Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random Trip to the New River Gorge

Since moving to North Carolina, I have taken very few personal climbing trips. Most of the trips taken have involved work, training, courses or exams. After being fairly busy for the past two weeks, I had a few days off and no one with which to climb in North Carolina. My friend Tracy told me to head up to the New River Gorge and climb with her. So the next morning I wake up early and start my 4.5 hour drive north.

I arrived around noon. It would have been sooner but there were some complications with the drive. I met up with Tracy and Spencer at Whippoorwill.  There we got on a few routes before we headed back to town. One great route we did while there was Wendy's Jugs. It is a beautiful 5.7 that is on an arete. It is a little steep with huge hold and a great position.

Later that afternoon I began to get restless sitting in town while Tracy did some work so I headed to the Junkyard by myself. it had easy top access and some great looking lines. I did a rope solo of a fun 5.7 called New River Gunks. After that, I set up a toprope on Team Jesus 5.10 and New Yosemite 5.9, which I did two laps because it was so good. In just one afternoon, I had done eight pitches.

The next day, Tracy and I headed to the Lower Meadow. There we warmed up on a fun 5.9 with a tricky crux. Then Tracy pointed out this 5.10d called Chimpanzabubbas. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to get on it. It was some fun flake climbing to a ledge. Once on the ledge you clip a bolt as you ponder how to pull the crux which is staring you in the face. After looking at and feeling the holds for what felt like half an hour I reached super high to a good hold that I thought was just out of my reach and powered through the crux. After the crux, you make a few more moved before you get to a steep and juggy headwall. Tracy then followed the route and we made our way to the left checking out different routes.

We settled on a route called Tarbaby, an 11a that was in the shade. I headed up first. About 20 feet up there is a nice ledge before the climbing really starts. Well I made many trips up and down from this ledge. I would climb up, place gear, check out the next section, then climb back to the ledge to rest. Finally, I go to do the crux but I can't figure out how to grab the hold I need to move off of. Finally, I just take on my piece right there. After looking at the crux for a few seconds I fire it without a problem. After the crux, I am well above my last piece when a foothold broke on me. That scared me enough to place a piece before continuing to the anchors. I then cleaned the gear off the route so that Tracy could give it a go. She flashed it like it was nothing. So I then had to go get the redpoint which wasn't too bad. After we did that route, Tracy wanted to climb this thing to the left that wasn't in the guidebook just to see if it would be a good route to guide. It was fun with a tricky 5.8-5.9 crux. Right before we did this, we were joined by Jonny.

After we got back down from this route, I decided to give Toxic Hueco a try. With it being 5.11c I figured I wouldn't have too much trouble with it but onsighting it would prove to be difficult. Well, I made it to the third bolt before I was getting tired. Luckily, Jonny had shown up so that I could top rope the route. The route stays at you with a few distinct cruxes then easier endurance climbing to the top. To finish the day Tracy led By the Way, I did your Mom, a beautiful 5.10b. I followed it to cool down. It was a great day of climbing that showed me that I need to work on my endurance again.

That night I was able to sample some of the pizza at Pies and Pints. It is a sweet joint with great pizza. Check it out.

The next day, I had until about noon to get my pump on, so Tracy and I headed to the Junkyard. There we warmed up on New Yosemite then moved to the Entertainer. The Entertainer is a fun 5.10a with a funky start that leads to fun face climbing.  We then moved over to Stuck in Another Dimension. This 11a looks super burly. It a crack that goes from offwidth to chimney to maybe hands all before you get to the roof where the business supposedly gets real. I wouldn't know. After the butt kicking from the day before I elected to save it for another day when I have more energy. Instead I did the 5.9 to the left, V- Slot. For a 5.9 it has some interesting moves that will keep you thinking the entire way up this awkward climb. We then finished on Four Sheets to the Wind. For anyone that climbs 5.9 comfortably, lead this route. It is a great overhanging corner that will hold your attention the entire way.

Soon after climbing, I started my drive back to NC. I had a great time sampling some of the routes at the New River Gorge. I would suggest that you get up there and have a taste of the great sandstone it has to offer. Also, in May is the 10th New River Rendezvous. I will be there giving clinics and enjoying the festivities. I am sure that it will be a great event.