Climbing in the backwoods of New Hampshire



You know it’s going to be an interesting day, when the directions to the cliff face read, “park on the pullout, and walk behind the shooting range”.

Rachael and I had driven up to New Hampshire for the weekend of Columbus day.  The plan was to stay at Kirsten’s folks place, and do a bit of climbing… but since no one really knew the area too well, we’d consulted Mountain Project, and picked a cliff nearby that looked excellent.  The first night was chill, followed by a good (if late) breakfast and a quick / short drive out to the cliffs… or at least, the shooting range below the cliffs.  Always an adventure, this stuff.

But, even after a long hike, and an unnecessary rock scramble (seriously… I could have SWORN that the trail went to the right…) we found ourselves at the base of a cliff that easily could challenge Cathedral or The Gunks for it’s shear excellence. it wasn’t excessively massive… maybe a half mile long in total, with a max height of ~180ft, according to the guidebook. But it was gorgeous, with horizontal cracks running throughout, and nice roofs interspersed to make it more interesting.

And this was Columbus Day weekend – one of the busiest weekends for climbing in New Hampshire.  Yet there was only one other group of climbers here with us; an older guy and his kids, just having an afternoon on the rocks.  If we’d been at Rumney, you can be certain that we’d have waited in line for hours, just to get onto one of the medium popularity routes.

Link to the area:

The climbs:
Coyote Rain (5.6) – Trad, lead by Ben x2 – This was amazing. An extremely fun and well protected climb, that has a huge (2.5 ft or so) roof near the top. You’d think that roof would make it much harder than a 5.6… but the holds were amazing, and it wasn’t difficult at all.

Rona’s Roof (5.8 – 5.9) – Top roped, set up from Coyote Rain – This one was… unpleasant, in my opinion. Everyone else loved it, but I disliked the ridiculousness of the roof. The feature from Coyote Rain continued over toward here, but instead of big holds and cracks to move over the roof, we had… nothing, basically. The rest of the climbing was 5.6 or 5.5, but the roof itself was easily a 5.8, if not a 5.9+. Just… excessive.

One response »

  1. Sounds like “fun”, but listen when your body says no. It could save your life one day… just sayin’…
    : ) Dad

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