Rumney Rocks Climbing
A Positively Great Summer
At the recommendation of a friend, I have been reading the new Jerry Moffett book, Revelations. In it, Moffett talks about how reading Lanny Bassham’s With Winning in Mind helped him to change his self-image and think more positively about himself in order to succeed in competition climbing. One of the selections Moffett quotes states that
The mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time. If you are picturing something positive in your mind, it is impossible, at the same time, to picture something negative. And, if you have a negative thought, you cannot, at the same time, think positively.
In addition to Moffett’s story, I have seen the effects of a positivity in three different scenarios this summer at the crag.
Last month, my family and I took out friends who were beginner climbers. When it was my son’s turn to climb, he moved much more confidently than he had at the beginning of the summer. When I spoke to him about it, he could not really identify what had changed; he simply felt good on the rock. A couple of days later, he led his first sport route. Both he and I were much calmer than I had anticipated, for we both knew that the climb was within his ability and that he was capable of leading.
He placed his feet well, focused on the moves, clipped efficiently, and cruised to the top.
This past weekend, Matt, a fellow guide, and I met several Central Rock Gym members to Rumney for a day of climbing. Working with groups presents a challenge as climbers have different abilities, comfort levels, and goals. This group, however, maintained a positive vibe throughout the day. When a climber performed well on a specific route, the climber carried the success to the next climb. A few times, a climber struggled but did not dwell on the negatives. Instead, they focused on the upcoming route and climbed better.
People volunteered to belay each other and supported the person who was climbing at the time. When it began raining midway through the day, we stopped for lunch and waited for the rain to pass. Rather than grumbling about the delay or of getting wet, we spoke about the previous climbs and the possibilities of the next few routes.
By the end of the day, I was amazed at how many climbs each person had completed. The positive energy remained present throughout the day.
A few days ago, I made it over to Cathedral Ledge with my friends Matt and Brendan. Between a nagging shoulder injury and other time commitments, I have had less time to pursue some of my own personal climbing goals. We started the day on Funhouse, a classic 5.7 crack that takes you to the midpoint of the cliff.
As I followed Matt and Brendan, I felt like I was moving well and starting to get into a rhythm. At the base of Upper Refuse, I opted for Black Lung, a slightly harder variation to the first pitch of the route. The moves felt good and the gear went in easily; before I knew it, I was at the anchor. After we topped out, we headed to the North End to avoid the sun, and I saw that one of the climbs I had been thinking about was in the shade. The previous day, I had thought about it and wondered if I would be able to do. It had been some time since I climbed it and even longer since I led it. As I stood at the base, I visualized the moves and saw myself pulling the crux. After a few minutes of contemplation, I racked up.
The finger locks felt secure and the footholds felt good.
Right before the crux, I felt my right foot start to slip, and I plugged in a cam, which I instinctively reached for. Then I stopped. I returned my hand to the crack. The mind can focus on only one thing at a time. I consciously chose to shift my attention from grabbing a piece of gear to resetting my feet and slowing my breathing down. Something positive in mind leaves no room for something negative.
Looking up, I saw myself doing the moves. I brought my feet up, reached for the next hold, and fired the crux. Matt told me later that he saw me start to reach for the draw and almost said something. He didn’t need to. My trust in his belay helped me focus on the moves rather than thinking about the fall.
In each of the three situations I discuss in this blog, the positive outlook by both the climber and the belayer helped the climber succeed. Newer climbers can create an atmosphere where experienced climbers can succeed and vice-versa. I have seen it numerous times this summer and over the years, and I hope to help foster those positive experiences in the future.
The adventure begins – here is the entire Cody, Barr and Hall team on top of the summit of Welsh and Dickey.
This was a very special trip – the MMG guides enjoyed showing off the NH climbing areas to Catharine and Nicole who join Team Cody for their first rock and mountain climbing adventure.
This past week Team Cody reached yet another milestone – leading rock climbs!!!
It all took place during the end of summer climbing trip where the main goal was to have a fun time and climb rock and mountains in a variety of areas. We had six days planned so this could easily be achieved if the bodies would do the job – hold up from day after day of climbing.
The other goal planned was to learn the skills to lead rock. Learning the skills is one part then another one comes into play when the sharp end of the rope is taken on – its the focus and the change of mindset that automatically comes on board – it happens to everyone.
We all joked around when Chris tied in for the first lead – the mood immediately took on a serious note – he was Scared Straight!!! Chris did a fine job leading multiple sport routes and Steve took on the challenge too. By days end we all had racked up a few notable leads and we all had a blast of a time.
Team Cody and Barr setting up for the day.
A focused Chris getting some action clipping bolts on lead at Rumney Rocks.
The attentive belay is no easy task – nice work Adel .
Repman alive and feeling the sharp mindset change with the rope hanging below his feet. Fantastic job leading these routes.
Suns out guns out – summer returns to NH.
Cathedral was also on out hit list. It was a hot day so we opted for a fast ascent of the Funhouse and Upper Refuse.
Here I am topping out on the lookout of Cathedral Ledge.
A surprise visit from Alex yielded these great photos. Alex dropped a fixed rope and came down to see and record the action. Here is Steve mid pitch on Funhouse – a three star crack climb!!!
Chris hanging on by a thread – looking casual up high on the granite faces of Cathedral Ledge.
Scared Straight – the vision is clear – more leads and more adventure to come.
Thanks to all of you for an awesome week on the rocks in NH.
I must say I have an absolutely fantastic job. Yes guiding rock, ice, mountains is not for everyone. This is what I chose for a career and it is weeks like this past one that showcase how good a guides work can be.
The people – my guests – these folks are what make each day interesting, engaging, and fun. They all have a choice of who to climb with and I do feel very special that they choose to spend a day in the mountains, on a climb with me.
A huge Thank You is in order to all the guests who climb with me and the guides at Mooney Mountain Guides. I/We do appreciate your choice and climbing with each of you is a blast.
Jerry – aka the force – a driven man who loves to climb. Whether is be the rock, the ice, or big mountain faces in the Alps Jerry loves it all.
Aubrey – trains hard at home and plays hard when he gets out. A busy man running his business but still manages to find the time to get out on the cliffs to refresh the mind.
Charlie – our second season together – Charlie is on his way to becoming a major player on the stone. This week we crushed the routes at Rumney and with three upcoming sessions planned – new personal heights will be gained.
Ryan and Amy – new friends – on the Whitney Gilman.
We enjoyed a fantastic day on Cannon together. Amy was challenged but maintained her focus on the big stone. Ryan and I swapped leads and worked on transitions and systems.
Ryan on lead the final pitch of Whitney Gilman.
A special day for Ryan – Happy Birthday!!!
Thank you all for spending your time with me. This was amazing week of guide work/fun in NH.
Lexi, Lola, Bri and Robert joined me for a day of fun rock climbing. This was their first experience in the outdoor environment and it would be full of challenge. These two young ladies along with Mom and Dad were up for this exciting indoor to outdoor transition. Geared up with harnesses, helmets, and comfortable shoes – off we went to the Meadows area of Rumney Rocks.
We found ourselves down by the Baker River during a mid day break from the rock climbing action.
Super Hero – Lexi successful after her first climb on the Meadows Wall.
Lola getting started with Dad on the slippery first moves – then she took off on her own climbing to new heights all by herself.
Lexi lowering down and clipping gear for the next climber – learning and practicing the outdoor ropes.
Lola – gaining trust in the system and confidence in her guide. Floating up the rock on a beautiful day.
Future rock leaders Lexi and Lola placing stoppers in a crack.
Baker River – summertime in NH.
A big thanks to the entire family.
It was pleasure to meet all of you and climb together.
Wow – I must say Laura was spot on when she decided to give the gift of climbing outside to Issac. Issac was pumped to climb and eager to learn the skills to take climbing to a new and quite different level. Both Laura and Issac have climbed mostly indoors and both wanted to learn the proper techniques to get on the outdoor climbing track. Rumney rocks is the perfect place for sport climbers to make this transition. This day was planned to happen three weeks ago but weather kept us off the rock – finally we had a clear an sunny day – perfect for outdoor climbing.
Issac and Laura – having a blast – all day long!!!
Laura getting a feel for the stone and pushing herself to new heights.
Issac in good form on the tricky traverse moves on Bolt Line!!!
The entire day was full on learning – both Laura and Issac set the routes up, belayed each other and then cleaned the routes. Nice job to both of them!
Issac’s new Petzl rope – silky and smooth.
Fun times at Rumney Rocks.
A very happy Laura – she climbed more routes than any of her other trips – fantastic!!!
Thanks to Laura and Issac.
I hope to climb with you again.
Mooney Mountain Guides calls this blog posted trip the New Hampshire sampler – a day of sport climbing, a mountain adventure, and an alpine rock day on Cannon Cliff. This three day action packed event is not one for a week heart or mind.
Steve is a motivated man, when he sets his sights on a climb, a goal, a project he gives it 100+ percent. This was crystal clear from the beginning. United a not so favorite airline of his canceled his flight earlier this week and within a short time Steve was in the car racing from New York to New Hampshire. The weather pattern was solid, a mid week break from Peppercom was needed, and the body and mind were ready to climb.
Rumney Rocks was the first stop on Tuesday. The skies had cleared from the weekends low pressure and the cliff was drying out fast. A visit to the Jimmy Cliff got us off on the right tune, Bonsai was next with a fine display of sending a project by MMG guide Alex, and then to complete we ventured over to the Main wall for a steep technical face climb that put on the first of many pumps during the week.
A quick cardio workout romping up the Clippidy Do Dah!!!
Main Cliff action as Steve nears the belay.
Off to a good start.
The great weather continued on Wednesday which happened to be our Mt Washington mountain day. To both our surprise the mountain was in late winter condition with snow and ice covered trails from the Cog Station to the summit. There has been over 1 foot of new snow since May first which is quite unusual even for the rock pile. The new snow along with brisk temps and a stiff breeze make us feel like we took a step back in time by a few months.
Thanks to Julbo for keeping our vision in order – excellence with eyewear for mountain travelers and more.
Bluebird skies, wild rime ice, all in all a spectacular day.
The summit cone was tough – bear down and keep on trucking.
The prize Steve’s 13th time on the summit
The base area – four thousand feet lower – in spring time condition.
Our third day – time to ramp it up!!!
Cannon Cliff is New Hampshires finest alpine rock area. Our 1 hour approach to the Whitney Gilman wanders up the steep talus field to the base of the serpentine ridge. The WG ridge is a classic old school 5.7 route first completed in 1929. This was our last day objective and we were set to take it to the top.
All the movement skills are put to the test climbing on Cannon. Cracks, faces, loose shattered rock, wildy exposed moves as one works back and forth along the 600ft ridge climb. The Whitney Gilman Ridge can make one feel like they are climbing in the Alps.
The final pitch – Steve jamming and liebacking the final corner to the top.
The descent – snow and ice again?
Micro spikes on the Guide Tennies was the ticket home.
Steve and MMG guide Alex blasting home on the return.
Steve has come to New Hampshire many times to climb with MMG. This trip was one of the finest, it was
full of SERF – Surprises, Educational, Rewards, Fun time for all.
Thanks to Steve – for this amazing three day sampler.
Early season is tough. With the improved weather, excitement fills the air and climbers get anxious not only to get out but also to send. Attacking a project too high too soon often results in injury, putting the kibosh on training until you heal. Dialing down routes can help maximize your training early season (and throughout the year).
Several years ago, I was climbing with a friend of mine at Rumney, and we were warming up before heading off to our respective projects. After completing a route that I enjoyed but did not climb smoothly, I muttered, “That was sloppy.” I had wished I felt more comfortable on the route.
“Don’t untie,” he said. “Dial it down.” So I climbed it again, much more smoothly. When I reached the ground the second time, he smiled. “Don’t untie. You’re not done.” I sighed but started again. I moved more fluidly than the previous times and anticipated the next handhold and my feet found the footholds. The fourth time…yes, he made me climb it four times…I felt solid.
The more familiar you are with a route, the greater chance you have to move efficiently, grabbing the holds the best way the first time or finding the right footholds without hanging too much on your arms. Each spring, when I have been off the rock for several months, I gravitate to the routes where my body knows the motions like dialing the number to an old friend. Often times, these routes are either the same grade or harder than the routes that I am trying to onsight. Because I am so familiar with these routes I have dialed down, I am performing challenging moves without wasting too much energy trying to figure out the beta. As a result, I can climb harder for a longer period of time, enabling me to get into climbing shape faster.
This season when you climb a route that you enjoy, don’t rush off too quickly for the next one. Spend the extra time to work through the moves. Dial it down.
The ice climb at Rumney called the Geographic Factor is certainly a prize of an ice line. The climb is guarded by a long steep approach and is hidden from view as it is tucked away in the Giant Man alcove at the Hinterlands Area. You must make the hike to see if the route is in shape or suitable for your climbing day.
Jerry and I cruised the cliffs today with Franky Lee as our warm up then onward to find out if Geo was in condition. Upon our arrival at the base we noticed a substantial overhang of ice at the crux area. Not sure if this would go – we decided to take a further look and climb to the half way point. It would either go or we would descend from there.
A bit of cleaning was needed to remove the fragile daggers of ice that barred the upward moves – once completed it was a go. We were very engaged by the technical and strenuous moves for twenty feet or so. Then is was fat and sticky ice to the top.
You must get out and try, seeing the route is not enough, feeling it is much better. Some days are just right for the climb and today was the right day for Jerry and I on the Geo.
First view of the route.
Wet and sticky ice on the sunny upper half of the route.
Crux overhang – three to four feet to clear.
Great send of the Geographic Factor.
Rock Tober its called – the time when we have clear and cool at night but during the day the sun is bright warming the rocks up to a perfect temperature. The Main Cliff is perfect on most days from now on – avoided in the heat of summer but a refreshing place this time of year. Aubrey and I spent our training session working on the steep and technical routes. Progress is being made as the sequences are refined and sent and the body gets stronger. Soon enough will be the day to send.
Baker River Valley.
Heading to Gold Bug.
Joyce on the main attraction – Underdog.
Know Ethics – slippery and sequential.
Aubrey – another good time – you are climbing well!!!
The fall foliage was in peak display and the Cathedral and Rumney rocks were dry and crisp. I instantly knew this would be a good one, Jerry was in town for a fine weekend of climbing.
I feel exceptionally fortunate to work as a mountain guide. The climbing days can be challenging physically and mentally but they are always fun. I have the opportunity to share my passion (climbing) with others and this is rewarding in so many ways. This weekend was a reminder of how good my job is and how lucky I am to work as a guide with Jerry and a variety of interesting guest from all walks of life.
The Sunday 2 pm rains shut Jerry and I down at Rumney Rocks. This in one way was a good event for us after all we had completed two amazing days on the rocks. Our first day at Cathedral was jamb packed with a variety of cracks and face routes, and today we rallied early at Rumney keeping a brisk pace while logging in ten routes by mid afternoon. The time was right to wrap our weekend up, with many high points, a new route or two, a couple of Rumney test piece climbs, all totaled into 18 pitches of fine climbing, we were certainly very satisfied.
Mt Washington Valley – a vibrant display of fall colors.
Jerry topping out on P1 of Recompense.
This is the scrappy top out from Three Birches. Due to all the leaves and dirt its quite hard to tell but there is some fine climbing on this route.
Whitehorse Ledge in the distance.
Barber Wall – multiple testpiece cracks lined up.
Jerry working on Chicken Delight 5.9.
Bombardment an area classic.
Jerry just after the slab pitch of Bombardment
Rumney Rocks – The route is False Modesty 5.8 – slick and complex. The crux moves are just above Jerry. Note the narrow strip of clean rock between the moss and lichen.
Hippos on Parade – nice corner climbing leads to the pumpy roof.
Thank you Jerry for this exceptional weekend climbing together and great way to kick off Rock Tober!!!
See you again soon,