So 2016 was a year of accomplishing new goals and finding myself. Going into 2016 this time last year I was depressed, and unhappy with myself. The person I used to be seemed to be lost. I quickly overcame that by doing things I love such as, rock climbing, hiking running in 5k’s and so on. I began to eat better and I lost almost 20 pounds. I had a spiritual connection with nature in my own back yard and even backpacked the White Mountains. Within the first few months of 2016 I was feeling like myself again and for the first time in a year I was finally happy. I made new friends that became positive influences in my life and helped me accomplish goals. I did things I never thought I would be able to do and I did all on my own. Rock climbing became a big part of my life. It was something that I was actually good at and enjoyed. I came a long way with the sport, I became an influence to others, and was even able to get a sponsorship. All I ever wanted was to influence others. I just want people to know that anything can be accomplished with the right mind set and that is something I was able to do just by sharing my journey with others over the internet. By the end of the year I was able to quit my one night a week bar tending job and get a full time graphic design job that has made it possible for me to drive home a new 2017 Hyundai Elantra. Being in a full time office job is hard since I am used to being so active but with the proper willpower I have been able to manage my active time around my job.
My life has changed a lot in 2016 and it all hasn’t been that great. I gained a lot but I also lost a lot. At the beginning of the year I had to say goodbye to my Aunt and my Grandfather. That was hard and had a big impact on my family life. My mother was hurt more because she lost her sister so I have tried to be there for her as much as can be. However, that kind of hurt is a hurt that only time can heal. Just a few weeks ago I had to make another hard decision. I had to put down my childhood dog Reilly. Reilly was a boxer and boxers are very prone to tumors which ultimately did him in. Reilly would have turned 11 years old this month and towards his final days he was showing his age. He still had a lot of personality and wanted to jump around but he was getting skinny. He hardly wanted to eat and when he did he couldn’t keep it down. Just seeing him become skin and bones was the hardest thing to see. My family took him to the vet where we found out his stomach was covered in tumors causing him to not be able to digest his food. The vet said he only had days to a week to live. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. He was my best friend and seeing that last look in his eyes killed me inside. After that I don’t think I ever want a dog again.
Hopefully 2017 will be a little easier. I plan to continue climbing and to kick my ass even more in shape. I would like to apply for a few more sponsorships in the fall but we’ll cross that bridge later. I do have a list of climbs planned and some winter sport activities planed so hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish a lot. My main goal is to save up enough money to plan a climbing trip out to Yosemite so lets do it!
May he be happy in doggy heaven
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.
So last week my friend and I went hiking on the trails in Snake Den near my house. We came across this giant crag that we have never scene before and that’s when we knew I had to climb it. I went home that night and did some research on it and there was absolutely no record of it being climbed at all. I couldn’t believe it because it was a decent 40ft wall. After hours of researching it I came to nothing but dead ends. Who knows, maybe it had been climbed and named before but I found nothing. I decided to take the initiative to send and and name it myself.
Over the weekend we set up top rope over the crag and invited a few other local climbing friends in the area. Since it was my idea I was the first one to get to climb it. I went through a bit of trouble because I wanted to stay left to the left of the route but the top rope just wasn’t hearing it. I knew I had to stay under the rope which actually was the most difficult way to go. That’s when I realized the route was going to be a little difficult. I got to an over hang and got stuck for a few minutes but I found a little foot hold all the way to the right that I used to push off on. I decided that the route had to be about a 5.10. The first half was easy but once you got to the over hang it became very difficult and needed a bit of technique to push through that section. When rating a rout you can sort of feel what the grade is just because you have climbed so much. It’s almost like driving a car, you don’t need to look at the speedometer to know you’re going 35mph. You are so used to driving that you can feel how fast our going. It’s sort of the same way when it comes to climbing.
When I got to the very top of the rout there were two ways to get up. You could stay right and top out there or you could stay left and there was about another 5ft to climb that had a giant crack going through it. If you stay left you have to climb the crack and then top out. You basically do whatever you think you can do. After the climb I decided to give it a rating of 5.10+ because if you stay left up the crack it makes it a bit harder. If you stay right and top out the easy way its a solid 5.10. Since I was the first to send it I had the honors of naming it. We had the 80’s pop station playing on Pandora when the song “The Land Down Under” came on. It was sort of fitting, at the bottom of the crag it feels like you’re in a land down under since the cliff is so giant, especially with the over hang. That was the moment when I decided that it was only necessary to name the route The Land Down Under 5.10+. I made a page for it on the Mountain Project website. Feel free to check it out. I didn’t realize that creating a route was so much fun and actually makes you feel proud of yourself. I encourage all of you adventurers to go out and find a new route, send it, grade it, and name it!