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Top 10 Ice Climbs in the Northeast

By S. Peter Lewis - October 8th, 2001

The Northeast is blessed with the perfect winter conditions for making hundreds of great ice climbs: plenty of snow, a lot of water seeping out the ground, and cold temperatures. The area is also very diverse with everything from short drips next to the road to steep classics on the crags to long, serious climbs on real mountains. Tick off the routes on this list, and you will have sampled Northeast ice climbing at its very best.

1. Positive Thinking
Location: Pokomoonshine Cliff, Adirondack Mountains, NY
Grade: 5
Highlight: steep, dramatic, first pitch often very thin

2. Black Dike
Location: Cannon Cliff, Franconia Notch, NH
Grade: 5-
Highlight: classic hard route; historic, alpine setting

3. Cilley-Barber Route
Location: South Basin Headwall, Mount Katahdin, ME
Grade: 4
Highlight: classic long route; most remote alpine setting in the Northeast

4. Dracula
Location: Frankenstein Cliff, Crawford Notch, NH
Grade: 4
Highlight: aesthetic, steep pillars in dramatic corner

5. Last Gentleman
Location: Lake Willoughby, VT
Grade: 5
Highlight: length, beauty and an awesome amount of steep ice

6. Pinnacle Gully
Location: Huntington Ravine, Mount Washington, NH
Grade: 3
Highlight: the classic New England gully climb; very alpine

7. Repentance
Location: Cathedral Ledge, NH
Grade: 5
Highlight: three-pitch, ice-choked chimney; if you only had one route to do...

8. Standard Route
Location: Frankenstein Cliff, Crawford Notch, NH
Grade: 3+
Highlight: wonderful moderate climbing; unique cave

9. Way In The Wilderness
Location: Painted Walls, Kancamagus Highway, NH
Grade: 5
Highlight: ephemeral; on everyone's tick list, but the day has to be perfect

10. Willey's Slide
Location: Mount Willey, Crawford Notch, NH
Grade: 2
Highlight: six hundred feet of low-angled ice; the perfect long easy route

Former executive director of the American Mountain Guides Association, S. Peter Lewis is a climbing instructor and the author/editor of several climbing guides.


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