We managed another three days at Rumney, exploring some of the farther flung sectors (including Orange Crush – hence the post title). We finally hit the sweet spot of weekday solitude (or at least not weekend madness!) and mostly dry rock – I’d strongly recommend trying to time your visit to take in both if possible! Campground to ourselves, “colours” set to max, and the crag gently basking in the sun.
Our tour took in 5.8 Crag (a bit of a misnomer as probably the best route there was Romancing the Stone, 5.10c)
Venturing further up the hill we passed numerous impressively steep and bouldery crags, including Monsters from the Id, which we gave a wide berth!
Right at the top of the hill you come to Jimmy Cliff – the left end is a bit disappointing but the righthand side is a tremendous little buttress with climbing completely unlike that elsewhere at Rumney: very smooth, compact but slabby rock split by the occasional razor sharp crack. The right arete is taken by the outstanding Lonesome Dove, “one of the best 10as at Rumney”
flanked by the equally classic Junco, 5.8+ and the highly unusual The Nuthatch – when did you ever see Helen keen to get on a chimney route, but she thought it was excellent
Dropping down a level (in altitude not difficulty!) you come to Waimea, “the flagship crag at Rumney and home to some of the hardest routes in the country”.
The namesake route, Waimea, a “must do” 10d, had a waterfall running down it, so I was forced to up my ambition to sample the ambiance, and Flying Hawaiian, 11b/c was recommended. This takes the line left of the climber in the shot above, via a heinous boulder problem, burley roof and then scary corner / Dihedral (clearly visible in the top of the shot). Apparently this regularly sees off solid 12 climbers, so I was chuffed to tech my way up it (shame the boulder problem was beyond my onsight capacity).
By now it was getting properly dark and we groped our way down the leaf-covered trails and were thankful to make the campground without benightment or serious injury (those leaves are SO slippy!)
Next day was grey but dry and still quiet (two out of three ain’t bad).We decided to check out New Wave (my favourite music genre?) and Orange Crush (my favourite REM track).
Both were excellent, and certainly played to my strengths, with more sustained routes on steep (but not preposterously so) ground, without poppy boulder cruxes.
At New Wave Helen led Today Morning
and then we both did Black Dog Crack, 10b, before jumping on Salley’s Alley, 11c. This is an absolute joy – techy bridging and palming up a really interesting groove followed by a stiff pull over a roof. Here’s a climber (in purple) pulling the crux
Moving on to Orange Crush, we did Black Mamba, also 11c, and perhaps the only route I’ve done all trip that seemed easy for the grade conversion tables into French sports grades (about 6c+). Very good though!
Here’s Helen following it.
Further left again I did the two-pitch Tropicana in one huge 30m+ runout (both pitches get 11a – the first a testing shallow corner and the second some juggy bulges followed by an exposed traverse onto a huge hanging prow – gotta be worth 11b/c in a oner, and in any event another “route of the trip” contender)
Here’s the view of the first pitch with the rest of the wall in the background
… and here’s a view up to the prow (with the even more impressive prow of Predator, 13a, in the background
We finished off with the classic Orange Crush and then couldn’t resist an Orange Crush selfie
Down before dark this time, just in time for the arrival of our Boston-based friends, Geoff and Ath. We hadn’t seen them since they left Blighty about 25 years ago, but it hardly seemed like yesterday – especially after a few beers at the highly recommended Common Tavern. Note to self: next time check the strength before drinking 3 pints of an excellent IPA
It turns out that Zero Gravity’s very quaffable Madonna Double IPA weighs in at 8%, which probably explains why I almost walked straight past the campsite on the way home!
After some overnight rain, Saturday was a textbook New England Fall day: blue, bright and crisp – enough to persuade Geoff and Ath to dust off harnesses and boots little used in the intervening decades and get to grips with some Schist. You’d hardly know they’d had a “pause” in their climbing careers.
Here’s Ath grappling with the 3D puzzle of Cafe au Lait
Geoff and Ath on Egg McMeadows 5.9+ and Rise and Shine, 5.7
… and Geoff leading False Modesty, 5.7
Just goes to show “Form might be temporary, but Class is permanent”, as they say. We’d certainly earned a bask in the late afternoon sunshine.
A brilliant end to a really enjoyable visit to Rumney – we’ll be back!