Type: Trad, 250 ft, 2 pitches
Page Views: 579 total · 9/month
Shared By: Robert Hall on Sep 17, 2013
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey LeCours, Jonathan Steitzer, Robert Hall

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"False" Holy Smoke 5.5 FA UNKNOWN -- Bolted with 3/8” SS bolts this is the most well-protected, less-than-5.10 climb on the cliff.

For years this climb was attributed to Doug Burnell and Doug Teschner, FA Oct, 1993. However, both climbers confirm this is NOT their route (see comment posting date 16OCT13) They actually did the FA of the 1st Pitch of what is today known as Table Scraps; their P2 traversed right under the large overlap to where the Picnic Table dike comes in, and then climbed up to the top via the dike to reach the tree of the "Bugs" anchor/rap station, which they thought was the top Merlin rap station!

P1 – Climb up to the small “hole” (5.3), move right, then climb the upper left-facing flake (good pro) and near its top step left onto the face and up to a bolt. Move up and right to a stance and a tricky move (Bolt, 5.4-5.5 ) then romp up the face clipping the bolts ( two or 3 ?) to the double bolt anchor. 130 ft 5.5 ( 5.4-5.5) Rap from here with two ropes [The route's Bolt #1 seems to be a “collection point” for biners, which are left when single-rope rap attempts with a 60m rope come up short. Alternately, climb 20 ft right ( 5.2 ) to the Merlin belay where a full-length single 60m will get you down by swinging right.

P2 – If desired, climb up and left climbing over the overlap a foot or two left of a small bush (bolt), then straight up the slab (2nd 3/8 inch bolt, 5.4-5.5) then further to the trees at the very top-most portion of the slab, passing one more new 3/8 inch bolt. Wire brush helpful, this pitch sees little traffic. There is an ancient rap station on a tree at the top. (This may have been the rap station used by Paul Ross in the 1975 FA of the slab.) About 125 ft 5.4-5.5 The hiking trail is about a 50ft bushwhack through the woods.


START – Belay at a 8” diameter (in 2013) maple tree, below a horizontal flake with a “hole” in it, 15-20 feet up. There is a small, left facing flake 20ft above the 'hole'. [or ALTERNATE START-belay at the Merlin belay and traverse in on the 2-inch ledge to the flake.]


Small cams/TCU's for flake, draws for bolts, double bolted anchor.


Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
On 25OCT13 the 1993 first ascentionists of Holy Smoke (Doug Burnell & Doug Teschner) and I climbed at the crag. They said that, using the early information available in 1993 they mistook the now-standard rap tree as being on the top of the Merlin, not the top of the then-yet-to-be climbed Bugs Eat Frogs. Accordingly, they then reported to Webster their route, Holy Smoke, as being "40 feet left of Merlin", and this (incorrect) info. was then incorporated into Webster's guide.
Their REAL Holy Smoke actually climbs what would become( 2 yrs later) the first pitch of Table Scraps. The "Dougs" route then traversed right to the upper dike line of 1983's Picnic Table. Both Dougs confirmed this, and later we climbed the route which actually is 25-30 ft left of Merlin, and which has been attributed to them since the Webster guide, and they confirmed they "NEVER would have led this without the bolts."
Thus the climb listed in both guide books as Holy Smoke (and named here as "False" Holy Smoke) should be re-named by whoever bolted it, as THAT ascent was probably a FA. Dec 9, 2013
Northeast Alpine Start
Conway, New Hampshire
Northeast Alpine Start   Conway, New Hampshire
Did this one today car to car in 3 hours... fun route. Will post pics when I get a chance. Cool place and hope to get back out there soon. Apr 30, 2016