The Eaglet Spire is the only free standing column of rock in New Hampshires. The location is stunning, the Spire sits high above Franconia Notch in a magnificent alpine setting.
Team Cody with Erik and I as guides had this one on our to do list of climbs for some time. With the weather in agreement we were ready. The cool night followed by a sunny warm day made the very best climbing conditions – it felt like Sendtember had begun.
Steve aka Repman working the moves on the flaring chimney pitch.
The team on approach to the Eaglet
Bagels and Espresso beans – fuel for the day.
Franconia Notch – a spectacular setting.
Steve on the summit of the Eaglet Spire then on the steep rappel.
On the summit of the Eaglet.
For alpine rock climbing -try the Eaglet Spire!!!
While Tuesday’s rain kept us off the rock, Thursday turned out to be ideal conditions for climbing. Tom, Virginia, William, and Malcolm made the most of their return to Rumney. They climbed a number of different routes, even taking a couple of laps of some, and tried out the gri gri, a brake assisted belay device with which they were less familiar. We worked some slabby routes, like Beginner’s Route and Bolt Line, and moved to steeper rock, like Hippos on Parade and Thou Shalt Not Covet. The different techniques, and sharper rock, created various challenges throughout the day, but the group handled them well and had a lot of fun.
Virginia starting up Bolt Line
William working a more direct start of Bolt Line
Tom adjusting smoothly to the gri gri
Malcolm starting up Beginner’s Route
Tom mantling up on False Modesty
Malcolm and Virginia resting between climbs
William working the under cling partway up Hippos on Parade
Thanks so much your enthusiasm and energy!
Runout sections on nice rock is the Handren Book route description for Slabs Direct 5.7 and Stop if You Dare 5.8.
We arrived at the Whitehorse Ledge parking lot just as a few large groups were headed for the slabs. Erik and I instantly new we would be guiding the lesser traveled routes on the slabs. It was time to keep a cool head and proceed with very steady and stable footwork on the above mentioned routes.
Gang of four all secure – after our wet mossy pitch out of the woods.
Whitehorse is an amazing chuck of solid rock – many of the routes have long run outs on moderate terrain. Always engaging and sometimes very exciting climbing.
Erik leading Chris and Adel up the Slabs Direct.
Steve at the belay after the crux pitch.
Steve enjoying the stone -an amazing day out with the team.
Erik on the upper pitches of Whitehorse.
Good times with the team, another one of many fun trips together.
El Caballaro Blanco – done to the top!!!
Thanks to Steve, Adel, Chris and Erik.
Cody and JoAnne are visiting family in NH. While on the East Coast Cody competed in Atlanta and they managed a few days to climb during the past week. Cody an ABC climbing team member finished 11th in the USA Sport and Speed Youth Nationals – which is just awesome – Congrats to Cody !!!
Today JoAnne and Cody were very excited to climb outside onsighting sport climbs on the overhanging schist. We walked right up to a few of the steep lines on the Main Wall and the fun began – today would be an awesome day climbing the best Rumney Sport routes.
JoAnne and Cody enjoying coolness in the forest.
Cody – ABC Team – shoe of choice Sportiva Solution –
IDEAL TERRAIN: overhanging sport routes, bouldering, gym climbing and technical face climbing
Codys 5 foot height did not slow him down on any of the reach moves. He has excellent footwork and his light frame allows him to use small crimps and edges to crank on and reach through to the larger resting holds. Above left Cody moves through the roof on Armed and Dangerous and on the right photo he is working the steep lieback flake on Scene of the Crime. Straight arms, dropped knees, and a slight dyno move was needed to reach the hidden jug.
JoAnne onsighting the testy Scene of the Crime.
Crux area of Scene of Crime.
Cody using a bit of chalk – hazy, hot and humid has been the norm for NH climbing the past few weeks.
Much needed rest and refueling before our afternoon session.
In addition to many fun climbs we focused on the technical aspects of climbing outdoors.
– Learning the Ropes –
Rope systems, belaying and lowering, tying in, rope management, and cleaning anchors are all components of a sport climbing day at Rumney.
Thanks to Cody and JoAnne it was great to climb and see them both for the day.
The Huntington’ Ravine trail is the steepest trail to the alpine gardens area of Mt Washington. Dayton and Andrew had this trail on their mind for some time now. Both had researched the trail with written accounts – descriptions and they even found a You tube video of the climb. Dayton decided this would be his route up to the alpine gardens area then onward to the Lake of the Clouds Hut to spend the night. I was excited for this day – its not often for me to be in the ravine during the summer. A change of the office location would be good and the weather finally had given us a break.
Conditions were good to go!
Talus fields – boulders everywhere up to the wall.
Andrew – he was truly amazed at this awesome climbing area.
Summer view of Pinnacle Gully.
Our first pitch – steep slabs with wet rock made for some interesting movement.
I used a 100 foot rope to belay Dayton and Andrew. No harness just bowlines around the waist. This kept are backpacks light for the climb.
Dayton on his toughest climb yet – he loved the experience.
Clouds and a cool breeze on the alpine gardens.
We arrived at the Lion head Junction at 2pm.
Dayton and Andrew headed over to Lakes for the night and I descended down to Pinkham.
Great climb in the ravine.
Hot and steamy has been the weather theme during the past week or so in NH. Janet and Bill arrived from San Antonio Texas to sample two of New Hampshires finest rock climbing areas – Whitehorse and Cathedral Ledge. MMG guide Erik decided on Whitehorse for the intro to the area. The afternoon session proved to be a good idea as the sun set over the cliff giving some relief from the heat.
Bill on the smooth crux of the Sliding Board.
Hanging belay from two bolts on Sliding Board.
Footwork and body position is key to movement on the slabs.
View to Echo Lake and the town of North Conway.
On our second day I decide on the Upper Refuse route at Cathedral. Here is Janet using a finger crack to climb while Bill coaches the upcoming moves.
Top of Cathedral Ledge – Bill in a wildly exposed position.
Janet climbing strong on the exit moves to the lookout ledge.
Thanks to Janet and Bill for coming to NH to climb. They both enjoyed amazing weekend rock climbing adventure. Erik and I were excited to be their guides and show them our home climbing areas.
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.
Many folks celebrate their birthday with special friends over dinner and drinks – not so with Steve aka The Repman. Steve’s preference is to leave the Peppercomm office early on Thursday with the message – Gone Climbing for the Weekend!!!
This weekend weather was a bit fickle – if you have been following the northeast you know it’s been grim. Clouds, humidity, thunder storms, and torrential rains have been the pattern for the last week.
Steve, Adel and Sean hopped in the car and made the journey to NH. It was the right time to escape the heat and humidity down in Jersey and come up to the Live Free or Die state for a refreshing weekend of outdoor activity.
In the Mist – on the summit of Mt Lafayette!!!
Steve getting his pre climb stretch.
Adel – The Barr has been raised – he cruised to the summit in 2.45.
Sean – always reddy for a good climb.
Agility, balance and focus – the crucial elements for mountain travel.
Stairway to heaven – granite blocks laid out to the top.
On a mission – great pace Steve.
Steve and I on the summit – a Happy Birthday to you!!!
Charging back up for the descent – wet and slippery trail for the next 4 miles.
Erik passing out warm gatorade to charge up the team.
Amazing to have a break in the clouds – almost a view of the summit.
Greenleaf hut – a welcome spot for lunch.
AMC crew members – bringing goods to the hut.
Thanks for a great day on the mountain!!!
Climbing is largely about progression, and one of the most significant progressions many climbers will make is taking their climbing from indoor gyms to outside cliffs. Gyms are often closer to would be new climbers. They’re more accessible and offer a safe, easy to access learning environment to experience the thrills of climbing in a digestible format. Folks who catch the bug in the gym eventually want to take their passions to outdoor playgrounds. This is a serious step. It is a less controlled environment, requiring a greater level of knowledge to climb safely, and a corresponding increase in the required personal responsibility. New techniques, ethics and systems must be learned, and trusted. The best way to do this is to ease into it with a guide/ teacher, showing you the ways, being their to reassure, and helping you wade through the ethics of climbing at outside cliffs.
In the past couple of days I had two opportunities to help groups begin this progression. This post is to demonstrate some of the ways to take your gym skills to outdoor cliffs in a safe controlled manner, as well as to highlight what these folks did.
First up were David and Caitlin Lewis. They started climbing this winter at Evolution Rock Gym and quickly progressed through the grades and into leading on the sport walls at the gym.
David On Blustery Day
Having the full day, David, Caitlin and I started by hiking up to Upper Darth Vader crag. This location is fairly shaded and cool on summer mornings, and offers a handful of fun moderates to warm up on. One of the bigger cruxes of the gym to crag progression is learning to look for holds in the rock, as opposed to fluorescent colored shapes on a wall. This can be a serious challenge as holds outside often don’t look like holds at first. The presence of climbing chalk can help out times to identify a hold, but how to use it, and whether it is a good one or not, still needs to be determined. Additionally, it is a new environment, and climbing outside for the first time can often be a little scary because of the new unknowns. This area provided us an opportunity to get use to this new environment, and start reading the rock for how to climb it.
Caitlin on Dirtigo
For the afternoon we moved to the now shaded Dirtigo area. This part of main cliff offers some very safely bolted easy climbs. When learning a new system, usb as leading, it is good to strip away all other challenges in order to focus on the one that you are trying to learn. There are three easy climbs here that are great for learning to lead, as the main challenge becomes leading, instead of the difficulty of the climbing. Caitlin had lead regularly in the gym prior to this, but never outside. We went over how to clip the draws to the rock, and then the rope to the draws, and how to manage the lead rope so that it was in a safe location. Caitlin then put this new knowledge to use rope gunning to great climbs for her Dad!
If you’re coming to the outdoor realm with no indoor leading skills, then a great way to learn is by mock leading. This is were you are on top rope, for safety, but clipping bolts and managing a lead rope for practice. A group of four friends from Windham High joined me for a half day of learning to lead at Rumney, and this is the approach we took.
These guys were coming from Vertical Dreams with varying degrees of experience and skill. We worked through out our day to get them all on a climb where they were able to practice leading skills safely, as well as a climb or two where they could challenge themselves on real rock, as this was all of their first times outside.
Going for the clip
As a guide, my best days are when my guests are able to progress. Both of these groups were genuinely excited to improve their game and learn new skills, and form my perspective they were able to do both. Thanks to all for two great days, and I hope to see you out on the cliffs soon!
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.
Knots to tie, ropes to manage, belaying the leader. Jonathan took on these tasks with ease.
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.