First of 2011
The chilly mornings of early Spring convinced us to drive to the New River Gorge on Saturday morning, rather than our usual Friday night. We learned last Fall that climbing wasn’t all that fun until 10 or 11 am, once the sun had come out to warm everything up and you could feel your fingers! This turned out to be the best decision of the trip. The New saw heavy rain on Friday night but Saturday was perfect. We (Gaelyn and I) figured our first trip would be best if we focused on mileage. I haven’t been climbing for three and a half weeks due to a nagging figure injury and Gaelyn hadn’t climbed at all since early December due to wrist surgery. We knew our endurance was non-existent, so we wanted to get some of that back. Whippoorwill was the game plan for Saturday. We arrived around 11am, just in time for the sun to be at the base of the rocks. The breeze, however, kept us in long sleeves when not climbing. The rock was perfect and it felt great to touch some stone after many months of cold winter. I was happy that it didn’t feel too foreign. We logged six pitches by the end of the day, keeping the grade easy so we could get back into it without getting totally wrecked.
Back at camp, we cracked open some cold brew (Augustiner, a climbing favorite) and chowed down. Unfortunately, the ground was saturated from the previous night’s rain, so our firepit was more like a small swimming pool. I made an attempt at filling it with leaves and building the fire on top, but the leaves sank and the fire never had a chance to get really roaring. It was getting colder than we expected so we called it a night, crawling into the warmth of our thin layer of nylon.
Anticipating a cold night, we had planned on visiting our favorite breakfast spot, The Vandalian, for the famous O.T.W.G. After that and a few mugs of coffee, we went to check out Water Stone Outdoors‘ renovation. The shop looked great and I think I may have found the perfect cragging pack, the Arc’teryx Miura 50. I’ve been looking to replace my old, uncomfortable, top-loading pack. I will do more research and see if the Miura 50 will fit the bill. It was getting warmer (but remaining a dreary WV day) so we went to the Long Wall at Summersville Lake and picked off the moderates there. We tested our endurance a little more on Sunday, as the routes at Long wall are gently overhanging. Gaelyn was feeling some wrist soreness, so on our way out, I stopped at Gun Wall and picked off a few moderates there, working my anaerobic endurance even more. After two routes there, I had my fill. We hiked out just in time for it to begin to rain.
This trip was just perfect for our first trip of the year. I’m very excited to see what this year will bring us and we are psyched to get back to the New this weekend!