Monday, October 26, 2009

Home of the Swamp Donkey Disco

Climbing in New England is like a history lesson in North American Mountaineering. Progressive climbing routes of the 1920's make up many of the "Classics" that are climbed today, often many times each weekend. Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire (which until 1972 was called "Profile Mountain") is an exfoliating granite dome in Franconia Notch State Park and is home to the longest alpine routes in the state. The cliff face itself looms over I-93 and the frequent rock falls, bad weather and loose rock adds to the mountain's allure.

In August of 1929 two cousins attempted a prominent ridge on the south end of the cliff. On the first ascent Hassler Whitney and Bradley Gilman carried a short length of hemp rope and completed the route in 17 pitches. The climb was called one of the hardest in North America at the time; on which the cousins didn't place a single piton for protection.

Today the Whitney-Gilman ridge is rated 5.7 (with a more direct 5.8 variation) and is climbed in 3 or 4 pitches.

A view to the north from the Whitney-Gilman ridge

Today climbers face new hazards: Route Traffic

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