|Rock Routes at Owl's Cliff: Oracle Boulders: grouped by Area, sorted by Name
Owl's Cliff consists of two main cliffs located on the peak south of Mt Tremont, south west of Bartlett NH. They can be viewed by looking north from the Kancamagus Highway across a marsh near Passaconaway campground. The two cliffs in the distance make up the "eyes" of the owl. There are lots of Owl cliffs in New England, so this area is not to be confused with the other big cliff named Owl's Head in Oliverian Notch to the west.
For the adventurous, if you are willing to bike/hike a little, Owl's offers great granite climbing away from the masses, with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains with little evidence of civilization. The rock is mostly nice solid granite up to 250 feet tall. There are many high quality pitches to do here, of all grades, from 5.4 to stiff 13, trad, mixed and sport, slabs, faces, super classic cracks, corners and aretes, with routes up to 4 pitches. As of 2011, there are 50+ developed pitches with many more to do. Most climbs are well protected, with modern bolted anchors with rings or heavy quicklinks, though certainly bring you trad skills and self sufficiency. You will be out there and not close to quick rescue. Most climbs can be done with a single 60 m rope.
See Glenn's map www.mountainproject.com/v/new_hampshire/owls_cliff/106821360 Owl's is approached off Bear Notch road, via Rob Brook Rd, a wide, well graded, gated forest road. Parking is about a mile up Bear Notch Rd. from the Kanc, on you left, at a good sized pullout with a NF kiosk and pay tube. Hike or bike past the gate about 2.5 miles and you should see a sign on your right for the Brunel Trail. If you are not over loaded, a bike will really shave off time and make the trip out and back much more fun. Continue past the Brunel for a few hundred yards and take a right @N44.02302 W71.35633 up a grassy forest road. There is a short cut from the back of a small clearing on the right side of a wide curve @N44.02909 W71.35912, up a skidder trail that takes out a big loop, then reconnects @N44.03084 W71.35946 to the forest road. Take a right when you regain it. (if you miss the short cut, no biggie. Just keep going straight, adding 5-10 min) Before this rough forest road again crosses the Brunel, bushwhack in to the left @ N44.03455 W71.35921 to find the remains of a skidder trail @N44.03499 W71.35893. The bushwhack is a few hundred feet just after a seasonal stream crosses the trail, and a yellow arrow sign on a tree on you right. There may or not be some cairns leading you in the few hundred yards to the skidder trail. Head up the skidder trail which peters out into a game/climber trail up the hillside to eventually get to the Oracle Boulders @ N44.04223 W71.35942. The largest of these, the Gun Sight Boulder, has a 5 bolt route up an arete. From the uphill side of these you break right or left and up depending on which cliff you are going to.
Water: Not carrying your water the whole way makes the approach much more pleasant, so bring some empty jugs. There is an excellent source along the way. About 10 minutes before you would get to the Oracle Boulders, there is a "T" junction. Left goes up to the crags and right leads to good water in about 3 minutes@ N44.04129 W71.35745 (not the mini-pond you first come to, but a stream issuing forth from a spring at a rock, a few hundred feet past). Be especially considerate about not relieving your self anywhere even remotely near the spring, please.
GPS coordinates are (UTM UPS, WGS 84), Total travel distance from parking to get to the left cliff is about 4.7 miles. The hike in can be a beast with a heavy pack. Pack accordingly, while being aware that the cliffs are pretty high up and can go from hot to cold quickly. During high bug season they seem especially bad here due to the marshes and running water below, so unless you like hiking with a heavy pack in a full bug suite, avoid the cliff then. Remember you are out there and need to be self sufficient. Cell phones usually work at or on top of the cliff, but not on the hike in or along the Kanc, so pack you phone, but don't rely on it.
For your first time, with a bike, figure about 1-1/2 hrs to get to the right cliff going in this way, 2 hrs if carrying a giant pack and no bike. Add five or ten minutes to get to the left cliff. It gets faster once you do it a few times. I have made it in in just over an hour without a bike, jog-trotting with a light pack.
There isn't any real quick way between the two main cliffs, so you should probably pick one or the other for the day. Further direction and descriptions of the two cliffs will be in their respective sections.
|kind of in the middle
||Oracle Boulders at Owls Cliff