In the north part of Keene NH is a reliable ice climbing area on Rt 12 near the Keene Transfer Station. The climbing is on “cliffs” created when the railroad bed was routed through a hill in the early 1900s. There are about 30-40 ice and mixed routes from between 15 and 50+ feet in height. Grades range from NEI 3 to 5 and M4 to M6 or M7. Many of the routes are bolted, although in some years the bolts are obscured by the ice. There are some rock routes in the range of 5.8 to 5.11, although the area is mostly known for its ice climbing potential. The cliff and railroad bed are under the governance of the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED). The trail from the parking lot to the railroad bed is on property owned by Cushing & Sons well drilling company.
Directions and Parking
The large parking area is located on the east/north side of Route 12, about 500 feet past the Keene Transfer Station if you are traveling north, and just past Cushing & Sons well drilling company and storage facility, if you are traveling south (N42.980000, W72.357244). To reach this area from the south, starting at the intersection of Routes 9, 10 and 12 just west of downtown Keene, NH, travel north on Routes 9, 10, and 12 for 1.3 miles and bear left to stay on Route 12. Continue 4.5 miles (toward Walpole NH) and the parking lot will be on the right.
The access trail is located at the west end of the parking lot, which is the side closest to the self-storage units. Walk in about 350 feet on mostly level ground until you reach the railroad bed. Turn left and walk another 300’ to the start of the ice climbs, which are on both sides of the railroad bed.
The railroad bed is a shared resource and is used by snowmobilers, dog walkers, skiers, and bikers. Please make sure to keep your gear off of the railroad bed to allow other users to pass unimpeded.