Sunday, January 9, 2011

passing the eaglet spire

If you look up at just the right time as you drive through Franconia Notch, you can see "the Eaglet" sticking out from the sheer face of Eagle Cliff on Hounds Hump Ridge. The local climbing guide (Secrets of the Notch) says this spire of rock is the largest freestanding tower in the eastern U.S. While I can't vouch for that particular factoid, I can absolutely attest to the high drama of the location.

We started out hiking on the Greenleaf Trail to Mt. Lafayette. After half a mile or so, we left the trail and bushwhacked straight upslope through spruce-fir forest and open talus to the base of the cliff. From there we curved around to the right of the spire and came out on this open scree slope, which was lightly coated with a mix of ice and snow. After this, we ascended a steep gully to the top of the ridge. 

Though the elevation wasn't nearly as high as some of the nearby alpine areas, the views back down into the notch and across to Cannon Cliff were some of the most dramatic I've seen in New Hampshire; I can't wait to go back in summer to watch climbers scale that wall. 


the talus below and Miles in style

passing the eaglet spire

the climb


from above

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