Trip Report – New River Gorge in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia
I recently spent ten days in West Virginia with seven friends, and it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. Thanks to good planning and time management, (what?!) we were able to get everyone’s schedules to collide perfectly.
We decided on the New River Gorge because there really is something for everyone. We brought down 2 paddle boards, an inflatable kayak and tons of climbing and caving gear.
In any case, I hadn’t had this much fun on a trip in a long time. To sum up its epic-ness I’ve decided to make a little list of all the adventures that were had. (No one wants to read a 600 page report anyways).
– We spent the first few nights sleeping at Rogers Rocky Top Retreat. Would NOT recommend it because the facilities don’t exist. (no bathroom! really?) And people do their business almost any where they choose. (ewwww) No bathrooms for free coffee isn’t a good enough trade-off
– Warm up day at Bubba City. Some of the routes have seriously loose rock, so be cautious. My friend Justin got on rock for the first time since his climbing accident in Wisconsin, and it probably wasn’t the best place to take anyone after having recently been littered out…. However, there are still some really fun routes.
– Too many babies at the crag. Please people don’t put your children to sleep ON the path, and then ask me to pay you to walk past them. I found some family’s very nice, and others completely inconsiderate. This is an area with loose rock – Leaving a kid under climbers is just plain stupid. Don’t expect me to tip-toe around your responsibility, make it easy for me to be nice.
– The second day we headed to Summersville Lake. I definitely recommend climbing at Orange Oswald. It’s a super fun 5.10 sport area with the lake 5 feet away. You can swim (or paddle board / kayak) and watch your friends send routes while floating care-free. We ended up coming back to this area two more times just to swim, climb, and hang out with friends of every climbing level. (There are 5.7’s to 5.12’s all close to the water). Erika and Sean climbed their first full routes outside, and Kennon did a little yoga on the paddle board. It’s a pretty amazing spot.
– If you are into water sports, there are many places with lake access. Two days we ended up paddling to the crag. Salmon Run is just past the Summersville Lake bridge, and is a great place for water access heading to the crags. Plus, paddling under the bridge is pretty epic, and there are rocks you can jump off. (shhhh, we didn’t do anything).
– We wanted a little trad day, so we headed to Beauty Mountain. Also, a great spot. We were all alone and (almost) making up our own routes. (It is trad right!?) There are some pretty good, easy trad routes for anyone confident on a 5.8. My friend Mike did his first pink point on trad, Justin led something for the first time since his accident, I lead / pink pointed a trad route and Rob and Michelle sent like beasts. Too fun.
– Day four was a rest day and we headed to the beach at Battle Run. We laid around like bums, tanned, paddled, and some of us enjoyed a little PBR. Classy. Do make sure you bring life vests with you on your water craft. We didn’t one day, and the army corps of engineers were a little unhappy with us.
– We ended up moving camp to Chestnut Creek on day 5. Thank god. The host, Brian is a little odd, but the place is spectacular. The facilities really are ‘top notch’, there is a ton of shade, and being able to have a camp fire always makes my 5 star list. I will probably be staying here again and again.
– We had a rainy day, so we decided to drive to Friars Hole Cave. It’s located in Greenbriar county, so it is a bit of a drive, but the experience was well worth it. We contacted a new friend, Rolland, who is familiar with the area, and he contacted the land owners to grant us access. Only some of us are experienced Cavers or were willing to cave, but it still ended up being a great trip. We were able to make the connection between two entrances, and had a great time exploring the 6th largest cave in the US. (Well part of it anyways…)
– More rain = more stand up paddle boarding! And eating out at the local restaurants. Throughout the week we went to a few local digs. Hands down, my favorites were Sedona Cantina and Tapas and Cathedral Cafe. Both places serve excellent food, and have amazing, friendly service. The only place we went I would not recommend is Gumbo’s. The food is decent, but portions are small. And the service was so slow we almost walked out. It was not worth the time, or the money.
-Our final day we headed to Endless Wall and played at the Kaymoor Slabs. What an amazing place. I wish we would have headed here sooner. The wall really is endless, so finding things can be a bit tricky for a first timer. However, the view is so fantastic we didn’t even mind getting lost. We finally found and climbed two of the most fun 5.9 routes I’ve done in ages. I lead The Upheval, in the beating sun and couldn’t have been happier. Rob lead Fool Effect and sent it, sweat and all. We ended up topping out on this classic 120 ft route after climbing past eagles and their aerie, and looking back on spectacular views of the New River. I’ll also mention that we were totally alone, and if you’re into a little nude climbing, it’s very possible here. Lets just say we might have both been topless for a hot second.
So, I like the New River Gorge. We only scratched the surface of things to do in the area. The place is also really well-known for White Water Rafting and Mountain Biking. Maybe next time, West Virginia, maybe next time. With that I’ll leave you. Leave a comment if you also love the NRG, and want to meet us there in the future. 🙂