Frankenstein Ice Climbing Classics Guide

The Basics

Basic information about the Frankenstein area appears below. Before reading any of this information, you must be sure you read and understand the information presented in the introduction HERE.


  • Click HERE to scroll down for links to the list of specific climbing routes.

A combination of easy access, range of climbing grades, and relatively straightforward layout make Frankenstein the epicenter of New Hampshire ice climbing. You'll find it just of few miles south of Crawford Notch, on the west side of the road. After turning onto the access road (the Arethusa Falls Trailhead), there is a large parking lot. At the far end there is a pit toilet, which can be useful, but if you don't need that then cruise up the hill until you see a large brown house and another parking area. The brown house belongs to to a fellow named Bill King and though he's not a climber, he is definitely an asset to the Frankenstein scene, plowing out the parking area when needed and maintaining a rescue cache underneath his deck. Be respectful of his residence and if you end up frequenting Frankenstein a bunch, bring him a plate of cookies or some-such from time to time!


After suiting up, go to the top of the lot and get on the train track headed north. The Smear, Pegasus, Chia, and Bob's Delight are south of the large train trestle and all the other routes described here are north of the trestle. If you are approaching The Smear, Pegasus, or Chia from the north/far side of the trestle, seriously consider crossing to the south and coming in the standard way. Coming in from the north side of the amphitheater exposes you both to falling ice from the Widow's Walk area and to potentially hazardous avalanches that, though small, could drag you into some nasty tree terrain.


Frankenstein is not a great option if you don't do some lead climbing. Though there are many great top-rope areas, you need to lead climb in the WI2-3 range to set up the climbs or go through some pretty elaborate and sometimes exposed terrain to do so (the exception being The Blob in Chia Amphitheater, and arguably House of Blue as well). That said, if you are looking to lead climb, Frankenstein is a fantastic place to explore. The place has ample ice in the WI2-5 range, such that this place could provide a textbook layout in progressing your ice skills. Add in the occasional views of Mt. Washington and a generally sunny exposure and it's easy to see that—despite its foreboding name—Frankenstein is a pretty friendly place to climb.


This list of route descriptions is a continuing work-in-progress and we welcome your feedback, input, and ideas regarding improving them. As with all climbing, it is ultimately up to you to make wise choices for you and your party, regardless of what information this list contains.


Route Descriptions

The Frankenstein routes are described in the order that you encounter them while heading north along the railroad tracks. Click below for route descriptions:   


  • The Smear
  • Pegasus Left
  • Pegasus Right
  • Hard Rane (coming soon)
  • Chia (coming soon)
  • Bob's Delight (coming soon)
  • The Standard Route Left (coming soon)
  • The Standard Route (coming soon)
  • The Penguin (coming soon)
  • Dracula (coming soon)