Rumney: Labor Day 2006
September 4th 2006
Monday, September 4th 2006. Slept late; on purpose. We'd been up till the wee hours of the morning and – this being New Hampshire – it rained overnight. Breakfast, as usual, was Plain Jane's. It had gotten to the point that not only the staff recognized us and welcomed our approach, but so did some of the regulars. The small, dessicated old lady, hair in curlers, white sweater and slacks, sitting by the entrance with her equally frail husband would give us a wave and a piano keyboard smile. Sweet, but what's with the curlers? My mother would rather endure death by double juju that go out in public without makeup, much less with her hair in curlers. Perhaps mature love is the purest. A goal we all seek; companionship when no one else is left; a fervent desire not to die alone. A deep and heartfelt connection forged through time and tempered by life's vicissitudes, stripped of shallow desire. Still, white on or after Labor Day? Please.
The mood was somber. This was the last day for me, Babs, Andy and Susan and things were not looking good. The roads were dry which typically indicates the some of the cliffs would be dry, but that's never a sure thing. The sky was angry that day; like a model denied her cigarettes and Evian. Sulking. Glowering. A long hike to The Hinterlands was out of the question.
There'd been development since the publication of our guidebook so we opted for one of the newer cliffs. The G-Spot crag seemed enticing both for the names of some of the climbs (Bump'n The Gate and Layback and Relax) and for the short approach from the parking lot. We had directions, we followed the signs, but much like Dr Grafenberg's legendary zone, the ecstasy we sought proved elusive. We simply couldn't find the right spot (I suspect this is where the area gets it's name).
Despair settled upon our little platoon. The sun, if there was sun, was heading toward it's apex and from the outset everyone had planned on making it an early day. Andy, however, was the exception. His sunny, almost Pollyanna, disposition provided us the motivation to seek more fertile ground. He was determined to climb something and a little wet rock was not going to deter him. We marched back to the road and up the trail toward The Meadows. This time route finding was not a problem, but the coal black wavy rock was as slick and wet as Brylcreem on Danny Zuko's coiffure (A Little Dab'll Doom Ya). On we pressed to the Parking Lot Wall where dry, cheese grater rock presented itself. (Of all the crags at Rumney this, along with the Meadows and the 5.8 Crag, are my personal least favorite. The slabby nature of most of the lines makes for tedious and uninteresting climbing and the abrasive rock, while great for smearing, can leave one with a significant skin deficit in the event of a leader fall. That, and the fact that it was these very cliffs that Babs and I first climbed when we "discovered" Rumney for the club oh so many years ago and have climbed every visit since).
Andy was cooking with gas. He led every climb on the wall (that was dry, anyway) including his personal jihad, Red Sea Pedestrian, a pumpy little 10b on the left side of the wall. To spice things up he even managed to include a 15 foot leader fall. You Go Boy!
A grand time was had by all, despite the questionable start to the day. We broke around 4 and headed back to camp to pack; Andy and Susan to head for home and Babs and me to check into the Common Man Inn in Plymouth. We decided a bit of luxury was our due after 3 nights of sleeping on the cold, damp ground. And a night spent with just the two of us around the fire after the conviviality of the previous evenings was too dispiriting to contemplate. And they have a hot tub.
|<< Back | Next >>|