Cathedral Ledge’s North End Gets a Makeover

Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, New Hampshire has played a significant role in the history of New England climbing, offering an early training ground for some of the country’s most notable climbing pioneers. In the 1970s, Cathedral Ledge saw an explosion in free climbing when the likes of Henry Barber, Jimmy Dunn, and others began ticking off old aid lines and pushing standards in crack and face climbing.

Rob Frost on Edge of the World, Cathedral Ledge, NH | © Brian Post

Today, climbers from across the Northeast and Eastern Canada visit Cathedral Ledge to test their skills and enjoy the beauty of the Mount Washington Valley. However an uptick in visitors, coupled with aging access routes, has led to erosion concerns on many of the trails and staging areas at Cathedral Ledge.

In 2016, the Access Fund – Jeep Conservation Team worked with local volunteers from Friends of the Ledges to begin addressing erosion concerns at the North End. This year, the Access Fund teamed up with Sterling Rope to send two Conservation Teams to the North End to continue this work. Over the course of two weeks, the Conservation Teams worked alongside local volunteers to build stone stairs and retaining walls designed to harden slopes and retain soil, minimizing erosion.

The work was hard, heavy labor, and the Conservation Teams rigged Griphoist high lines and Sterling’s line of pulleys and ropes to haul massive granite blocks, weighing upwards of 500lbs, safely across the slopes.

A special thanks to Sterling Rope for outfitting the Conservation Teams with the best gear possible to accomplish the task at hand.

The Access Fund – Jeep Conservation Team will return in 2018 to continue this important work, helping to make Cathedral Ledge sustainable well into the future. Follow the Conservation Teams on Facebook to learn more about their work, and check the event calendar to see where they will visit next.