|Colleen on The Chimney 5.5|
East across Rt 16
from the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
is a rock cliff that juts out of the side
of the Wildcat Range
. Known as Square Ledge
, the formation is .5 miles up a
fairly easy but continuous, instantaneously heart-rate increasing 400’ ascent
that from the top on a clear day affords phenomenal views of the northern Presidentials
– Mt. Madison, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Washington. One can simply sit and enjoy
looking out at the dramatic landscape that includes Huntington and Tuckerman
Ravines as well as the Gulf of Slides. The trail is mainly dirt, rock, and
roots but the last section is a steep rocky staircase with loose scree.
|Caleb cleaning the last piece on the 1st pitch of Standard Route 5.4|
For something a bit more adventurous than hiking up that
last section of trail, Square Ledge offers several relatively short (for the local area
) rock climbing routes. The two pitch 130’ face is beginner grade
and easy to protect.
There are three finger crack trad
routes on the face. They are, from left to
right, The Prize 5.5, Standard Route 5.4, and Joe’s Place 5.6. There is an obvious belay ledge approximately halfway up and the easy walk off the top means only one rope is necessary.
To the right of the face is a 5.10a arête, a 5.12b slab, and
an 80’ 5.5 chimney. It is possible to top rope the chimney by placing gear in
the horizontal cracks toward the back of the ledge above the climb and building
an anchor with a static line. To the right of the chimney is a 5.8 top rope
only and a very short 5.6 30’ finger/hand crack in a right-facing corner. And older but complete resource for routes on Square Ledge is Rock Climbs In The White Mountains of New Hampshire Third Edition East Volume
|Arabelle on Blockheads 5.12b|
The crag is composed of horizontally-banded schist/gneiss with excellent, if not sharp, holds.
On a hot day, head back down the Square Ledge Tr and just
before the bog, turn left onto the Lost Pond Tr and hike along the river until
you reach a wide wooden bridge where there is great spot to cool off in the
Rock climbing is dangerous! There are no bolts on the climbs or for building anchors. Climbing here should not be attempted by anyone without appropriate experience and knowledge. There are many guide
services and climbing schools in the area for those interested.
Call us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk to check on weather, trail conditions, or for backcountry advice. We can be reached at 603-466-2721 from 6:30am to 10:00pm, 7 days a week. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Labels: Appalachian Trail, hike safe, Hiking, Huntington Ravine, Joe Dodge Lodge, Madison, Mount Washington, New Hampshire, northern peaks, Pinkham Notch, Rock Climbing, Tuckerman Ravine, White Mountains