Although we’ve just missed the end of climbing season in the New River Gorge for 2016, we’re pretty sure that April 2017 will come very quickly. With that in mind, it’s never too late (or early, depending on your perspective) to brush up on your local climbing knowledge. And what’s to say you don’t head for warmer climates to try out your skills while the winter settles in West Virginia.
Keep reading for more information about rock climbing in the Gorge And next time, we’ll look at some amazing alternative locations that you can visit during the long and cold winter.
The New River Gorge is one of the most popular rock climbing and rappelling destinations in America. As you may already know, West Virginia home to America’s Best Whitewater, but it also boasts some of America’s best rock climbing. Within the 63,000 acres of the New River Gorge National Park there are miles and miles of cliff offering something for everyone from beginner to advanced. One of the best parts? You’ll never have to climb the same route twice.
These climbing routes offer incredible scenery, overlooking the New River and beyond. Summersville Lake also offers unique climbing and rappelling opportunities accessible by pontoon boat (and also more views to accompany). Once you’ve gone rock climbing in West Virginia you’ll understand the meaning of the state motto: Montani semper liberi. Mountaineers are always free.
A number of local companies feature professionally accredited guides that provide all gear, transportation, and lunch during full day trips. These guides are often also local climbers with the skills to safely manage a climbing environment that truly does offer something for every level of climber. With cliffs ranging from 30 feet to well over 100, and stretching along 15 miles of the river, these trips offer views and hikes through the national park that are completely unmatchable.
Many companies offer a variation on several different ways to experience the cliffs in the New River Gorge.
2-Hour Rappel – These shorter trips are fantastic for people who have limited time or familiarity with the sport but still want to experience the beauty of the New River Gorge. These types of trips will introduce climbers to the basics of descending ropes while being assisted by a guide. They do not involve any rock climbing. Guests will be guided at the top of the cliff where instruction and rappelling will take place. With several cliffs offering a view of the New River Gorge Bridge, and surrounded by our incredibly beautiful mountains, these trips are absolutely breathtaking! All gear and transportation provided. In most cases, no previous experience required for beginner rappelling excursions.
Half-Day Climbing and Rappelling – These types of trips span a bit longer, usually lasting for 4-hour trips. Similar to the 2-hour rappel, these trips generally also includes time for climbing and rappelling from some amazing rocks. The New River Gorge offers almost every style of climbing imaginable and with a never ending supply of rock climbs, these longer trips offer something for everyone from first timers to instruction in advanced climbing techniques. For beginner trips, all gear and equipment are provided and no previous experience is necessary.
Full-Day Climbing and Rappelling – These trips are exactly what they sound like: 8-hours on the rocks that include climbing and rappelling in a variety of settings throughout the park. Full day trips emphasize techniques for rock climbing and rappelling in the New River Gorge, but many of these skills can be applied to cliffs around the world. Guests will learn modern rope and equipment management and get to spend the day climbing hands on with local guides. With an endless supply of climbing to do, these trips are also another great option that is geared for beginners to advanced climbers.
Convinced yet? Ready to book your April 2017 trip yet?!
Basic trip information: Guests should wear closed-toed shoes along with attire suitable for a day in the woods. Workout attire is great for the hiking, climbing, and scrambling through the woods that takes place on many trips. The weather in the New River Gorge can change quickly, so guests should anticipate the weather and bring appropriate clothing (layers are often a good idea). Any extra items can be secured in locked vehicles. Guests with long hair should bring a hair tie. For many facilities, the minimum age to begin is 6 years old.
Do you love climbing in the New River Gorge? Do you have any tips for newbies? Tell us in a comment below!