Cannon Cliff is the tallest and most respected cliff in New England. The climbs are long, the weather is bad, and the rock is exfoliating. Every climber who heads up to do a route on Cannon understands that the undertaking is a considerable one.
This is not to say that the routes are bad, however. The popular routes ascend pristine granite and can be over ten pitches long. Just don't stray from your chosen route, as you may find yourself in one of Cannon's many heavily eroded vertical gullies.
Rockfall is a common occurrence on the cliff. The Old Man, a natural outline of a face in the rock and New Hampshire's famous state symbol, fell off the cliff a few years back. An entire pitch, the Whaleback Crack, parted from the face in the 1990's and created a swath of fresh talus at the base.
This is the rough estimate of the areas i split cannon in to...
Located in Franconia Notch, the cliff faces east and many a climber has been caught unawares by fast-moving storms coming from the west. Plus, a long talus approach leads to the base and can be heinous if the talus is wet or snow covered.
Do not let the above description dissuade you. Cannon offers the chance for the experienced climber to find alpine serenity on a remote, unforgiving, and challenging wall.
All roads lead to Interstate 93 and I-93 runs through Franconia Notch. The big cliff is on the west side of the road. You can't possibly miss it.
The parking area is on the north end of the cliff. It is only possible to access the lot from the southbound side of 93. If you are coming from the south, head past the lot and get off on the next exit (the Tramway exit). From here, reverse directions and head south into the lot.
For descriptions of Cannon's excellent winter climbs, including the super-classic Black Dike, see Cannon Ice Climbs.
150' of sustained liebacking make this a memorable adventure. Pitch 1, 5.7, 150' (or, in the words of a guide, "Only 5.6 but be sure to send up your strongest leader.") Climb either corner to the top of a pillar (about 70'), then traverse 25' left under the large overhang, and pull the layback flake and exit right and build a belay level with a pointy flake. Look down and realize you are standing on top of the same massive flake you were underclinging on the traverse.Pitch 2, 5.7, 110'. Step...[more]Browse More Classics in NH
I was told there was a way to descend from the bottom of the cliff face by going to the right of Lakeview and following a trail.
Last Sunday, I was up at Lakeview at about 10AM and it was jam packed and backed up by a slooooooooooow group; looked at Weisner Dike and there was a sllllloooooow group there as well.
Considering there was bound to be a huge clusterf*ck at the last pitch, I figured I'd just walk back down and go somewhere else; there is something that looks like a trail for a few hundred feet ... then nothing. I ended up bushwhacking straight down for 95% of the descent and ended up directly on the left side of the parking.
Anyway; word to the wise: That trail is somewhat overgrown.
By lee hansche Administrator From: goffstown, nh Oct 24, 2011
Im in the middle of redoing Cannon Cliff's organization. I just have to move the photos now. As you look around let me know if any routes are out of place. The area descriptions are just rough drafts so far.
There is an awesome Gigapan of Cannon Cliff taken by Jim Surette on the Museum of the White Mountains website. It's fantastic how far you can zoom in! This is a great resource when planning out your climb at Cannon.
MotWM's viewing area is 400 pixels tall but gigapan allows up to 800 pixels tall. Here is a direct link to a larger viewer. I tried to get it full screen but it took just enough effort for me to lose interest -- this one's good enough. :)