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Zealand Notch
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Black Knight , The T 
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The Black Knight  

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b R

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 500', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Teresa Nagle and Bradley White, June, 2010
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 655
Submitted By: bradley white on Jun 20, 2010

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ZeaCliff

Description 

For those familiar with Cannon Cliff, imagine what it would look like facing west instead of east, pounded by the weather. That's what it is like climbing on Mt. Whitewall.
We climbed the broken up northern central ridge as low as we could get onto it. The trees on it are a bit of a nuisance but they're also fast belay anchors in the shade. The ridge has talus fields of very loose stones. Leading the talus and sometimes rock climbing a constant awareness of the ones below you is paramount to safety. The climb started with a (5.7) crux and the rating dropped to (5.6) difficulty on the 4th and last pitch's outside corner. There can be much exposure on this ridge. Climbs on the left side of the buttress's ridge remain midway up close to talus sloped gullies. Climbing the outside bulging corners on the climb would be exposed, highest difficulty, and well protected. Holds and movement had similarities to 'The Witney Gillman Ridge', Serious fun, I liked it. We went the path of least resistance that was also direct. There are many possible ways to reach the upper levels of the ridge, probably one that will lower the grade to (5.6) by avoiding our initial crux.


Location 

Central north side, maneuver downward until there is a steep outcropping of granite to the right and up higher the inside corner besides an off width crack with a birch tree growing between them. Other ways up, Starting can be dangerous.


Protection 

Abundant and TCU's were used the most. Anchors were plentiful but rappelling, because of the many loose stones (if dislodged the least of your problems would be trashed ropes) is dangerously doable. We brought two 80ft. ropes one lightweight and the other durable. I won't bring my best rope here until I am sure that it won't become damaged. A 60 to 70 meter rope should suffice for rappelling. Most pitches were 80ft. 2nd pitch was 120ft.
We went up to the Southwest spur's slab (in hopes of finding the descent trail down, made by many bushwhackers). The descent down is to go back nearly as far down as you unroped. Stay near to where everything comes into view going towards the gully to get down.
We took the wrong trails (many variation paths) heading for Mt. Whitewall's real summit with it's sign in W.M.N.F. cache. The trail to the cache is a maintained trail to nowhere. Beautiful woods though and before the trail there were acres of rare Lady Slippers blooming. At the start of this trail to the summit, we headed down angling right and away from two gullies beginning to stream to cascade. After away from that, directly as possible down straight we went through the horribly hurtful tree covered rocks by forest to the trail. Fortunately we had no disabling injuries beside our scrapes and scratches from pine trees.



Photos of The Black Knight Slideshow Add Photo
2nd pitch. Above this edge is the first talus field. A.M.C Hut shining in the background. Photographer, Teresa Nagle.
2nd pitch. Above this edge is the first talus fiel...
Teresa getting rid of the rope drag.
Teresa getting rid of the rope drag.
Terrain above the Black Knight.
Terrain above the Black Knight.
Last pitch above last crux (5.6). Far from the climbing being over though. The worst talus field is at the top. The Black Knight protects the belay from any rock fall. Teresa had none.
Last pitch above last crux (5.6). Far from the cli...
1st. pitch
1st. pitch
The free standing pillar, (the Black Knight).
The free standing pillar, (the Black Knight).
This ledge has excellent climbing on it. After that the top has the best lookout view. Going directly north will lead you far away from the trail down on the rock slide. The way down is a left turn immediately at the northern end at the top of the spur's slab.  <br />If you don't go down where the slab ends and traverse north instead, you eventually should meet up with the summit cache trail. Going down from the cache trail there are no guarantees you will make it to the hiking trail. Finding an injured person here would be nearly impossible. I bring some form of light and whistle to become spotted by a search and rescue team every time I descend such forest.
This ledge has excellent climbing on it. After tha...
The Black Knight. It's got a lot of solid weight of the top half of it being supported by the bottom half fractured (our belay). Appears safe to climb and there's more than one way to do that.
The Black Knight. It's got a lot of solid weight o...
Crescendo finish. Teresa slinging a rock horn.
Crescendo finish. Teresa slinging a rock horn.
4th pitch, second crux (5.6) is one technical move.
4th pitch, second crux (5.6) is one technical move...
Scenery. Photo taken at the southwest spur slab.
Scenery. Photo taken at the southwest spur slab.
3rd pitch.
3rd pitch.
Near to the beginning of the first crux or it is where we started. There were a few starts onto this climb.
Near to the beginning of the first crux or it is w...
3rd pitch.
3rd pitch.
Best I've got for now of Mt. Whitewall northern panorama.
Best I've got for now of Mt. Whitewall northern pa...
Central wall of pillared bulwarks.
Central wall of pillared bulwarks.
Ethan Pond Slab. 300+ft. Photographer Teresa Nagle.
Ethan Pond Slab. 300+ft. Photographer Teresa Nagle...
Central Slab. The furthest down edge appears a place to get onto the cliff. Off of the slab, it'll be where to go next? Right or left in a maze of route finding choices to get to the bulwarks ahead what is there, hidden by the trees?
Central Slab. The furthest down edge appears a pla...
Self portrait done below the southwest spur slab. This place gets way too hot, during the summer, for my taste.
Self portrait done below the southwest spur slab. ...
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By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Jun 21, 2010

Looks Cool Bradley, keep'em coming!