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Main Cliff

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Ali Babbler S 
As The World Burns S 
Beat Junkie S 
Fat Man S 
Fear of Abraham T 
Gold Digger S 
Goldbug S 
Goldbug Finish S 
Goldmember S 
Gunboat Diplomacy S 
Iron Man S 
Know Ethics S 
Little Big Man S 
Millenium Falcon S 
Peanut Man S 
Rap Echo S 
Rock de Jour T 
Rock Du Jours Direct S 
Rocket Man S 
Shiskebob T 
Simon Bar Sinister S 
Skewer, The S 
Sky Lab (incomplete) T 
Soup to Nuts S 
Space Shuttle T 
Steel Curtain S 
Supersize Me S 
Sweet Polly Purebred S 
Thang, The S 
Thin Man S 
Thing, The S 
Underdog S 
Via Ferrata S 

Main Cliff  


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Location: 43.8025, -71.83593 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 151,675
Administrators: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Jay Knower on Oct 16, 2006
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Main Cliff Topography

red: sport...

Description 

Main Cliff is the tallest wall at Rumney and also home to some of the best routes. Whereas most of the other cliffs at Rumney are composed of schist, Main Cliff is distinguished by a band of quartzite stretching across it's middle. This rock has many of the characteristics of the best sandstone: fine grained, angular, and bullet hard.

Most climbs on the Main Cliff proper ascend distinct corners and aretes, and the climbing feels a bit more "trad" than at other cliffs. Though the routes can be long and pumpy, the different rock presents various technical challenges. Insecure stems, burly laybacks, and technical smearing can be found on almost all of the routes on the center of the cliff. Various outlying walls also comprise the Main Cliff area.

Main Cliff is large and complex. Ward Smith's guidebook is de rigueur for navigating this area.

Getting There 

From the second parkinglot, walk uphill into the woods. Follow the sign to Main Cliff. The large wall you come to is Main Cliff Center. Outlying areas to left and to the right.

  • Most of the Main Cliff is seasonally closed for peregrine nesting, usually April through July. Occasionally the cliff is reopened early if the birds nest elsewhere or the eggs don't hatch. Look for blaze-orange signs on the kiosk in the parking lot.

Climbing Season



Weather station 9.9 miles from here

33 Total Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',12],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',1],['5.8',2],['5.9',3],['5.10',6],['5.11',7],['5.12',9],['5.13',3],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Main Cliff:
Gold Digger   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch   
Rock Du Jours Direct   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 2 pitches, 180'   
Space Shuttle   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad   
Underdog   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Sweet Polly Purebred   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   
Millenium Falcon   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Goldbug   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport   
Know Ethics   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   
Gunboat Diplomacy   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Iron Man   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Via Ferrata   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 3 pitches, 200'   
Steel Curtain   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport   
Peanut Man   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   
Rap Echo   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch   
Simon Bar Sinister   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport   
Goldmember   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport   
The Skewer   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport   
Thin Man   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch   
Beat Junkie   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch   
Rocket Man   5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Browse More Classics in Main Cliff

Featured Route For Main Cliff
<a href='/v/steel-curtain/105991421'>Steel Curtain</a> follows the face dead center of the photo. (Apologies for no climber referenced)  The 2nd pitch to <a href='/v/rock-du-jours-direct/106028627'>Rock Du Jours Direct</a> starts up the flake jugs in the top right.

Steel Curtain 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  NH : Rumney : Main Cliff
One of the best routes I've climbed at the grade. The climbing is not anything special by Rumney standards (because great 5.12s are easy to find), but the exposure gives it that extra something that makes it stand out as a super memorable climb. You also get the pleasure of climbing quality rock all the way to the top of one of Rumney's most beautiful cliffs.Climb the first 2 pitches described for Via Ferrata (5.11c) this is fun all on its own, but keep going you will be happy you did.From the l...[more]   Browse More Classics in NH

Photos of Main Cliff Slideshow Add Photo
Looking toward White Toad
Looking toward White Toad
With Jeff's permission, I took the time to label the routes on the Main Cliff topo.  Hoping to get up there soon!
BETA PHOTO: With Jeff's permission, I took the time to label t...
main cliff in the autumn... beautiful... sorry its not the best picture but the colors are great...
main cliff in the autumn... beautiful... sorry its...
The secret's out. Main Cliff is a popular destination.
The secret's out. Main Cliff is a popular destinat...
the right side of central main cliff...
BETA PHOTO: the right side of central main cliff...
The Baker River Valley as seen from the top of Underdog (5.10a)
The Baker River Valley as seen from the top of Und...
the central section of main cliff with routes marked...
BETA PHOTO: the central section of main cliff with routes mark...
This is a tough one to map... It's not perfect but it gives you the layout and should help you find your way :)
BETA PHOTO: This is a tough one to map... It's not perfect but...
Panorama of Iron Man and the Baker River valley taken from underdog <br /> <br />Photo by Kevin Donovan
Panorama of Iron Man and the Baker River valley ta...
main cliff in the summer time... chloe is on Polly purebred and someone is on underdog...
main cliff in the summer time... chloe is on Polly...
20 degrees and beautiful... Thats Main Cliff For you... This is me on a link-up i like to call Digger-Bug (5.9ish) start on Gold Digger (5.10d) and finish on Gold Bug (5.8+)...
20 degrees and beautiful... Thats Main Cliff For y...
There is an art to winter sport climbing here im hanging over a foot of snow while i change in to my down bootys...
BETA PHOTO: There is an art to winter sport climbing here im h...
Gorgeous view of the classic ox-bow on the Baker river from the top of Main Cliff.
Gorgeous view of the classic ox-bow on the Baker r...
Main Cliff is an all weather crag... This photo was taken from Underdog in late december...
BETA PHOTO: Main Cliff is an all weather crag... This photo wa...
The Main Cliff with someone climbing Peanut Man.
The Main Cliff with someone climbing Peanut Man.

Comments on Main Cliff Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 18, 2014
By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
May 15, 2007
A 3ft by 3ft block fell out of the Skewer (12c) on 5-12-07. It changes the jug before leaving the finger crack but I don't think it changes the grade.
By Jay Knower
Administrator
From: Campton, NH
May 15, 2007
Ladd, where exactly was this block? I was on the route the other day and noticed that the fingerlock/jug from which you clip the fourth bolt had crumbled a little, making the clip a tad harder. Or was the block pulled out lower, maybe by the second bolt?
By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
May 15, 2007
It came out about 18 feet off the deck, so I guess it was at or around the second bolt. There was already a hole of sorts there I think and the block fell out of the hole after someone whipped and hit that spot with their feet during the fall.

It came out just right of the main line (I think).

Jay,
I wasn't on the climb, I was warming up on Polly Purebred, I watched as the block fell, hit the belayer (he was relatively unhurt but shaken) and luckily stopped on the upper ledge. If it had continued to fall it would have come down on 4 unsuspecting folks lounging below on that nice flat spot by the slab routes.
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Jan 29, 2008
i climbed 12 pitches on main cliff today from 5.6-5.12 and every winter day i climb there i appreciate it more... what a great thing... a south facing overhanging cliff with moderates under it that are always dry...
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Mar 25, 2009
according to chris martin who is in charge of the peregrine project the closure begins between mar 20th and april 1st depending on the bird activity... but its always too early regardless...
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Apr 18, 2009
Main Cliff is open!!! the birds nested else where!!!
By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Sep 17, 2009
what route is right of gold digger? it bolted? I may have just missed it in the list, i hear its around 5.8.

EDIT: i figured it out
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Mar 2, 2010
I got word a few days ago that there was a major rockfall off of main cliff during the big storm we had a few days ago... i went to check it out and was not disapointed... crazy damage to the forest and trail below main cliff... really there isnt a trail there any more just broken trees and rubble... also the ledge that seperates main cliff center and the right end was stripped of its trees and many rocks... here are some pictures of the desruction zone...
the main damage from ground level... crazy...
the main damage from ground level... crazy...

the view down the trail from near underdog...
the view down the trail from near underdog...

main cliff trail destroyed this is what you have to get over now to get to the base of the main cliff center area...
main cliff trail destroyed this is what you have to get over now to get to the base of the main cliff center area...

destruction at the base of main cliff as seen from above the trail... well that used to be a trail...
destruction at the base of main cliff as seen from above the trail... well that used to be a trail...

hard to see what changed here if you dont know the cliff well.... but there used to be trees on that ledge now there are a few stumps...
hard to see what changed here if you dont know the cliff well.... but there used to be trees on that ledge now there are a few stumps...

That would have been a sight to behold...
By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Mar 2, 2010
Wow, first big rock fall i think i've heard of at rumney. Where did it fall from?
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Mar 2, 2010
looked like most of it came off in the area between say, goldbug and rock du jours... it looked like you would have been fully safe sitting on the ledge under thinman etc, what a show that would have been!
By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Mar 3, 2010
Lee, were any of those route affected or was it above that? Can we go scavenge for bolts in the rubble?
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Mar 3, 2010
from what i could see no routes were affected.... looked like the rock came off the top maybe and cleared the routes before hitting the ledge and the trail...
By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Mar 3, 2010
That is great that no routes were affected! I will have to hike up there soon and check out the wreckage.
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Mar 4, 2010
so i had another look at the main cliff rockfall and it looks like one or two of the upper pitches may have been affected... it seems like a bunch of rock may have fallen off of the last pitch of Rock Du Jours above the right leaning ramp, it doesnt look like the fun final wall was messed up at all...

to the left of that route there is a fresh orange area of rock and i cant remember if it was already like that or if thats new too...
By Andrew Mertens
From: Bay Area, CA
Mar 5, 2010
So, having not seen these posts, I was rather surprised to see the crazy devastation at the base of main cliff. I couldn't see damage to any of the routes I know, but I did find a bolt with two large steel quick links connected to it in the rubble. So be very careful climbing anything right of gold bug or any of the 2nd pitch routes, cause one's missing at least one of the anchor bolts, if not both.
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Mar 8, 2010
I didn't do it : )
By E thatcher
From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH)
Mar 9, 2010
I climbed one of the multi-pitch routes to the right of the Iron man area this afternoon and saw the origin of the rock fall. There still seem to be some very sketchy blocks hanging out up there. I'm going to go about talking to some folks who would know what to do for trundling or checking out those blocks (Mark, any ideas?). In the mean time I thought I'd give every one a heads up that there is still some potential danger.
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Apr 13, 2010
The anchors of The Thang were lost in the rockfall and need to be replaced. Most of the most obvious loose rocks left over have been trundled except a big dangerous one to the left of Rock du Jours. There was still a lot of dirt and gravel up there last I saw that needs to be swept off. Until then, the top outs on Gold Member and the second pitch of Golfbug will be unpleasant. If you are hanging out below, remember, it is not a safe place.
By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
May 16, 2011
Does anyone know if the falcons have moved to another section of cliff?
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
May 16, 2011
all cliffs are open, there is no sign of nesting activities anywhere in rumney...
By matthewWallace
From: plymouth, nh
Nov 18, 2011
Does anybody know if 'The Thang' has received new anchors yet? There were draws hanging from the route the other day...
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Nov 18, 2011
I know I haven't redone them and haven't heard that Chris has been up there. If somebody does, thought should go towards continuing up the corner that the rockfall revealed and also how it would integrate with new anchors for the last pitch of Ironman (shared?), which needs to be retroed. It is tough to do work up there since it needs a good cleaning of loose rock by Ironman and there are almost always people below unless it is horrible weather. Even drilling and bolting three pitches above a crowd is sketchy
By Matt Wilson
From: Bethel, Vermont, USA
Apr 18, 2012
Thanks for confirming that... I still don't know of all the climbing forums yet :)
By Jeffrey LeCours
From: New Hampshire
Feb 17, 2013
Wow. Until just now, I didn't realize that Underdog, Sweet Polly Purebreed, and Simon Bar Sinister were all related (aside from adjacent on the wall to each other). Now I must ask: where's Riff Raff?
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Feb 17, 2013
you watched the movie didn't you...
By S. Neoh
Feb 17, 2013
Only Smitty can answer that question.
By Matt Wilson
From: Bethel, Vermont, USA
Apr 26, 2013
Lee- I take it main cliff is open then? Or did the falcons return? I am a bit confused between your post and the closure alert on this page.
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Apr 26, 2013
i have tried a few times to take the closure notice down with no luck... Main Cliff is 100% OPEN!
I just tried again to remove it and still no luck. I settled for rewording the note which worked... it should all be clear now...
By MLevine
From: Nashua, NH
Apr 26, 2013
you spelled brief wrong, Lee :D
By lee hansche
Administrator
From: goffstown, nh
Apr 26, 2013
oh yeah. "I" before "E" except after i don't give a s*%t haha :)
jk matt jk
By J Meagher
Feb 24, 2014
There was another rockfall a few days ago at the right end of the Iron Man wall, a sizable boulder and a few other smaller rocks came down, probably because of weathering from freezing and thawing. Here is a link to the forum for more information mountainproject.com/v/rumney-r... .... be careful up there
By JayMorse
From: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Apr 6, 2014
Still rockfalls happening at Iron Man... A microwave sized rock and a bunch of softball sized ones all came down Rock Du Jour today with about 15 people climbing and hanging at the base. Luckily the majority of it went down the charity case area where no one was, but a softball sized rock whizzed over towards the base of Fat Man and luckily missed everyone. Be careful, and if I were you I would stay off Rock Du Jour and Main Cliff Right for a while.
By MLevine
From: Nashua, NH
Apr 21, 2014
The word over at armed and dangerous today was that the block that creates the V shaped groove between underdog and Polly purebred (where people often rest up and shake out on Polly) is creaky...anyone know more about this?
By M Bageant
Aug 18, 2014
I saw your comment a while ago, but I hadn't been up Underdog or Polly since then. As of 8/16, the hold is definitely creaky. I and my partner noticed it squeaking and visibly moving. In this picture, it is the chunk directly in front of the climber, terminating in the chalky hold at the top of the photo.

Please be careful of rock fall at Main Cliff, as always!