Saturday, August 29, 2015

Whitney Gilman Ridge 2015 – Multi Pitch Rock Climb

Whitney Gilman Ridge - check!

Whitney-Gilman Ridge (5.7)
5 pitches, 600 feet
Trad, Alpine
Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch, NH


Whitney Gilman Revenge! This was our mantra for the most popular alpine rock climb in New England! Last May we attempted WGR but had to bail after 2 pitches due to getting a late start. Today it was busy, we were the 5th group (out of 7) in line, but we completed the route! I’m not gonna give a pitch description since you can already find that info online and in guidebooks. So I’m just gonna post our photos….yes, we’re happy and smiling in all our photos. We have good reason to! :)

Go up this way from the paved bike path


Whitney Gilman Ridge, multi pitch rock climb


Up through the talus field with the prominent ridge of Whitney Gilman in sight!





















Long scramble up the talus field to the mountain base
means you get a good warmup before your climb. :)
Below, I-93 winds through Franconia Notch

Last May we started up the regular start and then rapped down the alternate start at the right side of the buttress. Today we climbed the alternate start as our first pitch.

Here's Tom making his way up the start of P2

Making my way up P2
I'm just a tiny speck on a big mountain!
What I love about climbing Cannon mountain is the exposure!
 But the exposure doesn't bother me one bit because I'm too busy
focusing on climbing and making certain I can get to all the holds.  :D
multi pitch rock climb

P2 done!
Background, I-93 winds through Franconia Notch


Sean's POV up the start of P3, the Pipe Pitch




P3 - The Pipe Pitch! 
I have to admit, when I first started up this steep, double crack wall, I was trembling. Sean had tied off Tom's rope (yellow) in case I needed to use it. I grabbed the yellow rope but quickly abandoned that idea once I found that pulling on a floppy rope felt awkward and made me feel insecure!















After clearing the steep, double cracks and stepping onto the pedestal, I saw all this protection (right) and felt so much better. Especially after seeing all the wonderful features available that weren't "reachy." That exposure over to the right into the Black Dike corner was amazing! It gets better! ;)












Looking down at the section of fixed pitons just above The Pipe. After getting onto the blocky ledge with "The Pipe", I looked up and saw the old pitons that Sean had warned us about. He sewed that up that section really well! My rope was clipped into pro above and below the fixed pitons. "Good" I thought. Tom's rope was clipped into all the pitons, so I don't have to touch any one of them! I placed my right foot onto the top of The Pipe and yelled up to Sean that I was standing on it.









Zeee Pipe, oh la la!
Cannon Mountain, multi pitch rock climb

My view of the Black Dike from the Pipe Pitch

I thought I would have a tough time at the section above The Pipe, but surprisingly, it wasn't difficult. There were good blocks to get my feet up to the climb above The Pipe. I stemmed 2-3 moves with my feet and couldn't believe how juggy the holds were! First my right hand, and then my left...really?! That easy! 

On the section just above The Pipe, to the right I found a flat slab block and remembered that Sean had said that it looks like you wanna step onto it, but don't! Instead, look to the left and you'll be facing the right side of the arete. So I looked around the arete and not only were there holds, they were good and not "reachy." (see a theme here?) I cleaned a piece that I was clipped into before making my way around and up the arete.





 After you go around the arete, you come onto this large ramp (left). See how happy I am! Then its a walk up the ramp, around a corner to the left, then up a bulge to a large, flat belay ledge!










Cannon Mountain, multi pitch rock climb


The Pipe Pitch completed! 
After I completed this pitch, Sean high-fived me. He also told me that he thought I might have trouble at this section of the pitch and was happy to see me come up and around to him so quickly. Both Tom and I agreed that there is a lot of exposure on the Pipe Pitch, but it isn't difficult. 

For me, there was one section on our 1st, 2nd and 4th pitches that I found really reachy and had to step back to think about. I had to make some intermediate moves - where Sean and Tom had just gone up in 1-2 moves to get up, say, onto a ledge, it would take me 3-4 moves.









Tom's turn at The Pipe Pitch

I had the honor of giving beta and belaying Tom while he climbed
the Pipe pitch. Tom is only 14 years old but he climbed it like a boss!
Cannon Mountain, multi pitch rock climb

Happy Lead!

Sean leading P4

From the belay station of P4


Tom coming up P4

Good day indeed!
5th and final pitch


Shaka from the top of Whitney Gilman Ridge!

Cannon Mountain



Our route
(I got this photo off of Mountain Project)

Yellow dashed lines = our route.
Blue dots = belay stations

Last May we started up the regular start and then rapped 
down the alternate start at the right side of the buttress.
Today we climbed the alternate start as our first pitch.