Rumney – Welcome to New Hampshire

After a glorious drive through the Green Mountains of Vermont we arrived in New Hampshire and the first New England destination of our trip. Rumney ranks somewhere in the Top Ten sports climbing destinations in the States, alongside The Red, The New, Rifle, Red Rocks, Smith and the like. With around a thousand routes spread across numerous sectors on the hillside overlooking the village of the same name, Rumney’s USP is perhaps its variety of styles and spread of grades. Highly featured schist is formed into slabs, walls and roofs, aretes and corners, providing 4* routes from 5.5 to 5.15.Another great bonus is the American Alpine Club campground that has recently been established immediately beneath the crags – $12 per person per night isn’t bad value and it gets better when you knock off the $5 parking fee you’d otherwise have to pay. You can see the Main Cliff sector in the background.Our visit coincided with the weekend, and predictably the place was something of a zoo – especially in the roadside Parking Lot and Meadows sectors.It was also roasting – high 20s, and the crag faces generally south, so we mooched up to the nearest bit of rock and found a tree-shaded route that wasn’t occupied and jumped on. This was Juan Valdez, 5.10b, short but pumpy up pockets then and undercling into a layback flake. Next door, Helen was strangely drawn to the chimney of Cafe au Lait, a truly 3D 5.6 adventure!Further left in the Parking Lot area, things were pretty busy on the moderates… but Red Sea Pedestrian, 5.10b was free and offered good crimping and a tough move through an overlap. Left again into The Meadows, it started to thin out and cool down as the sun moved behind the crag. Idiot’s Deluxe, 5.10d, was a great, long line with an impending headwall to Jug-tastic finish, and Holderness Arête 10b an aesthetic route marking the edge of the wall – you can just about see our blue rope down the line at the right of the photo below, which features a girl on one of the area’s most sought after 5.12s: Flesh for Lulu.For Day 2 we carried on left from where we’d finished the previous evening, warming up on Rose Garden before doing a couple of the classic 10s: Rhino-Buckets, 10aand Misdemeanor, 10b/c (though we actually thought the grades could be reversed)Further left again I got suckered by a great route name into trying Apocalypse Later, 5.11d and somewhat beyond me on a muggy day. Heading over to the Main Cliff I climbed Underdog, “Rumney’s most popular and best 10a” – excellent, but SO polished and felt significantly harder than others of a similar grade (it’s the line left of this guy climbing Sweet Polly Purebred)… and Armed and Dangerous, 5.10b (another great name and perhaps my favourite Rumney route so far). Back at the campground and the Sunday night exodus was in full swing – by the time the sun was heading down behind the trees we’d got the whole place almost to ourselves. We’ll endeavour to make it a mid-week visit on our return leg!

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