Mountain Project Logo
This area is empty. Areas can contain sub-areas or routes, but not both.

Before adding a route, consider if you should first add a sub-area (or several) to this area.

Add Sub-Area · Add Route
Elevation: 628 ft
GPS: 43.78, -71.785 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 1,863 total, 26/month
Shared By: lee hansche on Feb 1, 2012
Admins: Jay Knower, M Sprague, lee hansche, Jeffrey.LeCours, Robert Hall


Most folks who have climbed at Rumney have gazed up at the cliffs above Polar Caves, a nature park just a few miles up the road from Rattlesnake mountain The cliffs and boulders on this hillside have been touched by climbers over the years here and there. Most are drawn to the beautiful ice pillar that is plainly visible from the road in the winter.

The access to this area right now stands as CLOSED TO CLIMBING OF ANY KIND . The reason for this closure is due to insurance policies, they are not unreasonable grumpy people who hate climbers. Please cooperate with the land owners and do not climb there against their wishes. Through cooperation we keep open the possibility of one day gaining access to what would be an amazing addition to the Rumney area climbing scene.

Please do not add routes to this area as it would only encourage people to break the rules stated above.
Private Property Details

Getting There

93 to exit 26 (route 25 west) 7 miles (past traffic circle) on the left.

0 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Polar Caves (CLOSED) Change
Type:  to 
Quality: Pitches:
Sort by:   then:

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season


M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
I think it ended up not being very practical Oct 5, 2017
Will McFarland
Lebanon, NH
Will McFarland   Lebanon, NH
Any word on if the Access Fund or AAC would assist in making Polar Caves climber-accessible? Last discussion was 5 years ago. Oct 5, 2017
bradley white   Bend
I had plenty of opportunities to climb the Hermae shaped pillar column and wouldn't try it for the same reason. I didn't want to own up for it later on or instant Kharma going to get us every time.
On the bright side of Ryan's endeavor to include this no route/historical route, when Ryan did so, to all of our surprise, the non-climbable crag/mountain may in actuality become the now climbable crag/mountain soon, beside folks like Fritz Wiessner, from the 1930's. That would be the first way up Polar Caves Crag (P.P.C.), I'd be looking towards going up it, the first try. Fritz's chimney corner on Humphrey's Ledge though, well Fritz had a lot more gumption than I'll ever have. That thing is way out of my limit of trust in myself at being confident enough to ever have at it, on purpose that is. I've been foolishly and lucky a lot to still be here thanks to the gods and goddesses. I thought I put them into our discussion, just to even things out with the atheist and the agnostics out there, if you don't Mind. Feb 4, 2012
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
I have passed on this discussion to a friend who works at the access fund and he seemed excited about looking in to it. Feb 3, 2012
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
I have a an anarchistic side that understands what you are saying, Bradley, but this isn't a wall out in the middle of nowhere. It is one directly over your neighbor's small business. There are plenty of other cliffs around for reaching enlightenment, as you know, so there is no reason to stomp all over the rights of a property owner. A result of enlightenment might be courtesy to neighbors, no?

By the way, Jesus Christ and Moses especially both laid down the law.
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's ice" Feb 3, 2012
bradley white   Bend
What's the hub, Bub?
Throughout all history mountain climbers, like Christ Jesus and Moses sought an absolute truth through climbing to the highest heights of mountains. Rules of man are just that rules of man.
The Holiest of Holy mountains of the western state native peoples, before white men arrived deemed these mountains not to be climbed. The free climbing jocks of these states climbed many of them anyway, although they were on Indian Reservations. They recorded their climbs also under anonymous names usually, but not always. Feb 3, 2012
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
Ryan, never underestimate the potential for internet controversy haha... thanks for your well worded explanation and apology... It certanly has helped begin a healthy dialogue where one was needed... Feb 3, 2012
Ryan Barber
Rumney, NH
Ryan Barber   Rumney, NH
To all concerned,

I had no idea that this posting would cause so much controversy, and the intention of posting was in no way to encourage people to trespass on the private land (and for this reason I listed the area as having access issues stating clearly that violators could be arrested). The main purpose (as I stated) was for historical reasons, and the name of the route name was the name given by climbers (whose names I will not mention) who were familiar with the route in the 70's and 80's because of its unusual shape after forming. The climb having been done, I did believe that it deserves historical credit regardless of whether it is currently open for climbers or not.

It seems that some people believe that my posting was a disgraceful discredit to the climbing community and its ethics. Again I wish to reiterate the beauty of the grade 5+ pillar to which this posting was intended to give attention to. Had it not had legitimate ascents by reputable climbers, this posting would have never occurred. The formation of water-ice across New England, its history, and its future potential is of great interest to me both as a climber and land owner in Rumney, NH. Anyone who knows me personally understands me as a law abiding citizen with good character whose interest is always to promote the greater good. Though my posting may have been thoughtless as to the amount of attention and controversy that would ensue, it seems that it may have opened the door for the Polar Caves to receive a little more attention from the climbing community at large.

I will certainly admit that my reference to barking geese and shotguns may have been a little rash and inappropriate, and I was admittedly allowing my cynical sense of humor to get the best of me (don't tell me that the actual image in your head does not strike a funny bone somewhere in your seasoned New England rural bones!). It was actually supposed to be more of a warning NOT to climb here and that it is well supervised rather than an encouragement to break the rules. If anyone was actually offended or taken back, please accept my sincere apology. I have no interest in creating any sour feelings amongst people, and if I have accomplished this, then I am truly in the wrong. In behalf of good sportsmanship, however, I was warmed by Rob's touche in creating an image of an ice warrior splattered in paint, dangling off the end of a screw and waiting for the authorities to give him a ride to the pen.

Lee, thank you for writing the description in a manor that better suits the users at large and which promotes the interest of Polar Caves park as well.

Mark, your input is extremely helpful, and your references to the Access Fund and the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch are wonderful.

Rob, your open minded attitude is impressive and greatly appreciated, and I would be glad to meet sometime in the spring if just to take a walk along the board walk and buy some maple sugar. Also, with your permission, I would like to post a picture of the Polar Pillar taken from the road. Please let me know if this is suitable.

In Light,
Ryan Feb 3, 2012
Thanks Lee, this is perfect and while my spare time is running short as our season quickly approaches, I will take a look into the links that were posted, I would love to add something like this to our attraction as it would be great to take the next step in promoting climbing in Rumney. Feb 3, 2012
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Much better, Lee. Seeing the Polar Caves website and how built up it is, it probably wouldn't work out mixing climbers with the other customers. It would in Europe where climbing is a mainstream family activity with 'kinderwalls' etc., but here I could only see hiring a few climbers to climb up and down like zoo animals (maybe with Rob splatting them with his paintball gun lol) or have a kids climbing clinic with an artificial wall and some super safe top rope routes for the 'advanced' students on the real rock. Feb 3, 2012
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
i have made changes to the description and transferred our discussion to the main page rather than deleting it with the route. i felt it gave perspective to the posting of the area.

rob, please feel free to let me know if this description is not to your liking or if you would rather i delete the whole thing. the majority of us have the best of intentions and would love to hear your input. Feb 2, 2012
S. Neoh  
I concur that the route description should be removed but the entry for Polar Caves (as an "area") should be maintained, with up to date info on access, etc. It is not uncommon for people new to the area to inquire if the area is open to public climbing. So, IMHO, it is best not to leave any doubt as to the status of this place relative to public climbing.
Respect the owner's decisions. Feb 2, 2012
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Don't you think it is important for climbers to know the situation and keep some contact with the owners though, Glenn? It is too easy for people to just say "Oh, they are crackpots, so I am going to sneak in" if they don't know that the owners have reasonable reasons why they don't allow access. And maybe some readers of this will be able to find a solution for them. A good description can serve to bring land owners and climbers together and not drive them apart. maybe Rob would like to write it (The Polar Caves entry, not this route) or could OK something Lee could write if he is up for it. Feb 2, 2012
Glenn Cilley
Laconia, NH
Glenn Cilley   Laconia, NH
Jay please delete this! All of it. This is not what MP is about. Thanks Feb 2, 2012
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
I think it is probably best if The Polar Caves are listed here as long as the situation is explained, since every climber who drives to Rumney looks up at it and wonders what the deal is. Even after 20 years I still look at it and imagine lines and almost drive off the road each time I go past. Hopefully some day it wont only be a dream. I'd put in a lot of free labor if it would make it possible. Feb 2, 2012
lee hansche
goffstown, nh
lee hansche   goffstown, nh  
i would have just removed this entry but if it is altered i will leave it up unless asked to do otherwise by Rob...
Please make it clear that the area is NOT open for climbing and that trying to get away with climbing in a closed area is NOT a sport... it reflects badly on this site and the climbing community at large...

I agree with mark that getting in touch with the access fund could turn up some win/win options for you to look in to... Feb 2, 2012
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
I agree that people shouldn't be trespassing or encouraging it. Ryan, it would be good to rewrite your post to show the history, but not encourage repeating it until and if it is legit.

There has to be a creative way to deal with the liability issue, as others have. Perhaps a chat with the American Alpine Club and the Access Fund… or even with the guys at the private Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas could get some solutions and contacts with insurance agents who are familiar with climbing and willing to work something reasonable out.
Climbers would obviously have to sign waivers and probably the area directly below the cliffs would need to have controlled access for only those who do. If there is anything I can do to help facilitate, I would be glad to help. I have 20 years+ experience putting up sport routes and would be happy to share any insights I have. Feb 2, 2012
and for the record we support the Rumney climbers, it is the other thing that keeps Rumney on the map. Its not that we don't like climbers, but we can't have trespassers giving tips on the best ways to trespass w/out getting caught.
We really miss the rock barn too as many of our groups used it to fill out a whole day visit to the area. Feb 2, 2012
Mark I am interested and have looked into it. What has been the biggest issue is our insurance. They say if we offered something like that they would be forced to pull our policy and no insurance equals no business.

We have looked into policies that might also include something like that, the best plan we could find would cost so much that we estimated we would have to charge around $50 per climber and that was just to cover the cost. With all the free and great climbing in Rumney, I doubt we would have many takers.

Our reasons are all insurance reasons. A seasonal attraction and natural climbing walls don't go very well together in their eyes. Lets not even talk about Ice climbing. Feb 2, 2012
M Sprague
New England
M Sprague   New England  
Rob, why are you so against climbers climbing there? I bet if you had people who know what they are doing equip some routes safely and charged a reasonably low fee for admission you would get a lot of business with customers who would revisit frequently. Have you seen the crowds that the Rumney climbing brings or climbing gyms? I am also pretty sure your other customers would find it interesting to watch. You could even offer lessons. I bet if you worked with the climbing community it would be beneficial to you as well as offer a quality resource to the community. If that interests you, I am one of the developers of Rumney and could put you in touch with people (as well as myself) who have the experience and expertise to do a good job setting it up. I believe there could be any number of successful climber related business opportunities at Polar Caves if you didn't shun them, from admission fees for routes, guiding, camping, a hostel, gear shop, even a gym since the Rock Barn closed down. There are other similar places that have welcomed climbers and been very successful.

Mark Sprague Feb 2, 2012

More About Polar Caves (CLOSED)

Printer-Friendly Guide
What's New

All Photos Within Polar Caves (CLOSED) (1)

Most Popular · Newest