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New Hampshire

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When the invitation came across the Atlantic to attend my friend Jack's wedding, the first thought I had was of true elation for him to have found the one special girl. The second thought I had was that it would be a great opportunity to go a visit Rumney. Jack lives in Jackson, New Hampshire, an absolutely gorgeous corner of USA. As fate would have it, I would propose to my own special girl a few months after and the wedding date was set coincidentally a few weeks after Jack's. So why not make it our own little honey moon as well? At least it would be an excuse to book a posher accommodation and not worry about the climbing so much.

Rumney is a little outcrop of Mica-schist rock in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Most known for producing talents like Dave Graham and Joe Kinder, it has also a host of hard routes up to 9a. But the amount of routes on offer is not of staggering numbers, is more of a case of quality over quantity. Mica-schist is a new rock type for me, it feels like a strange mix between Granite and Scottish Gneiss. The interesting part of this is that the style of climbing is quite particular, a blend of immaculate technique executed with brutal power. It took me about a week to get used to it, initially getting shut down on the warm ups. But gradually got used to it and got working through the classics. Viki had a harder time than me, as the routes seemed to consist of all things she hates: slopers, poor feet, steepness, no crimps and general weirdness.

The highlight of the trip was perhaps doing Dave Graham's "Tin Monkeys", the first 5.13b (8a) I've climbed in USA. Despite being an awesome route, there was another route that really trump it. It wasn't even that hard, but "British AIrways" (7b) had some amazing moves perched high up on a flying arete with great exposure. Luckily I got that one done on one of the many 6am starts to avoid the midday heat. On that point, be sure to avoid this place in summer, even if you think you can climb in the heat like a I do (I bouldered V5's in Bishop in the middle of July...). On the positive side, this created a climbing schedule to be remembered. Early start, climb in the cool temps with the whole crag quiet and to ourselves, finish by the time the crowds arrive, go for a swim in the river, back home for lunch, afternoon siesta followed by a short evening session before the cold Pale Ales are allowed to come out of the fridge. Bliss!

We'll miss USA

Jack's and Sasha had an amazing, beautiful wedding

A truly quaint American welcome to Jackson N.H.

Our crib in Jackson. Baxter couldn't resist the temptation to hire a muscle car. Mid-life crisis approaching?

Where the magic happens. Jack's barn was party central after the wedding, but it also has a fully equipped climbing wall set up by no other than Zippy.

The classic "Predator" (5.13b/8a). This route gets a lot of attention and it's a bit of a faff to get on. I once had to wait three hours for my turn and so I quickly sacked it off and turn my attention to another 8a called "Tin Monkeys", a route by Dave Graham.

Climbing in the Upper Tier of Orange Crush is pretty atmospheric as the ground drops away and so the routes feel bigger than they are.

Viki about to get on "Lions, Tigers and Bears" 5.11b at Orange Crush

The weird Micha-Schist rock of "Tin Monkeys" 5.13b/8a

One of the many swimming holes at Rumney, and Viki obviously getting a photo op for a yoga pose.

Rolling in style. The Little House Inn, run by the lovely Pete and Shauna, was our posh accommodation. It's a gorgeous colonial house which we had to ourselves for most of the two weeks. It even has a sauna, enough said!

Going to the supermarket in style.

Fading Light

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