Friends of the Ledges is a volunteer organization dedicated to the stewardship of local climbing areas and to preserving the historical tradition of climbing in the eastern White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine.
The organization’s focus is on general cliff stewardship and access and not to get too deeply involved in issues with more ethical implications such as route development. Friends of the Ledges could serve a role in convening public conversations about these types of issues if needed, but in general Friends of the Ledges seeks to support and uphold the tradition of self-governance within our climbing community.
Dear fellow Friends of the Ledges,
We have plenty of winter left in the eastern White Mountains of New Hampshire, but we’re thinking ahead to the 2018 rock climbing season. Whether it’s spring climbing at newly reopened Band M Ledge or summertime crack climbing at Cathedral, we bet you’re thinking about it too. With great climbing resources comes the need for great stewardship as our cliffs get more use. Please take a look at our recent accomplishments and our future plans.
- Replaced 93 bolts (so far) using the industry’s best practices and reusing the same hole whenever possible. Hundreds of hours of volunteer time have gone into this work.
- Applied for and obtained 501(c)(3) non-profit status, which will further our ability to tackle access issues, provide our volunteers and board with improved liability protections, and allow our generous donors to see a greater benefit when supporting our efforts.
- Worked with the Access Fund Conservation Team for two years to address trail erosion at the base of the North End at Cathedral Ledge. This was a major effort that involved several weeks of work by professional trail crews plus more than 100 hours of volunteer time and effort.
- Our lead bolt replacer, Sam Bendroth, attended a bolt replacement workshop in 2017 led by the Access Fund and Petzl Technical Institute.
- Collaborated with the Access Fund to reopen Band M ledge to climbing.
- Held “Spring Clean-ups” at Cathedral and Whitehorse ledges the past few years to clear the trails of leaves and debris from the winter.
- Worked behind-the-scenes with land managers from the US Forest Service, NH State Parks, as well as private landowners to ensure positive relationships with climbers.
- Held slideshows at Tuckerman Brewing Company featuring local climbers.
- Built a website on volunteer time with bolt replacement data and a form for the public to submit bolt replacement suggestions.
- Working with the Access Fund and NH State Parks, we are planning to bring the Access Fund Conservation Team back to Cathedral Ledge this summer to work on critical trail maintenance issues at the base of the Thin Air Face. We are working on planning a public meeting to discuss the issues and the ideas for how to address them. Stay tuned!
- Our team will continue to upgrade aging bolts and anchors in the area. The South Buttress of Whitehorse Ledge remains a priority including the popular routes Lost Souls and Loose Lips.
- We’re planning another slideshow at Tuckerman Brewing Company this spring.
- We will continue to work with land managers and private landowners to address any questions or issues involving climbing in this area.
- In 2018, one of our top goals is to do a better job of notifying our members and community of our quarterly board meetings, which are always open to the public, so more people can participate.
Friends of the Ledges can’t continue this work without your support. Our early 2018 fundraising goal is $3,000; please consider donating if cliff stewardship and hardware replacement is important to you. Thank you and feel free to contact us with questions or comments.
Friends of the Ledges
- serve as a liaison between the climbing community and landowners/land managers, including the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service.
- preserve the unique character of the different climbing areas in this region (see Jerry Handren's North Conway Rock Climbs for definition of the focus area).
- maintain these climbing areas with minimal infrastructure and impact.
- convene community-wide conversations about climbing-related issues and concerns when needed.