Sunday, May 25, 2014

Whitney-Gilman Ridge – Multi-Pitch Rock Climb



Whitney-Gilman Ridge (5.7)
Cannon Cliff
Franconia Notch, NH

“Is that a porcupine in the tree”? Sean’s son Tom asked. Tom spotted it in the tree just a few feet from the ascent trail. Originally we were going to do a multi-pitch climb up the Lakeview Route, but it was wet. So we decided on Whitney-Gilman Ridge route. The route is along an arête and from the parking lot, we could see that it was already in the sun.

The choice would be a good one and we thought we would have enough day light to complete the route. But when we realized it was a black bear instead of a porcupine in the tree, we had no choice but to give it as much ‘wide berth’ as we could, putting us way past the Whitney-Gilman ascent trail!

Of course I wanted to get a photo of the bear in the tree, but when Sean said that it was coming down, the three of us slowly backed up the bike path. We froze when the animal let out a verbal warning. I reached for my bear spray (I keep it clipped to my backpack strap just above my heart). But it wasn't there! I had left my can of bear spray at home. Now I was truly sketched out! I started cursing. We quickly walked up the bike path with the black bear running in the opposite direction.

From the Whitney-Gilman Descent trail we cut across and hiked through the Talus field. Up, down and around, testing each piece of rock as we stepped on it, as some of it was loose. It was tiring hiking through the Talus and my knees ached a bit. 



By the time we made it to the base of the route, the weather had held up. But it was questionable as to finishing the entire route in day light. 

 Sean on lead
 "T" up P1

The start of P2
Coming up P2

Sean
"T" at our 3rd belay station
 After the second pitch we decided to call it a day and rapped down
 through the alternate start on the right side of the buttress. 
Sean rapping down
 Rapping down through the gully

We probably left about $40 worth of gear of rappel anchor,
but such a small price to pay for our safety. With all 3 of us safely
down well before dark, we sat and lunched just below the Black Dike
 After our lunch we hiked along the base of Cannon mountain and descended through the Talus field and the ascent trail.



 Reppy's Crack



The weather was perfect throughout the day! Although rain was forecasted, we never had one drop. And to top it off, there were NO OTHER CLIMBERS on the mountain!! No parties above us, no parties below us. No waiting. No one waiting for us to get out of the way. We were alone!

An amazing day to remember........a black bear to start, followed by a hike through the Talus and 2 stellar pitches. All under blue skies and with no other climbers on the mountain! We’ll be back to finish it up!