Author Topic: Family top roping in North Conway area  (Read 5808 times)

Offline scottfsmith

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Family top roping in North Conway area
« on: August 03, 2014, 08:11:47 PM »
We are going to the White Mountains in a few weeks and want to snag a few climbs.  "We" is the whole family of varying climbing abilities, and pretty much top roping with a belay from below only is going to work I expect.  I can trad lead so can set a top rope, but we want an area with plenty of 5.5-5.9 kind of stuff for the kids.  Also highly prefer no gnarly approaches, mosquito death storms, at base of a popular multi-pitch route, etc etc.

How about the following places?  I found these ideas Googling for top rope possibilities.

Elephant's Head in Crawford Notch: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/elephants-head/105965961

Square Ledge in Pinkham Notch: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/square-ledge-pinkham-notch/105973007

Lincoln Crag in Kancamagus Crags, on upper cliff: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/upper-cliff/107587873

Cathedral, North End cracks:  http://www.mountainproject.com/v/the-north-end/105908845

Humphrey's Ledge: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/humphreys-ledge/107856255

Jockey Cap (E of N Conway in Maine): http://www.mountainproject.com/v/jockey-cap/106117096

Stonehouse pond: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/stonehouse-pond/107723014

Scott

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2014, 08:59:58 PM »
Knowing the ages of the kids would help... but here's some pre-advice on the locations you listed that I am intimate with.

Square Ledge in Pinkham is quite awesome for this, but can be over-run with guided and non-guided camp groups. Lots of scenic kid friendly climbing there. The new guidebook really shows this place off. Two TR's on the west face and "The Chimney" are classic family fun routes, but the West Face is about 140 feet tall, so setting an anchor mid-pitch and cleaning it later can be tricky...

North End of Cathedral only has only two moderates, Childs Play (5.6) and Kiddy Crack (5.7), both with frustrating starts. The 9's there are classic though... not many options if a camp group is around...

The Geriatric Wall at Humprheys has a mellow 5.4 and some 5.7-5.8's, and is rarely busy.

Jockey Cap has the easiest approach in the world but the easiest route is a stiff 5.6-5.7. Nice bolted anchors up top though...

Stonehouse is a bit of a walk with not much "family friendly" climbing IMO....

Now for what you've missed:

1) Echo Roof Area of Whitehorse... "Holy Land (5.6) and Relic Hunter (5.7)" are two very family friendly routes with bolted rap anchors... nearby Beezelbub Pitch 1 and Seventh Seal (fun 5.10a) are other options...

2) Left of the start of Thin Air there are a couple great TR's, one about 5.4 and one about 5.6 that ends at a visible thread... These are popular with guiding half day family programs and don't interfere with people heading up Thin Air...

3) Echo Crag in Franconia Notch... probably the absolute best place for a huge amount of moderates close together... plenty of fun for all ages and abilities... really need "Secrets of The Notch", which I think is out of print, but MP may have all the details...

Offline Chinos

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2014, 10:46:05 PM »
elephants head is a super easy approach with good stuff for everyone. mostly gear anchors. and a static rope can be handy.

CMC Crag could be another option, the approach can be a bit hard to find if its not marked tho. it may be a bit dirty, it doesn't get much traffic

I second Echo Roof area and Echo Crag

Lost Horizon Crag at sundown is also nice. a bit of an approach and guided parties can make it busy.

Square ledge is worth the hike alone, great views!

The New Durham Area has some good stuff as well

Offline scottfsmith

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 12:03:49 AM »
Thanks guys, great stuff!  Sounds like I will nix North End/Stonehouse/Jockey Cap and add the other ones to my list.  Good fixed rap anchors one pitch up is also important, I forgot about that.  I am in Maryland where everything is a one pitch climb and top ropes are set by a scramble to the top.

I ordered a guidebook, "North Conway Rock Climbs".  There wasn't much info on it but its recently updated and covers the area so I hope its good.

The kids are 12/14/17, they are doing 5.8-5.11 in the gym but are more like 5.5-5.8 climbers outside.  One of my main goals is giving them a positive experience so they want to do it more.  Of course if there is a 5.10 nearby I can pop on to that won't be too bad, either  ;D

Scott

Offline David_G48

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 07:24:13 AM »
Humphrey's Ledge (just down the road from Cathedral 3 minutes)

Right at the beginning of The Geriatric Walls There are 3 routes that all can be top roped. 1st pitch of Easy as Instant Pudding 5.4, 1st pitch of Autumn Tears 5.6 and Yellow Jacket 5.7. All have bolted anchors at the end of the pitch and Autumn Tears requires 1 nut placement at the beginning the rest are bolts on the 3 routes.
You can do the 2nd pitch of Autumn Tears 5.9 and still belay with a 60 meter rope from the ground giving climbers the option of stopping at the 1st pitch or going to the top. Even though there are 2 bolts on the 2nd pitch gear is needed to finish Autumn Tears.
If you desire harder climbs there is Put my Foot Where 5.10 and Lost & Found 5.10c all which can be top roped with a 60 meter. All 5 of these climbs are within 75 feet of each other with the ability to observe everyone in your group.
Autumn Tears will not appear in the guide book you ordered as it is too new but it is between Yellow Jacket and Easy as Instant Pudding. All the climbs must be led to set up a top rope. These climbs take 10 minutes to get to from the road where you park your car.

Have a fun and safe family day!
David G





















« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 04:19:05 PM by David_G48 »

Offline markvnh

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 03:13:43 PM »
Stay away from Lincoln Crag - for the most part its a choss pile IMHO! Another vote for Square Ledge too.

Offline frik

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 03:54:51 PM »
You may want to check out Echo crag in Franconia notch. There are a lot of climbs of varying grades pretty close together... more than enough stuff to keep you busy. Almost everything can be top roped. It generally needs a day or two to dry out after a rain, but the bugs should be under control by mid August. It can be a busy place on the weekends.

Offline danf

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 10:42:23 PM »
To add to what David said about Humphrey's, Tree Key's is right there too.  I believe the guidebook lists it as a 5.7, but I thought it more in the easy 5.6 range.  The only caveat to that route is to watch out for poison ivy; when we were there a month or 2 ago there was a ledge about 30' up that had some growing in it.  At the time it could be sidestepped and avoided if you knew what you were looking for but it's hard to say how much it's grown since.

Offline strandman

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2014, 02:32:17 PM »
Do Square and Elephant's head have rap anchors ?

Offline danf

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2014, 09:02:27 PM »
Square Ledge has no anchors that I have seen.  You can set up a TR by anchoring off of trees at the top of the Chimney or with gear.  The west face climbs are gear-only anchors, unless you have a long, long static line and aren't worried about touron's stepping on the rope.

The last time I was at the Chimney (just a couple weeks ago), I built a 4 piece anchor (yeah, overkill I know, but I felt better about it knowing the potential abuse it was going to take) using small gear because that's about all there is for placements...  I think a #4 or #5 Camalot would fit in the wide crack there too, but I haven't tried it. 

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 07:45:24 AM »
FYI of the places mentioned only Elephant Head, Jockey Cap and Square Ledge can be set up without leading something...
Al Hospers
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Offline lucky luke

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 12:53:53 PM »
FYI of the places mentioned only Elephant Head, Jockey Cap and Square Ledge can be set up without leading something...

elephant head with children on the side of the road???

Offline snowleopard

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2014, 09:59:55 PM »
LL strikes again with a bullshit blither blather reply

Whether toproping or leading or even hiking/scrambling around The Elephant Head the trail and
climbers paths are not "on the side of the road".  Close to the road and easy access from parking across the
road yes.

LL if you really think children or any other climbers are on the side of the road while climbing Elephant Head then
you are talking out your ass because you obviously have not climbed there.

Offline Admin Al

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2014, 09:11:48 PM »
Deleted the post with the derogatory ethnic reference. FYI, I won't tolerate that!
Al Hospers
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Offline strandman

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Re: Family top roping in North Conway area
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2014, 09:47:17 PM »
Are regular ethnic references and regular derogatory references still OK ??  I hope so... ;D