NH and Boston Chapters lead effort to protect Rumney Rocks

The AMC NH Chapter Executive Committee pledged $15,000 during its May meeting to aid the acquisition of 86 acres of privately owned land abutting the Rumney Rocks in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF).  The NH Chapter joins the Boston Chapter’s Mountaineering Committee in supporting the Rumney Climbers Association’s (RCA) Final Frontier capital campaign to secure the land and add six crags to New England’s premier sport-climbing destination.

“Rumney Rocks is one irreplaceable destination for the mountaineering adventurers of the NH-AMC members for climbing outings as well as a prime location for both ice and rock training clinics,” AMC NH Chapter Mountaineering Co-Chair Thomas Sintros said.  “It is a wonderful example of AMC, local climbing organization, community, forest service and state partnership that stands as a model for the future of this type of outdoor experience.”

“The purchase and conservation of this Final Frontier goes to the very core of what the AMC is all about,” AMC NH Chapter Chair Bill Warren said.  “Those of us involved in the final decision to fund this effort are very enthusiastic.  It is an occasion of having the opportunity to provide a benefit directly to our members, especially our mountaineering people.”

Since its founding in the 1990s, the RCA has sought to expand and protect the Rumney Rocks area.  RCA activists worked with the Access Fund, a national advocacy organization that works to keep climbing areas open and conserve climbing environments, to buy the land and then sell it to the United State Forest Service (USFS), as well as build the main parking lot and secure future access to the area.

After a year of discussions, RCA, Access Fund and the crags’ landowners agreed to a purchase price of $185,000.  The RCA has raised 15 percent of its $300,000 goal, and has until December 2016 to complete the purchase and stewardship efforts, which include construction of a new parking area and trail system to the six additional crags.

Rumney Rocks encompasses approximately 150 acres on the south facing slopes of Rattlesnake Mountain in the WMNF.  Scattered across these slopes are approximately 28-rock faces known by the climbing community as “crags”.  The 1987 guidebook, Rock Climbs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire by Ed Webster showed 48 published routes.  Two decades later, there were more than 480 documented routes, and today, there are an estimated 707 routes, 261 boulder problems and numerous ice routes.

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