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Rainbow Slabs

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1. Left Side 
2. Height of Land  
3. The Mid Section 
4. The Perfect Wave Slab 

Rainbow Slabs  


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Location: 44.0209, -71.2561 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,241
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: David Aguasca! on May 8, 2008  with updates from Robert Hall and 1 more
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BETA PHOTO: Rainbow Slabs with Key Climbs Marked, as Viewed fr...

Description 

If you've driven down the Kancamagus, chances are you have seen Rainbow Slabs. The 200 feet of southeast-facing, water-streaked granite offer moderate but extremely run-out friction climbing.

Getting There 

The description in the Handren guide is a bit confusing, and it MAY, in fact, be the ancient route to the far south ("Left End") of the slab.
The usual approach is described well in Webster's Guide: If the river is high, (or cold!) walk up the Nanamocomuck Ski Trail from Albany Cover Bridge parking. [The first 0.9 mi. is now a superhighway due to logging, and one can only guess at how long it will take for the loggers to move on and destroy all the landmarks in THIS description!?] At 0.9 mi the trail crosses a stream on a bridge and then bears left. It then crosses a 2nd and 3rd large bridge (ignore a couple of smaller 'bridges'); the 3rd being relatively new [photo]. 2 minutes further you'll reach the "9KM/ 5.6Mi" sign; here leave the trail [photo], look for small cairn on a log [photo] and then hike up the fairly well trodden path. At first it is on slabby rock in a (usually dry) watercourse. After about 1 min.'s walking the path bears left out of the watercourse; after about another 2 minutes it bears left again, walks through open woods then swings left and crosses another (usually dry) stream (cairn on each side). It then continues, with a few flags, to a stream crossing (again, 2 cairns) where WATER is available except in the driest of summers. From here it climbs steeply for 3-4 minutes, generally up-and-right reaching the slab at the junction of the Mid-Section and the Perfect Wave slabs. The whole approach should take no more than 12-15 minutes from the Ski Trail. To get to mid-section climbs like Face Dances, True Colors take a short path on your left which crosses high and then descends to the "toe" of the cliff.
If the river is low, you can save quite a bit of walking by wading across. Historically, the usual place was 0.6 miles West of Lower Falls at a gravel pull out. [Also used for Crack-in-the-Woods.] Once across the river and back on the Nam--- Ski Trail, one must WALK BACK DOWN (i.e. downstream direction) ABOUT 0.3-0.4 MILES TO REACH THE NORMAL APPROACH AS DESCRIBED ABOVE. This includes going over an old bridge; if you miss the climber's turn-off you'll hit the NEW bridge. (Going into the woods too early is the normal problem people have.)
Another possible crossing place is 0.2 mi. West of Lower Falls. Park (wheels off the road) in the EASTBOUND DIRECTION between a "CURVE"-sign and a "PEDESTRIAN /35MPH" sign. Cross the road, find a small sandy beach, and wade across the river. Your "target" is an orange, triangular rock on the other side. Exit the river on the downstream side of a large downed tree. The Nam--Trail is a few feet into the woods. Walk UPSTREAM on the NAM--Trail for 150 feet to the 3rd bridge (the "new" bridge), thence 2 min to where the climber's trail turns off. If the river is low enough to cross here, it takes me less than 20-25min. of hiking (plus 5 min or so to change out of wading shoes) to reach the cliff. You could also park at Lower Falls (fee) and walk the 0.1-0.2 mi. up the Kanc.

Climbing Season



Weather station 6.8 miles from here

35 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',13],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',4]
['<=5.6',16],['5.7',9],['5.8',8],['5.9',2],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Rainbow Slabs:
Face Dances    5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 200'   3. The Mid Section
Perfect Wave   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   4. The Perfect Wave Slab
Take A Giant Step   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R     Trad, 3 pitches, 200'   4. The Perfect Wave Slab
Browse More Classics in Rainbow Slabs

Featured Route For Rainbow Slabs
Tsunami Ledge Topo - Covers area obscured by trees in the photo of The Perfect Wave Slab

Tsunami 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b  NH : Kancamagus Crags : ... : 4. The Perfect Wave Slab
Another beautiful climb on the "Perfect Wave Slab". Handren gave it 3 stars out of 3 (the only such rating he gave to any Rainbow climb). Approach- From where the climber's path reaches the slab, walk right along the base about 35-40 ft. Go uphill to a dirt ledge below a brownish 12ft-high slab. Scramble or belay-climb up the 12 ft face to a large ledge with a couple of pine trees, one of which is knocked over. An interesting alternate approach is to climb Perfect Wave (5.7) as far as the threa...[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of Rainbow Slabs Slideshow Add Photo
The "New" bridge, about 2 min. East of the turn off for the climber's trail. (Remains un-affected by logging, as of 10-13-14. Logging road is 75ft uphill to the right.)
BETA PHOTO: The "New" bridge, about 2 min. East of t...
Junc. of logging road, ski trail (left) and Rainbow climber's path (right) As of Oct 11, 2014
BETA PHOTO: Junc. of logging road, ski trail (left) and Rainbo...
At the new cairn marking the turn-off from the new "superhighway" logging road
BETA PHOTO: At the new cairn marking the turn-off from the new...
Making a road for the loggers (No work was being done when the photo was taken.)
Making a road for the loggers (No work was being d...
A possible river crossing spot (not the crossing described in Webster or Handren) located 0.2 Mi west of Lower Falls. Ideally, you want the "gauge" rock DRY. Hiking poles or sticks highly recommended.
BETA PHOTO: A possible river crossing spot (not the crossing d...
view from waterfall area
BETA PHOTO: view from waterfall area
This is the river crossing described in both Webster and Handren's guides, 0.6 mi West of Lower Falls. (Photo taken on the same day as that of the crossing 0.2 mi. W of Lower Falls.)
BETA PHOTO: This is the river crossing described in both Webst...

Comments on Rainbow Slabs Add Comment
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By Russ Keane
Jul 3, 2014
Holy moley, this is IMPOSSIBLE to find. We walked all over the place, in circles, all day, and never found it. How can that be? It was frustrating.
By john strand
From: southern colo
Jul 4, 2014
Did you start at Albany covered Bridge or cross the river ??
By Russ Keane
Jul 15, 2014
The river was too high to cross, so we parked at the Albany Bridge. I have the new Handren guide, and felt pretty comfortable that I followed all the directions: Find the intersection with the logging road, walk up a stream, etc). It was just so hard to see anything through the trees. We were very very close, I am sure. In fact we ended up finding one portion of the long crag up there, but I am not sure where it was.

Truly an elusive cliff.
By Robert Hall
Oct 1, 2014
The description above works, although the logging road has now been pushed through to where the path leaves the ski trail, but the km/mi sign is still there as of late Sept 2014 and the path to the cliff is still intact.