Type: Ice, 210 ft, 2 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 5,480 total · 62/month
Shared By: Paul Rago on Jan 14, 2012
Admins: J Beta, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

You & This Route

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A very unique geological feature, this route ascends a deep slot with several easy-moderate ice bulges for a full 60m. Climb in 1-2 pitches.

The climbing isn't really anything special but the route absolutely is for the cool slot.

Makes for a nice end of the day climb after doing other area climbs.


Located climber's right of East Face Slab Right about 100m.

Climb Left Hand Monkey Wrench or lower Hitchcock Gully and traverse right under East Face Right and continue thru the woods under the cliff band until you see a very deep gash in the cliff.

Either do a full-length rap (60m just makes it, 70m better) or head straight up into the woods on a climber's path* to intersect the Mt. Willard Trail: take a left to the summit and enjoy the views, or a right down the easy Trail to be back at your car in ~20 minutes.

  • Should you be unfortunate enough to be the first (or first after a big snowfall) to break trail on this route the following may be of help: Exit climber's left from the Cleft, go a few feet left, then up for 40-50 ft and keep an eye for orange blazes (only visible going uphill) and occasional orange tape. The first 1/3 of the path generally goes up-and-left, then swings around to the right about 1/2 way and then levels off. In general, if you are faced with totally impenetrable brush, you are off route; the path really isn't that bad and lots of folk have been using it. About 5-10 min to the Mt Willard Trail.


Screws; the top had slings and rings high in a tree on the right.
Ice was really nice, with several significant vertical sections, felt more like a 3 than a 2+. Definitely not doable as a single pitch with a 60m rope -- we had to simul up a good 10m to the bottom of the first big bulge in order for the leader to set up an anchor.

Lots of fun. Mar 7, 2016
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
Don't know where the "2+" rating comes from...we did it 2/15/18 after doing Lower & Upper Hitchcock plus an East Face route and the climbing we did in the Cleft was harder (by at least a half-grade) than anything else we did that day. A climber who had done it before said "The steps had come in steeper this year". Maybe, but a grade 2+ to 3- I expect to be able to climb with only one axe; not so here. Also, FYI none of the steeper steps are visible from the base-belay. Feb 16, 2018
Bill Kirby
San Francisco CA
Bill Kirby   San Francisco CA
Hey Robert, Erik and I were the another party that day! We did LHMW, Upper Hitchcock and the Cleft. The Cleft was a big surprise. I saw that 15 foot step of vertical chandeliered wet ice I wanted to hand it off to Erik. I’ve done this route in previous years. It’s usually in WI2 shape with only one steep awkward 6 foot step. The Cleft was full value that day haha.. Too bad we didn’t get any pictures. Feb 18, 2018
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
Yup...as the 3rd party (below us) said "...came in steeper this year", yet the photo posted in 2013 ("Leading the crux mid way") showed a similar crux. (but easier...about 12 ft high and only "near vertical" with more steps & less chandelier-ing) Feb 20, 2018
Didn’t see a rap anchor up top so you should plan to leave cord or walk off. Makes for a great end of the day climb with the walkoff. Mar 11, 2019 · Temporary Report