Saturday, September 24, 2016

The West Chimney: Eaglet Spire - Multi Pitch Rock Climb

tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing
Sean and I on the Eaglet Spire summit


The West Chimney (5.7)
Trad, 3 Pitches, 200 feet
Eaglet Spire
Greenleaf & Climbers Trails
Franconia Notch, NH

Cool temps are perfect for a hike and a climb in Franconia Notch! Sean and I met up with his son Tom and a few other Boy Scout troop members at the Lafayette Campground parking lot. We hiked up to Lonesome Lake to lunch and enjoy the views. After about an hour, Tom and the scouts went on their way to the Cannon summit. They had a long day ahead with plans to continue onto the Cannon summit, the Cannonballs, an overnight stay at the Kinsman Pond shelter, and then a second day bagging the north and south Kinsman peaks. 

Sean and I headed up to Exit 34B and parked on the side of the off-ramp at the Greenleaf Trailhead. We hiked up the Greenleaf Trail and took the "climbers trail" to the Eaglet Spire. Sean had climbed the Eaglet Spire 16 years ago and had been wanting to get back to climbing it again, so I was really looking forward to this climb. At the base of the route I felt that same excitement I always get when I'm about to ride a really cool roller coaster. Only thing, today I was going to climb a spire! I was stoked! Enjoy some photos of our day at Franconia Notch.


Lonesome Lake
Photos Lovena Harwood and Eric Reitter




On our way up to the Spire there were 5 parties ahead of us, some already making their way down. At the trailhead parking lot we bumped into Jay, Katlyn and little Bella who were on their way up. Making their way down from a hike were Will and his 3 kids. It's a popular place, and one I hope to visit again! 


The final push up the talus field
tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing


Gearing up at the base of the route
Profile Lake down behind me


Sean ready to go at the start of P1




Making my way up P1





Making my way up the 'chimney' of P2. Both Sean and I were cussing and laughing while climbing the Chimney of P2. It was both challenging and fun to climb. Stem it.
chimney, pitch 2, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing


Another use for the selfie stick!

Sean's viewpoint as he makes his way up P3

P3 the traditional way. 
That bolt is reachy and the Mountain Project beta is spot on!
And yes, I grabbed it to get onto the ledge above it.



Eagle Cliff


Making my way up P3





Some old pins






At the summit!
Left to right: Anchors, rap rings, Profile Lake



Atop the Eaglet Spire summit
The tiniest summit I've ever been on!
tabletop, small, summit, spire, franconia notch, the west chimney, new hampshire, free standing


Twilight rappel
(there are a couple of overhanging sections on this steep rappel)

Franconia Notch at twilight

Hike out in the darkness



I am thankful that Alexa told me about the Sterling Hollowblock (shown below) during my private ice lead lesson this past winter. Afterwards I went straight over to IME and bought one, it's just $12! Today this "$12 piece of gear" saved my ass! That first step off of the Eaglet Spire is known to be notorious. As I was going over the edge to rappel, both my feet slipped out under me. I only fell a few inches and into the wall, but it was enough to make me let go of the rope and a sling that I was holding onto. That HollowBlock caught me - always back up your rappels! And I had to leave the sling. It was attached to the bolts above the rap rings and I couldn't reach it. So I flung the sling over onto the top of the summit so that it wouldn't get tangled in the rope when we pulled it. Sterling Rope of Biddeford, Maine, USA.


rappel backup