General > General Climbing

Richard Graves- Hitchcock Gully

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I’ve been wondering for the last two seasons what the story is behind the cross at the bottom of Hitchcock Gully, with “Richard Graves” on it. I checked with Rick Wilcox at IME and he didn’t know what happened. Last death he could recall on Willard was 15 or more years ago when some teenagers tried scrambling up the rock slabs near Cinema.

So does anyone know the deal? It just appeared one day, 2, maybe 3 years ago?

Admin Al:
this is for the train. Richard Graves died 100+ years ago.

Really? Any details? And you’d think they’d put the cross outside of the landslide/runout that is the base of Hitchcock. In a regular snow year it gets buried/destroyed.

Richard Graves worked at the Crawford house sometime, if I recall correctly, in the 30's or 40's.  He apparently left one evening with the stated intention of climbing the Standard Route.  Upon not returning, a search found his body somewhere up above what we now call lower Hitchcock, which was where they brought is body down (and not anywhere near the Standard Route).  Apparently there used to be a cross at the spot decades ago, and when it reappeared I figured it must be so the Conway Scenic can tell the story. 
I got this story from an old (1950's I think) article in Appalachia called 'Ramblings on Mt Willard', which is worth checking out.  Not a lot on the climbing, which was just the Standard Route at the time, but interesting.  I also learned that what we are calling Hitchcock gully was formerly known as Butterwort Flume on account of the population of Butterwort that grows in the alcove before the rock exit to lower Hitchcock.  Butterwort loves calcium and is therefore rare in the White Mountains, only growing there and in the Black Dike.  What we call the Cleft was originally called Hitchcock Flume.  Somewhere in there the name moved.
Anyway, hi everybody.  I've lurked on an off but this post drew me out.  I like Mt Willard....
-Geoff Wilson

Cool! Thanks Geoff! I had often wondered the same, and my clients always ask me and I felt a little silly when I didn't know the answer  ???. I assumed someone had died working on the railroad. Good information and where would one find that article, I am interested in learning more about that area.



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