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Mt. Webster
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Shoestring Gully 
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Shoestring Gully 

WI2

   
Type:  Ice, Alpine, 6 pitches, Grade III
Consensus: WI2 [details]
FA: unknown
Season: winter
Page Views: 13,863
Submitted By: BrianWinslow on Feb 3, 2008

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WI3 finish, just before the gully heads left

Description 

The route starts as an easy snow gully over boulders. After approximately 1000 ft the gully narrows and gets steeper. Climb six pitches of water ice 2 steps split between easy snow gullies.

If the trail is broken a quick party could complete the climb in half a day, but if conditions are poor it could take quite a bit longer.

There are a few variations at different points of the climb.

Location 

The Southern most gully on the mountain. Park along the east side (Webster-side) of rt 302 about 1/2 mile north of the Webster Cliff Trail, and about 1/2 mile south of the "Willey House". There is an old sign frame and usually a plowed pull-out. You should be directly below the gully, which is really only visible for a narrow stretch of road about 1/8 mile in each direction. If you're lucky a trail will be broken in the snow and easy to follow, and the stream crossing (the Saco "river") will be easy. (It's done at an old broken dam.)

Once across the stream, you'll cross the Saco River Trail and continue in the woods to the gully. Usually, 200-300 ft of snow gives way to the main ice flow, which is easiest on the right, crossing to the left. More snow, and occasional ice, leads to the top. The total climb is about 2000-2400 vertical feet from the car.

There are at least two "usual" alternate endings: a 5.5 rock on then right just above the main ice, and an easier NEI WI3 (or rock) "shallow corner" higher up, also on the right.

To descend, hike straight up into the woods from the top of the climb for a few minutes and intersect with the popular Webster Clif trail. Turn right (South) and hike out to the road. You will likely need to hike North once on the road to your car. It would be possible, though difficult, to rappel the route.

Protection 

A light rack of screws, maybe snow pickets depending on conditions. I didn't use any rock gear though there are some options.


Photos of Shoestring Gully Slideshow Add Photo
Climbers above the main ice flow
BETA PHOTO: Climbers above the main ice flow
Shoestring from the road
BETA PHOTO: Shoestring from the road
the crux ice section on Shoestring...
the crux ice section on Shoestring...
Pops in front of Shoestring on a cold day
Pops in front of Shoestring on a cold day
a team finishing up the upper section where we tur...
a team finishing up the upper section where we tur...
my dad waiting at the start of the gully proper...
my dad waiting at the start of the gully proper...
Mike Hancock topping out the 5.5 mixed pitch! Plen...
Mike Hancock topping out the 5.5 mixed pitch! Plen...
The upper reaches of Shoestring Gully.
The upper reaches of Shoestring Gully.
The approach can be BRUTAL after a fresh dump if n...
The approach can be BRUTAL after a fresh dump if n...
this pic looks up the standard rock finish from th...
this pic looks up the standard rock finish from th...
Dad dry tooling the top out of the rock finish... ...
Dad dry tooling the top out of the rock finish... ...
1st pitch... great conditions
1st pitch... great conditions
dad (ernie) in the rock chimney...
dad (ernie) in the rock chimney...
Shoestring, upper gully detail
Shoestring, upper gully detail
ernie (dad) lower down in the chimney...
ernie (dad) lower down in the chimney...
Top out horn anchor on the 5.5 mixed variation. So...
BETA PHOTO: Top out horn anchor on the 5.5 mixed variation. So...
Chris on the beginning/middle of shoestring.  I th...
Chris on the beginning/middle of shoestring. I th...
in the actual ice section
in the actual ice section
Shoestring gully from the parking spot on rt 302
BETA PHOTO: Shoestring gully from the parking spot on rt 302
Just before the start of the Ice Section. Such bea...
Just before the start of the Ice Section. Such bea...
2nd pitch... or 3rd depending on where you make be...
2nd pitch... or 3rd depending on where you make be...

Comments on Shoestring Gully Add Comment
Show which comments
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Jan 27, 2009

my dad and i did shoestring the other day and i just wanted to add a few things...

thank you, whoever packed out the trail cause i wouldn't have found the gully on my own without a compass...

we did a few variations cause there were a few parties climbing at the same time and all were fun and a little harder than the standard route...

my favorite pitch was the Rock finish chimney... i did it with just my gloves and a rack of nuts... it would be easier and less scary to dry tool (as my dad did when he followed) and bring a couple cams and long slings to sling blocks as the chimney steepens and other gear is hard to find... the climbing is moderate though so don't sweat it just go for it...
By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Jan 27, 2009

has anyone gone up this in the summer?
By Devin Krevetski
From: West Woodstock, VT
Jan 28, 2009

Considering the amount of rockfall on the snow during the winter, I wouldn't want to find myself in this area in the summer when the rock isn't frozen in place
By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Jan 28, 2009

fair enough it prob is a good idea if i stay away then..
By Dave77
From: Watertown, NY
Dec 28, 2011

Climbed this yesterday with my dad. It isn't in yet, but there are a couple WI2 steps that have some decent WI2 on them. Plenty of options for slinging trees for belays. The rock looks like it could take some KBs but i didn't feel the need to place any.
By Andrew Blease
From: Damascus, VA
Dec 25, 2012

I climbed this on the 22nd of December. It had been warm-ish and rained the day before. Down low was wet, and the small ice steps were rotten, but up high the ice was good and snow conditions were great for kicking steps and moving quick. Don't get discouraged if the ice down low isn't in great shape.
By Meghdoot
Jan 14, 2013

Hey all, A beginner climber here. Have done 2-3 climbs (rated WI2-4) as follower. I am planning to do this climb with partner with similar skill on jan 19th-20th. We have all the gear & skills to use it. Wanted to check on the current conditions of the gully. Solid thick ice / stable snow and any mix of those two should be good for us.
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Jan 14, 2013

iceclimbingforums.com/forumdis...
and neclimbs.com are two good sites for local conditions, if you aren't already familiar with them.