We woke up to bright sunshine warming the air and creating the first day of this spring season that has felt good enough to deserve the name of spring. It was mildly warm, dry, beautiful, and essentially everything needed to be perfect for sport climbing. Putting this with the fact that I had just won all brand new quick draws, it felt like a good day for some routes. Naturally, this meant driving all the way up to Rumney, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire is absolutely beautiful in terms of nature. It often has the aroma of fresh pine with every breath. It has towering mountains that create magnificent backdrops to almost any road you are on. It has that peaceful, solitude of being out in nature and away from the real world. Not all parts of New Hampshire are like this, of course. Some are very commercialized, but the climbing spots like Rumney and Pawtuckaway are very much so like this.
It was so nice out, we assumed all the snow would be long gone, but pulling up to the area, many of the mountains were still snow capped. Luckily, the climbing areas were mostly clear of snow. However, there were massive frozen waterfalls. I wouldn’t recommend ice climbing, because throughout the day you’d hear large crashing noises as chunks dropped off and tumbled at progressive speed down the hill. Some of the trails we took to get to the cliffs, were blocked with ice chunks when we traveled back down them to leave. The interesting thing was that some of these frozen waterfalls were sitting next to fast running waterfalls of completely fresh, non frozen water. It was neat to see them side by side.
The parking lot was more or less a large, thick pond of mud. The trails also had the occasional patch of muddy puddles, and many of the climbs were very wet. Sadly one climb was dry except for the crux moves. However, we found plenty that were dry and it was wonderful to get on the rock again. Rumney’s rock has lots of crimps. They are not necessarily always the holds intended for the climbs, but they are always present. So if climbing crimps appeals to you, you may want to climb in Rumney because each sloper, pinch, jug, or any other hold, is also likely to be covered in crimps. At least that is how it felt on the climbs we got on. This is no complaint. We love crimps and thoroughly enjoyed this fact. Having said that, some climbs can be really sharp. Not all of them are, but we got on a 5.8 that was just brutally painful and not at all enjoyable. We got on some very fun climbs too and saw some great ledges for Honnolding. There are even some easy and really fun multi-pitch climbs at a beginner level.
It was an absolutely stunning day. The trees are still leafless and thin, so you can see spectacular views of everything surrounding the area. There were almost as many dogs as people and they wanted to say hello. Everyone was happy to be back outside in t-shirts again. There is a feeling climbing at Rumney that isn’t found in many other places, and it is a good feeling. The climbs there are very varied. It is an excellent place to push yourself as there are many hard climbs. It is also a great place to learn because I really don’t think I’ve seen so many 5.2-5.5 anywhere else. It has a plethora of climbs for the moderate climber. There are all different styles from cave to slab, and something fun for everyone. It is one of the best New England sport climbing locations in my opinion. I can’t wait to go back.
Some things to note: there is a fee. You want to make sure to bring a couple of dollars to offer the park. Please don’t be a jerk with parking. We saw a few cars where they weren’t supposed to be. There is a lot of parking available. The roads are really small, so when people park on the road, it is hard for drivers. There is enough parking that this is really unnecessary. You definitely want to bring a stick clip. Some of these landings are not so great. They are on hills and you could tumble quite a ways. There are also several climbs that the guide book highly recommends stick clips for. They are easy to make.
I witnessed a homemade stick clip issue. One climber used his and after getting the draw on, pulled down the stick to find the clip had stayed up as well. You might want to bring extra tape if you make one. It was very entertaining to watch this struggle though.
There are also some great places to go after climbing. We went to the Lucky Dog Tavern in Plymouth, which is only a short drive away. http://www.luckydogtavernandgrill.com. The food was amazing. Especially if you are a vegetarian because they have a lot of veggie options, more so than I normally see. It was very delicious and we enjoyed it a lot. There is a cafe though we haven’t actually found it yet, and a couple subways and fast food places.