Top three reasons to rock climb in North Conway
Cathedral Ledge and White Horse Ledge, can be seen from the town
Multi-pitch routes can be anywhere from 8 to 9 pitches
Side-by-side cliffs offer hundreds of options to all levels of climbers
North Conway is the most popular climbing destination of New England with hundreds of easily accessible routes in the vicinity. Two of the best cliffs in the granite state of New Hampshire are Cathedral Ledge and Whitehorse Ledge, just minutes from the city center! The super solid granite, multi-pitch routes as long as 1000 feet, and abundance of stunning vistas make this area perfect for any rock climbing enthusiast no matter the skill level! The abundance of sport and trad routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.11d definitely won’t leave anyone indifferent. After you’re done climbing for the day, make the experience even better by visiting the town and enjoying the vibrant local atmosphere!
Late April through late November
Portland, ME, and Concord, NH, are just over hour and a half away
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing
Master the fundamentals of outdoor rock climbing on North Conway’s fantastic granite. First, your seasoned local guide will teach you about relevant equipment, knots, terminology, and anything else that’s needed to get you ready for the rocks. Then, you’ll spend the bulk of the day testing your newfound skills on North Conway’s finest beginner-friendly routes.
A Customized Full Day of Private Climbing With a Guide
Use your time on the solid granite cliffs of North Conway to further develop and perfect your skills. This full day on the rock is the perfect opportunity for beginners looking to master the fundamentals of climbing, as well as for the more advanced climbers looking for a challenge — the area is famous for its multi-pitch climbs! With so many options to choose from, it’s best to let your local guide lead the way — they will tailor the day to fit your goals and make sure you make the most of your time.
Meet your guide
Eastern Mountain Sports Schools
My daughter and I did a whole day of rock climbing. We’ve done climbing before, not too much and we were thinking this would be similar. It wasn’t. Our abilities and ideas of what we could do were challenged and pushed to the limits. I do mean this in the best possible way. Had this been an average day of top rope rock climbing I think both of us would be happy going to the rock gym six or seven times a year with the occasional trip outdoors. We did two four pitch climbs with a combined elevation gain of 800 feet. After this both of us are hooked and want to learn more and do more.
I spent two days climbing at Cathedral and Whitehorse with Keith Moon, and I would highly recommend him. He was on time, prepared, and clearly had a plan for the day.
My wife and I booked a day of ice climbing with EMS. We have climbed all over the world and I wasn’t expecting too much in my own backyard. But it was awesome. Our guide ranked in the top 3 of guides we have ever had. He customized our day so that we didn’t spend a lot of time going over stuff we already knew. He picked out some climbs that challenged our abilities but were not so hard that we didn’t have a blast the whole time. He even stayed late to let us get in an extra pitch. He was very knowledgeable and we felt totally safe the whole time. And George in the office was great at organizing the trip. I would definitely recommend EMS climbing school in North Conway to anyone no matter what your level of expertise.
I climbed several multi-pitch routes on Cathedral Ledge in North Conway under the private guiding program July 5, 2014. I had climbed extensively in the past, but it had been 10 years since I’d been out. My guide Keith listened closely to my request to get ‘up there’ and do multi-pitch. At the cliff, he validated that my fitness level was up to the task with a couple quick hops up a top roped route. Immediately after, we hit the first 3 pitch route and topped out at the tourist overlook on the ‘wrong’ side of the safety fence – really doesn’t get any better than that! My favorite route was Funhouse a 5.7 with the ‘burly’ moves that I enjoy and awesome exposures.
I really recommend the private guiding option since it’s customized to your ability level and wishes. No time was wasted trying to figure out which route to choose or where to start or ‘am I going the right way’? It was worth every penny and Keith took great pictures ensuring that I’ll be smiling every time I look at them. Also, I got just enough instruction to refresh my knot skills and was given the freedom to sort out my own moves without a steady stream of ‘helpful’ advice. One of the best parts of climbing is exploring the rock and solving the puzzle of the ascent.
As an over 50 female climber, it’s more about having fun for me. I felt completely safe and secure at all times. Since it was a last minute decision, I was very pleased that EMS was able to provide all the gear I needed, in good condition and in my size.
I can’t wait to get back to New Hampshire again and will definitely work with EMS again.
Had a great day repelling on Cathedral Ledge. Keith was an amazing coach and teacher. Highly recommend the experience.
Things to know
Covid measures in North Conway
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, guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in North Conway, New Hampshire, please refer to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services website.
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 rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A half or full day of rock climbing depending on your chosen itinerary
- All technical climbing gear
What’s not included:
- Food, water and snacks
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. Rock climbing is all about using good movement techniques rather than muscling up a cliff 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?
North Conway has plenty of options for beginner climbers. Whether you’ve never climbed before or are transitioning from the gym to outdoor climbing, your guide will customize the day to suit your skill level and objectives. With a guide by your side, you’ll get out and get active, learn something new, and, most importantly, have fun!
For intermediate to advanced climbers, North Conway has loads of 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 about required equipment?
All technical climbing equipment will be provided by your guiding service. However, if you have your own gear, feel free to bring it. You’ll need:
- Harness with a locking carabiner, belay device, and chalk bag
- Climbing hardware (quickdraws, cam devices, stoppers, etc.)
Here’s a list of the equipment we suggest you bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 40L bag)
- Rock shoes (can be rented, but we recommend bringing your own if you have them)
- Water bottle
- Food you can eat on-the-go
- Toiletries (sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Camera — 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 private climbing days, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 3:1 and the cost is per person.
- For the objective climbing days, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 3:1 and the cost is per person.
- For the family climbing days, the max group size is 12 people and the cost is per person.
- Costs per person decrease as the group grows for private tours, so it’s the perfect opportunity to climb with friends and family.
Climbing days can be arranged for bigger groups. Contact us prior to booking.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors may be permitted to climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
- You must have a child age 15 or younger in your group to be considered for the family rate.
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 North Conway, most people fly into Portland International Airport in Maine or Concord Municipal Airport in New Hampshire. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service. North Conway is only about an hour and a half away and all the climbing sites are located in Echo Lake State Park, less than 10 minutes away from the city center.
For the intro to outdoor mountain climbing, participants will be meeting your guide at the Eastern Mountain Sports headquarters at 8:30 AM sharp. You’ll get outfitted there and receive further instruction.
For the private climbing tours, once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet. The exact climbing spot will be discussed after the booking as guides make that decision after considering the skill level of the group and factors such as crag traffic and weather.