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.
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.
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.
2nd pitch. Above this edge is the first talus fiel...
Teresa getting rid of the rope drag.
Terrain above the Black Knight.
Last pitch above last crux (5.6). Far from the cli...
The free standing pillar, (the Black Knight).
This ledge has excellent climbing on it. After tha...
The Black Knight. It's got a lot of solid weight o...
Crescendo finish. Teresa slinging a rock horn.
4th pitch, second crux (5.6) is one technical move...
Scenery. Photo taken at the southwest spur slab.
Near to the beginning of the first crux or it is w...
Best I've got for now of Mt. Whitewall northern pa...
Central wall of pillared bulwarks.
Ethan Pond Slab. 300+ft. Photographer Teresa Nagle...
Central Slab. The furthest down edge appears a pla...
Self portrait done below the southwest spur slab. ...
|Comments on The Black Knight
From: Newmarket, NH
Jun 21, 2010
Looks Cool Bradley, keep'em coming!