Monkey Wrench & The Cleft - Multi pitch Ice Climbing

Left Hand Monkey Wrench, WI3
The Cleft, WI2+
Mount Willard
Crawford Notch, NH

As I write this, I’m tired, a bit sore, but very happy! Two days in Crawford Notch, it was an amazing weekend! This morning Jeff S.  took me up the Left-Hand Monkey Wrench and The Cleft. It was way lot warmer (20 degrees) to climb today than yesterday.

View from Monkey Wrench
Route 302, Crawford Notch

View from Monkey Wrench
Flume (left) and Silver Cascades (right)
Crawford Notch, NH


The Left Hand Monkey Wrench is a short, fun climb. We got there and there was one party of 3 on their way up on the right, and another party of 3 waiting to go up on the left. Jeff and I set up to ascend the section on the right side. There was some water coming down, and the ice was starting to get a lot softer and easier to get tools and crampons in. After topping off, we hiked up to the base of the East Face Slab Right climb. Both leaders of the two 3-persons party was making their way up. Jeff and I traversed to the right about a 100m and found the Cleft’s characteristic “slot.” 

Right: The right side of LH Monkey Wrench

At the base of "The Cleft"
Jeff at the first belay station

At the first belay station

I was truly blown away by this climb. We did it in one pitch and it was absolutely fun and amazing! There was hardly any snow once in the slot. Several bulges made for some very fun climbing. One section was steep but the wall on the left was clean, dry, not mossy or icy and had a perfect 3 inch wide, 3/8 inch deep ledge for placing my front points on, as well as a jug for easy mantling. Fun stuff for stemming my way up.

Left: Inside the cool "The Cleft"

Looking down from the top of the climb 

Overall the climb was wet and once we topped out, it started to rain. We hiked up the trail blazed in bright orange until the yellow-blazed, Mt. Willard Trail intersection. Then we hiked down to the trailhead. I was soaked when I got to my truck, but truly happy to be able to do some multi-pitch ice climbing at Mount Willard.

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