Ascent of Eagle Cliff on 2019-08-04

Climber: Map Man

Date:Sunday, August 4, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Eagle Cliff
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3400 ft / 1036 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a bushwhack I had wanted to do for a long time, because of the spectacular views into Franconia Notch from the summit. I had suspected it would be the Franconia equivalent of Mt. Willard, and I was absolutely right. There should absolutely be a maintained hiking trail to this summit, because it really does have an incredible perspective of the notch. We started our hike from the hiker parking lot at Cannon Mountain. In hindsight, this was not the most optimal place to start. The first 0.8 miles of the Greenleaf Trail parallel the highway very closely and do not change much in elevation. Just before the first switchback uphill, we realized we were within sight through the trees of one of the pull-offs on the parkway - the last pull-off going north before you reach the Cannon Mountain exit. Not only does the trail come within 150 feet of an easy parking area after you've already walked 0.8 miles, there is also a clear herd path connecting to it. Lesson learned, park there to hike the Greenleaf Trail!! After this spot, the trail make several short switchbacks uphill and approached a slide below the cliffs. The trail then continues its long sidehill to wrap around to the south end of the cliffs. The last section approaching Eagle Pass was fairly steep with more small switchbacks. Eagle Pass is quite an interesting area. The trail is completely in the open as it squeezes between the vertical cliffs on the left and the boulders on the right. The views out into the notch are pretty nice as well. We continued past the open areas to find a good place to start our bushwhack. We heard from a previous trip report that there was a herd path beginning here, but we looked around for a while and found nothing. We went into the woods just after the open area ended. We planned to wrap around the back side of the cliffs and follow the edge up to the summit. We started out contouring across the slope through moderately thick woods, trying to find better terrain to ascend in. We soon made it into open woods and located what appeared to be a herd path. We followed it uphill but it soon faded out and we continued bushwhacking. Not long after, we picked up a path again. As we continued to climb, the path became more and more defined until it finally turned into a genuine trail. This herd path led along the ridge very close to the cliffs, and there were several viewpoints along the way. Not far from the summit, the forest became extremely dense and it looked like some illegal tree cutting had been done to open the path. When we came out onto the ledges just below the summit, we were surprised to find three other hikers already there. We all signed the summit register together, and they continued following the herd path down the ridge, while we stayed at the summit. There were tremendous views in almost every direction. The true summit had great views to the north and down into the Lafayette Brook valley. The ledges below the summit had an incredible view straight into Franconia Notch, looking down on the highway, the Cannon talus slopes, Echo and Profile Lakes, and Bald Mountain and Artist's Bluff. It was a clear day, so we could see far into Vermont as well. We took a long break here before heading down. On the descent, we followed the herd path back to where it faded out and continued further down behind Eagle Pass, hoping to find better conditions, but it wan't much better than what we came up in.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1549 ft / 471 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1549 ft / 471 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.5 mi / 7.2 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1489 ft / 453 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1429 ft / 436 m; Extra: 60 ft / 18m
    Loss on way in:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:2.1 mi / 3.4 km
    Route:Greenleaf Tr/bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Cannon Mountain Ski Area  1971 ft / 600 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1489 ft / 453 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1429 ft / 436 m; Extra: 60 ft / 18m
    Gain on way out:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route:bushwhack/Greenleaf Tr
    End Trailhead:Cannon Mountain Ski Area  1971 ft / 600 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Map Man
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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