Cannon Mountain (formerly
Profile Mountain) is a 4,100 foot (1,250 m) peak
in the White Mountains of New
both its technical rock and ice climbing (particularly on Cannon
Cliff, pictured) and its skiing (the state-owned Cannon Mountain
Ski Area), the mountain was home to the Old Man of the
Mountain 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 mountain is a type of geological
formation known as an exfoliating granite dome
which is layered like an onion.
Mountain is located within Franconia Notch State Park.
Cannon Mountain as viewed from Mount
Liberty in June 2005.
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
being called Profile Mountain, the mountain was also called
Cannon's ski area is one of the oldest in North America. Trails had
been cut on the mountain prior to 1933
, 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
in North America, in 1938
. A new tram was erected in 1980
with a vertical ascent of 2,022 feet (616.3 m)
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
tram base- and summit-stations remain intact, and one of the old
cabins serves as the entranceway to the New England Ski
Museum, 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.
of Cannon Mountain is home to a UHF Amateur Radio repeater on
449.875Mhz as well as two repeaters of ABC affiliate WMUR-TV.
Recreation and tourism
Cannon Mountain and the surrounding base area are used year-round
for a variety of recreational purposes, including sports such as
, as well as being a popular tourist
There are a number of trails that criss-cross Cannon Mountain and
the surrounding region (a map can be found here
), 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
-maintained Lonesome Lake
. The base of the cliff face can be approached via an
ambiguous path up the right side of the talus field.
Cannon's most prominent ice
Cannon Cliff (pictured above) is the largest vertical rock face in
the Northeast at roughly 1,000 feet (300 m) in height and more than
a mile (1.6 km) long. As written in a description
climbing possibilities on Cannon, "Some of the aid
lines are long and difficult enough to
require a bivy
, making Cannon the only
Big Wall in the northeast." Cannon is popular both in the summer
months with free-
alike, and in the winter it attracts both ice climbers
and mixed climbers (climbers who
ascend routes with some pitches of ice and some pitches of rock).
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
Notch, most notably 'Secrets of the Notch' by Jon Sykes
which covers both rock
and ice routes.Notable rock climbing
- Whitney-Gilman Ridge: 5.7, 5
pitches. This prominent arête 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 Bradley Gilman & Hassler Whitney August 3rd
- 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 Joe Cote & Roger Martin 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 John Bouchard
December 18th 1971 (solo)
- Omega: 5+, 3 pitches. Mixed climbing. Hardest ice climb in the
region. First ascent John Bouchard & Rainsford Rouner 1976
Ski Area is state-owned and offers nine lifts servicing
165 acres (0.7 km²) of
skiing (158 with snowmaking).
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps
6 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
US Olympic skier Bode Miller
grew up skiing at Cannon.
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, which is open daily from 9am to 5pm.
observation tower provides a panoramic view of the White
A restaurant and gift shop are available at
the summit tramway station. Another attraction until the spring of
was the Old Man of the Mountain; However,
the "Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site" remains an attraction.
notable is Profile
Lake, a lake popular with both fly fisherman and anglers. Lastly, the New England
Ski Museum attracts skiers to the area in the off-season, as
The Omega climbing route