Double Gorge Climbing Weekend, Part 2

Tired of the Red so to the New we go.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s part 1 of this post. I left off with us leaving the Red for a few days worth of climbing in the New.

New River Gorge

Rounding out the Double Gorge Weekend, we drove another four hours east-ish to the New River Gorge.

New River Gorge Bridge

When we arrived, it was threatening rain, but that didn’t stop us. We rolled up to Roger’s Rocky Top Retreat on Kaymoor road and as soon as we stepped out of the car, we were greeted with a hearty “How you doing?” It was none other than THE Roger. He proceeded to detail his wares:

Roger: Whatch y’all up to?
Us: We’re looking to camp and climb.
Roger: Alright, it’s $7 a night to camp, how many nights you staying?
Us: Two.
Roger: Alright. It’s $2 a shower: “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” I’ll have fresh coffee ready in the morning for y’all. Let’s head inside and settle up.

We go inside this tiny little shack with a porch that you swear you can see through and our conversation continues.

Roger: Where y’all thinkin’ ’bout climbin’?
Us: We’re not quite sure, looks like you got some rain last night.
Roger: Yep. Rico’s dry!

He proceeds to give us directions to Rico Suave Buttress. He continues.

Roger: If the sun comes out, you can head over to Butcher’s hit up Gumby. Y’all have a guide book?
Us: Yep!
Roger: Good. You’re all settled up. You can leave your Jeep parked where it is, or park anywhere on this side of the road. Need anything else?
Us: Nope! I think we’ll set up and then go climbing!
Roger: Alright. Remember I’ll have coffee for you in the morning.

Roger was the most intriguing part of the trip. Having never been to the New before and only reading about his hospitality, I was skeptical. I quickly found out that everything that had been written about Roger was 100% accurate. Nicest guy I’ve ever met on a climbing trip.

We set up, then headed to the Rico Suave Buttress to hit up Rico Suave. It’s a sweet 5.10a that follows a face up to a mini-mantle that finishes right up a crack. It was a good welcome to the New River Gorge. I would definitely give the route three and a half stars (out of four). The first thing I noticed, and it was crazy obvious, is that the climbing in the New River is not the long, juggy, pumpy routes that you find in the Red, rather it is small, technical, and long. It was a great contrast to what we had been climbing in the Red.

While we were there, the rain rolled in, so we took shelter on a small boulder next to Rico and got to know some guys who were on a year-long trip around the country to climb. We found out they were planning on spending October in the Red. Too bad October is filled with weddings and COPE/Climbing activity weekends; I’d like to hang out with them again.

Anyway, Saturday we spent the morning driving around the bridge because it rained just before we woke up. Got some cool pictures. Then we headed to Summersville Lake, behind Summersville Dam. Which, as the guidebook tells you, should have been named Gad Dam since the nearest town was Gad, but the Army Corps of Engineers decided to break with tradition and name it after the town of Summersville. At Summersville Lake, we got a little bit lost on the approach, but quickly found the Orange Oswald Wall, where we spent the day. Here’s the ticklist (ratings out of four stars to match the region):

  • Hippie Dreams – 5.7
    Three star warmup. Right inside a dihedral, sloper run up to the chains with some massive jugs thrown in. I thought we were back in the Red for a moment with this one :).
  • Chunko Goes Bowling – 5.9
    This is where I started to realize that climbing hard for four days straight is about my endurance limit. This one was interesting because there was a ledge, followed by a slightly steep section, followed by a slightly slabby finish. Three and a half stars!
  • Orange Oswald – 5.10a
    Best route of the trip, hands down. It was super technical, hard moves that were proving nearly impossible for me at this point in the trip. Four stars with great views of the lake and a run-out (5.6) section at the end that surprisingly doesn’t put you in a strange head-space as long as you make it to it with even a little bit of energy left.
  • Baby’s Got a Bolt Gun – 5.10c
    I didn’t go after this, but Brandon did. There are apparently magical holds after each small mantle you have to go through on this route.

And that concluded the second day’s worth of climbing at the New. Our third day brought us to Bubba City in search of The Decameron. That route was possibly THE reason we decided to come to the New because of its guidebook photo. When we arrived, it was a little foggy, so we decided to explore some of the four-star routes that were in the area, namely a 5.6 named Bobby D’s Bunny that was fantastic. It ends up that when Brandon and I climb, we’re horrible judges of time, so Bobby D was the only thing we had time to climb before The Decameron.

We both bagged the Decameron. It’s good, it’s hard, and the view…

The Decameron

The perfect punctuation to a fantastic three days.

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