Route 25b, just above Lake Winnipesauke as seen on a rainy morning driving from Rumney to Shell Pond.

Sitting around at Rumney, a friend of mine said “God, this is wonderful, huh?” I said yes, it was. She went on “I wouldn’t need anything else, this place has it all.” She meant that Rumney, the climbing area, has it all. But I got to thinking that really, New England has it all.  And no one place has it all. In terms of climbing, Rumney has gnarbar boulder problem like routes, Cathedral has cankle-burning granite pitches, and yaddayaddayadda. You gotta play the field, as thier are great pitches everywhere in this weird little corner of the state. But more than anything, I am beginning to see New England has it all in the sense that tractors ramble down “highways” and some high-flying committees give awards to some enterprising New Hampshire climbers.

Freddie Wilkinson’s, Mark Richey’s and Steve Swanson’s Piolet d’Or on display at IME, North Conway

 I suppose what I am really getting at is that New England is a great collection. It has a great collection of pitches, and a great collection of characters. For instance, on any given day of the week you can chat in French with Quebecois that hang at Rumney. Then you can speak nearly intelligible English with a hyper girl working at the bumpkin dinner after you tell her your buddy loves reading the Twilight books (sorry Aaron).

A Quebecois climbing crushing Black Mamba (5.11c) at Orange Crush, Rumney, NH,
Flowers at Rumney.

And climbers have to be by far one of the best collections of characters. This “weekend” that I took on Thursday and Friday I got to climb with Chad at Rumney and Will at Shell Pond. Chad teaches outdoor education at Plymouth State and Will runs a one-man Oyster Farm in the New Hampshire seacoast.

Chad murdering some banana-peanutbutter sandwiches
Will hiking out from Shell Pond in Baltic wind conditions…so cold that holding a PBR was almost unpleasant.

New England was has to be one the oddest parts of the region. Shell Will and I climbed in tee-shirts while snow rushed southward, funneling through Evans Notch and eddying it’s way into our protected and sunny alcove beneath the cliff. We watched below as whitecaps crested all day across Shell Pond’s namesake body of water. Hiking down after 10 pitches of steep juge-pulling, I made sure to put on my puffer jacket, because the wind was brutal walking across the flat, open field to the cars! Such is life and it’s all interesting.

Crazy lenticular clouds from jet-force winds seen from the walk out from Shell Pond. The snow flurries that dusted our tee-shirts must have blown from the Presidential Range. Great day!