If you are a climber living in, or planning a trip to, New England then you’re probably going to be looking for a place to climb somewhere close by. There are many places to climb in New England but one of the most popular is a place called Rumney. Rumney is a state park located in the White Mountain National Forest in NH. The place is pretty big so make sure you plan on making it a day trip and bring plenty of food and water. There is nothing better than a Jet Boil (or some other type of outdoor cooker) to bring with you because you will need a meal with plenty of carbs to stay energized. And when you’re out climbing in the early Spring or Fall and it’s 45-50 degrees outside you will be thanking yourself later for a nice hot meal or even a hot cup of tea.
There are plenty of sport routes for anyone to climb ranging from 5.3-5.15 and you can check them all out on Mountain Project when you get a chance. This makes it great for any kind of climber with little to a lot of experience. If you’re on your way to becoming a pro, or are more advanced, then there is a lot for you to do there and some cool places for you to check out. I wasn’t surprised when I saw photo’s on Nina William’s Instagram of her crushing some routes in Waiema (one of the harder crags found in Rumney). There are also a lot of easy sport routes making it the perfect place for beginners, or anyone new to lead/sport climbing, to practice. However, with it’s diversity I guess I wouldn’t be shocking anyone when I tell you that the place is almost always packed. The two parking lot are always full by 12pm on the weekends so I suggest getting there as early as possible. Even if it means taking one or two of those nasty energy gel things to keep you awake and ready to hike to whatever crag you choose to climb. There is also this great little place called the Common Cafe in town with some great breakfast and coffee. I’m more of a chai tea person and on a cold morning at 6:30am there was nothing more delightful to me than that hot vanilla chai and a warm, fresh, breakfast sandwich. I found that Rumney is a small town with a big climbing community. I’m pretty sure the Common Cafe serves dinner so if you get the chance swing by and make some new local friends. You might learn a thing or two. I only get the chance to go there in the mornings since my friends and I are the people who will spend all day climbing from 8am until dusk. Leaving us with little time to rush to the camp ground, set up the tent, and go to bed at a decent time. I will have to make it a point to check it out for dinner one night.
People will tell you that the best time to visit Rumney is in the Spring or Fall but that’s all just personal opinion. There’s no better time to climb than the present. That is unless you have something holding you back or super important to do of course. The Spring and Fall is a good time to visit since the days are still cool. To me the best climbing temperature is around 70 degrees, however, the last time I went was in late September and it was freezing. The days were around 45 degrees and the nights were in the 30’s. Don’t quote me on this but I’m pretty sure that’s below average for September. Most of the walls are in the shade at the bottom so if you were belaying you were probably freezing. The rocks were so cold that within the first few minutes on the wall your hands were going numb. The only thing that I could do to warm them up was to move some chalk around in my chalk bag. When you got to the top of the walls they were mostly all exposed to the sun so the warmth felt so good. I remember a few times I got to the top of a climb and just sat there not telling my partner to lower me. It was just so warm and I knew that when I got down I would be overcome by the cold. My belayer, Alex Fyfe, had no idea why I was taking so long to come down but eventually I had to since I didn’t want to be a wall hog. The Summer’s aren’t too bad in NH, they’re generally not too hot, and the average temperature is somewhere between 75-85 degrees. So if it’s sometime in the Spring, Summer or Fall it’s usually a good time to visit Rumney. There’s so much to do in Rumney with it’s versatility, the amount of climbs and the good people to meet and share information with. If you’re looking for a place to stay there are plenty of camp grounds near by, just make sure you call and make a reservation a head of time because, like I said earlier, it does get busy there. And if youre headed there in the winter feel free to check out some of the ice climbing the White Mountains has to offer as well. You can never go wrong if you’re headed to climb in Rumney.