New Hampshire’s Mt Willard is a little alpine playground that is perfect for learning alpine skills, climbing routes, and getting a summit in, all in 1 DAY! Yes, all that, in one day. It’s a small yet complex mountain that has lots of moderate terrain.
For a day out here, one simply walks the train tracks from the AMC Highland Center to the obvious lower Hitchcock Gully. This snow gully gains about 700 feet from the tracks via steep snow, little bulges and a pitch and a half of real climbing. The first difficulty is a pitch of grade 3 ice to some 5.4 mixed climbing.
From here, there a a lot of options like the East Face Slabs right and left, Upper Hitchcock Gully (a mini Pinnacle Gully), then you can finish on the Cleft. These climbs are all accessed from a tree and talus covered ledge that sits up and right of Cinema Gully. My friend Al Hospers of NEClimbs.com has this photo of the East Face of Willard.
The East Face Slabs Left have great position and great great options.
My favorite thing to do with a strong guest or team is to climb up to the terrace and then do all of the climbs. We rap each route back to the ledge system, and the finish on the Cleft. The Cleft is a 3 pitch climb that goes at about grade 3-3+ with some more challenging climbing, including an awkward move over a large chockstone.
These are fantastic gully climbs, that harbor cold and windy conditions, fun climbing, and a short approach! Get in touch if you’d like to get out on Mt Willard! We’re getting booked up, but still have some availability in January and the second half of February.