Technical Systems

Mindfulness signifies presence of mind, attentiveness to the present.

Climbing requires a mindful approach for all of your rock and mountain climbs. If a climber loses this presence of mind movements will be sloppy and irregular with the result leading to a botched send, potential tension, hanging on the rope.

Through out this past weekend mindfulness was a common word used by the team members to each other at the busy areas of Rumney Rocks. As a team of 5 rowdy guys on vacation we were using “be mindful” to check our overall presence and minimize impact to others around us.

Another way to view mindful is for each of us move into the higher levels of rock movements and rock climbing techniques a focused presence of mind is required. A focused presence does not appear out of nowhere! A focused presence starts at each of our home areas studying, practicing and training for the rocks and mountains. Whether you live in the city or country area climbers can develop a specific training program to include regular physical training, a balanced diet, and plenty of rest and recovery time. With a regular training program at home one will reach new heights each time they climb.

This weekend the team did an excellent job rock climbing and reaching two high peaks in the area. Now the team is back home – to each of you – enjoy the continued Mindful approach. Train for climbing, be consistent, the pay off is success on the rocks and in the mountains.


The Team – a day at Rumney Rocks.

  Adel, Sean, Steve.


Sean on the move up the stone – being belayed by Erik.


Sean and Steve climbing high above Baker River Valley on the route named Lady and the Tramp.


 Erik guiding Adel on Clippidy Do Dah.


The Egyptian Stallion readying himself for Nuthatch at Jimmy Cliff.


A very pumped up and excited Sean after his completion of Nuthatch.


The balanced team Adel being belayed by Erik on the climbing route called Bonehead Roof.


Adel working the lower crux on the Bonehead Roof.

Art Mooney

Thin Air is a classic NH rock climb. The routes follows cracks and ramps up the sheer east facing granite cliffs of Cathedral Ledge. The routes is a first lead for many who climb at the Cathedral Area.

Jerry and I had climbed Funhouse and Upper Refuse a weeks ago which made Thin Air our next objective. We arrived at the base early Saturday morning a readied for the climb. The weather report called for showers but we figured we had a short window of good weather.

Jerry racked up then led the entire route.  The pitches offered interesting climbing challenges, a variety of gear for protection, and creative anchoring building for him. The route was an excellent progression in the exciting new leading area for Jerry.


Thin Air pitch one.


The classic pitch – Thin Air Traverse.IMG_1470

Steep climbing towards the upper headwall.


Jerry working through the upper flakes.

Excellent leading today!!!

Art Mooney

Upper Refuse is the perfect rock climb to introduce climbers to the granite crack climbs at Cathedral Ledge. Given the past rain and potentially wet rock Janice and I drove to the top of Cathedral and approached the Refuse climb via the tree ledge. We began our days with two objectives, our first was to climb a variety of routes and the second was for Janice to gain confidence and take on the leading role. Following me up the routes is what most guests enjoy on a guided day but for Janice she was looking for the next step – leading.

Being the leader of a rock climb requires a focused mindset and a solid foundation of movement skills. The climber must be in control as they design the protection, the anchors, and the belays on the climb. This may sound easy but once you are out in front the climb and movements take on a much different feel.

Janice and I enjoyed two fine days on the rocks. Cracks climbs, leading, and a few of the classic crack routes entertained our minds while we exercised our bodies.


Janice opening the day on Upper Refuse.


Learning the craft of placement of cams and stoppers in granite cracks.


Exposed finale pitch – high above Cathedral Pines


Funhouse – Janice taking up the rope.


Leaving the belay on pitch three.


Excellent rock climbing, good protection opportunities = a very fun day out.


Thanks Janice for coming down to the states to climb. Hello to Sparky for me when you get back home.

Art Mooney

 Jonathan and Jackie joined Mooney Mountain Guides for a half day  afternoon rock climbing adventure at Rumney Rocks. Sunday was the perfect day to be outside hiking and climbing in the White Mountains. Our rock climbing tour began with a leisure warm up hike up to the Jimmy Cliff area. The route called Clip a Dee Doo Dah was our objective. Clip a Dee Doo Dah is an inviting beginner climb that takes a direct line up the lower angle slabs to a high point on Rattlesnake Mountain. This was Jonathans and Jackies first outdoor climb at Rumney and they were excited –  they both climbed easily and quickly following my leads to the top. Once back at the base we roped up once again for a second climb on Pine Tree Crack. Two climbs to the top with amazing views of the Baker River Valley below brought smiles to us all.


Great times on the rocks with Jackie and Jonathan!!!


Climbing high on Clip a Dee Doo Dah.

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Knots to tie, ropes to manage, belaying the leader. Jonathan took on these tasks with ease.

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Climbing up Pitch Two and the Summit attained. Nice work.


Jackie on our last climb at the Meadows Area – steeper rock and lots of climbers.

Thanks to Jackie and Jonathan for joining me at Rumney Rocks. It is always a good time meeting new guests and taking them on a first time climbing experience outdoors on the rocks.

Art Mooney

Join in on Saturday evening at Evolution Rock and Fitness!!!

Northeast Climbers Clinic

Over the past three days Jerry and I gathered information and photos at Rumney Rocks for Evolutions presentation this Saturday. The prime topic is  safety awareness for the climbing community. Rumney Rocks is the perfect place to take newly learned indoor climbing skills to the outdoor climbing world. Its also the place where many first time and experienced climbers make common mistakes. One goal of the clinic is to help new and experienced climbers raise their awareness to reduce the chances of future climbing accidents.

IMG_1288   As outdoor enthusiasts – climbers and guides we can be stewards of the land. It is our responsibility to keep our climbing areas in the best shape they can be. This comes with understanding of the LNT principles. Lets all get together and minimize the impact on other climbers and the land – cliffs we are using.

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The Rumney Climbers Association, local climbers, guides have set up Rumney Rocks Climbing routes with these fixed anchors. These permanent anchors are not for top roping they are for the last descent down the route. Please use these only for descending the route as you can see they do wear out.


Closing the system!

Take and active role in getting all climbers to close the system – many climbers have been injured while be lowering off the end of and unclose rope system


Rope stacked and system closed – ready for climbing.


Figure eight – Classic, Elegant, Simple.


Mammut Smart belay – assisted dynamic breaking for the leader and top roper.


Petzl Gri Gri Belay device – another assisted breaking belay device.

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Note closed hands over rope – proper bracing position for leading or lowering


Anchors set ups for Rumney Sport routes. The above is a top choice top rope anchor system for MMG Guides.

IMG_1298This is a simple quick draw anchor set up for short term usage.


Clipping gear the right way!


Looking down at the quick draws and bolts.


Terry enjoying the fun climbing at Rumney Rocks.



See you at Evolution Rock and Fitness.

Art Mooney

Leading the Way!!!

 Jerry called and was looking to reach into a new area. The request was traditional leading on crack climbs at Cathedral Ledge NH. We met up early on Thursday at Starbucks and made our overall plan. A detailed clinic on anchors and protection was our first objective at the north end area. Then we headed up to the Upper Refuse climb – the first pitch was soaking wet at the start so we opted for the Black Lung pitch. I started the leading part of our day here placing lots of protection for Jerry to move in and out of the rock while hanging on with one arm. Then it was time for Jerry to take the lead. The transition was seamless Jerry got out front and climbed steadily up the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pitches. Protection was very good, with slight refinements needed on the occasional piece. Its easy to be the back seat driver and critique pro – much harder to place good gear while leading. With years of experience Jerry had developed a good eye for the connection to the rock and was able to select the right piece of gear and place it solidly.

Throughout the two days we logged in many pitches. The finale was Funhouse to the top an excellent lead for Jerry.


Jerry leading P2 of Funhouse 5.7.


Cams, Stoppers,and  Tri Cams to choose from.


Surface area contact, solid rock, direction of pull.


Maybe this one will fit.


Nice time to be out in the hills.


New shoes – The FIve Ten – Hueco.

Great fit, good comfort, excellent edging and smearing.


Jerry getting into the zone – The Mental Game of leading.

Thanks Jerry.

Great new dimension for us.

Art Mooney

Memorial Day weekend evokes images of lounging around on a warm spring day.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature must have misread the calendar.  Instead of bright, sunny skies, we have rain and mist with the temperatures in the 50s.  Despite the uncertain conditions, five climbers – Steve, Jared, Allie, Elliot, and Stephanie – ventured out on Sunday to try and get some climbing in. Hiking over fallen branches, we stopped at the Venus Wall, quickly realizing that it was a little too wet to climb.


Venus Wall or is it Poseidon’s Wall?
Crossing the stream, we headed to higher ground. After passing several wet crags along the way, we decided to warm up on Clip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah and hope that other rock dried.


Allie at the top of pitch one.


Stephanie working her way up the route.


Just a flesh wound…


Elliot at the top of Mom’s Pancake


Steve and Jared working their way up the rock


Elliot finishing up the pitch.

Thanks for a great day!
Todd  MMG Guide

Over the past ten days I worked for the AMGA with Larry Goldie of North Cascade Mountain Guides teaching 6 students guide skills on the AMGA Rock Instructor Course. This RIC is the first level multi pitch instructor course. The course is spread out over ten intense days, the curriculum is varied and in depth, and the venus host a variety of multi pitch rock climbs.

Rock Instructor Course (RIC)

The Rock Instructor Course (RIC), is the 1st step in the Rock Guide education and certification process and is designed for aspiring guides who have a strong rock climbing background and for instructors who are interested in improving their skills and increasing knowledge. The Rock Instructor Course places strong emphasis on maximizing client rewards while effectively managing risks.

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Eldorado Canyon is located just west of Boulder Colorado.

 The Eldorado Canyon gorge is narrow, the sandstone rock is steep and fractured, and the fast flowing river adds to the excitement. It’s amazing how just a few miles outside the Boulder city limits one can quickly climb on variety of high quality traditional rock climbs in such a surprisingly wild environment..

First photo views looking down canyon with West Ridge, the Redgarden Wall on left and Bastille formation on lower right.

Second photo host the amazing Naked Edge rock climb up the center rib.


The AMGA team!

First row – Brett (Estes Park), Andrew (NOLS), Matt (Seneca Rocks Climbing School)

Second row – Andrew (Outward Bound) Larry Goldie (North Cascades Mountain Guides) Colin (Apex Ex Guides)  Joe (NOLS)


Approaching the Front Range Flat Iron formations we climbed the second one.


Larry adding info to students during our daily morning guide meetings.

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Rescue techniques for the Rock Instructor


Matt – ready to travel with kiwi coil,  providing a seated hip belay on a short down climb to start.


Joe leading our guide meeting on the final day.


Joe starting the Bastille Crack on a cold and windy morning.


Andrew taking the lead on the final pitch of Hand Cracker – Long John Wall.


 Andrew cruising on the climb.


Colin of Apex Ex Guides guiding the team on Long John Wall.


A close encounter for us!


Rocky Mountain meltwater – the river is raging at this time of year.

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Using the I Phone – one technique to have  route topos and a description on hand.


Adam enjoying the varied climbing on Icarus.


Brett topping out on the final pitch of Icarus.


Fantastic times with a great group of guys.

Thank you all,

Art Mooney

AMGA IFMGA Licensed Guide

Spring is guide training and education time at Mooney Mountain Guides. While Art was off in Eldorado teaching a Rock Instructor Course, I got the Single Pitch Instructor season underway in Franconia Notch with Steve, Nadya, Paul and Matt. The SPI course is designed to serve as both a stand alone educational experience for those working in single pitch settings, and as a building block for higher level AMGA rock guiding courses.

Nadya maintaining good line of sight

Nadya maintaining good line of sight

Working from the top of the cliff or from a stance in middle of a cliff reached by leading is an essential part of the SPI curriculum. Effective stance management is crucial to provide the best possible guest experience in top managed settings. Above, Nadya has constructed a clean and organized lowering system using a munter hitch (out of the frame) backed up with an autoblock on her harness, positioned her rope stack neatly and out of the way on her side of the stance, and has great line of sight. Nice! 

A simple, bombproof anchor using the static rope.

A simple, bombproof anchor using the static rope.

 All climbing anchors need to be solid enough to withstand the highest foreseeable loads in a given situation. For professional guides and instructors, there is more to the equation. Professional anchors need to be clean and efficient in terms of the time and equipment used to build them. Above is a close up of a sound working anchor, constructed out of just 3 pieces of solid protection, the static rope, and a few carabiners. Note the crafty use of clove hitches to distribute the load between the 2 pieces on the left. As rigged above, about half of any load will be applied to the small cam on the right, which is perhaps less than ideal, but all of the placements, including the small yellow cam, are so good that it’s a non-issue here.

A nice belayed rappel system in action

A nice belayed rappel system in action

What goes up must come down, and so rappel instruction is a fundamental part of the SPI bag of tricks. Working from the same anchor shown above, Steve has assembled an ideal instructional work space. The line of descent he’s selected begins low angle and steepens only gradually to ease his guest’s nerves. He’s positioned himself with excellent line of sight all the way down the cliff and is securely clipped in to the anchor masterpoint. A separate belay is in the system as a backup. Finally, the rappel line itself is fixed in a releasable fashion to facilitate assistance techniques should anything become stuck in the rappel device. 

Paul and Matt working on stance management and rappel instruction

Paul and Matt working on stance management and rappel instruction

Paul and Matt got in on the rappel instruction practice as well. Here Paul, in instructor mode, is providing clear and concise coaching to Matt, playing the role of student. Technical proficiency is of course essential for a climbing instructor, but a calm, professional demeanor and outstanding teaching skills are just as vital.

Thanks for a great course Paul, Nadya, Matt and Steve! I look forward to seeing you all at the crags this summer.

Derek Doucet, MMG



I am writing this post from my room at the Devils Tower Lodge. This western style  lodge is owned and operated by climber, guide, raconteur,  Frank Sanders. When you come to climb at the tower Frank is the man to get in touch with. Frank has climbed here since the mid 70’s and knows this place like the back of his hand. Pay him a visit and he will get you started on your Devils Tower Adventure.

Steve and Chris drove through here last summer during a western historical trip. Once they viewed the tower Steve quickly put it on his list of must do climbs. Plans went into action and here we are for a weekend climbing trip. Luck is surely on our side as the weather is perfect, the place is quiet, and the south facing routes are not to hot – just right.

Today we rose early to get our position on the Durance Route a 50 Classics Climb. To our surprise there was only one party ahead of us. We roped up and started our journey into the steep and wide cracks that follow the columns to the top. This multi pitch route put us to the test with sustained climbing on each pitch. We maintained our focus, hydrated often and fueled up with gu gels to keep our energy high. By mid day we topped out on the summit without any close encounters.

It was a fantastic day, in a spectacular setting, with great friends – I must say I love my work as a climbing guide!!!


Devils Tower – the Durance Route follows the columns in the bright sunlight.


Welcome to the Lodge.


Morning view from my room.


Frank Sanders – telling the stories of the area.


Steve aka the Repman doing what he loves climbing.


Chris enjoying the challenging climbing on this wild tower.


Full steam ahead on the Durance Pitch.


Chris bear hugging a column, but its time to move on?


Steve arriving on one of the many large ledges for the belay areas.


Summit area – over an acre of flat ground up here in the sky.




Hundreds on steep crack climbs.


The team Chris, Art, Steve.


What an amazing place to be – thanks to Steve and Chris for making the quick trip out here.

Great memories to take home for sure!!!

Art Mooney

Mooney Mountain Guides