Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New England Trip

I was back in New England last week after nine months away, visiting family and traveling up to New Hampshire to see friends and rock climb. I spent a weekend with my folks in Little Compton, RI, then got to boulder for a day at Lincoln Woods, RI. Lincoln Woods is a totally underrated area, and even though I've climbed there far more than anyone ever should, I still managed to find two climbs I hadn't done before, Straight Again and Loadies Zen, both on the Try Again boulder. Cortney flew in on Monday and after another day at Lincoln Woods, we headed up to Boston to spend the night with my sister before continuing on to New Hampshire.
A self-portrait of me climbing Straight Again

Cortney warming up on the Cave Boulder
After a bit of a tour of Dartmouth, including a requisite chance encounter with Bobby Hardage, Cortney and I climbed at the local boulders I had spent so much time on several years ago. It was awesome to tour the woods repeating old classics, even though it was warm, humid, and buggy. After a full afternoon of climbing, we stayed with my good friend Gabriel in his newly renovated home in Wilder, VT.

Cortney attempting a tricky Bobby Hardage line on the Smeagol's Castle Boulder
Cortney climbing on the Devonian Fish boulder

The next day we headed up to Rumney for a bit of bouldering. It would have been nice to climb on the stunning schist cliffs themselves, but alas we had nothing but a crashpad and our shoes, and I had my sights set on Satan on a Halfshell, a difficult problem in the Blackjack Boulders below the cliffs. This problem was put up by John Sherman in the 1980's on a wet day... his decision to dry the holds with a blowtorch so that he could send lead to the unfortunate breakage of the last hold by one of climbing's largest hardmen, Dean Potter. The problem stood unrepeated for several years until Dave Graham gunned down the 'new' first ascent now-much-more difficult climb. I had tried the problem four years ago when it was way over my head, and I was excited to have another shot at sending Rumney's best boulder problem. As sometimes happens, I wanted the climb too bad and didn't end up sending, so after a couple of hours we threw in the towel and hiked up the hill to take a peek at some of the cliffs. We eventually found Gabriel at the Orange Crush wall, and hung out long enough to snap some pics of an unknown climber on the Rumney icon Predator.

Me topping out the classic Zig Zag Crack

Gabriel being a sexy belayer

An unknown climber attempting Predator

Cortney and I spent the evening at Dartmouth's Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, a 90-year-old log cabin staffed by Dartmouth students where I had lived six short summers ago as a member of the DOC Trail Crew. We enjoyed a classic family-style lodge dinner, and then Cortney whooped me in a game of chess before we turned in for the night. We were awakened bright and early for the lodge breakfast, then hiked just less than two miles to an observation tower and panoramic views of Mt. Moosilauke. After the hike we went back to Rumney, where I got shut down again, and then headed south to pick up Kara and zip down to Little Compton for our last weekend. It was an awesome, if all-too-short, trip to the East Coast, and it was great to show Cortney around some of my old haunts. I'll probably head back East in December for some more family time - unfortunately, Satan will be snowy and seeping by that point. It's too bad I'm ethically above blowtorching a boulder...

The Lodge
The gentle hillside of Mt. Moosilauke

The Umbrella Boulder. Satan on a Halfshell follows the light streak up the center of the overhang.

Finally, a video of three climbs near Hanover. Music by Midnite - check this group out if you haven't already.

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