New Routes at New River Gorge

posted by dpm on 11/29/2012


The incredible variety of the climbing at my home crag of the New River Gorge never ceases to amaze me. It's incredible to me that in 2012, new routes can still get done right in the most popular areas. Last week, two new routes went up that prove the NRG is a long way from being climbed out.

Looking up toward the dihedral. Photo courtesy of Jordan Griffler/Ben's blog

Visiting Colorado climber Ben Spannuth started his trip with a 2nd ascent of Picket Fence (5.14b). He also sent Still Life (5.14b) before he turned his attention to one of the most well-known projects in the region. The Dihedral Project climbs the most obvious line out of the massive Coliseum cave at Summersville, Lake. Originally equipped by Brian McCray in 1997, the line has thwarted all efforts despite quite a few attempts. The route begins on the classic 5.13a Apollo Reed then breaks right. 5.13 climbing leads to a huge corner near the top of the wall. Entering the corner is the crux of the route, involving V-double-digit bouldering. Ben is calling the route Journeyman and suggests that for him the difficulties were similar to Still Life which would put the route in the 5.14b range.

Getting into the dihedral of Journeyman. Photo: Pat Goodman bolderznwallz.blogspot

Pat Goodman on his new route: the Thundering Herd. Photo: Mike Williams

Back in the New River Gorge proper, local Pat Goodman ticked off another trad project. His new route, the Thundering Herd, climbs a clean face just 100 feet left of the incredibly popular Super Crack (5.9) at Beauty Mountain. There are a few places that would be bad to fall down low in relatively moderate 5.11+ terrain but then the good hard climbing starts and it's well-protected. From a good rest at 30 feet, three stacked boulder problems are encountered all involving characteristic New River Gorge cruxes: a long move to the next horizontal. Forty or fifty feet of perfect 5.10 face climbing cap the crux section of this great new route for the 5.13 climber. 

Pat sticks the big lunge on the 2nd of the three stacked cruxes. Photo: Mike Williams