Saturday, October 11

New England.

South Dakota to Wisconsin, to Illinois, to Ontario, to Massachusetts to New Hampshire through a myriad of states. Toss in a quick flight to St Louis. I've been racking miles on the Tacoma and waking up in a new spot nearly every morning.

There was some climbing in-between. A few awesome days in Lions Head, Ontario, a handful of days in gyms from Adventure Rock, to Climb So iLL, to Brooklyn Boulders Sumerville. Now I've settled at my main destination; Rumney, New Hampshire. I love it here. New England is every bit as charming and beautiful as I imagined it to be. It seems I made it just in time too. The leaves are exploding with color and the sun has been shining everyday thus far. 

So damn New England. Beautiful evening.
I have wanted to make it up here for a long time, but my post on the US's very best 5.14s and seeing Rumney repeatedly named solidified my desire to make a trip. It's a ways out of the usual circuit for me, but after 4 climbing days here I'm so so glad that I make the trek, and I'm really looking forward to more and more climbing at one of America's raddest destinations. Not to mention just being in this part of the world- America is so diverse and every little piece of this enormous country has such a distinct flavor. It's cool, and different, to be here. 

Before I made it this far though, I linked up with a good buddy of mine, Mike Williams up on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario for a few days of climbing at Eastern Canada's prize crag, Lions Head. It was a rad little trip in and of itself. I wrote about it, and my experience of the tucked away spot on the Arcteryx Bird Blog which can be read here. Definitely click and read! 

Rumney reminds me so so much of a little off the road crag in Clear Creek, Colorado called the Primo Wall. The style, the rock, the length and the movement is very similar. Rumney is short and powerful. Routes are tricky, often times blocky features create cryptic movement with drop knees, knee bars, strange holds and compression. There is also plenty of straight forward hold grabbing and pulling. The rock is of the highest quality, and many lines truly stand out and inspire. Rumney is by all means my anti-style. I had and still have very few expectations at a venue like this. It suits a boulderer very well... I'm not much of a boulderer. But I stopped off in Boston for a few days of bouldering indoors and I think it really helped. 

I've been warming up to the area, in the hopes of tackling some of the gnarly hard stuff here before the season closes down. I've had some luck so far, most notably on 'Parallel Universe' 14a, 'Cold War' 14a and to my surprise 'Livin Astro' 14c. I tried this truly striking pitch once on Thursday in near perfect conditions. Each crux is pretty subtle, so I took my time figuring it out. Especially the finishing crux, which requires a full on wild Jackie Chan jump kick if you're not tall enough to keep your foot on. This was a strange one to suss out, but I found a method that worked pretty damn well. Next try I struggled to remember all of the beta as I made my way to the final crux and stuck the jump. It's hard for me to believe that this route is really 14c, but that seems to be the consensus after many repeats so I suppose I got lucky? I'm hoping this means I've got a shot at taking down it's neighbor... Mike Williams took video of the whole thing, which will be live on DPM here soon I imagine. 

The last couple days I've done some great 5.13s like Butt Bongo Fiesta, Coral Sea, Rhythm X, Concrete Jungle, Cote D'Azure and more. Rumney is a really fun crag to just move around sampling and climbing pitches because they tend to be short, relatively uninvolved and the density is huge. It's easy to get in 8-10 pitches a day here. But it also wears on you. My shoulders are wrecked!

"How they washed their hands back in the olden days..."