I was fortunate to have two mini climbing trips squeezed into my brief summer holiday. My school year in Grand Junction just keeps getting shorter and shorter every year. Soon I bet we will be working year round which will change things up a bit I am sure. But anyway I first headed to the New River Gorge to play on the rocks that I began climbing on over 20 years ago. Needless to say, I was very excited.
My climbing and training partner and one of my best friends Ben joined me for the trip. One week and the goal was to just climb 3-5 star routes first go. That means we wanted to onsight as many different routes that we could each day. It was extremely challenging to do that because neither of us had been climbing too much at that time and we certainly didn’t know the ebb and flow of the sandstone features of the New. Many of the routes that we chose were established by the two most prolific first ascensionists of the New River Gorge. Doug Reed and Porter Jared. I remember reading their names in the guidebook when I was just learning to climb and wondered what it would be like to establish a new rock climb. Now over twenty years later I had the chance to try many of their test pieces and truly enjoy their hard work!
We arrived in the rain and I was not even phased. I new there was overhung terrain with classic routes to try so we immediately went there the day that we stepped off the plane in Charleston, WV. As the rain poured down, we climbed pitch after pitch and enjoyed finding a painted turtle at the base of the wall. We also heard one of the loudest thunder from the storm overhead. The rest of the week was filled with a chance of rain on partly cloudy days. High heat and high psyched destroyed my fingertips so I had to do my best to try classic climbs that didn’t have tiny grips. Ben and I had a great time overcoming the sun, rain, finger pain (from worn out skin) and the complex sequences of the New River Gorge.
Coming back to hang with the locals after each day on the rocks was always fun and even depressing at times. Its always fun getting to know new people but hearing about all the other amazing routes that we should try in the Gorge just make me sick to my stomach. I just wanted to try them all and eventually send them and the fact that I was there in the middle of summer for just 7 days made me bummed out. Needless to say when I woke up each next morning, I knew that it was my chance to tick some a few more of the classics off the enormous list. Anyway, the list is still long and I learned a lot about onsighting when I was tired.
This photo isn’t from the trip cause I can’t to locate them. I think that when I had to return my laptop, I lost the trip photos. Bummed.