Cannon Cliff - 1250, culmen - United States

Cannon Cliff

États-Unis - United States

1250 m



Cannon Mountain (formerly Profile Mountain) is a 1,250 m peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Known for both its technical rock and ice climbing (particularly on Cannon Cliff, pictured) and its skiing (the state-owned Cannon Mountain Ski Area), the mountain was home to the Old Man of the Mountain until the formation collapsed on May 3, 2003. It is the parent mountain of three mountains, with heights of 1,125, 1,127 and 1,148 m, collectively known as “The Cannon Balls.” The mountain is a type of geological formation known as an exfoliating granite dome which is layered like an onion. Cannon Mountain is located within Franconia Notch State Park.

Cannon Cliff (pictured above) is the largest vertical rock face in the Northeast at roughly 300 m in height and more than 1.6 km long. As written in a description of climbing possibilities on Cannon, “Some of the aid lines are long and difficult enough to require a bivy, making Cannon the only Big Wall in the northeast.” Cannon is popular both in the summer months with free- and aid-climbers alike, and in the winter it attracts both ice climbers and mixed climbers (climbers who ascend routes with some pitches of ice and some pitches of rock). There is a log book climbers are asked to sign into and out of. If an unusual amount of time passes before a climber signs out, a search party is formed. Several guide books exist for Cannon and Franconia Notch, most notably ‘Secrets of the Notch’ by Jon Sykes which covers both rock and ice routes.

Notable rock climbing routes:

  • Whitney-Gilman Ridge: 5.7, 5 pitches. This prominent arête in the center of the face is possibly Cannon’s signature climb. The 3rd pitch (the ‘Pipe Pitch’) features outstanding exposure over the Black Dike. Protection is a mix of trad and fixed bolts and pitons. First ascent Bradley Gilman & Hassler Whitney August 3rd 1929

  • Moby Grape: 5.8, 9 pitches. Ascends the tallest section of the cliff. Starts with Reppy’s Crack; superb climbing all the way up. First ascent Joe Cote & Roger Martin July 1972

Notable ice climbing routes:

  • The Black Dike: 4+/5-, 500 ft (150 m) tall;3 pitches. A popular mixed ice climb. First ascent John Bouchard December 18th 1971 (solo)

  • Omega: 5+, 3 pitches. Mixed climbing. Hardest ice climb in the region. First ascent John Bouchard & Rainsford Rouner 1976