Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guidebook: North Conway - The Saigons (5.8), Bird's Nest (5.9-), Children's Crusade (5.9)

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Click here for all Guidebook posts
Click here for all Cathedral posts and here for all Whitehorse posts.

Whitehorse Ledge
Children's Crusade (5.9) - Three pitches - Mixed trad and sport - Bolted anchors

- Approach
: From the lower parking lot, walk up the road past the hotel and find the path at the bend in the road. Turn left and go straight up toward the base of the slabs. From there, walk left along the base for about five minutes, occasionally following the path as it moves away from the cliff for a few moments. Pass a wooden ladder that leads up to the right and find a left-leading dike about 30 feet past a left-facing corner. There is a small overhang right above the start.

- Pitch One (5.9) - Sport - Bolted anchor - 130 Feet: Climb the dike about 12 feet to the pin, traverse right past the pin and first bolt and head straight up to the second bolt. From there, climb the ledges up to the obvious traverse left to the anchor.
- Pitch Two (5.9) - Trad - Bolted anchor - 100 Feet: Start left of the anchor and head straight up to the first ledge. From there, weave back and forth on the path of least resistance until you find the anchor, which will be to the right of a low-angle crack.
- Pitch Three (5.8) - Trad - Tree anchor - 60 Feet: Climb the crack on the left up through the blocky section. Step left to the top of the blocks and mantle up on good hands. Step right to the sketchy block and finish straight up and to the left at the tree anchor.

- Descent: Rap with two ropes in two raps straight down to the ground. There is no need to rap down to the right to the anchors at the top of the second pitch of Children's Crusade. Rapping straight down will bring you to another set of anchors that are left of the bolts at the top of the first pitch.

Cathedral Ledge

The Saigons (5.8) - Two pitches - Mixed sport and trad - Bolted anchors

I've named these "The Saigons" out of ease's sake. They are actually two separate routes called Miss Saigon and Still in Saigon.

- Approach
: There are two ways to get to these climbs, either by the Recompense Trail or the Thin Air Trail. Both trails can be found from the same main parking area. The Recompense Trail is several yards to the left of the Thin Air Trail.

From the Thin Air Trail, follow it to the Mordor Wall and then follow the steep path all the way to the top to a large tree that makes for a nice belay seat.

From the Recompense Trail, follow it up until you get to where the path splits. Head up right, following the wooden ladder / stairs to the top where the large tree is.

- Still in Saigon - Pitch One (5.8) - Mostly sport (with a few trad placements) - Bolted anchor - 155 feet: Basically, follow the bolts straight up, stepping left to the flake near the top and then traversing right just below the ledge to where it is easy to pull up and find the anchor.
- Miss Saigon - Pitch Two (5.8) - Mostly sport (with a few trad placements) - Bolted anchor - 75 feet: Climb straight up, trending right a bit as you head toward the anchors at the large ledge above.

- Descent: It is best to rap once with two 60m ropes all the way back to the base. It is possible to traverse right along the slab over to the Thin Air Ledge if you only have one rope (and can then walk off the road that can be followed to the right). However, this slab is often wet and slick, and it presents a potentially dangerous traverse for the second.

Bird's Nest (5.9-) - One pitch - Trad - Tree anchor

- Approach
: The approach to the North End starts about 50 feet away from the gate on the road (opposite from where the hill begins to go up). Follow the path up 75 yards to the base.

- Bird's Nest - 90 feet: The thin single crack that steps right on a ledge midway up to another pair of cracks. It is about midway between a short left-facing corner on the right and another crack on the left.

Finger jam the crack and use better-than-they-look foot holds up to the rest at a small ledge. Move right and follow the two cracks up to the bulge. Head right once over the bulge to the tree anchor.

- Descent: Lower or rap off the tree at the top. A 60m rope will get you back to the ground. The tree is to the right of the route, so be prepared for a bit of a swing if you choose to clean on the way down.

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