Tag Archives: leadclimbing

Rumney Rocks, NH

Standard

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Advice On Lead Climbing

Standard

So one of the many things I did this summer was learn how to lead climb properly. My good friend Alex and I decided that since we both do a lot of out door climbing it would be a good idea to become officially lead certified. That means that we had to take three classes at the gym and then finally a test. The class was very informative and the test was pretty easy to pass as long as you stay cool and take it slow. The problem that I ran into while just starting to lead was that you can no longer climb the grades you once were able to on top rope. On top rope you only have to worry about going up, if you fall, your belayer will catch you. While leading you have to worry about finding a good position, holding it, clipping in and taking big falls. You don’t realized how tiring it is until your hanging in an uncomfortable position trying to clip in with one hand. Then if your arms or legs give out and you don’t get the rope in the clip your taking a possible 15 foot fall. If you do get the clip and you fall you will only fall half of that. It can get pretty scary and when you first start out pump comes on quick while trying to hold your position to clip. That’s why when you first start you might get set back a few grades. On top rope, or auto belay in the gym I can climb usually anything between 5.10 and 5.12 right off the couch. When I first started lead climbing I struggled with 5.7’s and 5.8’s. I  think now I’m comfortable leading at 5.9 but thinking about doing a 5.10 or higher scares me. It will take some more practice until I can get to where I am on top rope. But I know as long as I keep practicing and pushing myself it will happen. I may even attempt to lead a 5.11 in the gym next time I go with Alex to belay me. I probably won’t make it but you never know unless you try, you’ll never get better or learn to climb higher grades unless you attempt them. When I first started leading I never once thought that it was going to set me back a few grades. I thought that because I could climb a 5.11 on top rope then I could on lead. I didn’t realize I was wrong until the first lead class.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 2.08.38 PMBelaying is  a bit different too since it pretty much backwards. Instead of taking slack you’re feeding the rope through giving the slack to the climber. It took a few classes to actually get used to it. It was pretty weird to me and it does feel uncomfortable and first. There is a lot to keep in mind as the belayer like how much slack to give, when to take it, where to stand and when to take a soft or a hard catch. But practice makes perfect and even after I passed the test I still feel like I am always learning something new about it. There is just so much beta to go around that no matter what type of climbing you are doing you are always learning something new about the sport. I guess you can say it always keeps you on your toes. I would recommend learning how to lead if you plan on doing a lot of outdoor climbing and if you take climbing seriously. If you are only going to climb in the gym for fun and maybe set up a top rope a few times a year then it’s not something you need to learn how to do right away. Learning does take time and I have spent more times in the gym during the week then I ever have in the past while learning how to lead so it does become time consuming. My advice would be if you’re going to do it take your time, study and don’t get frustrated. It will come as long as you keep going.