Possible M12 Climbed in Maine


Josh Hurst nearly across the big cave on Silent Spring (M12) in western Maine. Photo by Ian Austin.

In late March, Josh Hurst redpointed a mixed route in western Maine that could be as hard as M12. Silent Spring, near Bethel, is a 110-foot route with a big cave leading to a hanging icicle. The route has mostly fixed pro, with 14 bolts. Hurst said it was “way harder than any of the M11s I've done,” including the mixed routes of the Cathedral Cave in New Hampshire, and he thanked his climbing partner Ian Austin for cheerfully enduring numerous three-mile approaches and extended belay sessions.

See NEice.com for Hurst's short account of the climb and more photos.

(UPDATED - 5/11/09)

Bayard Russell trying to make the span on the crux of John Henry (M10/11) at the Mica Mine cave in Evans Notch. Photo by Freddie Wilkinson.

Meanwhile, in Evans Notch on the Maine–New Hampshire border, Bayard Russell redpointed a hard new mixed route in an abandoned quarry, the Mica Mine. John Henry (M10/11) follows a short ice flow to a 25-foot dry-tooling ceiling, followed by a 45-degree headwall. The crux comes just after the lip of the roof, with a section of blank rock overcome with a long move to a hidden pocket. The same cave also yielded a superb M7 called Gold Rush, along with a few projects. 

See more photos and Russell’s account at Cathedralstyle.

Date of Ascent: February-March 2009

Sources: Josh Hurst, Neice.com, Bayard Russell, Cathedralstyle.blogspot.com

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