Top reasons to ice climb in Franconia and Crawford Notch
Dozens of classic routes for all skill levels
Long, cold winters ensure excellent ice climbing conditions
Many of the climbing areas are crowd-free even in peak season
Highly underrated by everyone but the locals, New Hampshire is a strong contender for the best ice climbing on the East Coast. Thanks to its long, freezing winters, minimal tourist attention, and abundance of classics, the White Mountain National Forest is great for both learning the sport and cutting your teeth on harder routes. Newcomers will love the shorter pitches and gradual difficulty progression of spots like Frankenstein, while seasoned climbers will appreciate the icy sidepulls and the nail-biting mixed sections of areas like the Black Dike, the premier ice climbing challenge in the Northeast. These routes are stiff, scrappy, showy, and as satisfying as they get.
January through March
Boston, MA, is 4 hours away from Crawford Notch and Franconia Notch
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Introduction to Ice Climbing Course
Spend six hours learning the delicate art of ice climbing on New England’s world-class routes. A professional local guide will take you on a custom tour, teaching you the fundamental climbing skills and movement techniques that you need to have a safe and enjoyable time on the ice.
Private Ice Climbing Tour
Tackle your dream ice climbing objectives with an experienced local guide. Enjoy 8 hours of ice climbing on a selection of Franconia and Crawford’s finest routes, such as Black Dike, Frankenstein, and Shoestring Gully. Your guide will help you plan your ideal climbing day according to your skills, goals, and objectives.
Meet your guide
Mooney Mountain Guides
AMGA Certified Guides
I have used Mooney Mountain Guides for 3 different trips. Beginner ice climbing, Winter Mount Washington summit day trip, and a winter overnight trip up Mount Washington with a stay at the weather observatory. Each trip was amazing in its own right and I could not have asked for a better group of guides! I have worked in the guiding industry for 15 years (in a naturalist guiding capacity) and everyone I’ve had the pleasure to meet with Mooney is top-notch! This applies to their knowledge and technical skill level as well as their passion for the sport, and kindness and patience in sharing that with others. I know my companions and I couldn’t have done this without guides, on top of that we couldn’t have done it without guides as they have at Mooney that demonstrated such stellar leadership qualities. Mooney Mountain Guides will always have my business when adventuring in NH and anywhere else they guide…Mt. Baker, here I come! (maybe)
This was an incredibly fun and unique experience! It was affordable, the guides were very knowledgeable and personable, and I highly recommend it!
Fantastic and knowledgeable guides whose purpose is to help you reach your goals. Great instruction mixed in with tons of patience.
Laurie was an amazing teacher. Patient, knowledgeable, and kind. I felt completely safe the entire time. She inspired confidence and her friendly demeanor made for an open and welcoming atmosphere.
Awesome guides, I would recommend them to all my friends. My buddies and I wanted to try ice climbing in NH for a weekend and went with Mooney Mt. Guides on Jan 2nd, 2017. From start to finish they made it easy, and fun, and made us feel safe the whole time. They were also friendly, great to hang out with and the type of people you’d want to grab a beer with after. They gave recommendations for a place to stay, good food recommendations, and showed up early on the day of climbing. The technical gear was all provided at the cost and was all in top shape which is important when climbing. Having used a number of mountain guiding services, I could tell they were very well trained and were also good teachers. They took us to some scenic locations and we got lots of climbing in until all of us were satisfied. Honestly, it was all top notch and we look forward to climbing with them again soon.
Things to know
Covid measures in Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, New Hampshire
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, please refer to the New Hampshire COVID-19 information website and the COVID-19 guidelines for international travel to the United States.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local ice climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Six or eight hours of ice climbing or instruction
- Boots, backpack, and all technical ice climbing equipment
What’s not included:
- Food and drinks
- Guide gratuities — optional
How fit do I need to be?
If you can climb a ladder, you’re good to go. Being in good shape is always a plus but far from necessary. Ice climbing is all about using good movement technique rather than muscling up an ice wall using brute strength. To ensure you have a fun day, your guide will choose routes that best suit your skill and fitness level.
What if I’ve never climbed before?
Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch have plenty of options for beginner ice climbers. Whether you’ve never climbed before or are transitioning from the rocks to the ice, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll learn something new, stay safe on the ice, and most importantly, have fun!
For intermediate to advanced climbers, Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch have loads of excellent routes to spend the day on. Your guide will discuss your objectives and customize the day to your goals. Let your guide plan the day so you can focus on developing your skills while climbing the classic routes or best-hidden gems the area has to offer.
What do I need to bring?
All ice climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Double plastic winter mountaineering boots
- Well-fitting mountaineering crampons
For technical ice climbing routes, your guides will provide:
- Harnes with belay loop and gear loops
- Modern leashless ice tools and/or Piolet
- Climbing helmet
- High-friction belay device like a Reverso or ATC Guide with locking carabiner
- Locking carabiners
Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:
- Backpack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag, can be provided by your guide)
- Water bottle, thermos, vacuum flask, or insulated Nalgene bottle with at least 2L of liquid
- Moisture-wicking base layer top and bottoms
- Insulative mid-layer top and bottoms
- Fleece vest, down or synthetic jacket
- Un-insulated waterproof and breathable shell top and bottom
- Medium-weight belay parka or puff jacket
- Three pairs of gloves and mittens with glove liners
- Fleece or wool hat
- Warm wool or wool blend socks
- Lunch and snacks you can eat on-the-go
- Camera — optional
- Trekking poles — optional
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For the Introduction to Ice Climbing Course, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 5:1.
- For the private ice climbing tours, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 2:1.
- The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family!
Ice climbing in Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch, NH, most people fly into Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, MA, 4 hours away. From there, you can rent a car, take a bus, or take a shuttle service.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. For the Introduction to Ice Climbing Course, this will generally be near the campground on Lost River Rd. For the private ice climbing tours, you will usually meet your guide at the Crawford Notch parking area. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.