This post will be the first of a series of posts in which I evaluate the areas I visit on this Odyssey. I will be evaluating based on a number of factors which may include, but are not limited to: climbing, climbing approach, climate, driving required once local, camping, food, availability of extra-curricular activities, and availability of amenities. I will rate each on a scale from 1-3 with 1 being poor, 2 being average, and 3 being great. I will then average all the scores, and post an overall grade. Please note that these assessments will be made from my subjective point of view, and keep in mind that I live in a van and try to spend as little money as I can.
Rumney, NH is a small village that barely deserves to be named. It’s more like a neighborhood. It has a cafe/tavern called Common Cafe, a library, and a church. Other than that, it’s pretty much just houses. Because of this, it was necessary to frequently visit Plymouth, NH. Plymouth is a small town, and most of it’s businesses are located on Main st.
Rumney is a great spot to climb. It has around 500 sport routes, and around 200 trad routes. There’s also a decent amount of bouldering! The rock is schist, and the walls tend to be pretty featured. There is a lot of variety in wall height and route difficulty making it a great spot for any level of climber. It can get a little crowded at times, but you can continue to climb uninhibited if you get an early start, and move further up the mountain as each crag gets more packed. On busy days, the further you can hike from the parking lots, the better off you are likely to be.
Climbing Approach: 2/3
Approaches are pretty short, but also rather steep. There are lots of roots and rocks to trip over, but a majority of the rocks are stable on the ground. Approaches are in the woods, under cover of shade, so it’s not hard to keep cool while hiking. Shortest approach is 1 minute, longest can be around 30-40 minutes.
Weather is very pleasant in the Fall, and most crags are shady at the base. It can get a little chilly at night, but bring a light jacket and you’ll be fine. It occasionally it rains, and it can get uncomfortably humid, so plan to have things to do during forced rest days.
If you don’t want to spend any money, there are a few secret spots you can park in if you ask around. If you have it in your budget, stay at D Acres (http://www.dacres.org/). It’s a sustainable farm that has a beautiful main house, and comes highly recommended from some fellow climbers. Other options include Baker River Campground, or the house at Common Cafe.
The climbing community in Rumney is great, and they really take care of their crag. The people we met at the crag were all wonderful, and we had a great time getting to know many of them. The main issue at Rumney, is that you’re ultimately in a tiny village of a town, and nearby Plymouth is neither bustling with activity, or a town that is remarkable for any type of climbing community. If you stay at Rumney for an extended period, you may find yourself short on things to do when you’re not climbing.
All the food we had was delicious! Common Cafe has good food in the morning, and better food in the evening. Plymouth has Biederman’s Deli, Lucky Dog, a good burrito shop, and numerous pizza places. Overall, food was plentiful and good, but nothing to write home about.
There are some average single track mtb trails around Plymouth, and Highland Mountain has downhill mtb 40 minutes away. Plenty of hiking around White Mountain National Forest (if you aren’t tired of hiking from your approaches), and lots of rivers and watering holes to splash around in. Nothing too special beyond the climbing.
You typically have to be a customer to use restrooms, or be a guest to use showers. Food and water aren’t too hard to find, and Wi-Fi is available at Common Cafe (can be spotty) and at multiple spots in Plymouth. This rating could be flawed as we are at the outset of this Odyssey, and may not yet be adept at finding free amenities.
Rumney has great climbing, but not much else to do. The people are nice, and the food is fine, but beyond the climbing, I’d say the area is just average.