Tim Kemple, Sr. - Keeping Rumney Safe

Tim Kemple, Sr., replaces hardware on a route at the Parking Lot Wall at Rumney, New Hampshire. Photo by Bob DeSebastian

Next time you're climbing at Rumney, be sure to mentally thank Tim Kemple, Sr., an activist who has been busy helping keep routes at this New Hampshire crag safe. “I really got involved at Rumney when it became popular,” says Kemple. “I am just one of many who have put up routes, maintained trails, and replaced aging hardware.” Kemple, 60, has been climbing for 40 years, and started bolting lines in California. “I once did a route in Yosemite which had a rap descent and no other options,” says Kemple. “While clipping the anchor, one of the two quarter-inch bolts broke in my hands. How do you think it felt rapping off the other one? I went back up the next day and installed two new bolts.” Recently, Kemple has replaced about a dozen top anchors and many loose or missing bolts on popular Rumney routes.

How did you first get involved with ARI?
We were having trouble getting the large-sized screw links (mallions) that we needed to fit over our half-inch eye-bolt anchors. I spread that hardware around along with some quick clips I bought (with help from Rumney Climbers’ Association and Ward Smith). Most of the maintenance at Rumney has been periodic replacement of the quick clips as they wear.

Any hairy ARI experiences?
The only excitement was when I topped out on Romulan Route and there was no anchor at all. It had one of the last tree anchors, and it disappeared, perhaps due to a fire several years ago. It now has two nice, fat half-inch bolts and rings.

What are some issues with fixed gear?
People toprope through fixed gear and wear the quick clips prematurely. There is a quick clip from Romancing the Stone that is more than 50 percent worn through. I made a sign requesting no more toproping through fixed gear.

Who else has been replacing hardware at Rumney?
A number of people have been quietly replacing stuff. Jim Shimberg, Mark Sprague, Chris Smith, and I seem to do much of it, but I think there are many others.

Visit climbing.com/community/ari for more info on the Anchor Replacement Initiative.


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