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Cannon Mountain (New Hampshire)

Cannon Mountain (New Hampshire)

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Cannon Mountain is a 4080 feet (1,243.6 m) peak in the White Mountains
White Mountains (New Hampshire)
The White Mountains are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine in the United States. Part of the Appalachian Mountains, they are considered the most rugged mountains in New England...

 of New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

. Known for both its technical rock and ice climbing (particularly on Cannon Cliff, pictured) and its skiing (the state-owned
State ownership
State ownership, also called public ownership, government ownership or state property, are property interests that are vested in the state, rather than an individual or communities....

 Cannon Mountain Ski Area
Cannon Mountain Ski Area
Cannon Mountain Ski Area, located on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is a state-owned resort that offers nine lifts servicing of skiing . Cannon Mountain has the most vertical of any ski area in New Hampshire, and the seventh largest in New England.It also has the only...

), the mountain was home to the Old Man of the Mountain
Old Man of the Mountain
The Old Man of the Mountain, also known as the Great Stone Face or the Profile, was a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, USA that, when viewed from the north, appeared to be the jagged profile of a face. The rock formation was above...

 until the formation collapsed on May 3, 2003. It is the parent mountain of three mountains, with heights of 3,693, 3,700, and 3,769 feet (1,125, 1,127 and 1,148 m), collectively known as "The Cannon Balls
The Cannon Balls
The Cannon Balls is a mountain ridge located in Grafton County, New Hampshire. It is part of the Kinsman Range of the White Mountains. The ridge has three peaks with elevations of, from west to east, 3,693, 3,660, and 3,769 feet...

." The mountain is a type of geological formation known as an exfoliating
Exfoliation (geology)
Exfoliation joints or sheet joints are surface-parallel fracture systems in rock often leading to erosion of concentric slabs.- General characteristics of exfoliation joints :* Commonly follow topography ....

 granite dome
Granite dome
A granite dome is a dome of granite, formed by exfoliation.-Formation:Granite forms plutons of igneous rock several kilometers below the surface as magma slowly cools and crystallizes. The granite is under great overhead pressure....

 which is layered like an onion. Cannon Mountain is located within Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park is located in the White Mountains in northern New Hampshire and straddles of Interstate 93 as it passes through Franconia Notch, a mountain pass between the Kinsman Range and Franconia Range...

.

History



In 1972, the US Board on Geographic Names officially changed the name from Profile Mountain, which it had been called officially since 1917, to Cannon Mountain. The two names both are derived from natural rock formations featured on the mountain; the former being the famous "Old Man of the Mountain" and the latter being a series of boulders which, when viewed from the foot of the mountain, resemble an antique cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

. Before being called Profile Mountain, the mountain was also called Frank Mountain.

Cannon's ski area is one of the oldest in North America. Trails had been cut on the mountain prior to 1933
1933 in sports
-Alpine skiing:Events* Taft Slalom, the first racing trail in North America, is cut on Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire-American football:NFL championship...

, but the mountain gained widespread recognition that year when the Taft Slalom was cut as the first racing trail in North America. The mountain gained lift service with the construction of the first aerial tramway
Aerial tramway
An aerial tramway , cable car , ropeway or aerial tram is a type of aerial lift which uses one or two stationary ropes for support while a third moving rope provides propulsion...

 in North America, in 1938
1938 in sports
-American football:* New York Giants 23–17 Green Bay Packers for the NFL title.* First High School Oil Bowl is played.-Association football:World Cup* 1938 World Cup held in France – Italy retain their title, beating Hungary 4-2 in the final....

. A new tram was erected in 1980 with a vertical ascent of 2,022 feet (616.3 m) and a capacity of 140 people (two seventy-person cabins), roughly three times larger than the original lift.

Cannon hosted the first Alpine Skiing World Cup races ever held in North America in 1967, with races being listed as occurring at Franconia.

The old tram base and summit-stations remain intact, and one of the old cabins serves as the entranceway to the New England Ski Museum
New England Ski Museum
The New England Ski Museum is a non-profit operation in Franconia, New Hampshire designed to preserve the history of commercial and recreational skiing, both alpine and cross-country, in the northeastern United States....

, opened in 1982 at the mountain's base area. The museum houses what it calls "the most extensive collection of historical ski equipment, clothing, film, photographs, literature, and artwork in the East" and is one of four museums in the U.S. to be recognized by the United States Ski Association as a Regional Museum.

The summit of Cannon Mountain is home to a UHF Amateur Radio repeater on 449.875Mhz as well as two repeaters belonging to the ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 affiliate WMUR-TV
WMUR-TV
WMUR-TV is the ABC-affiliated television station for the state of New Hampshire that is licensed to Manchester. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on VHF channel 9 from a transmitter on the south peak of Mount Uncanoonuc in Goffstown. Owned by Hearst Television, the station has studios...

.

Recreation and tourism


Cannon Mountain and the surrounding base area are used year-round for a variety of recreational purposes, including sports such as hiking
Hiking
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The health benefits of different types of hiking...

, climbing
Climbing
Climbing is the activity of using one's hands and feet to ascend a steep object. It is done both for recreation and professionally, as part of activities such as maintenance of a structure, or military operations.Climbing activities include:* Bouldering: Ascending boulders or small...

 and skiing
Skiing
Skiing is a recreational activity using skis as equipment for traveling over snow. Skis are used in conjunction with boots that connect to the ski with use of a binding....

, as well as being a popular tourist destination.

Hiking


There are a number of trails that criss-cross Cannon Mountain and the surrounding region (a map is available), but only one trail, the Kinsman Ridge Trail, can be taken un-interrupted from the trailhead to the summit. This trail begins in the Aerial Tramway parking lot and ascends the north face of the mountain, which is shared by the ski area. Two other features of the mountain which attract hikers are the Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately long...

 and the Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club
The Appalachian Mountain Club is one of the United States' oldest outdoor groups. Created in 1876 to explore and preserve the White Mountains in New Hampshire, it has expanded throughout the northeastern U.S., with 12 chapters stretching from Maine to Washington, D.C...

-maintained Lonesome Lake Hut. The base of the cliff face can be approached via an ambiguous path up the right side of the talus field.

Climbing




Cannon Cliff (pictured above) is the largest vertical rock face in the Northeast at roughly 1000 feet (304.8 m) in height and more than 1 miles (1.6 km) long. As written in a SummitPost description of climbing possibilities on Cannon, "Some of the aid
Aid climbing
Aid climbing is a style of climbing in which standing on or pulling oneself up via devices attached to fixed or placed protection is used to make upward progress....

 lines are long and difficult enough to require a bivy
Bivouac sack
A bivouac sack is an extremely small, lightweight, waterproof shelter, and an alternative to traditional tent systems. It is used by climbers, mountaineers, hikers, ultralight backpackers, soldiers and minimalist campers...

, making Cannon the only Big Wall in the northeast." Cannon is popular in the summer months with free-
Free climbing
Free climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climber uses only hands, feet and other parts of the body to ascend, employing ropes and forms of climbing protection to prevent falls only....

 and aid-climbers alike, and in the winter it attracts ice climbers
Ice climbing
Ice climbing, as the term indicates, is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water. For the purposes of...

 and mixed climbers (climbers who ascend routes with some pitches of ice and some pitches of rock). (V)Ice Fest, an annual ice climbing festival, is held in the Franconia Notch region and features climbing on Cannon Cliff.

There is a log book climbers are asked to sign into and out of. If an unusual amount of time passes before a climber signs out, a search party is formed. Several guide books exist for Cannon and Franconia Notch
Franconia Notch
Franconia Notch is a major mountain pass through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Dominated by Cannon Mountain, it lies principally within Franconia Notch State Park and is traversed by the Franconia Notch Parkway Franconia Notch (el. 1950 ft. / 590 m.) is a major mountain pass through...

, most notably 'Secrets of the Notch' by Jon Sykes which covers both rock and ice routes.

Notable rock climbing routes:
  • Whitney-Gilman Ridge: 5.7, 5 pitches. This prominent arête
    Arete
    Areté is the term meaning "virtue" or "excellence", from Greek ἈρετήArete may also be used:*as a given name of persons or things:**Queen Arete , a character in Homer's Odyssey.***197 Arete, an asteroid....

     in the center of the face is possibly Cannon's signature climb. The 3rd pitch (the 'Pipe Pitch') features outstanding exposure over the Black Dike. Protection is a mix of trad and fixed bolts and pitons. First ascent was by Bradley Gilman and Hassler Whitney on August 3, 1929.
  • Moby Grape: 5.8, 9 pitches. Ascends the tallest section of the cliff. Starts with Reppy's Crack; superb climbing all the way up. First ascent was by Joe Cote and Roger Martin on July 1972.

Notable ice climbing routes:
  • The Black Dike: 4+/5-, 500 ft (150 m) tall; 3 pitches. A popular mixed ice climb. First ascent was by John Bouchard on December 18, 1971 (solo
    Solo climbing
    Solo climbing or soloing is a style of climbing in which the climber climbs alone, without somebody belaying him. There are three ways to climb solo:* Roped solo climbing:**lead climbing with a self-locking device which is used to arrest a fall...

    ).
  • Omega: 5+, 3 pitches. Mixed climbing. Hardest ice climb in the region. First ascent by John Bouchard and Rainsford Rouner in 1976.

Approach and descent


The approach trail to Cannon cliff can be found by walking along the bike path on the western (southbound) side of I-93
Interstate 93
Interstate 93 is an Interstate Highway in the New England section of the United States. Its southern terminus is in Canton, Massachusetts, in the Boston metropolitan area, at Interstate 95; its northern terminus is near St. Johnsbury, Vermont, at Interstate 91...

. A climber parking is available at a trailhead parking lot just south of Profile Lake
Profile Lake
Profile Lake is a water body located in Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, at the foot of Cannon Mountain. The lake was given its name due to its location directly beneath the Old Man of the Mountain, a famous rock formation which collapsed in 2003...

. The sign-in box is located at this trailhead. The approach to Cannon is notable for its length and difficulty. After about 1 miles (1.6 km) of hiking up narrow, climber-maintained trails through the woods, climbers must cross a long section of talus. Many climbers choose to top out rather than rappelling and having to descend across the talus field.

Unofficial descent trails can be found on both the north and south ends of the cliff (above Whitney-Gilman and Lakeside, respectively). These trails descend steeply and return climbers to the trailhead.

Skiing


The Cannon Mountain Ski Area
Cannon Mountain Ski Area
Cannon Mountain Ski Area, located on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, is a state-owned resort that offers nine lifts servicing of skiing . Cannon Mountain has the most vertical of any ski area in New Hampshire, and the seventh largest in New England.It also has the only...

 is state-owned and offers nine lifts servicing 165 acres (66.8 ha) of skiing (158 with snowmaking). In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D...

 cut six ski trails, many of which were later incorporated into the Cannon Mountain Ski Area and, until 1984, the Mittersill Ski Area. The Mittersill Ski Area and Taft CCC Ski Trail were incorporated into the Cannon Mountain Ski Area in 2009.

US Olympic gold medal winning skier
Alpine skiing
Alpine skiing is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. Alpine skiing can be contrasted with skiing using free-heel bindings: Ski mountaineering and nordic skiing – such as cross-country; ski jumping; and Telemark. In competitive alpine skiing races four...

 Bode Miller
Bode Miller
Samuel Bode Miller is an American alpine ski racer. He is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist, a two-time overall World Cup champion in 2005 and 2008, and is generally considered the greatest American alpine skier of all time...

 grew up skiing at Cannon.

Tourism


Cannon has a number of non-sport related features which make it a popular tourist attraction. The aerial tramway operates year round, and in the summer is the only way up the mountain other than hiking. Though the lift terminates at the summit of the ski area, which is not the peak of the mountain itself, two hiking trails (the Cannon Mountain Short Trail and the Rim Trail) provide a way to the summit. The tramway opens for the summer season in mid-May and closes in mid-October, and is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There, an observation tower provides a panoramic view of the White Mountains Region
White Mountains Region
The White Mountains Region is a tourism region designated by the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism. It is located in northern New Hampshire in the United States and is named for the White Mountains, which cover most of the region. The southern boundary of the region begins at Piermont...

. A restaurant and gift shop are available at the summit tramway station. Another attraction until the spring of 2003 was the Old Man of the Mountain; However, the "Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site" remains an attraction. Also notable is Profile Lake
Profile Lake
Profile Lake is a water body located in Franconia Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, at the foot of Cannon Mountain. The lake was given its name due to its location directly beneath the Old Man of the Mountain, a famous rock formation which collapsed in 2003...

, a lake popular with both fly fisherman
Fly fishing
Fly fishing is an angling method in which an artificial 'fly' is used to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod, reel, and specialized weighted line. Casting a nearly weightless fly or 'lure' requires casting techniques significantly different from other forms of casting...

 and anglers
Angling
Angling is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" . The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook itself...

. Lastly, the New England Ski Museum
New England Ski Museum
The New England Ski Museum is a non-profit operation in Franconia, New Hampshire designed to preserve the history of commercial and recreational skiing, both alpine and cross-country, in the northeastern United States....

 attracts skiers to the area in the off-season, as well.

See also


  • Four-thousand footers
    Four-thousand footers
    The term Four-Thousand Footers refers to a group of forty-eight mountains in New Hampshire at least 4,000 feet above sea level...

  • White Mountains Region
    White Mountains Region
    The White Mountains Region is a tourism region designated by the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism. It is located in northern New Hampshire in the United States and is named for the White Mountains, which cover most of the region. The southern boundary of the region begins at Piermont...

  • List of mountains in New Hampshire
  • Betty and Barney Hill abduction
    Betty and Barney Hill abduction
    Betty and Barney Hill were an American couple who claimed to have been abducted by extraterrestrials in a rural portion of New Hampshire on September 19–20, 1961....