On this Page: Pinnacle Buttress Square Ledge: 5.5 - Standard Route 5.5 - The Prize 5.5 - The Chimney Pinnacle Buttress There are several climbs on Pinnacle Buttress ranging from 5.5 to 5.9+ (also a 5.9 A4). It is possible to climb different pitches from different climbs on the same ascent. Ed Webster's book describes each of the climbs pitch by pitch, though when I went to climb with Yuki, we did not bring a book. In my opinion, it is possible just to climb what looks climbable as long as someone else is leading! The rock is mostly covered with lichen. Faces are spotted with light green patches, making friction work difficult. There are cracks and a roof on the formation, offering a variety of climbing. Each of the climbs is 5 or 6 pitches. The descent is usually scrabbling to the top of the formation and linking up with a hiking trail. The descent via Tuckerman's Ravine is very nice. Climbing Pinnacle is usually a whole day commitment. It can take a few hours to hike up to the base of the climb and a few hours of steep hiking to get back to your car. The hiking time depends on how strong of a hiker you are. estimate 2-3 hours in and bring a headlamp for the hike out, just in case. It is important to check the weather at Pinkham Notch before you go. Weather changes very fast on Mount Washington, and there are hiking fatalities due to exposure every year. Dress for alpine climbing, i.e. bring a warm layer and a rain shell. hats and mittens are a good idea as well. It is never hot at the top of Mount Washington, with temperatures in the 60's - about 70 at the top of the Buttress. By the time September rolls around there is often snow in this area and people are getting ready to climb ice in the gully in another month or two. June, July and August are nice times to ascend this climb. Square Ledge General Information Square Ledge is a nice, small, quiet ledge that offers many basic beginner leads on face and a nice lead in a notch to a chimney. At the top of the rock, you have excellent views of Mount Washington. Though it is an uphill hike to get to the base of the climbs, it is not a long hike. If you have only a half of a day to climb, you can still get in and out with a few climbs in if you start early. The second edition of the Ed Webster does not list Square Ledge, but the third edition does. The book dedicates five pages to this area, two pages are pictures. This speaks of how small of a climbing area it is, yet for its size, it has some very nice climbs. On a disappointing note, climbing schools tend to use this cliff and hang many top ropes on the cliff though there are few climbs. This may prevent you from climbing here after a long hike. Getting There When we climb at Square Ledge, we park at the Pinkham Lodge parking lot at the base of Mount Washington, and cross the street to a trail head. Standard Route (5.4) Standard Route is a face climb that leans at a comfortable angle. There are many fractures in the rock that allow adequate to decent protection and many steps for hands and feet. Make sure you have enough slings or cordelettes to make an anchor at the top. This is a lead for someone who can construct a bomb-proof anchor from natural pro rather than depending on a huge tree to sling. The Prize (5.5) The Prize is next to Standard Route. it is on the same face, so you have the same comfortable angle. it is hard to tell why this climb is rated higher than Standard Route, so perhaps I have been climbing around the crux rather than through it. The climb goes straight up with a small bit of side to side wandering to get pro in or to stand on a bigger step. This lead is also for someone who can set up an excellent anchor with natural protection. The Chimney (5.5) A dihedral with a crack on either side leading up to a chimney - what could be more pleasant? The start can be a bit awkward; you have to figure out what to climb to get into the dihedral, but it is not difficult. The belayer must stand on a slope to belay, so it is advisable to sling them in before you climb. You can place nuts and camalots along the two cracks up to the short chimney, then you are also able to protect the chimney before you emerge at the top of the cliff. A wonderful climb all around! Please note this is for reference only based off our visit to the cliff. Do not email requesting instruction.