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Thread: Northeast Ridge (III, 5.7, 5.8 var.), Pinnacle Buttress, Huntington Ravine (7.31.10)

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    Senior Member leaf's Avatar
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    Northeast Ridge (III, 5.7, 5.8 var.), Pinnacle Buttress, Huntington Ravine (7.31.10)

    Adam Wilcox and I headed into Huntington Ravine to check out the Pinnacle Buttress, as we both have never climbed it before. Myself, I haven't been in Huntington at all in the summer time and was looking forward to a little 'alpine' rock. We planned a weekend to climb it together a month or two in advance, so we were both psyched when the weather turned out to be extremely favorable. Huntington Ravine is the scene of the best ice climbing days I've had thus far and it is my favorite place in the Whites. And this summer day did not disappoint, as I knew it wouldn't.

    Huntington Ravine in early morning, Pinnacle Buttress is to the left, the top of it in the sun:


    Pinnacle Buttress is a classic climb, recognized by not just climbers here in the northeast. Climbing magazine puts it in the same classics category as Ham and Eggs, Ruth Gorge in Alaska and The Mountaineers Route in the Sawtooth Mountains. The Northeast Ridge route isn't a hard climb, in fact it's fairly easy. But it's the history of the route, the history of Huntington Ravine and Mt. Washington and the spectacular setting that makes it a classic.. and for me, makes it that much more enjoyable. Taken from Climbing Magazine: "...on a nice day in August 1910, George A. Flagg, Mayo Tollman, Paul Bradley, and “Mr. Dennis” made the FA of the Pinnacle via The Old Route (II 5.5) — the first documented roped ascent of technical terrain in the White Mountains. It was here that North American climbing, in the modern sense, came to be . . . even if the climbers used clothesline (or a horse rope) and knew no belay techniques. In the following years, teams made partial ascents of the nearly 800-foot-long Northeast Ridge, on which The Old Route finishes, but it wasn’t until October 14, 1928, that William Allis and Robert Underhill (on lead, with Dana Durand, Kenneth Henderson, and Jessie Whitehead following) completed the integral FA. At one point, Allis stood on Underhill’s shoulders to surmount an “unclimbable chimney” — today’s 5.7 crux, on pitch four", now called 'Allis Chimney'.

    Ok, now on to the climb. We followed the Northeast Ridge Route, more or less. We found ourselves a bit more to the left near the top, but there are alot of great lines and variations you can do, we weren't worried about being "off-route", as it wasn't a big deal on this climb. You can just pick a way and go and it seemed unlikely you'd find yourself in a precarious situation.

    1st Pitch (5.2) ~100 feet
    We got to the base of the route at around 9 a.m. Adam would lead it since I'm still recovering from a bad ankle injury. The first pitch was 4th Class and some low Class 5. We followed wide, slightly dirty crack up and around the corner to the main face of the Buttress up to an old pin at the base of an inside corner.
    Adam on the 1st Pitch:


    2nd Pitch (5.5) ~130 feet
    We climbed easily up the corner and then over some easier terrain, added in a few bushes and a little hiking up to the start of a broad steep wall with another right-facing corner.
    At the start of the 2nd Pitch:


    3rd Pitch (5.7) ~50 feet
    This was a short pitch that started up a rather blank-walled corner and then headed up to one of the more awkward moves I've done up to a small ramp and then to a flat ledge. From here we could drop down for another short pitch to the start of Allis Chimney or head directly up over a small overhang that required a few 5.8 moves to get up and over. Adam and I decided to head straight up and we'd save the Chimney for another day.
    The 3rd Pitch:


    4th Pitch (5.8) ~175 feet
    This was the crux of the route. It took a few technical moves and some panting and sweating to climb under a small roof, out to the face and then up and over the small overhang. It was pretty exciting. After that, there was a series of low angle run-out slabs. At the start of the pitch, Adam first went right, but found a large block of loose rock.. loose enough and big enough for him to back down and head up the left side, which made for an awkward move under a small roof but things were a lot more stable there. It was just another part of the day that added to the alpine feel of the climb for me.
    Adam past the crux:

    A shot I took looking down after I climbed over the crux:



    5th Pitch (~5.2) ~100 feet
    I don't remember too many details of this pitch. It was easy climbing that led up to a huge ledge.

    You got some exposure here and there, but nothing too intense
    One of the spots:


    6th Pitch (~5.4) ~100 feet
    Here we scrambled across to a large slot and climbed over some rather smooth bulges to the last belay ledge, which again, was quite large.

    7th Pitch (~5.5) ~100 feet
    The last pitch was interesting and it ended with some fun climbing to the top. We climbed up to a giant ledge (bigger than the others) with a sharp drop off that fell right away into Pinnacle Gully. On that wall is the Fairytale Traverse. A highly exposed, but easy (5.3) hand traverse with a 500-foot drop below you. We had veered to the left and missed the access to this crazy pitch. But it was awesome getting up to the edge, laying down and peering over it.
    Looking down at the traverse:

    The last of the climbing, fun stuff:


    From there we unroped, packed up and scrambled our way to the very top of the Buttress.

    And of course, you need the shot at the top:


    It was a great day out. You were reminded of the history while passing (and clipping into) the old pitons that were hammered in back in the day. We saw no one else on the route all day, which surprised me, but made the day that much better. As I climbed, I looked down at the throngs of people below heading up the Huntington Ravine Trail and glad we had our solitude above them.

    Here's a picture of the route we took, more or less:


    And a link to all my pictures I took that day:
    http://leaf.smugmug.com/Rock-Climbin...55204123_oWi4E

    We'll definitely be back to check out Allis Chimney and the Fairytale Traverse.

  2. #2
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    thanks for the great post and photos-- right out of a climbing magazine.

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    Senior Member mahony's Avatar
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    Thanks for the look from a climbers perspective...I'm so used to hiking that the climb report is a cool change. Nice photos too.
    Everyone has a nice quote or something here...all I have is this.

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    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
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    Nicely Done
    Enjoy your best

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    Senior Member dr_wu002's Avatar
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    Very cool stuff and way glad you're back from your ankle injury! Nice pictures.

    -Dr. Wu
    To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
    -Thomas Paine

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    Senior Member skimom's Avatar
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    Sweet!

    Nice climb... no, I won't make any butt jokes.
    skimom

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Kool...if you liked this be sure to check out Ed webster's variations on the "Green Wall"...and of course if you have not already done it the Whitney Gilman!
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member leaf's Avatar
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    I haven't been up to Cannon Cliff yet! It's ridiculous! Yeah, the Whitney-Gilman is on the list.. and hoping to get there by the end of summer.

    Thanks guys!

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    Senior Member Nif's Avatar
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    Looks like a great day Court and really nice pics. Especially like the one of you and Adam at the top.

    It's just too bad you didn't get to wait in line for the route and have to deal tons of climber traffice. Maybe next time

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    Senior Member Chugach001's Avatar
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    Well, that sure looks like fun. Congrats.

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    Thanks for bringing back fond memories. You will really like W-G, too, even if the original pipe is missing. Great history.

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    Senior Member cbcbd's Avatar
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    Court and Adam, nice work!!!
    Doug

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    Senior Member Bobby's Avatar
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    Nice Courtney....if I knew that was you, I would have waved hello!
    "Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic." Crash Davis -"Bull Durham"

    photo link

  14. #14
    Senior Member leaf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
    Nice Courtney....if I knew that was you, I would have waved hello!
    That is too bad!

    When I was belaying Adam on the 2nd pitch, there were two guys in the floor of the ravine chatting and taking pictures of me. One of the guys said to the other, "No, we aren't going that way!" I was going to yell down and tell them I wanted a copy of the picture.. I'm sure they had no idea I could hear almost every word they said.. the way the sound travels through the ravine is crazy. Too bad I never did!

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    Senior Member Gillian's Avatar
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    Hey, that's a mountain goat on the rocks again! Glad you're feeling better.
    "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams." - Willy Wonka

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