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 very small number of rock routes have been done 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 (please keep well away during spring-summer breeding season). Much further up the cliff-line there are a couple of intermittent, high-quality butresses. 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.
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. Therefore please respect the desire of the local people for quiet.
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).