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Rookie Ridge (incomplete) 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 1100', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c [details]
FA: Ryan Barber, Takuya Yoshida, Bradley White, July-2009
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 1,375
Submitted By: bradley white on Jul 13, 2009

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (2)
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Ryan on belay.

Description 

We started above the waterfall stream of the slab's right side, 100+ft up. I proceeded up this slab section roped up. This was soon abandoned by us preferring to solo. At the second largest waterfall section we came to, I led left and up until I finished up a very lichen covered and finally dirty detour(5-6),protected by a pine tree. We stayed roped together through steep damp forest with many scattered loose field stone rocks for 150ft. We returned to the slabs above the falls and continued soloing. At the end of the slabs I detoured left through the forest, Ryan soloed up a steeper section (5-3), Tak was belayed up it. After that we did the first climb I know of to go up the highest buttresses southwest or right of the central slabs on Mt. Webster. There are four buttresses. There is much potential for free climbing on solid granite (besides the usual annoyance rocks on first ascents). I chose the standard route to do on the second Buttress's face. It had belay safety away from rocks falling onto us. On most standard routes there are some loose rocks. The rocks we encountered none of them were poised to fall. Hazardous to trailing ropes though. A rock heavily damaged one of our ropes, as Ryan led the first pitch. It happened after all of the initial 5-7 cruxes were over. He had, had a sustained pitch when he entered the forest to belay. The forest is the next section on this buttress. It's mostly short brush and pine with a couple of larger trees on it. There is one section of decent but short moderate slab climbing. Above 150ft of forest is the rock buttress again. Directly over us was the same crack system we had started out from. After the crack's finish (5-8) there is a large platform 20ft to the right to belay from under the ceiling or unfortunately a hanging belay to the left directly in line with our climb. We didn't have any time left to hang around. This buttress has a separate line up this cliff ten feet to the left of us that is closer to the edge of the ridge's face. This variation is a slightly easier line than the one we took. This area has way better belay ledges. I went down after the crux crack to make a rappel station. It started to rain as we rappelled 80ft of a beautifully inclined wall of ramps that will eat protection except for the 6+ft mantle onto the ramp to our rappel station.

We encountered four thunderstorms during our ten hours of getting down the mountain side. We had one flashlight that worked but worked only for a short while, before it was put back into it's drying off place. Also I threw my hip out nearly at the start of our descent. I couldn't walk slopes. Stayed on my ass for most of the way down.
This mountain is the first mountain to meet the weather forcing itself over the Presidentials. I knew what we were going to be in for. We packed extremely light but also were prepared for a unplanned change over to dry clothing. We also had light weight rain gear (30gl hefty trash bags). This was just enough to ward off hypothermia.
Has Webster mountain been the most overlooked granite faced mountain in the White Mountains?

It does have much deteriorating granite on some of the buttress faces. Where there is gray granite on the faces it is deteriorated but the rock isn't weakened enough in most areas to not provide solid rock protection. Falling bare skinned on this granite could cut somebody up because of it's millions of highly cubical small gray quartz in the rock.

The internal walls of the gullies are completely different in composition. The walls haven't been exposed to the same weathering. The walls of this gully between the first and ours rappelled (called by some ice climbers the Green Chasm) are like North Conway granite except it is a darker orange brown. Any lead climbing falling off on these walls would be into the air.

I went up to Webster to know for sure I remembered what I had seen twenty five years ago. I probably won't return. Not because I don't want too. I want to do these climbs I've seen. Medically, professionals have told me since 2004 to stop climbing. I'm stopping this kind of climbing for now.

Lastly these buttress cliffs are in the middle of no where. No one is going to come to help you after dark. Getting to an injured climber down in the daylight would be an involved intricate rescue. Climb safely to keep the mountain Rescue people safe.


Location 

This is the first climb I know of to go up the highest buttresses southwest or right of the central slabs on Mt.Webster. There are four buttresses. There is the highest level of free climbing potential on the sides and faces of these buttresses on solid granite for free climbing, especially through the roofed buttresses and the steepest walls between, lining the gullies. A gully walls start short 40ft and peak out at about 120ft. These first ascent parties will encounter the usual annoyance of loose rocks on route and this should be the least troublesome on each gully's inside walls. I believe the Green Chasm gully has the easiest access and least loose rocks to contend with on the walls lining it.

We stared our climb at the only flake next to the 2nd buttress's cliff's face, that is as far down this buttress goes before you can make it around to it's face to climb up onto it. There is a stack of smaller rocks on top of the flake and above that a giant wedged block.


Protection 

We had a trad rack and twelve pitons. We only used one bugaboo and one soft angle ring piton. The cliffs are either good for protection or are blank and need to be bolted. There's is one rappel anchor.



Photos of Rookie Ridge (incomplete) Slideshow Add Photo
Tak. soloing on the slab
Tak. soloing on the slab
Ryan checking out the other side of the ridge.
Ryan checking out the other side of the ridge.
Tak. seconding the end of 800ft of the slab.
Tak. seconding the end of 800ft of the slab.
Closeup of the symmetry of the roofs. this roof is below the corner.
Closeup of the symmetry of the roofs. this roof is...
The first buttress above the slab, left side.
The first buttress above the slab, left side.
The fourth buttress south west and hidden by the trees.
The fourth buttress south west and hidden by the t...
first buttress center
first buttress center
Ryan below crux second rock pitch.
Ryan below crux second rock pitch.
Close up of Ryan
Close up of Ryan
Ryan beginning the climb.
Ryan beginning the climb.
Close up of Tak.
Close up of Tak.
the third buttress south west to us.
the third buttress south west to us.
Right side of the first buttress above the slab. It might be beneficial to wear gloves climbing this crack.
Right side of the first buttress above the slab. I...
looking down at the approach to the buttresses.
looking down at the approach to the buttresses.
corner to the right twenty feat from our climb.
corner to the right twenty feat from our climb.
Ryan soloing the slab.
Ryan soloing the slab.
Comments on Rookie Ridge (incomplete) Add Comment
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By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jul 14, 2009

It looks like this climb follows the general path of central couloir. Is the butress that you climbed the one that splits central and greens chasm? Looks great up there.

By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jul 15, 2009

I climbed a route this winter just to the left of your climb. And our rappel line seems to be roughly where your route was. My partner and I mentioned the amount of climable rock up there. Good for you for making the trek up there. I also spotted some potential on the right wall of greens while climbing up there. How does it look in the summer, everything looks climbable in the winter.

By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jul 16, 2009

The climb we did was to the left of your route and the wide cracks. The best way to describe it is that if you continued straight up from the central couloir approach pitches it would be right in front of you. I hadn't noticed it before last winter (good ice year), it went up a steep ramp on thin ice for a rope length to the top of the butress. Then continued up another thinly iced up headwall to the trees. I took a good ride up top when the ice I was climbing decided to part with the cliff. And ended up doing a mixed pitch to the right, right on the top edge of greens chasm. I was told that Brady libby and partner had done it before and also Jon sykes with partner, still lots of fun though.
I think I will try to wrangle a partner into the romp up there later this fall. Did you approach from the willey house or just park and head straight up?

By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jul 16, 2009

Thanks Brad, I'll tell you how it goes. I'm coming off an ankle injury so I will wait a bit longer before I put myself out that far in the pursuit of virgins.

By Ryan Barber
From: Rumney, NH
Jul 12, 2012

I think that's called Shoestring gully, no?

By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jul 13, 2012

Weird, someone removed all of their comments and it looks like I was talking to myself. Ryan, I guess you were responding to me. Central Couloir is all of the way left and shoestring is all of the way right on Mt. Webster. The route I mentioned ascends the left hand margin of the large buress that splits greens casm and the final pitch(s) of Central. WI4 M4, Haven't seen it come in since that winter. I left an anchor on the top of it's second pitch, well to the right of the second pitch. The last 15' of the pitch delaminated with me on it and we all went for a humdinger of a ride!

By Ryan Barber
From: Rumney, NH
Jul 13, 2012

Sounds exciting. Yes, I believe Bradley removed all of his Mountain Project forum posts.