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Routes in 08E - Elephant's Head Area

Elephant's head gully T WI3-
Ragnarock T WI4+ M4
Watership Down WI3-4
Type: Trad, Ice, 170 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Chet Callahan, Bob Olsen and Chuck Bond
Page Views: 2,350 total · 56/month
Shared By: Marc-Antoine Larocque on Sep 17, 2014
Admins: Luc-514, Kris Fiore

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Pitch 1: Start the belay station at the first anchor on the right side of the wall. Climb straight up on easy ice (130 feet of WI 2) and make the belay station on two bolts on the far right wall.

Pitch 2: Climb the waterfall (crux: 15 feet of WI 3-/+), then climb the steeper section in the groove (35 feet of WI 2) and create a belay station on a tree. In some years the initial column of this pitch comes in steep on the left side and can give about 30 feet of WI4 climbing.

Descent: Rappel the route using the belays stations. Double ropes.


Location: Smugglers notch is located on route 108 (partly closed in winter). It's possible the get there from north or south, although faster from the south (Stowe).
Parking: Get at the end of the road and park on the side.
Approach: (From south) Hike on the road for about 20 minutes until you can see the prominent elephant's head buttress. Head toward the base for about 100 feet in the snow.

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(6-7) Ice screws
Fews nuts and/or cams in early season
Belaying at the bolts as mentioned in the description above is a terrible idea. The bolted belay, while at a very comfortable ledge, is squarely in the crosshairs of ice fall from a leader on P2. Ice comes zooming down the slab, launches off the initial steep step, and frequently peppers the stance. A much safer alternative is to belay from screws, either a bit lower and the far left side of the gully, or a bit higher. Either option is far more sheltered from ice fall, and both feature comfortable stances in typical conditions.

The bolts were never intended as anything other than a rappel anchor to replace the rusty old pins that were once there. Sep 18, 2014

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