Climbing at the New River Gorge

On Thusday 10th of May 2012, after a couple days of rain, we head out to the climbing area “Bubba City” with Matt and Nate for a short after-work climb. A few days before that we once more experienced the huge friendliness of American people as we visited the local climbing- and kayak-store “Water Stone Outdoors” in Fayetteville, where we bought an extra throw-rope (for the rope-system in the “eddy-service” at Surprise-Wave), because immediately when we asked if it is possible to rent out the local climbing guide-book (as we did not want to pay 40 bucks for the book which we would not need after a couple of days of climbing in that area) the sales-guy said no, but you can just have mine for a couple of days! Awesome! So we are well equipped for our first climbing-routes in the USA at “Bubba City” (what a cool name :-)! The parking lot is found very easyly and the hike-in to the walls is done in about 25 minutes. Our first stop is at the “Tattoo Wall”, which offers a few of the nices sport-climbing-routes of the area, which are in our difficulty-range at the moment. Two of the four-star routes (4 beeing the highest, i.e. best rating for routes) at this wall, “Geisha Girl” and “Mrs. Fields Follies” (both 5.8, equals a UIAA rating of 6-) are just right besides each other and ideal for us to get back into climbing after a two-month climbing break. Although we already got pumped to reach the first bolt, which was in a height between 4-5 meters and had a 2,5 meter hand-crack on the way which was quite exciting for us, being not very used to crack-climbing yet, which made the moves much more difficult in our head. After that we climbed “Crescendo” (5.9 = 6) and the overhanging extension of that route, “Zeitgeist” (5.10a = 6+). As we have still left quite a few routes unclimbed at Tatoowall, we come back the next day and start to warm up with a few routes in the lower 6th grade, “Celtic Sun” (5.9), “The Good Book” (5.10a) and the wonderful “Butterfly Flake” (5.7), a huge flake at least 3 meters high and 10 meters wide which just stands totally free in front of the main rock!

On saturday we stayed in the area of “Bubba City”, but tried out new walls, i.e. “Ames Wall” and “Head Wall”, where we also climbed the great route “Hubba Bubba” (5.9). During the day we met a very nice group of climbers out of Washington CD, who have come to the New River Gorge to climb over the weekend and who invited us to their rented cabin to have an extensive barbeceau and afterwards we relaxed our tired muscles in the ajoining whirlpool, yeaha!

On sunday the weatherforecast predicted rain for the afternoon, so we decided to go to the wall closest to the road with the shortest hike-in (5 minutes), i.e.”Junkyard Wall”, which has mainly trad-routes (Trad Climbing = Traditional Climbing = you place your own safety gear, which means there are no bolts). Luckily most of the routes where easily accesible by toprope and as a backup the area also features a bouldering-cave to which one can retreat if hit by rain. At Junkyard we climb our first “long” crack-routes, like “New Yosemite” and “Four sheets to the wind” and slowly get used to the crack-techniques.

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