Crawford Notch, NH – North Conway Ice Fest Weekend
By Alan Cattabriga
I spent four days in the Saco River Valley last wk. and climbed on Mt. Webster everyday, it’s an awesome, complex climbing area with ton’s of fun options and hidden walls of ice.
After getting shut down by “considerable” avy conditions Thurs. morning at the Harvard cabin board I booked it down to Webster. The hike up to Shoestring, the climbing and the trail down were in some of the best conditions I had ever had there. While on top I notice I had a good time going so I totally ran the trail down and logged in my best car to car time yet.
I hung out with with Doug, who just happened to be driving by as I ran the road and hydrated while I waited for Brady Libby to show up for my afternoon session on Webster’s cliffs just north of Central Coulour. By early afternoon Brady & I were hiking up for a recon of a golden flow on the north end of the cliff band that forms Central’s left side. We climbed a long (~300′) slab of ice to get to this section and were totally psyched with the ice we found.
The cliff is overhanging with beautiful, yellow ice all over it and a huge curtain with a window in it coming over the biggest part. This has a super cool looking route that would start behind the curtain with a tough mixed move then tunneling up a hollow tube and out the window onto the sheet.
Many other climbs could be done here, after spending some time checking the place out we traversed over towards Central and passed another wide flow on our way. We finished the day on Central, with daylight waning, traversed off right and down.
Friday Emile Drinkwater, Doug Millen & I had a great time soloing up Cinema and the awesome Cauliflower Gully, Doug did not have much time so he headed to Frankenstine Cliff for a quick solo of Chia and Bobs and then to IME to get his delicious soup ready for the Ice Fest. Emilie and I headed off to do Central to the big ledge. It was fun climbing and the rock above with it’s big gashes was glowing orange in the setting sun.
Saturday Doug, Brady, Dave Rioux, Ted Hammond, Todd Shafer & Tim Gotwols went back to that cliff Brady & I had checked out on Webster, we were exited to show it off to our crew. Brady did an excellent lead of the Gallery route we had looked at and Dave did a cool looking mixed line on the cliffs left side.
There is also a sweet soloing all over the left end and a unusual low angle chimney line that exits thru a curtain that Todd had chopped a hole thru to get out! It was sunny and somewhat free of wind there…. what a wonderful climbing spot.
Sunday was a bit nasty out so we all, with the addition of Courtney Ley, who for some reason wanted to join this crew of misfit toys, did the conga up Landslide Gully… Like I found on Shoestring, every bit of it was excellent!
The gullys on Webster are great fun, Central’s finishes are totally classic but there is so much more there… wonder up to the north slabs and climb something… I’m sure others have visited the yellow wall, we could not have possibly been the first…. I mean holy crap, it’s a roadside crag!