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The Original Orange Crush

5.8 R, Trad, 150 ft, 3 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 2 from 3 votes
FA: Bradley White and Bill Hardigan, first pitch. Entire climb with Tom Bowker, 1984
New Hampshire > Rumney > Orange Crush


What follows is the historical description. See Orange Crush - retrobolted for the modern version as it is now climbed.

The original climb was done to breach the left or west side of this cliff. It was a difficult lead to get gear into. Another one of those contrived gear placements routes where falling wasn’t optional at the beginning and near to the top of the first pitch. It took a long time to put the gear in near the end of the first pitch while water continuously dripped on my head. I eventually grew weary of the situation. I had to to get over the short head wall bulge left of me, up to the belay ledge. Bill followed up and made the headwall look easy by moving further to the left than I had. We rappelled from there because he was intimidated by the steepness ahead of us. Bill and I named the climb, Orange Crush after the soda and lichen on the cliff, but we were drinking Orangina on that day, and because if I had fallen anywhere on that pitch the gear would likely have failed. I would have been crushed by the fall by the rocks below this pitch. After that I rappelled down to check out the climbing above the first pitch and placed pitons in a precarious place to what would become the direct finish to Orange Crush (Chinese Water Torture). I also placed one pin on the second pitch of Orange Crush’s soon to be second pitch. Then Tom Bowker came with me to finish the intimidating steep walls above the first pitch, Bill and I did. I led the whole climb moving right and up for the 2nd pitch and doing the third pitch almost in the dark that had difficult gear placements. Then I came to the hardest move on the climb. After that it was finished. Tom was mentally challenged climbing it and taking the gear out finishing the climb in the dark.

The climb begins directly above or ahead to where the new staircase has been placed. Once on the rock traverse right awkwardly (5-6) clipping (you have to be kidding me) pins. After the traverse move up into vegetated area with some decent protection. From there move up and left to a notch and finagle some opposition protection into the rock cavities. Move up and left over bulge (5-7+) or move further left to the v-groove (5-6). Belay on the long horizontal ledge. Move right to the inside corner facing left and climb it to the second belay ledge (5-8-). From this ledge move up and left to overhanging set of bulges. Go through these bulges surprisingly easy (5-6) and well protected but it was strenuous to create the opposition placements of small wires necessary. After the bulges enter the brown dike. Run it out a little until in the center of the dike is a vertical pocket (5-8). Originally a weird looking angle pin was nailed into it. Later the pin was removed because a Tri-cam fit more securely. This is an awfully scary spot but the fear can be diminished if you'll look to the left, there is a good sloped hold for your left hand to grasp onto (slightly dirty, blow on it first). Make a high step up and move left off of the dike to make a belay or continue up to the blueberry ledges above this cliff. If you go to the top hearing each other is difficult.

I very much enjoyed this climb. I enjoyed it's steepness at a moderate grade. I climbed it regularly. All of the climbers that liked clean rock besides Tom Bowker didn't do this route. I don't recall anyone else leading it then, though. This will never be a climb for a (5-8) is your highest ability as a traditional climber. The falls in many places would be injurious regardless of whether the protection held or not.


The climb begins directly above or ahead to where the new staircase has been placed. That is below this side of Orange Crush Cliff. We walked off west and down to this new staircase. Then there was no rope or staircase to this section of our descent trail.


Mostly small to medium stoppers and up to medium large Tri-cams, friends may work also, Aliens would definitely work best in some placements.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jeffrey LeCours
New Hampshire
[Hide Comment] Thanks for the detailed history -- cool! :D Jul 22, 2009
M Sprague
New England
[Hide Comment] Much of this climb has been cleaned and retroed over the years. The first pitch is now quite popular and is often used as an approach pitch to Predator and the 12b The Opportunist to the right. It is now much cleaner than when originally climbed, but take care with some crumbly holds. It begins just before the ladder Bradley mentions. A 5.10 (Citrasolve)uses the same first bolt, but trends up and left instead of right and up. The upper pitches, including Chinese Water Torture have been partially cleaned and some bolts added to replace the pins. The job was only partially completed and it is still pretty raw. Eventually, somebody will finish cleaning the loose stuff out. In the mean time, if there is anyone below, I highly recommend that you don't get on the upper parts or you will likely be raining stuff down on them. The main gully (brown dike) which heads up and left at the top, which is the original way you guys went, should now be avoided. There are rare plants in there and it should be left undisturbed. If you see any ferns on the second pitch, leave them be too. Chinese Water Torture must have been quite the adventure on the first go ! Jul 22, 2009