FRANKENSTEIN ACCESS ANNOUNCEMENT: The Conway Scenic Railroad will be active in Crawford Notch this winter. It is critically important for climbers to avoid walking on the train tracks whenever possible. In an effort to minimize time spent on the tracks we are asking that you please take the Frankenstein Cliff Trail to the Amphitheater when climbing at Frankenstein, instead of walking on the tracks directly from the parking lot. Please do not leave packs, gear, or ropes on or near the rails, and avoid belaying near the tracks. Be prepared for trains to pass at any time, all winter. We will continue to provide updates when possible.
Save the Date! On December 14th Janet Wilkinson will be doing a presentation at Ledge Brewing Company in North Conway, NH, from 6-8 P.M. This is a fundraising event for Friends of the Ledges, and all are welcome! Janet is a long time local and accomplished all around climber. She’s digging through a couple decades of mountain adventure stories to find some fun and funny ones to share with us. Expect shenanigans ranging from our local hills to places like Cuba, Newfoundland, Patagonia, Nepal and India, with a mix of first ascents, failed ascents, unplanned bivies and big wall climbing. Janet is a mom of two young wildlings, works as an organizational development consultant, and advocates for inclusion and belonging in the outdoor community.
This community is a wonderful and ever-changing entity, made up of individuals with their own strong convictions, opinions, and senses of right and wrong. Each of us makes our own decisions in our climbing, based on those very individual convictions, and ideally when taken as a whole, this medley of different voices and opinions reflects an overall community ethic. Lately I’ve been thinking about these conversations, the constant push and pull within any community, and the general agreements that sometimes come as a result. I think that putting in the effort to make this process as public as possible is important, and I want to share a few documents that you can find on the Community Resources section of the Friends of the Ledges website. FOTL does not make decisions about any of the topics you’ll find on this page. Our purpose is to serve this community of climbers and the land that we recreate on as best we can. As an organization we aim to support the community in decision making, but the FOTL board does not make ethics decisions on its own. These resources are general guidelines to best practices, and actions; and were compiled in public settings with input from all who were willing to participate. In anticipation of the changing season, the newest addition to this page is a list of suggested possible options for mixed climbing at Cathedral that, according to a community poll, are unlikely to upset most climbers (anyone else getting excited about winter, @nickaiellopopeo definitely is!) Please check it out! And while you’re there you can also check out more options for mixed climbing on Frankenstein’s South face, and the summary of the community’s general consensus on bolting best practices that was created as a result of the bolting meeting last summer. Link in our bio. As always, we welcome your input, and would love to know if there are any other topics that folks would like to see more information on. Happy fall and enjoy these cooler climbing temperatures! - Molly 📷 @joshlaskin
Come join us and @heyflashfoxy for a trail work project and cleanup at Cathedral Ledge! We are so excited to be partnering with Flash Foxy again this year. And we’re also very excited about this fall’s project! Two springs ago, a huge rockfall event wiped out a large section of the Ventilator Slabs trail at the base of the cliff. We rerouted that trail around the debris (thanks to awesome and hard working folks showing up to help out), and this year we’ll be making some improvements to this new trail in the form of a rock work project, brushing in unnecessary social trails, and a little bit of trail clearing. Lots of opportunity to get into it and get dirty! We’ll also be facilitating a big ‘ole cliff cleanup - looking to leave there area around Cathedral as trash-free as possible. So come join us, EVERYONE is welcome - wether you are attending the festival or not. The stewardship project and cliff cleanup will be Sunday October 1st, you can meet us at the Community Center at 9:00, or at the cliff at 9:30. The cliff will be busy, so please carpool if possible. We will also be tabling at the @heyflashfoxy open Market on Saturday September 30th, at the North Conway Community Center @noco_community from 8:30 - 12. Liam and Molly can’t wait to answer your questions, chat about the cliffs, chat about life, meet new people and catch up with old friends! What a weekend! Amazing photos of last year’s project by @themegallen 📍Abenaki, Pennacook, Pequawket, and Wabanaki lands.
Ever wonder if those pesky pitons are any good? Curious about how to test, clip, or place a piton? FOTL will be hosting a Piton Clinic on Sunday morning, June 11th from 9-10 a.m at the Cathedral Ledge kiosk with Paul Cormier and Kurt Winkler. Gear will be provided and this is a bring your own coffee event! Please shoot us a message if you're inclined to come so we can have an idea of group size.
It’s spring and the rain has finally stopped (for now), which means it’s time for us to get out there and clean up some cliffs! Spring Cliff Cleanup and Stewardship day will be held on May 27th, mark your calendars! This year we will be focused primarily on picking up trash (there’s a lot to pick up) and making sure that climber approach trails are clear. We will work from 2:00pm - 5:00pm, and then celebrate the return of rock season with our usual BBQ/hang out from 5:00pm onward. BYO grillables and beverages. We will provide trash bags, and disposable gloves, but feel free to bring your own work gloves, hand saws, etc.
Aaaand one more…. @nickaiellopopeo writes: “You boys… ever been in a grizzly den?” Our pilot, Doug Brewer, wasn’t great at small talk. Accustomed to flying hunters and mining prospectors, Doug didn’t know what to make of mountain climbers. Doug recalled flying Fred Beckey and his team when they made the first (and only) ascent of Mt. Neacola in 1991. We met Doug at the Kenai municipal airport in 2019. He was resplendent in his camo jacket, dirty jeans, and unironic mullet. Doug’s bush plane - a 1953 DeHavilland Beaver - had two different colored wings. We didn’t dare ask why. More to come tonight at Ledge Brewing.
Just a little bit more to get you all psyched for this upcoming slideshow… When humans had last walked across the Lobster Claw glacier, Bill Clinton was still in his first term. In 2019, this tight, constricted valley became a temporary home for Ryan Driscoll, Justin Guarino, and Nick Aiello-Popeo. Their base camp receive only a few short hours of sunlight each day. After a little reconnaissance, a two-week blizzard confined them to their tents. The crack of distant serac-fall and the rumble of nearby avalanches were the only sounds that pierced the sheets of falling snow. The team was thankful not to be able to see the avalanches, as the storm prevented them from fleeing the valley - even if they wanted to… Come hear the rest of the tale on Friday March 3, at 6pm at Ledge Brewing in Intervale, NH.
Looking forward to the upcoming slideshow presentation with Ryan Driscoll on his ascent of the North face of Mt. Neacola? Here’s a little more on it to get you really excited! The frozen north face of Mt. Neacola rises four thousand feet from the glacier. Resting on the summit of The Citadel after establishing a new route, Ryan Driscoll stared in awe at the foreboding wall on the horizon. It’s dark energy pulled at him like the gravitational force of a black hole. Research would reveal that the face had been attempted just once, in 1995, by Topher Donahue and Kennan Harvey. Melding big wall tactics with the merging art of mixed climbing, Donahue and Harvey climbed three quarters of the wall before retreating in a storm. Just a few weeks after Driscoll glimpsed the face in 2019, he would make his first of several attempts with Justin Guarino and Nick Aiello-Popeo. Come support our bolt replacement efforts, and hear the whole story on Friday, March 3 at 6pm @ledgebrew in Intervale, NH.