Cathedral Ledge Climbing

This 500-foot granite wall towers over North Conway, and is equally popular both with climbers and tourists.

There is something unique about topping out on your climb to the cheers of tourists who are safely protected behind the fence that runs along the lip of the cliff. Perhaps the most distinctive thing about Cathedral Ledge is the rock quality. The granite is similar to Yosemite, and indeed many climbers use this area specifically to train for the big walls found out west. The only difference is that New Hampshire granite is usually more featured than Yosemite granite, meaning there are more holds to choose from.

Cathedral Ledge faces east, and depending on the time of year, it will get sun first thing in the morning and then go into the shade somewhere between 1-2pm. The wall has several different areas you can explore: the Barber Wall, the Prow, Airation Buttress, the Thin Air Face, the Mordor Wall, the Cathedral Roof, the Diedre Area and the North End. Among these different areas, you can find everything from multi-pitch 5.5s to overhanging single pitch 5.13+. In other words, Cathedral has a little something for every climber, regardless of ability. Here’s a quick list of some of the classic routes you might climb if you sign up for some instruction from Synnott Mountain Guides:

  • Upper Refuse (5.5)
  • Child's Play (5.5)
  • Thin Air (5.6)
  • Funhouse (5.7)
  • Kiddy Crack (5.7)
  • Still in Saigon (5.8)
  • Bombardment (5.8)
  • Black Lung (5.8)
  • Recompense (5.9)
  • Diedre (5.9)
  • They Died Laughing (5.9)
  • Bird’s Nest (5.9)
  • Chicken Delight (5.9)
  • Nutcracker (5.9+)
  • Intimidation (5.10)
  • The Slot (5.10)
  • Missing Link (5.10)
Leading Thin Air, photo by Jim Surette.

Interested in rock climbing on Cathedral Ledge?

Whether you've never climbed before or are ready to lead 5.10, let us show you the best of Cathedral...