"Not all those who wander are lost"

New River Gorge

Pain is temporary, pride is forever

-Unknown

 

I’m off!

I finally got everything together and headed to Morgantown and then the New River Gorge.  Over 13 hours of driving later I made it to Ian’s and went to bed.  My plan to be at the New River Gorge by noon the next day was shot when I woke up after 11am (it’s almost a 3 hour drive).  With the chances of finding someone to climb with dwindling and the chance of rain increasing I decided to stay at Ian’s for another day.

My second attempt to get to the New went a little better.  I was up at a reasonable hour, got some groceries, and was off.  Unfortunately the audio book I was listening to was so enthralling that I missed my turn and ended up taking the long way around.  By the time I had found my way to Roger’s Rocky Top Retreat, the climber campground on the edge of the park, there was nobody around to climb with.  Instead I loaded up my pack and hiked the length of one of the crags hoping to find a group climbing, but instead just spent lots of time staring up at the splendid cliffs.

h(This is the path I came from while hiking along the crag)

(View of the New River from Kaymoor crag)

Hot and sweaty from the hike I ventured down to the river to go for a swim.  Without knowing where I was going I ventured down a dirt road and made it to the rafting take-out just as all the boats were being loaded.  To avoid the crowd I drove a few hundred yards down an overgrown 4-wheel drive road and cut through the woods to the rocky banks of the New River.  The water was perfect.  By that I mean, it was indeed water and jumping into it was like a refreshing burst of Arctic snow.  I got out and as I hopped across the rocks back towards my car noticed some raspberries growing on the bank.  As I began picking and eating them I saw the bushes kept going across the bank.  I ran back to my car and before I knew it had picked a large container or fresh wild raspberries almost half that much.  I would be feasting on raspberries for the rest of the week.  Back at Roger’s I quickly adapted to the usual routine of hanging out on the deck in the evenings and mornings until I found someone or a group to climb with.

 

 

It rained my first night at Roger’s so the morning was slow.  Everyone hung out until early afternoon then went the Cirque in hopes of dry rock.  On my drive there I discovered that my guide book was, to put it nicely, terrible.  In this instance it was the complete lack of description of how to get to the climbing area combined with the inconsistency and just regular old false statements.  The guide book referenced the parking area as two different names in the description and the map, and then in reality it isn’t called either of them.  I was annoyed, but found my way eventually and hiked to the crag.  Of course being a dry, and therefore overhanging, crag also meant that the Cirque was mostly hard routes.  Other than a couple 5.11’s the routes were predominantly 12’s and 13’s with a few 14’s.

(The Cirque)

As a result I jumped on Finders Keepers, a 5.12c, to warm up.  I did a good portion of the route, but the overhang was just too much for my lack of endurance.  The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out and doing the first half of a couple 12’s and 13’s.  I went to check out the easiest route (11a) on one end of the crag.  While I was looking at the climb I heard a sickening thud and immediately knew what had happened.  I ran back over to see one of the guys I had been hanging out with all day, Landon, lying on his side with everyone standing around him.  He had been trying a route and when he wasn’t going to be able to clip the second bolt began to down climb.  He ended up falling from only five feet above the bolt but on impact the locking carabineer broke and he fell the entire 20 feet to the ground.  He put on a brave face even though we all knew he probably had a broken arm and worse yet, he wouldn’t be able to climb for probably a month or more.  After the slow process of getting him from lying down to sitting to standing, splinting and slinging his arm, and supporting his back we headed out.  Over the next couple days of doctor’s appointments we found out he had some kind of issues with disks in his back, a sprained wrist, and had broken the tip of his elbow which required surgery to fix.  Unfortunately Landon got very unlucky and is one of the few people to have a biner break and I know I speak for everyone who knows him saying I hope he gets better soon.

(The locking biner that broke)

2 Responses

  1. David Coley

    Hi, do you know the locker was clipped directly to the bolt and the rope through the locker, or was there a draw? Thanks.

    January 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    • admin

      It’s been almost 4 years, but I’m pretty sure the locker was the bolt side biner on a draw.

      January 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm

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