The Last of 2010

As we drove down to the New River Gorge on Friday night, I knew it would likely be our last trip as I saw the car thermometer dip into the high thirties.  It was going to be a cold couple nights, but it was worth it.

Saturday, we spent our day at Whippoorwill, which is part of Summersville Lake.  As the sun peaked through the clouds we warmed up on Cowboy in the Dirt (8) and then moved over to Latch Key Kids (10a).  We were feeling warm and ready, so we decided to kick it up a notch.  We walked over to Flounder, but another group was already on it so we kept going to do How Could Hell be Any Worse (11a) at Mormon Wall.  I gave it one burn and that was enough!  I fell right in the beginning as I went for a long reach.  After I made that move, I gave it a good effort until I was almost at the top and had to hang for a rest.  The movement was excellent but the rock was somewhat dirty.  Some of the newer climbs at Whippoorwill need more traffic to clean them up.  For those unfamiliar, Whippoorwill is underwater in the summer months when Summersville Lake is up.  They release the lake all fall to the Gauley River, and Whippoorwill becomes accessible in the colder months.

We walked back to Flounder (11a) and after Gaelyn gave it a go, I went for it.  Flounder is a technical slab with a very thin crux section about a third of the way up.  On my first go, I made it through the thin crimps with my long reach.  As I struggled through the two underclings, but made it through, I knew the flash was in the bag…I just had to hold it together.  As I made it to the top ledge and clipped the chains I cheered, completing the flash ascent!  Who would have known that my strongest style is technical climbing?!  I have to work on the overhanging jug hauls this winter in the gym, as they are my weakness.

I was super psyched as we walked back to cool down on an unnamed 5.9.  It was an unseasonably warm day and I climbed most of the day in a tee shirt!

Saturday night brought some cold temperatures but as the morning came, we were ready to go.  We went to Orange Oswald Wall at Summersville Lake.  We warmed up on Fabulous Groupies (9) and then went to do Strong Arming the Little Guy (10b).  This one took it all out of me.  The route is characterized by long reaches to good holds and the top kicks back slightly.  I was very tired and sore after this climb.  I had every intention of doing Satisfaction Guaranteed, but I was spent.  We did another 5.9 called Chunko Goes Bowling and that also proved to be punishing.  This is a frequent encounter for me:  I climb hard on day one and feel like I have left gas in the tank for day two.  When day two comes, I’m trashed and every climb feels like a struggle.

We decided that was enough, so we hiked out, scouting some lines we hadn’t looked at before.  Many memories were made at the New this year and we were sad to leave.  I’ve made some great climbing friends this year in Pittsburgh and I know those friendships will only get stronger as the years pass.  2010 has been our best climbing year yet.  I’ve reached my goals for the year and have set new ones for the coming year.  I know I’ll be training hard all winter in the gym and I’ll be ready to hit it hard in the spring!

New River Gorge

Goodbye NRG, see you next year

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