Tag Archives: Sport Climbing

A flight of New England Fancy – Visiting Rumney again!


It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Massachusetts… I think it was for Dillon and Liz’s wedding, wasn’t it? That’s sounding right… though I frankly can’t believe that was only six months ago. These last few months have felt like forever, and it was high time that I got back East. The rock was calling, family and friends beckoned, and I hadn’t seen my Grandma in far, far too long…

Friday, 22-Apr-2022

Jeeze… how long has it been since I’ve climbed at Rumney?

I mean, it’s where I learned to climb, man! Rumney, Quincy, Hammond Pond, The Gunks, North Conway… okay, it’s one of the places I learned. Joshua Tree should be in there too, maybe Black and White boulders… Red Rocks…

Okay, Other Ben, I get the point. But still!

I definitely learned to lead sport at Rumney, that’s a clear statement. Back when Kasia and I had a borrowed rope, with borrowed draws, and the guidebook was out of print so we just sort of climbed on a wing and a prayer? Those were the good times.

How I survived those good times alive, I’ll still never know… do I have a blog post about the time I ran out of draws 7-clips in, and traversed to another climber to borrow two of his? No? Maybe?

I learned lessons at Rumney. Good lessons, to say the least, and lessons that I’ve been lucky enough to carry across the globe since those carefree, halcyon days.

Since then, Rumney’s grown and expanded, just like the rest of us.

It’s become more popular, more official, and new zones have been purchased and opened up for public use. New guidebooks have been published, and new parking lots graded and opened.

Truth be told, I kind of felt like a small-towner going to visit a old friend who’s been killing it in the big city. I mean… I remembered when I used photos of the guidebook to find routes! Now there’s apps, fancy guidebooks, and actual signage! Huge new swaths of rock, being developed and climbed by folks I knew back in 2009!

Daniel and Brian took the day off from work with me, and we drove North, as early in the day as we felt viable. See… you don’t want to get there too early, because then the rock is still cold and damp from the evening frost and morning mist… but the later in the day you arrive, the less climbing there is!

We got there just in time for the hail to hit Daniel as he worked his way up a route… Which, you know, isn’t actually the worst thing while rock climbing. I mean… we had helmets on, and it was cool enough that we had long sleeves too… so we were pretty well armored against any pain or injury. And the nice thing about hail? It doesn’t make the rock wet!

So… Daniel just sorta kept climbing. Like a boss.

Brian and I followed suit, and an amazing day on the rocks was had by all. We started off at Buffalo Pit, a new area that I hadn’t been to before, and then dove down to Below the New Wave… somewhere that (I’m pretty sure) has been around since before I started climbing at Rumney.

Both spots were amazing, and both spots saw us sending a glorious number of really run routes… and I even climbed a bit harder than I was expecting, which was a super nice ego boost!

And, of course, as is tradition, we hit up Tilton Diner on the way home. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve climbed at Rumney, then gorged on amazing burgers and milkshakes… but you know what? It felt like I’d never left.

Routes climbed!!

Buffalo Pit:
Lonesome Buffalo (5.8)
Sunnyside Up (5.10c)
Mr. Buffalo to you (5.4)

Below the New Wave:
Bullwinkle Goes Ballistic (5.10a)
Into Air and Pleasant Danger (5.8)
Son of Sammy (5.8+)
Couch Potato (5.9)
Sixth Sense (5.6)

Climbing Ozone again – 05-Sept-2020


Saturday, 05-Sept-2020


Yeah climbing outside!!!

This time, it was a whole team of us – five people strong, laying siege to the hard routes and crushing the climbing.


I had a great time, if you couldn’t tell.  We all met up at the parking lot, and headed in together to check out a few routes that Lizzy had climbed previously – Going a bit harder this time that we had before, with a 5.10c on the target list for the day… actually, from what I remember, that was really the only route specifically on the list for the day, since Lizzy’d top roped it before, and was aiming to be our rope gun and lead it today.

There’s not really much to say this time – thankfully, no boulders or loose rocks showed up, and it was a gloriously simple and fun day of climbing.  We didn’t get quite as many routes in as last time, but I chalk that up to the larger group… but mostly to the harder routes that we were doing instead.


So let’s see…


Variant Stairway to Heaven – 5.6, trad lead – Fun route, swings right away from the Heaven’s Ledge over a few blocks.  It’s a bit dirty, but was a lovely warm up / fun route.

Stairway to Heaven – 5.6, trad lead – Fun route, little bit less dirty than the right-leaning variant.

Heaven and Hell??? – 5.7 (5.10??) mixed lead – Our guidebook showed this as a 5.10, but it felt really easy for a 10… but maybe not quite as easy as a 7?  Man, routes at Ozone are confusing.

For Heaven’s Sake – 5.10c, toprope – Tried this one.  Fell on this one.  Really enjoyed this one, if only for the powerful dynamic moves that I couldn’t quite pull off.

??? a thing??? Maybe – 5.10c/d, toprope – This was the big one that we were here for.  I can’t really figure it out online, but the guidebook had it listed as a 5.10c, and it very much felt like one.  It was hard, sustained, and had two major crux moves that I loved working through.

Climbing at French’s Dome – full ropes and everything!


Saturday, 18-July-2020


Today, the goal was to get some rock under my hands.


Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve climbed? I don’t, actually. I mean, I’d bouldered recently, but actual roped, vertical, leading? I… couldn’t tell you. I think Sarah and I did the first three pitches of Beacon at some point in the last year, maybe?

It’s bad, man. I shouldn’t let myself go that long.


Thankfully, French’s Dome is nearby. I met Bri at her place in the morning, we packed the car, and got ourselves moving. Sticking to the new theme of the year, we weren’t particularly rushed… but we did get going at a pretty reasonable time, since French’s is definitely a popular area.

The trailhead was packed. Like, seriously packed.

I’m a good driver, thank you very much, and I know how to park my car. But this… well, parking was creative today. With some spotting though, I was able to wedge myself in pretty safely, and was even able to check with the drivers of nearby cars to make sure they didn’t mind me coming in so close. With everything good, we headed in.

And got a beautiful surprise – even with a packed trailhead, very few of the routes had people on them! And all the routes that I was hoping to climb? All of them were open!

Continued birthday luck, I guess.



We pulled out our gear, and set up shop:

  • Giant’s Direct – 5.5, Sport – Fun climb, not bad at all
  • Balloon Knot – 5.9, Sport – I think we did this one? I don’t remember it being 5.9-level difficulty, but this is the only route I can find in any of the guides, and it looks exactly like what we climbed. Maybe we did a variant?
  • Tin Man / Tin Tangle – 5.8, Sport – This was really fun too, though the fact that the guidebook lists both names is a little confusing.
  • Alpha – 5.8, Sport – Fun!
  • Straw Man – 5.7, Sport – Also fun!
  • Giant’s Staircase – 5.6, Sport, 2 pitches – We summitted! This was fun and easy, and a great way to get up to the top of the dome. With snacks, of course!


It was a good day. We got more climbs in than I’d hoped for, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I’d feared. I was definitely pretty weak, and did run into some mental walls while above the bolts in a few places… but you know what? That’s fine. It’s expected, and I felt good.

That’s the fun of climbing, right? Breaking through walls, being strong, and enjoying the rock!