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New River Gorge: April 26-27

April 29, 2013

Ashley, Andrew and I picked a good day to take off work on Friday the 26th. We fought our way out of Philadelphia traffic on Thursday afternoon and cruised straight down to the new AAC campground above Junk Yard.  Despite getting in around 1AM there was a steady stream of cars pulling into the new campsite all night.  The camp ground is pretty nice with platforms and picnic tables.

Friday morning we headed down to Cathedral for Breakfast, Coffee and the plush indoor bathroom.  From there we drove down to the Endless parking lot and warmed up on Ashley’s would be project for the day, LEGACY.  I say “would be project” because after I lead it, Ashley TR’d it, McConnico headed up with a camera, Ashley crushed for the well documented send.

We walked around the corner for the touted Bullet the New Sky. Andrew onsighted the route, hanging draws.  I gave it a good burn but couldn’t keep it together at the crux. I finished the rest of the long route without another hang…just with bitterness on fumbling the moves my first go.  Ashley gave it a burn on TR, I headed up on TR again to clean the rest of the route and finding the climbing harder than when I was on the sharp end.  Funny how that works.

We headed back toward another area classic Mississippi Burning. Despite the same grade of “12b” as Bullet, neither Andrew or I could climb through the crux at the 2nd Bolt.  I guess 12b crimp rail with bad feet is one thing but a large squeeze move with opposing side pulls and a bad heel hook carries the same weight.  We met a new friend, (Colin I think) who gave it a few dozen good goes but also failed to move beyond the crux moves.   Andrew and Ashley went down to Aesthetica while I finished belaying and cleaning up at Mississippi Burning.  By the time I got down there I was able to repeat Aesthetica, a super engaging route that keeps it coming move for move.  I gave a look at the #2 C4 stuck on Black and Tan but on closer inspection it had been badly abused and left with a bent lobe.  I came down and Andrew and Ashley had a few more runs on the route.  Other climbers began entering the area to do some of the trad routes and more but we were ready to pack it in, get some pizza and beer.

Pies N Pints was quite but good as always..if only they had some Daiya I’d pack my bags and move down to Fayetteville.  We ate some chocolate and had some wine back at the campsite.  A giant fire exploded behind us and burned out fast.  I fell asleep early to the soft and soothing barks of a chained dog.

Saturday morning was gorgeous. We made breakfast at camp and I found the Portapotties.  We headed to the Meadow to tick off some other standing projects.

First up was Toxic Hueco. I got Andrew to hang the draws and he onsighted the route. I was able to tick this route off my list on my first burn of the day.  Indeed a pumpier route than I wanted for a warm up. From the Lower Meadow we hiked in to the First Buttress. I got another redpoint on Cross-Eyed and Blind.  Andrew put the draws up on Creature. We worked Creature and Andrew gave it his all on several redpoint burns but came up short (hey, it’s a big fucking move!) and will need to come back to it. I found some truely horrible new beta when I forgot about the left hand side pull after the iron cross.  Once Ashley made fast work of redpointing Cross-Eyed and Blind I decided to save my juice for a burn on Skull in the Hole. Andrew was kind enough to hang the draws this time. I was happy to stick the crux, one for the red point and two for the fact I wrapped the rope around my RIGHT leg. This is a bit of a mystery because the crux move is a feet cutting throw from a LEFT heel hook. It went something like this .  Do what it takes for the red point!  I cleaned the route, half on the way down and half on the way up..taking the super swing.

Next on our list was Mr. Cute. Andrew put it up and Ashley took it down. I didn’t get on Mr. Cute this time, instead I was volunteered to hang draws on Starry.  I always wanted to get on this climb but was intimidated by the fact it’s steep and carries a stiff grade.  I was surprised to find so many good holds. I read the first curx move wrong (BETA: from the thin plates, cross right to the square crimp and rock out left.Follow the sloping flat rail back right to the next roof. Do not use shitty left hand side pull, go big to the good holds.  Rewarded with dramatic finish over the lip.)  Andrew flashed the route and Ashley helped clean the lower draws.  We headed out in a light drizzle.  Dinner was Doigi’s, a bit dissappointed by the new menu and they messed up my order.  After dinner we went back to the tents and hunkerd down in the rain. I read for a while and listened to the sweet sounds of a cat in heat.

Sunday was wet wet wet. We had breakfast at Cathedral and debated our options, climb at one of the rainy day destinations or pack it in.  We opted for the later, getting some garbage bags for our soaked tents.  It was nice to get back around 5PM on Sunday.

Photos coming soon.

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From → New River Gorge

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