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Living in Hanover, NH

Original Post
Andrew Peterson · · West Lebanon, NH · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5

As the title of the thread suggests, I’m curious about what it’s like to live in Hanover.

I’m looking at grad schools, and my decision has come to down to Dartmouth or Colorado School of Mines. I have visited both places. At School of Mines I was able to talk to a lot of current students about living there and also I searched through the forums and there’s a lot of info about living in Golden. I haven’t found as much information on Hanover so that’s mainly what I’m looking for – although if you’ve lived both places it would be awesome to hear your comparison of the two.

I’m not basing my decision purely on climbing and other outdoors stuff, but I’ll be there for a while so I want to make sure I will enjoy living at the place I choose. Just thought I’d mention that before people give me crap :)

-Is there any local climbing if I have an afternoon or morning free? I hear that there is some bouldering scattered around the Dartmouth area. Any other crags close enough for a quick session?

-And then for day or weekend trips it looks like there is a ton of stuff – Rumney, Cannon, and North Conway look like the most popular. Any other places worth mentioning that are doable in a weekend?

-It sounds like there is a lot of good mountain biking in the area, but is there anything really close to town?

-Same question for trail running – anything close to town?

-For winter sports – I don’t ice climb, but I do ski, snowboard, and cross country ski. I’ve done a little bit of backcountry skiing and I’d like to get into that more. It looks like there’s a few resorts close by, but is there any backcountry skiing close to Hanover?

-Is it possible to get any rock climbing in during the winter on sunny days?

Any other information about living in the area would be appreciated!


Chris Mak · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2009 · Points: 491

Hey Andrew,

I lived in Hanover for 5 years for grad school. It can be a great place to get outside, but it is very weather dependent.

For rock in town, the selection is pretty limited, but there are a few bouldering areas scattered about. When I left a few years ago these were in the process of being developed and it took a bit of exploring to find them. For a half day session your best bet is probably making the 45 min drive to Rumney, the climbing is super accessible and great quality.

For weekends, you mentioned most of the best places, North Conway, Franconia Notch and Crawford Notch all have fun multipitch options. I would say that dry rock in the winter would be hard to come by, but not impossible. I've climbed at Rumney in early December and late February.

If you end up moving there I'd also consider finding some ice climbing partners as there is good ice 20 minutes away and even better stuff in the notches 1.5-2 hrs away.

There is a decent network of mountain biking trails right in town with trailheads at the medical center and Sachem Village grad student housing, and like you said even more options within a half hour drive.

There are running and cross country skiing trails directly adjacent to campus off/on the dartmouth golf course. Decent backcountry skiing will be a little further away (Camel's hump, smuggler's notch in VT, the whites in NH). Lots of good skiing off Mt. Washington, with the closest access probably being the cog railway trailhead near Bretton Woods. If you just want to clomp around the woods on some skis and look for little stashes there is plenty of that closer to town.

So, overall there is plenty to do outside there. However, having since moved out west, I think it would be hard to go back. The weather is just so much more dependable out here. If you were debating between Golden and Hanover strictly based on the outdoor opportunities I would say Golden hands down. But, if Dartmouth's program is a better fit then I think you will be able to have a lot of fun in and around Hanover.

PM me if you want more specific info.

eddysamson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 1,030

There are some boulders just 5-10 mins outside of Hanover in Lebanon, NH near the Lebanon high school. Google maps Wolf Rd in Lebanon. There is a boulder directly on the side of the road with a V11~ project and some easy stuff and then if you go a few hundred feet up the road there is a condo complex up a road on the right. If you park there and hike out behind their recycling/trash area you will find another boulder with a really sweet V2ish slab and some other climbs in the 3-10 range.

Will McFarland · · Lebanon, NH · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 279

Both places are comparable for outdoor activities. It really depends on if you like the big city crowds (Denver) or rural areas (NH). I prefer the latter and love it here. I would also think having an Ivy League school on your resume would be more advantageous.

This place is a trail runners or MTB paradise. Plenty of stuff in and out of town. Local boulders are great, but spread out. Rumney is the closest place at 45 mins with lots of tightly packed variety, can definitely go for half day trips because I do it all the time. There is a good bouldering gym at Dartmouth, just got partially renovated and is good to train in now.

Andrew Peterson · · West Lebanon, NH · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5

Thanks guys, sorry I'm just getting back to this thread.

After some thought, I've decided to go to Dartmouth - so I'm excited about that! And thanks for helping to convince me :)

One final question I have is if anyone has any suggestions on housing? I was looking a bit at the grad student housing but it seems pretty expensive, got any suggestions on other places to look at? Anybody looking for a roommate?

Thanks again!

DRusso · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2014 · Points: 380

Another sweet perk is the hut at Mount Moosilauke that Dartmouth owns which as a student you can stay at and eat, do homework, hang out, and then run quick laps up the mountain in summer.You can also back-country ski it in winter. Plus its close to rumney so you can use it as a basecamp for climbing weekends.

Pete Bohler · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 25

Glad you made the decision to go to Dartmouth. I went there for undergrad and loved it.

A few additional notes: make sure you get involved with the Dartmouth Outing Club. It's the oldest college outdoor club in the country and an incredible community. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that they have multiple trips/activities every day of the year. It mostly caters to undergrads, but at 22 you won't be out of place. There are multiple sections that operate mostly as their own clubs--the Dartmouth Mountaineering Club for climbing, Ledyard for paddling, Cabin and Trail for hiking/backpacking/cabin building, etc.

Apparently the paddling is great, if you're into that sort of thing.

The DOC also has a network of cabins that you can rent. Some of them are super nice. The aforementioned lodge is being rebuilt at the moment, so it's out of commission at the moment, but when it opens it will be amazing.

For weekend trips, you can easily hit the Gunks or the Adirondacks.

Re trail running: the Appalachian Trail runs through campus, providing a couple of popular runs.

There is a lot of backcountry skiing to be done. It's different in character than it is out west, where doing laps on open bowls is common-the east has a lot of trees and hidden slides. I mostly used skis as a mode of transportation for other objectives, like climbing 4000 footers (the peaks that surround Dartmouth in the White and Green mountains). The bowls on Mount Washington (eg Tuckerman Ravine) have some real serious terrain, though.

The weather can be rough, especially in the spring when it rains a ton and it's muddy and gray on campus. Spend time in the mountains if you can, where it is still snowy and awesome. Summers are spectacular, and there is nothing like fall in New England. It's true that you don't have the kind of mountains you find out west, but there's a soul and a wildness to the mountains of New Hampshire that I still miss, even after a decade in California.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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