|Utopia Ledges (True Summit Ledges)
BETA PHOTO: A lot of acreage.
Upper central left side slab is...
These ledges might be the hardest place to find at Rattlesnake Mt. They are not part of the moss, wet, lichen, thorn, grass, dirt and tree obstacle coarse around overhangs to low angled ledges that make up the central and the western side ends to the summit.
Instead Utopia is on the east side of all this region. It has the only decent climbs from the ground up that are the cleanest and steepest. Approximately 150-200+ feet of alpine trad rope climbing and fifty feet of it usually the steepest on a climb. Tree banded upper sections of cliff adjoined by slabs are on the summit approaches. Many burnt trees with thick growth at trunks. Exfoliation ledges with overlap holds or cracks and blocks to climb that can be thirty feet high head walls. There are some extreme cracks and very inclined features that have not been climbed.
The area can be labyrinth like because there are turns right and left and sometimes going back to the beginning of a wrong turn has happened. And commitment to trust there will be holds ahead, so far has happened. Route finding and the having experience afterward from the way up done is the best education to this complex convoluted region of steep gullies and ravines for terrain between the middle slabs and the outcrops at the base. The higher up towards the summit can be perplexing to stay on the rock because of tree slopes. The best higher slab rock is west then up to the western summit. This summit is higher up and east of Makamah Road.
Beeker, Freedonia and Lost in Utopia are in the central section. They go directly to the central summit after the head wall above a gully is done. For a better finish after this wall traversing west will bring onto the furthest western slab. Total distance to summit 500-700 ft.
There is no shade because of the dead trees. Cracks in ledges are becoming filled with vines and small trees near the ground because of the sunlight.
Rescue from here is very difficult. Weather can be unbearably hot in summer or hypothermia cold by thunder clouds on the same day. Know the weather predicted before ascending. Loose rock is possible while hiking and climbing. I've been up and down much without any problems. There are many dog and a few dear ticks. The stumps are increasing as dead trees get blown down. The ground on the climbs and tree trunks often are charcoal. This gets on your hands and clothes. The new downed trees and branches on the climbs hasn't stopped yet. This is due to the million dollar fire and nature now doing its thing, young trees and tall plants competing for light in the fire incinerated areas. This has left little walking space above Jimmy Cliff on the traverse to the base of the highest ledges.
The climbing season is best in October on until the snow falls. Its very warm in the fall. Early spring has lots of ticks. Summer no vision ahead, also there are very thin thorn (like fiberglass) bushes to contend with as an obstacle coarse on the approach and some climbs. Winter should have a couple of ice routes. Rock climbing to the summit has its bonus view. The view has changed to the south to looking at wind towers.
Don't go up there, unless you are capable of getting back to Buffalo Road. Worst comes to worst, there is the yellow marked hiking trail to the road but it'll bring you out several miles west on Buffalo Road.
Three hundred feet east, is another exfoliation of rock slabs, overlaps and chock stones. It isn't the cleanest rock around but has stimulating climbing available and fascinating geology. Access is reasonable.
So far, I have had this mountaineering experience to myself for decades. This type of mountaineering, didn't have anyone else's interest then and what about now? Some things remain the same.
The old approach to Utopia I have abandoned. It used to go east above Jimmy Cliff. The woods are too thick now. I go up above Bonsai Crag on the western side is a crest to the forest. Doing this I come up to the far right side, passed Jimmy Cliff's base. Ahead is the large little known about slab. This slab can be reached and passed by traversing along the bottom of the ledges past 'Junco' going east. There is sort of a trail to begin with here. The slab ends at a gully with a stream. The water coarse entrance is on the opposite side of this gully, on a different crag. Don't ascend any of this gully. Go across low away from the rocks until able to ascend looking for the left side of the small crag (Brown Toad Crag).
To get to the water coarse from where I come up to from Bonsai, I do a cross over east to a rocky brook slope.
Follow that run off and go straight up to Brown Toad Crag.
On its far left side is a water coarse of moss and stones. Climb up it (right foot hold on rock and left hand on tree). Its unmistakable and has to be done. The water goes underground quickly and becomes a mini ravine gully. This ends with a small easy scree field, then forested rock ledges go higher and higher. The mountain summit and climbing area come into view at the height of these forested slabs. Do not go left direct to the first crags you see. These are not good for climbing. Cross over right to a forest and rock boulder ridge. This is the easiest approach to the base of the crags.
Much care is needed on this ascent not to disturb the moss, grass and forested slopes. Its doable and I have gone up it many days and left not trace. A little effort to not stomp and skid goes a long ways to keep vegetation in place. I do the approach in an hour or so. Most climbs are uphill left via the forested scree field.
There is another way up up and down, the east side fire line trail. Woods and grassy, mossy slabs, it is direct way up and sensible. This is a dry stream bed that became the fire line for the million dollar fire. Its a bee line. Its further along the rock ban just, passed Brown Toad Crag east side. The way up is mossy and marked with a rock on top of a boulder. As soon as you begin going directly up, the stream bed is hidden. Move east and you'll find it. Go with the stream bed until it becomes a gully. Stay on the ridge east of gully to top. At the top are the crags. Cut logs are land marks before the stream bed going down. Same stream as Venus Wall. All the way down is complicated to describe. Going down the fire line trail with a flashlight, I would find my way out of this area.
Hiking down from the east side ledges, the drop off ledges are at killer height as you weave your way back to the fire line trail.
There is also a overgrown trail on the western side of the mountain summit. When the hiking trail goes off of the rock, stay on the rock and go down to the edge of the steep slabs. Go across rocks and oak trees until able to crash through the woods to the top of the Monolith Crag (this became a learned experience and without any experience great potential for an epic doing it). At the Monolith the trail enters the woods before Monolith's edge, at some stacked fallen downed trees on the western side of the slab top. Trail is very exposed in places and a long distance to the road. Another access to the Monolith trail is to follow the trial down off the rocks west and take a little used side trail west. This goes to some open crags and pine. Go down the opening for a long ways until escape to woods left, east is reasonable over a few rocks. Experience again is very helpful going down this way. The longest way down is the hiking trail.
Rappelling 'Utopia' should only be a minor trouble with the small downed tree branches and small rocks should be cleared first the ropes might pull down. Totally doable.
Browse More Classics in Utopia Ledges (True Summit Ledges)
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Utopia Ledges (True Summit Ledges) :
5.5 PG13 Trad, Alpine, 3 pitches, 200 feet, Grade II
Featured Route For Utopia Ledges (True Summit Ledges)
5.5 PG13 NH
: Utopia Ledges (True Summit ...
Not an easy place to get to the base of this climb. The line is the furthest west I've tried. It also seems to be at the end of the line for any climbs in this area. It is the best section so far. Solid, clean for the most part sticky for the shoes rock. Climb the line of least resistance of your own choosing (run out). Go direct or traverse left on top of block's outside edge to ramp with a few crack options that go right up this steepest section also. Lots of variations again to section above ...[more] Browse More Classics in NH
|Photos of Utopia Ledges (True Summit Ledges) Slideshow
East and below Freedonia
Central west side
BETA PHOTO: 'Freedonia' starts lower left of the blue plastic ...
Dismembered tree from a recent wind storm. Much of...
BETA PHOTO: The short central ledge is 'Dystonia' and above ri...
'Freedonia' One of the furthest ledges uphill to g...
|Comments on Utopia Ledges (True Summit Ledges)
From: plymouth, nh
Apr 28, 2010
Bradley,it is cool to see that there is still more potential in Rumney, is there a lot more potential up there?
|By bradley white|
From: Rumney, N.H.
Apr 29, 2010
There are some short ceiling cracks that are higher level climbs. Lichen on some. I'm not into the cleaned wall appearance up here. I had reservations on posting it. It's posted. I trespassed. I left a trace of my chosen foot holds and hand holds through some lichen filled sections. It's an ecological way to go about ascents. As usual the steeper stuff will be safer by bolting. Critically dangerous rock isn't as much. To bolt or not to bolt? Most ground up cracks stop at unprotected slab to climb. Most are short or shorter like 'Darth Vader' in height. The ceiling cracks end up on the slabs that have abundant lichen sometimes. No protection(perhaps soft pins in horizontal crack bands) and it's a mind game of easy climbing. Avoid rope drag. Some walls are detached and overhanging. 'Hannah' ceiling has a committing ceiling crack onto the slab. I haven't done anything involving flexing because of my hurt wrist. It's better now. Its really buggy up there and ticks spring through summer. Its alpine adventure.