Consolation Prize Cannon Cliff
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Rack- Standard rack plus some small TCUís or Aliens
This classic 5.8 route on the slabs of Cannon is arguably the best route on this part of the cliff. Although not as historic as Wiessnerís or Lakeview, Consolation Prize creates one of the best direct lines up the Cannon slabs. In previous guidebooks the first pitch was rated 5.4 but since those guidebooks have been published a block missing from the first pitch has increased the difficulty. There have also been rumors of rockfall in previous years which has scared many climbers away. Although we are uncertain where the rockfall originated from (probably pitch 4), the route is very climbable although caution is advised on the fourth pitch. This route in many ways is more solid than most and the problems on pitch four are no worse than those encountered on other popular Cannon routes.
One thing that should be mentioned about this route is that like most slab routes it has a few substantial runouts. The fifth pitch in particular may deserve a PG or R rating with long runouts on 5.5 terrain. The crux 5.7 section on pitch 5 is well protected though. Another caution is the fixed protection. Many of the pitons have been in place for quite some time and backing them up where possible is recommended. On a positive note, the anchors are all bolted with good bolts except for the belays at the end of pitch 1 and pitch 5. Because of the bolts, rappelling off is fairly straightforward compared to most Cannon routes.
Approach- To approach this climb, park at the southern end of profile lake as you do for most Cannon routes. From the parking lot hike south down the bike path past the climber's sign-in box. Soon after you will cross a bridge where you will turn right on a foot path that will backtrack north. Walk about 150 ft to a left-hand turnoff just before you get to a bog log bridge. This trail will take you to the northern part of the scree pile where you will follow cairns to the base of the cliff. The start of Consolation Prize is 200 feet south of the right (north) end of the cliff. The route starts up a left leaning ramp/right facing inside corner, left of a blank slab with bolts (Condescendor 5.11).
Pitch 1- 110 ft, 5.8 Climb up the ramp/corner to a ledge at it's top. Then from the left side of the ledge climb up a crack for a few feet and foot traverse right a short distance along a horizontal crack to a wide vertical crack. Climb up this crack to a flake with a wide crack. Using a chockstone for protection in the wide crack, down climb a short distance and make a friction traverse right 10 feet into an inside corner facing left. Follow the corner up to some blocks and belay.
Pitch 2- 110 ft, 5.8 From the belay, traverse right to a crack. Follow the crack up to a ledge, step over an overlap and climb up a shallow right facing corner until you can step left. Traverse down and left 15 to 20 feet to a two-bolt belay.
Pitch 3- 120 ft, 5.7 Traverse left to a series of holds leading to a small overlap. Climb up to the overlap (pins), step over it and continue up over some more small overlaps to a larger one (pin). Traverse right to another pin above this overlap and surmount it with difficulty. Then move right and belay form a two- bolt anchor.
Pitch 4- 110 ft, 5.6 Step left and climb up a slab covered with friable holds towards some blocks. Climb over these blocks trending left, step over some overlaps and step left to a two-bolt belay.
Pitch 5- 120 or 200 ft, 5.7 Climb up a corner, step left, and zigzag up the improbable slab connecting small ledges before heading left to a crack. Climb up the crack to a stunted tree. If you have 60m ropes, traverse left here to a large sloping ledge with a good crack behind it and belay.
From here you will finish up the last 3 pitches of Wiessnerís. These pitches are shared with most of the slab routes, most notably Wiessnerís and Lakeview and can often be congested. If this is the case a rappel descent can be made from the tree from the top of pitch 5 down the route. Two 50m ropes are needed for the rappels
Pitch 6- 140 ft, 5.5 Traverse to the left end of the ledge and climb up to a short headwall (pin). Then traverse left to a dike-like formation and follow that up to the base of the Old Man.
Pitch 7- 100 ft, 5.5 Climb up and left on a steep wall, using cracks and a corner, to a ledge below a low angle slab just below and left of the Old Manís chin.
Pitch 8- 120 ft, 5.6 A great pitch! Climb up the slab and climb the awkward flake on the right into a corner. Follow the corner to the top.
Descent- When you top out of the corner you will be on top of the Old Man. Follow the culvert down until it turns into a climber's trail. In a mile or so you will come to a T-intersection with a maintained hiking trail, take a right and follow that path along the west side of Profile Lake to your car.
© Chauvin Guides International, P.O. Box 2151, North Conway, NH 03860 Voice: 603-356-8919