Skip to main content
Home >   Activities >   Climbing >   Trips

Holt’s Ledge

Holt’s Ledge is a long, rising escarpment that bounds one half of the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, New Hampshire. For decades, it has been one of our most accessible ice-climbing destinations with thick flows that form reliably each year. Some of these are quite low-angle, short, and perfect for learning.

A small number of rock routes exist on Holt’s. Much of the rock has a firm exterior patina and is solid for climbing, but some is suspect: highly weathered and crumbly in places. As you meander the cliff’s base you’ll note some impressive roofs and a monster left-facing dihedral (these are roughly above the split “boxcar-boulder” in the woods below). The outside of this dihedral is a nice top-rope line at 5.10+. Several hundred feet uphill (left) of the big roofs there is an appealing eighty-degree wall with two direct lines which have been cleaned and toproped: Serenity (11A) starts with an obvious mantle right off the ground (just left of a left-facing corner); and (to its left) Another Road (10c/d) goes easily up a leftwards-rising ramp and then takes corners and steep face above on the right.

Farther uphill, there is a large, unappealing, low-angle, broken section where peregrine falcons breed. Keep well away from this area during the spring-summer breeding season - Approach only in late fall. Much further up the cliff-line, there are a couple of intermittent, high-quality buttresses. Several hundred yards to the right of the boxcar is a short, dirty class-3 gulley which provides access to the woods above the main wall. It is also possible to access Holt’s by hiking up the ski-hill and then descending — either to the cliff’s base or the top of the main wall. Please stay to the side of the ski slope if approaching this way. 

Note that several houses are located in the woods near the cliff’s base, and that sounds “carry” easily here, especially with the amplification of the rock wall behind. Please respect the desire of the local people for quiet. When using this property, please tread lightly and observe good Leave No Trace principles and good back country etiquette. Using the land courteously will allow us all to continue to use it in the future. 

Dartmouth College and the Outdoor Programs Office have reopened Holt's Ledge. The bolts have been removed. Moving forward, permission from Dartmouth is required for any bolting on Dartmouth property and it is very important not to trespass on private property surrounding the cliff. Please respect any notices from landowners and the Town of Lyme, NH.

How To Get There: 
Park at the Dartmouth Skiway and then make your way to the cliff as unobtrusively as possible (learn the most up-to-date approach-beta from the DMC).

Last Updated: 6/27/18