approx 150’ 5.3-5.4 An obvious and beautiful pitch. Directly up to the base of the dark, “looming” overlap that dominates the skyline from the first belay. Near the top of the pitch, we moved right, then back left. Better pro than one thinks starting off. There is no real way to describe exactly where we belayed; but the spot I chose was bomber protected with a large stopper and a #3 Camalot, and was 5’ left of what appeared to be a obvious and reasonable way to climb the overlap, which is slightly overhanging but studded with “jugs”.

3)210 feet 5.4-5.5, with 100+ feet of “5.3 – 5.4 R-X” The “obvious and reasonable” way was not as easy, so we moved 5-10’ further right to a 5.4-5.5 move, well protected with a yellow Alien, and pro above for the follower too! Then directly up, heading for the lowest level of a peninsula of trees and bushes. There’s good Camalot pro for the first 100 feet of this pitch, then 100+ feet of 5.3-5.4 run-out to the bushes. A 200’ (60m) rope does NOT make the first good tree, which is about 4-5 feet into the bushes. It is recommended to belay at one of the good Camalot placements! A wire brush is helpful.
From the lowest point of these trees, I originally felt we should go right into the mainline of the slide with the 2nd large overlap. On retrospect, moving left (as we did) was best. The slide to the right is covered with thick moss and lichen, (2014 NOTE: perhaps Irene has since washed the thick moss away??)plus one would have to figure a way to climb past the 2nd overlap which looks more difficult than the first.

4) 130(?) feet 5.2 Move up left on easy friction, climbing one overlap with the “assist” of a tree move; belay about 25’(?) feet above this. Pitch could be shorter than 130 ft and involves most high-angle bushwhacking.

5) 140’ 5.6 (??) Continue on high angle bushwhacking, moving right to regain the main slide track, above the “fearsome” 2nd overlap. We went up the left side of the slide (Here I think I did make a mistake in not moving as soon as possible to the right side of the slide. You judge! ), up a grassy crack to a step over one small overlap, (difficult friction above the step, bring a large (#2-3) Camalot and wire brush!) then regain the edge of the trees, up 25’ to a “scrunched up” belay at a 6”-diameter pine in the trees and bushes. The only really unpleasant pitch on the climb.

6) approx. 160’ 5.5 (?) From the bushes, step up right onto the slab, traversing most of the slide (somewhat unprotected) to climb the final overlaps and good clean, rock to the top. This pitch can be very disconcerting to the follower if the exact, easiest line is not followed.
To “escape” avoid the temptation to go left on thin scrub (it just gets denser) but rather bushcrash only 100’ right to the trail!

See PHOTO with route(s) marked.

May 16, 2014
Jersey City, NJ
  5.6 R
BrianRH   Jersey City, NJ
  5.6 R
Climbed this August 18, 2014.
The first 6+ kilometers (my Australian partner had the GPS, hence measurements were metric) of the approach are along the private Lake Road, but then the path turns right at the lake and becomes steep and strenuous for the remaining 4K up the Weld trail. We harnessed up and stowed our bags on the peak of Pyramid before descending to the col with camelbacks,60 meter rope, tagline and a rack of nuts, a few tricams and cams up through #3 camalot(found use for a few extra finger sized and smaller cams we brought). The bushwack down from the col is not so bad and the broken branches revealed the start. Stay in (not above) the watercourse and you should be alright. We exited a bit low and had to climb back up across some slabs and through the bushes to obtain the grassy, pleasant base of the climb.

We basically followed the route described in the book including starting to the left of the two black streaks (that had running water on them from the previous day’s rain) but had only a 60 meter rope so we broke the 2nd and 3rd pitches up into three as described below.

The second pitch starts between the two streaks. Considered extending the first pitch out into the second, but glad we didn’t as I found the gear marginal at the beginning of the second pitch although it gets better further up. Ran out of rope so built an anchor about 30 below and left of the headwall that the guidebook identifies as the end of the second pitch.

Guidebook described the third pitch from the overlap as 210' so I went over the overlap and then about 50-60 feet up to ensure we could get past the 5.2 (X) section to an anchor. Built the anchor 15' right of some bushes.

Our 4th pitch had one piece of gear before the run out began on slightly damp 5.2 low angle slab. Still had about 50' of rope left when I reached the trees at the base of the peninsula (the book describes an anchor on the left of the peninsula, but we went to the center). Slung the trees at the bottom of the tree peninsula and climbed up to the right ON the vegetation for another 50 feet before building an anchor. The guidebook does mention that you should climb the vegetation, but it hadn't really sunk in for me before I got there. The rock out to the right was wet and lichen covered.

Our fourth pitch began with another 20’ of vegetation climbing (with blueberries- bonus!) and then moved right onto dry rock, up a protectable vertical crack, and back left across the slab to the left corner of the overlap. Perhaps 100’, maybe less. From there we followed the guidebook description for the last two pitches which were my favorites.

A tremendous day out. The climbing itself is mostly fun and casual but the approach makes it into a great Alpine day.

If I had it to do over again, I’d have left a bit earlier as we underestimated the time it would take to get in, reconnoiter, bushwack and climb. We left the car at 6:20 am and returned back at about 9 with relatively few breaks. Total roundtrip distance was 25 kilometers according to the GPS watch we carried.

Also, I’d have carried a dry shirt with me even thought it was mid-August. Once we stopped moving, we were shivering cold in our sweat-soaked shirts and lightweight shells on the windy top of Pyramid in August! Fantastic views of the climb and surrounding peaks, as well as a good place to refuel before the bushwack though. Aug 20, 2014
Hobo Greg
My Van
Hobo Greg   My Van
One of the best days I've ever had in the mountains. Fall colors were beautiful. Opted left after leaving p3 tree belay cuz rock to right looked mossy. Was rewarded by leading a made up p5 connecting to the second to last belay, heady, unknown, but great climbing. Otherwise route was super casual, and bushwhack wasn't even a bushwhack, there is a clear trail going down (well, not as clear as a full on hiking trail, but no dense wandery bushwhack either). And you even get to see the whole route from Pyramid, beforehand to scope it, and again after to bask in the glory of having climbed a gorgeous route on gorgeous rock in a gorgeous place. ADK ALL DAY! Oct 13, 2017