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Hotter Than Hell 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Matt Peer and Greg Stemley, May 29, 1980
Page Views: 7,875
Submitted By: lee hansche on Jul 7, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (108)
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Derek leads Hotter Than Hell.


Low angle, face climbing at its best. A definite classic especially when linked up to Inferno (5.8) to make a full length route.

Pitch 1: 5.7 this is not really part of Hotter Than Hell, but it is the normal start. On the left end of the south buttress locate a slab with 2 bolts on it. Climb the slab past the bolts to the tree ledge where the route actually starts. Or you can climb around the slab to the left then traverse back right on to the ledge.

Pitch 2: 5.9 start under a couple small roofs, you will see a bolt above. Climb through the overlaps and clip the bolt. Make a spicy traverse right to gain your next bolt then head up the killer crimpy face climbing following the bolts. The crux is a mantel move in to an obvious niche 2/3 of the way up, the move is protected by a bolt. This was once a popular place to belay, but most parties climbing with a 60m rope will prefer to continue out of the niche and straight up to the tree belay at the ledge. And that's the end of the line.

I highly recommend finishing up Inferno (5.8). This is one of the best link ups in the Conway area.


All the way to the left on the South Buttress, you will find a slab with 2 bolts just right of a dirty gully. Climb the 2 bolt slab (spicy 5.7) or head up the gully and traverse on to the tree ledge where the route starts under a couple of small roofs above which you will see a bolt.


There are many bolts, but gear comes in handy, so bring a normal/light rack.

Photos of Hotter Than Hell Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Anna C on Hotter Than Hell. Taken from Science Fri...
Anna C on Hotter Than Hell. Taken from Science Fri...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber on Hotter than Hell on the appropr...
Unknown climber on Hotter than Hell on the appropr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unknown climber following Hotter Than hell.
Unknown climber following Hotter Than hell.
Rock Climbing Photo: Joshua nears the belay on Hotter Than hell.
Joshua nears the belay on Hotter Than hell.
Rock Climbing Photo: Joshua Corbett follows Hotter Than Hell on a perfe...
Joshua Corbett follows Hotter Than Hell on a perfe...
Rock Climbing Photo: Joshua follows Hotter Than Hell.
Joshua follows Hotter Than Hell.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from the top of the second pitch.  Ba...
Looking down from the top of the second pitch. Ba...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking up the start of the second pitch.  We star...
Looking up the start of the second pitch. We star...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber on Hotter Then Hell. Taken from the adjace...
Climber on Hotter Then Hell. Taken from the adjace...

Comments on Hotter Than Hell Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 31, 2017
By CTYankee
May 5, 2009

A great link up is to go from Hotter than Hell to Tranquility for one pitch to the last pitch of Inferno. Fabulous and fun.
By Chris Norfolk
From: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Jan 5, 2010

Our party did this line as a means to get at Inferno on our last trip to Whitehorse. Great line but be prepared. It's spicy. Perhaps not ideal for taking inexperienced seconds due to tricky traverses.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 7, 2010

Spicey ? Better watch out for most of the others lines around then.
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Jul 8, 2010

if you blew off the traverse at the wrong spot you could hit the ledge (leading or following)... that sounds worth a little warning to me if you might be thinking of bringing a less experienced climber on it... other routes might have longer runouts but no danger for the second...
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 10, 2010

Maybe- Thin Air ? lakeview ?
Aug 29, 2010

Great Climb; but I would not consider it spicy. It is one of the most solid 5.9's on this part of the ledge. I find it most challanging (and fun!) getting into the alcove, but there is a bolt at you waist.

The traverse is solid. Just take your time. All the moves are there.
By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Aug 29, 2010

I would have to disagree and say that I find Hotter to be spicy. The route is safe no doubt, but the climbing can be insecure at spots and somewhat run out (while still with in the PG range.) If some one unfamiliar with thin face climbing gets on this, especially on a hot day as, many make the mistake of doing, it can certainly be scary.

As for solid 5.9's on this part of the cliff, the only other classic 5.9's I'm familiar with on this part would be Cold Day and Childrens crusade., Both of which I consider to be slightly harder, but not as spicy as Hotter....IMHO.
Aug 30, 2010

True, Hotter Than Hell should not be climbed on a hot day, and the heat and humidity does make it grades harder/scarier. I'm a big fan of face climbs and I find this one to be one of my favorites. The bolts are evenly spaced and right where I need them.

The other climbs I was refering to were Jacobs Ladder, Atlantis, Cemetary Gates, as well as the ones you quoted. I know some of these are graded harder than Hotter but share pitches of similar grades and quality.

If you go over to Cathedral and enjoy The Siagon Sisters (5.8) I think that Hotter is a great next step up.

Thanks for the comment and suggestions. Autumn is nearly upon us; enjoy the climbing!
By Chris Norfolk
From: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Sep 7, 2010

I'm not a regular to the area but... I've led the Saigon's and didn't see any issues for an inexperienced second. Don't get me wrong... the moves on HTH are there, it's a great climb, but I wouldn't want my second to blow it after unclipping the bolt heading into the traverse.

Just thought I'd mention it up there since Inferno's upper pitches are so nice that's a logical place to introduce someone to the sport.

By john strand
From: southern colo
Sep 20, 2010

To avoid the "spice"- start directly under the end of the traverse and go up to the bolt, maybe even a bit of gear. It's not very hard and the second should not have a problem. We started this way for Burning Down the House.
By Ksween
From: Wakefield, RI
Jul 22, 2011

I climbed this last week with 2 relatively new seconds, To protect the traverse I lead with 2 single ropes as if they were doubles. When the first second completed the traverse I had them reclip the other rope to the 2nd bolt after the traverse. Youll take a bit of a swing if you fall but wont fall over the roof
By Jcomeau
From: North Conway
Nov 19, 2012

How fixed is the second pitch of this? How many bolts/spacing? How are the falls?
By john strand
From: southern colo
Nov 19, 2012

First j - you won't fall off, it's pretty low angle. maybe a few pieces to 2" ? maybe a 2 1/2". Some extra slings.

Finish up inferno- very cool- bring some extra medium cams
By Jcomeau
From: North Conway
Nov 19, 2012

Im looking for something to work on thin face climbing while on lead. So safe then? Im not too good on runouts.
By Michael Smith
From: Framingham, MA
Apr 29, 2013

I just got on this yesterday for the first time. my opinion is that you could hurt yourself if you blew it on the traverse, in agreement with a few others of you above. however, i didn't find those moves to be terribly challenging. i thought higher up the moves thinned out a bit, or at least, i had a harder time finding the holds. by that point though, you're in good shape and a fall wouldn't be dangerous (IMO). i plugged a few pieces of gear in addition to the bolts, and it didn't then seem runout to me, except for the pendulum to the ledge potential during the lower traverse.
It's a super route though. I can't wait to get back on it.
By Ryan Nelling
Aug 9, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

I climbed this earlier in the week and don't recall the traverse being too dangerous. Not to say it isn't, but from what I remember - it's a very thoughtful sequence, however all the moves are there. There may be some danger for the 2nd, if they unclip the bolt and fall...the rope stretch may lead them back down to the ledge. My partner is very good at delicate moves though so I wasn't worried about her falling.

Incredible line! Awesome, thin moves and very careful climbing. If you don't climb Inferno after this you're silly.
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Jun 19, 2015

Am I the only one that noticed the rusted SMC hangers? Every hanger and bolt should be replaced on this pitch. I am sure the ASCA would happily donate SS bolts and hangers. The pitch would remain intense but safe.
By gblauer Blauer
From: Wayne, PA
Jun 23, 2015

our first climb ever in North Conway. Quite the introduction. Felt stiff for a 9, but, it did lead to the upper pitches of Inferno, making it worth the effort
By john strand
From: southern colo
Aug 10, 2015

There have been bees there many times..including the f/a..not suprising, but a stunner if you just toss for the jam
By Jay Morse
From: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Nov 2, 2016

After reading these comments, then doing the traverse, I immediately thought to myself "That's it!?" after I did it. I mean, be careful, but it's pretty easy relative to the rest of the climb and is pretty well-protected too... I'd be hesitant to even call it PG to be honest. Do not let those comments discourage you from getting on this route. If you are confident enough to hop on a 5.9 at Whitehorse, you will be fine!
By Tyler Stableford
Jun 3, 2017

I am wondering if it would be possible to rappel HTH and Inferno with a single 80 meter rope? It would be nice to avoid dragging a tag line up. Thanks for any info!
By Christopher Woodall
From: Somerville, MA
Jun 19, 2017

Tyler, I rapped the route with double 60m ropes the other day we we used almost the whole 60m to get to the ground. Maybe, you could get to the ledge on top of the 1st 5.7 slab pitch and scramble down climbers left with an 80m rope, but that would be pushing it I think. If you finish on Inferno and do one of the routes on Cosmic Crag you will summit Whitehorse and can then walkoff, as per standard route or the hikers trail (look up the trails and maybe a trail map ahead of time because they can be a little hard to find if you haven't used them before). That would save you having to bring a tag line too.
By Christopher Woodall
From: Somerville, MA
Jun 19, 2017

After the alcove my hand brushed an old paper wasp nest in a crack. Nothing stung me so I assume it is not active, but someone who is ok with tempting fate might want to clean it out of the crack.
By Francois Cote
Aug 31, 2017

I just climbed this route yesterday, and am a bit confused with the start. Based on the picture in the guidebook, it looks like the route starts to the very left of the ledge, but also says there are rap slings on the tree which there are not. There are however rap slings on a tree on the right of the ledge. I climbed it from the left, which made for a huge traverse (~35ft) before turning vertical, and it felt really spicy. Another party clearly climbed it recently because there was a lot of chalk coming into the climb from the right side of the ledge, which would make for a much shorter traverse (~10ft) and which would not be spicy at all.
Maybe this explains why some people think the traverse is spicy and others don't?

Also I thought the route was good but not worth the hype. The upper pitches of Inferno were excellent.

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