The Prow

Page Type
New Hampshire, United States, North America
Route Type:
Technical Rock/Aid Climb
Time Required:
Most of a day
III 5.11d or 5.7 C1+

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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The Prow
Created On: Sep 5, 2003
Last Edited On: Nov 8, 2004


Park at the main pull-off area for Cathedral Ledge and walk into the woods to the left where there is a wooden sign indicating the direction to various routes on the cliff. Follow the path straight ahead in the direction of "The Prow and Recompense." The trail climbs steeply through an area of boulders and then makes several switchbacks until stairs are reached, leading up to the foot of a slabby buttress. From the top of these stairs, scramble up left over tree roots and then climb immediately up over steep slabs at a corner to a ledge about 15 ft up. A system of obvious cracks begins from this ledge. This is the start of Recompense and also the 5.7 start of The Prow. The obvious triangular roof of Pitch 5 can be seen high above and right.

Route Description

The route consists of six pitches, although it is possible to link pitches 1-2 and 3-4 to complete the route easily in four pitches. Apparently it is even possible to climb the route in two pitches with a 70m rope, although there is likely to be significant rope drag. The start is a bit tricky to find initially, but once on the route, it is quite straightforward and obvious, with tons of fixed gear along the way. Since I aided most of the route, I can't comment on the nature or difficulty of the free moves, or the difficulty in placing protection when free-climbing. However, due to the large number of bolts and fixed pins, the route should protect well with only a few additional stopper and small cam placements.

Pitch 1 (5.7, 70 ft) -- Follow well-protected cracks and small corners up right from the belay ledge until a two-bolt anchor can be seen out to the right. Traverse over easily to a comfortable sitting belay lege under the bolts. The climbing on this pitch is easy for 5.7.

Pitch 1a (5.10a) Another Pretty Face -- A harder, face climbing variation to the first pitch, well-protected by bolts on the hard moves. Climb directly up the face below and right of the usual start, passing two bolts to a shallow corner. Up the corner (protected with stoppers) to another bolt and the belay.

Pitch 1b (5.10a) The Original Slab -- Start at the base of Another Pretty Face but angle up right in shallow cracks to some trees and a pin. Climb the slab above to a bolt, then past another bolt with no hanger, and make a 5.10a move left to the belay.

Pitch 2 (5.11d or C1+) -- Climb up onto the sloping ledge above the belay (a little tricky) and move left to a rusty bolt with a spinning hanger. Start aiding here. Move up and clip another, better bolt out right, then make a big reach to the crack above. Follow the crack up over a bulge, past two pitons. The crack also takes large stoppers and medium sized cams. Above the crack, arrive at a bolt ladder on a blank face and aid up easily to a two-bolt hanging belay at a horizontal crack. There are 4 bolts leading up to the belay, but the last is missing it's hanger. Use a stopper wire in place of the hanger to advance to the belay. The bolted face can be climbed free at 5.10b.

Pitch 3 (5.10a or 5.3 C1) -- Move right around the corner (short tension traverse) until you can place gear in a flake and start aiding again. A few stoppers, Aliens, and fixed pins lead up the flake and back around to the left side of the prow. Continue up past a bolt and fixed pin to a right-angling crack which is followed to the two-bolt belay anchor at a sloping stance right on the nose.

Pitch 4 (5.11c or C1+) -- Aid up right from the belay to a bolt, then make a huge reach (top-stepping required) to another bolt below the obvious finger crack (goes free at 5.11b). Move up the crack using stoppers, Aliens, and a few fixed pins to a two-bolt anchor in a C-shaped depression out right (The Space Station Belay). When aiding, it is probably best to continue up Pitch 5 and pass the triangular roof above, rather than belaying at the Space Station.

Pitch 5 (5.11d or C1+) -- Move up as high as possible in the finger crack of Pitch 4 (small nut placement at the very top) and make a small pendulum left to another crack which leads up into the corner below the triangular roof. Aid up this crack (pins) and into the corner. The corner has 3 more fixed pins which are old and rusty. Move up the corner on small stoppers (and the pitons) and then aid out the roof (two placements - stoppers) to the lip. Clear the lip on large stoppers and medium cams and move up to an exposed belay at two parallel finger cracks (piton in the right crack). A belay can be constructed here using small cams and a bomber stopper.

Pitch 6 (5.9 or C1) -- Move up the finger crack above the belay, then step left and up to a slab and right-facing shallow corner. Make a few free moves up the corner, then move right and up a crack to a tree on top (which can be seen from the belay), just short of the tourist viewing platform.

Descent -- The route ends at the tourist overlook and parking area on top of the cliff. Try to park a vehicle here, or walk down the road to the parking at the base of the cliff.

For additional information on aiding The Prow, check out the very nice Trip Report by Scott Ghiz.

Essential Gear

One 60m Lead Line
One 60m Haul Line
Small Backpack/Haulsack
Aid Gear (Fifi Hook, Aiders, Ascenders)
2 Sets BD Stoppers (#1-13)
1 Set Pacific Crossing RP's
2 ea BD Camalots 0.4, 0.5, 0.75, 1
1 ea BD Camalots 0.1, 0.2, 0.3
2 Sets Aliens (Black-Red)

Hooks and large cams are not needed.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-2 of 2


AlexeyD - Oct 14, 2004 4:46 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

Just to clarify, the start of the Prow is NOT the same as the first pitch of Recompense. They do start from the same ledge, and there is an option to initially start from the same crack system, but, in general, Recompense stays on the left, close to a prominent outside corner, while the Prow goes right of it.

It may also be worth mentioning that Recompense is relatively devoid of fixed protection (I don't think there is any until the traverse left and beginning of the 5.7 section), while the Prow, as the author of this description stated has plenty. So, if you're trying to climb the Prow, and not seeing any fixed gear along the way you are probably off route.

Tom Fralich

Tom Fralich - Oct 21, 2004 5:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

Good information. But there is no fixed gear on P1 of The Prow, since it is 5.7 and easily protected. So the presence or absence of fixed gear is not a good way to separate the starts of Recompense and The Prow. The 5.7 start of The Prow is up an obvious crack system as noted.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2

The Prow

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