photo of Matt McCormick on the East Buttress of El Capitan

Matt McCormick on the East Buttress of El Capitan

We have an adventure planned for you.

Northern New England is one of the world's finest climbing locales, home to granite icons like Cannon Cliff, Cathedral, and Whitehorse Ledge, the huge icy walls at near-mythical places like Vermont's Lake Willoughby and the desperate, vertical columns of chandeliered ice at Mt. Pisgah. Local crags such as Rumney (the great sport climbing locale) and Franconia Notch's Echo Crags over the years have been training grounds for some of the best climbers in the world, but at the same time provide exceptional recreational and instructional areas for students of all ages and ability to learn to climb on rock and ice.

two photos of a young rock climbing student and a group ice climbing lesson

New Hampshire and northern New England is an ideal place to teach climbing. Rainbow slabs along the Kancamagus Highway provide moderate rock climbing, while the steep walls of Cathedral Ledge in North Conway, New Hampshire will challenge the most seasoned climbers. The autumn colors of bright foliage and bug-free rock climbing make for an exceptionally wonderful experience in the fall season. The lovely Baker river flowing peacefully below Rattlesnake Mountain provides an idyllic panorama while climbing world-class sport routes at Rumney.

Twenty-two miles to the north is the east face of Cannon Cliff, a granite alpine playground with high quality routes ranging from the classic Lakeview (5.5) to the amazing Whitney-Gilman Ridge (5.7) to the big wall free climbing on the VMC Direct-Direct or the Labyryinth Wall (both 5.11). A hour and a quarter away are the immaculate granite cliffs of Conway. Both the 600-foot high Cathedral Ledge and Whitehorse Ledge at 850 feet provide rock climbs at all levels. All this is just a sampling of why New Hampshire is called "the Granite State."

two photos of an ascending ice climber and a rock climber

Rhino Guide's role as your guide service begins with understanding your ambitions and abilities. We focus on improving self- reliance and self-confidence, by teaching people to lead both rock and ice climbs. This is the logical progression - from following a route to leading a route - that requires an entirely new set of skills and judgment. And because technical competence is the foundation of all achievement, we maintain state-of-the-art expertise and implement unsurpassed standards of care and safety to enhance, not limit, your freedom on the mountains.

Whether it's an ascent of Mt. Washington by an ice climb in Huntington Ravine, or aid climbing at Cannon or Cathedral, we strive to teach every student to be competent at placing protection and building anchors on rock or ice. These skills are part of the never-ending process of learning throughout life. From belaying and rappelling competence to leading multi-pitch routes, Rhino Guides "guide the person, not just the route." By this simple philosophy of making the journey become as important as the goal of a summit or topping-out, we teach students to become "mountain people on steeper ground."

For those seeking to enter the world of alpine climbing, judgment and skill in snow assessment, ice condition decisions, and the ability to move quickly over moderate rock are stressed. Rhino Guides' state-of-the-art expertise, and unsurpassed standards of safety and client care, all combine to enhance your experience in the mountains. Overall, Rhino Guides strives to guide the person, not to merely guide the chosen route.

Rhino Guides icon of a rhinoceros with a climbing rope
  • Rhino Guides
  • Jim Shimberg
  • 55 Mountain View Road
  • Campton, NH 03223
  • (603) 520-5696
photo of Jim Shimberg

Jim Shimberg started Rhino Guides in 1985, while taking 2 friends climbing at Cannon Cliff, on the Whitney Gilman Ridge.

Now, 22 years later and with almost 30 years of climbing experience, Jim -- "Shim", to all who know him -- has guided throughout North America and the world, including trips to Iceland, Peru, Bulgaria, The Czech Republic, China, Scotland, Thailand and Canada. Jim has climbed in Alaska since 1987, with 7 expeditions to Denali, Mt Hunter, Mt Huntington, and other great peaks.

Shim has guided from his home base in New Hampshire since 1985, and has many first ascents on ice, rock and mixed terrain to his credit. Called the "Custodian of Cannon Cliff", Jim has cleared loose rock, developed trails and repaired poor anchors on the huge east face of Cannon Cliff, in Franconia Notch NH, for over 20 years. In addition, Shim is a Mountain Rescue Service "A" Team Member and participates in technical rescues throughout the White Mountains. He is also a Wilderness First Responder, and continues classes in medical training and rescue seminars.

Jim Shimberg on a rock climb ascent

Jim was also an early developer of the cliffs at Rattlesnake Mountain in Rumney NH, now a world-class sport climbing venue with close to 700 routes of all grades.

Shim made the first free ascent of the grade 6 ice climb 'Call of the Wild' at Lake Willoughby Vermont in 1995. This was the first grade 6 ice climb in New England. Jim also completed the first solo ascents of Omega at Cannon Cliff and the classic Repentance at Cathedral Ledge, and in the mid-nineties, achieved the first one day link-up of three routes at Lake Willoughby 'Called On Account of Rains', 'The Last Gentleman' and 'The Promenade'. Jim also climbed 3 big routes at Cathedral in the winter for the first time 'Repentance', 'Remission' and 'Diagonal' - in 7 hours, a true tour-de-force for the time.

Rhino Guides also specializes in Big Wall climbing Jim has climbed many El Capitan routes in Yosemite Valley including the Pacific Ocean Wall, Aurora, Salathe Wall and The West Face of El Cap. He has also climbed Half Dome many times, as well as Washington Column, Leaning Tower, Sentinel Rock and others in his 20-plus years of Yosemite climbing.

Jim works for Black Diamond Equipment as a Technical Representative, providing knowledge and experience at the various ice climbing festivals throughout the Northeast, and is a sponsored climber for La Sportiva. An early member of the product testing team for the Sterling Rope Company in Biddeford Maine, Shim continues to work with this rope manufacturer to develop the best ropes in the world. Jim is also the climbing instructor at Holderness School in Holderness NH, and is a Senior Guide at IMCS in North Conway NH.

Jim Shimberg has imparted a simple philosophy to Rhino Guides - provide people with an opportunity to achieve their goals. Rhino Guides will always focus on teaching climbers to be self-reliant and confident. From escaping the belay, to building anchors, to leading multi-pitch routes, to those aspiring to become mountain guides, Rhino Guides emphasizes technical competence and the pure joy of moving over rock and ice.

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