According to the Butterfield guide book, back in 1915 there was an 18 ft. diameter stone tower that stood atop Great Head. This tower was constructed by the tireless efforts of a donkey name Melba, who hauled in approximately 35 tons of cement and sand. This route is named in honor of her.
Much like the donkey, this route is stout!
Pitch one starts below the alcove on the left side. Climb into the alcove. Once established, traverse right past a bolt to a stance and build a gear anchor. You could also rappel down to this point from the top of the cliff.
There will two bolts on the roof above you; the left one is for Melba. It's reachy to clip this bolt. You can place a micro cam (blue alien) before committing to this reach. With optimism, climb up over the roof (crux) and through the overhang making some wild moves in the process. This felt very hard for the grade but is bolt protected. Move up and left on easier, but non-trivial ground, following a crack system to the top and a 2 bolt anchor.
On the left side of the left wall. The short first pitch starts beneath the obvious alcove directly below the crux roof on P2. Belay from a good ledge in the alcove, right of the bolt from a gear anchor.
Standard single rack. The anchor atop P1 consists of medium size cams (0.75" to 2").
1 bolt protects the crux on P2. There are two bolts at the top of the cliff that sit back quite a ways from the lip.
The intermediate belay atop P1 of Melba.
Josh on the first pitch of Melba.
By Josh Squire
From: East Boston, MA
Jul 7, 2015
This is very hard for the grade. It felt much harder than Head Arête. This climb might make an "ass" out of you :)