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Whitehorse Ledge Overview

Right next door to Cathedral Ledge are the monolithic slabs of Whitehorse Ledge, which rise apron-like from the woods behind the White Mountain Hotel. Photo: Whitehorse Ledge from Echo Lake State Park in North Conway, New Hampshire.

Some of the longest routes on Whitehorse are upwards of 800 feet high and eight pitches long, yet there are also many one and two pitch climbs that can be done along the base. Like Cathedral, Whitehorse Ledge is broken up into different areas: the Slabs, the Echo Roof area and the South Buttress. Regardless of which area you choose to explore, you’re sure to find a great adventure.

At the top of the cliff there is a beautiful trail leading down the back of the mountain. But before heading down, take a break and have a snack on the huge flat ledge at the top. It provides a spectacular view of North Conway and the surrounding mountains, and we often have it to ourselves.

One of the routes we guide most often on Whitehorse Ledge is Standard Route, a seven pitch outing that takes you up a striking arch system that splits the middle of the main slab. Take a look at Whitehorse and you can’t miss this beautiful feature. The crux involves a “balancy” friction move with almost no handholds. You simply have to believe that your feet will hold. Above that spot is a second crux, which takes you up a steep layback corner with a tricky high step mantle for an exit. Altogether, the climb involves more than 1200 linear feet of climbing, which gives you an awesome sense of accomplishment when you get to the top. And on the way up, you can get a good vantage on two of the other classic slab routes: Sliding Board and Beginners Route.

Another of our favorite outings at Whitehorse Ledge is a climb called Children’s Crusade. The first three pitches of the climb go at 5.9, and involve fun face climbing protected by bolts. And unlike the routes over on the slab section, this climb ascends the edge of the South Buttress, and therefore, it’s a lot steeper. If you’re really feeling good, at the top of Pitch 3 you can continue up the Direct Finish, a tricky 5.11a, which has just enough fixed gear to make it feel comfortable. The best way to get down from this route is to rappel with two ropes.

Farther left still, we can show you an obscure little climber’s trail that will take you to the base of the South Buttress proper. From here you can access a number of different classic routes, such as the Last Unicorn (5.10), Lost Souls (5.10a), Atlantis (5.9+), Inferno (5.8), Hotter than Hell (5.9) and Tranquility (5.10). Many of these routes also lead to the sunny open slabs at the summit of Whitehorse, where we can rappel off with two ropes, or grab a handful of wild blueberries before heading down the trail.

Ready to experience Whitehorse Ledge?

Synnott Mountain Guides can show you the way on the long slab routes or steep face climbs...

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