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The New River Gorge

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Hawk's Nest Dam 
Meadow River Gorge 
New River Gorge Proper 
Summersville and Gauley River 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Wildcat Ridge Trail
A wild ride along the ridge finishing with a fast, narrow descent. Near Marmet, West Virginia
Middle Ridge Trail
A flowing singletrack following the ridge line from the front of Kanawha State Forest to the back. Near Charleston, West Virginia
A side loop off of Dalton also providing access to the Long Point trailhead. Near Fayetteville, West Virginia
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

The New River Gorge Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.0724, -81.0812 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 2,414,358
Administrators: Ladd, Chris Whisenhunt, Shawn Heath, Jake Jones, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Whisenhunt on Sep 5, 2006  with updates from Joe Virtanen

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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The greater New River Gorge region is one of the East's largest, most diverse, and highest quality climbing areas. Between the three major river gorges- the New, the Gauley/Summersville, and the Meadow- there are over 3,000 established routes on 60+ miles of cliffline, as well as hundreds of established boulder problems. While the moderates at some crags (Bubba City, Summersville) can be extremely crowded on weekends, it is still possible to find solitude and even first ascents, whether you wish to climb sport, trad, or boulder.

The rock itself is Nuttall Sandstone; some of the oldest and most bullet-hard sedimentary rock in the nation. It is similar to that of the Obed or Chattanooga region in TN, and much harder and less featured than that of the Red River Gorge. Cliffs range from 40 to 150 feet in height. Tiered roofs, cracks, technical faces, arêtes, and dihedrals are common, and there are excellent splitter cracks and technical slabs as well. The cliffs are very long with few breakdowns, and for this reason many crags (Endless Wall, Summersville, Bubba City) are accessed via ladder, which can be a concern for dog owners. Many routes have a 15 min approach, but almost all routes can be reached inside of 45 minutes.

The New River Gorge is not a beginner's climbing mecca. Particularly in relation to the more popular Red River Gorge, the New's bolts tend to be farther apart, the holds smaller and more sparse, and the routes more technical and devious. Especially at Endless Wall, some sport routes may require a few pieces of gear to be led safely. The few crags with close bolting and concentrated 5.9s and 5.10s, such as Sandstonia, Butcher's Branch and Orange Oswald, not surprisingly can get very crowded on weekends. To get the best experience at the quality crags, one should be solid on at least 5.11 sport and 5.10 trad at most areas. However there are now crags out at the Upper Meadow and older routes at Summersville Lake and Whippoorwill that have bolted routes starting at 5.7 and going up.

Although locals climb at the New year round, spring and fall are the best seasons, and even during these times it is not uncommon to get hosed with week long rain storms. Summers can be very hot and humid, but the crags of Summersville Lake can remain breezy, shady, and with swimming only minutes away. Winter climbing is feasible on south facing crags on sunny days, but for the most part it is not a good idea to plan a long trip here after thanksgiving or before Spring Break.

Stick clips are a good idea for routes over 5.10 and a definite must for anything over 5.12.

If you happen to leave anything at the crag then please contact WaterStone Outdoors at (304) 574-2425.

Getting There 

Highway access is from Route 19, between Beckley and Hico, and from I-64, between Mossy and Sandstone.

Located in Fayetteville, WV 25840


The most recent and best guidebook is Mike Williams' New River Rock Volume 1

The most recent bouldering guidebook has arrived! Kudos to Stella and Micah! New River Gorge Bouldering Guide

Also, as the New River Gorge is a National River check out the NPS rock climbing site

Places to Stay 

There are quite a few campgrounds with full facilities (wifi, showers, water) in the Fayetteville area, but most cater to rafters, and not primarily climbers. The American Alpine Club’s recently constructed campground will hopefully become the new center for the local climbing community, but currently does not have showers or flush toilets. Here is a brief list of campgrounds/sites in the area–

American Alpine Club Campground:
The climber campground in the area.
Running water, power outlets, trash cans, and porta-potties. The shower house is now under construction.
County Rt. 60/96 directly across from Junkyard access on your left - you can't miss it. Walking distance to Junkyard.

Rifrafters Campground:
286 Rifrafters Campground Drive
Fayetteville, WV 25840
This is convenient for access to south side crags Kaymoor, Sunshine, Cottontop, etc.

Cantrell's Ultimate Rafting:
49 Cantrell Drive Fayetteville, WV 25840
En route to Kaymoor and South Nuttal crags.

Chestnut Creek Campground:
Lansing Edmond Rd (Across from Ames Heights Rd directly across Hwy 19, it's on the left just before the small roadside store).
1 mile/3 minutes
Very convenient access to all Fern/Endless/Beauty Mtn and JY and Bridge areas

Ray's Campground:
1199 Sunday Rd Hico, WV 25854
Located near the Meadow River crags, and also a bit closer to Summersville.

Mountain State/Mill Creek campsites:
Ames Heights Road ~ PO Box 78
Lansing, West Virginia 25862-0078
Very close to Junkyard crag

Summersville Dam:
Free camping at the base of the dam, near the Summersville crags. Minimal facilities, and you may be hanging out with rednecks and families.

Places For Food 

Secret Sandwich Society
The best sandwich/burger and lunch spot in town. During the seasons this place is usually packed with climbers. Free wifi. $9-$13 a plate. Closed Tuesdays.

Vandal's Kitchen
The best place in town for breakfast with wifi and right in the middle of town. Across from Cathedral up on big hill in the White House. You'll know it when you see it.

Awesome Mexican food and they serve liquor. What else is needed? $10-$20 a plate. They opened and closed and have now moved to Laurel Creek Road across from the Comac.

Mackie's Biergarten
Typical pub food and finger sandwiches. Local and craft beers. First left before Visitor Center. 57 County Route 85/9, Lansing, WV 25862

Country Thai
Great Thai food that is within walking distance to the AAC campground. ~$12 a plate.

Pies and Pints
Awesome pizza, very interesting different types of pizza and a large variety of beer. $20 - $25 for a large pizza.

Cajun food that usually has pretty big helpings. Check out their fried green beans! $10 - $20 a plate.

Chetty's Pub
The typical bar scene but with an awesome wing night every Monday night. It's within walking distance to the AAC campground.

Smokey's On The Gorge
This place has an amazing buffet but can be a little more on the expensive side for the budget conscious dirtbag. $25 - $30 for all you can eat buffet.

Fat Eddies
Awesome milk shakes and fast food. Closer to Summersville than Fayetteville but definitely worth it.

OK Buffet
Okay Chinese food buffet that's all you can eat for $9.

Next to the little general right in town.

Bob Evans
The cleanest bathrooms, always empty, decent food, you can pick up the wifi from neighboring fast food places. In the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Cathedral Café (For sale if you are interested)
Tends to be full of climbers since it's the only place for food in the AM. Local, climber and paddler hangout. Free wifi.

Rio Grande
In the parking lot before Kroger. Decent mexican food, decent margaritas, usually not crowded. Cheap.

Grocery Store just south of the NRG on US19 on West side of the road. Awesome selection of organic foods and supplies.

Everyone loves to not spend lots of money, but get lots of stuff. South of town on US19 East side of road before Krogers.

Current Weather Forecast 

The Weather forecast for this week

Rest Day Activities 

There are all kinds of things to do for rest days in the NRG. Some of them rely on having warmer weather, some do not.

White Water Rafting
Depending on how thick your skin is you can always take a commercial trip down the New or during September and October you can try your hand at the Gauley. There are a lot of outfits around town. The closest one to the AAC campground is Class VI. If it's warm outside, you don't care about your general health and well being, and you enjoy near death experiences feel free to reach out to Paul for a trip down the New. By reading this you agree that you won't sue him, (even if you do, he has nothing to take).

There are so many hiking trails here. Go take in the views from a different perspective!

Bike riding
You can always go rent a road or mountain bike and take a long ride. Check out Marathon or New River Bikes

Rainy Day/Snow Melt Activities 

A 20% chance of rain vs a 90% chance are the exact same. You may never see a rain cloud, or it may rain the entire day, no one truly knows. With that said there are plenty of things to do, including climbing, when it rains outside. Don't forget to pick up a copy of the Retarded Fish Monkey's guidebook at WaterStone, he has some good things listed. Any of the rest day activities above can be done in the rain and are usually a lot more fun in the rain. Besides what's above, drinking, making fun of the camp host at the AAC, and drinking some more there aren't many things to do. The few things left to do are below.

Most of the stuff to climb when it's raining out is harder. But if you can use common sense and not act like an idiot everyone can have fun. Listed below are the areas that more or less stay dry in the rain.

Bridge Buttress The only routes that start dry are the ones to the far right starting with Labor Day. The cracks do seep a good bit, so if it's been raining a while then skip this place.

The Cirque My personal favorite. Stays completely dry in a downpour, unless it's blowing rain then there is no hope, even for the mutants.

First Buttress This place stays pretty dry and has a 5.10, (may be wet), and a 5.11! The very top of Boomerang and some of the other longer routes get wet at the top. I've seen sends of these routes during the rain so it's possible!

The Hole Ready to get pumped beyond belief? Easy approach and hard climbing await.

Rico Suave Uber classic 5.10a and a handful of 5.11s stay dry.

Coliseum Huge cave that stays dry and houses 5.12 - 5.14d.

Diamond Point This area does not stay dry in the rain, but it dries the quickest!

There are a handful of bouldering caves spread across the NRG that have a lot to offer. There is one at Junkyard, Beauty Mountain, and Cotton Top. For more info swing by WaterStone Outdoors to get the full beta. If you happen to run into Stella at the shop then consult with them. They are writing a new bouldering guide for the NRG! You can even rent a bouldering pad at WaterStone Outdoors!

Gear Shop 

If you need gear, beta or advice, stop by the local shop WaterStone Outdoors. They have everything anyone could need for a visit to the New River Gorge. Also, this is a location where you can donate to NRAC. The New River Alliance of Climbers is an organization dedicated to the maintenance of fixed hardware on established routes. They also do trail construction and improvement. Their latest project was to improve and redirect the trail going into Sandstonia/Tattoo Wall (and did an awesome job), which is one of the most heavily traveled trails in the Gorge. So, if you clip and/or fall on bolts, or travel the approach trails (which all of us do), stop by and give them a donation- even if it's only a dollar or two. Every little bit helps, and it goes to a worthy endeavor and hard-working folks. You can also donate online HERE.
Rock Climbing Photo: WaterStone Outdoors.
WaterStone Outdoors.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.9 miles from here

1,080 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',177],['3 Stars',496],['2 Stars',294],['1 Star',83],['Bomb',7]

Classic Climbing Routes in The New River Gorge

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The New River Gorge:
Hippie Dreams   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 75'   Summersville Lake : Orange Oswald Wall
Mrs. Field's Follies   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Bubba City : Sandstonia
Fantasy   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   Endless Wall : Fantasy Area
New Yosemite   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 65'   Junkyard Area : Junkyard Wall
Flight of the Gumby   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 80'   Kaymoor : Butcher's Branch
Super Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad   Beauty Mountain : Thunder Buttress
Four Sheets to the Wind   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   Junkyard Area : Junkyard Wall
Black and Tan   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 80'   Endless Wall : Fantasy Area
Rico Suave   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 70'   Kaymoor : Rico Suave Buttress
Decameron, The   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Bubba City : Sandstonia
Satisfaction Guaranteed   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Summersville Lake : The Satisfaction Wall
Legacy   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 90'   Endless Wall : Snake Buttress
Leave it to Jesus   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 80'   Endless Wall : Diamond Point
Aesthetica   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Endless Wall : Fantasy Area
Under the Milky Way   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Summersville Lake : The Long Wall
Psycho Wrangler   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   New River Gorge Proper : Cotton Top
Narcissus   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Summersville Lake : Narcissus Cave
Apollo Reed   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Summersville Lake : The Coliseum
Quinsana Plus   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Endless Wall : Honeymooner's Area
Proper Soul   5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Endless Wall : The Cirque
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The New River Gorge

Featured Route For The New River Gorge
Rock Climbing Photo: Dan Osman soloing Gun Club (5.12c), NRG. Photo: Ja...

Gun Club 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b  WV : The New River Gorge : ... : Thunder Buttress
This long face climb, just left of the big corner known as Super Crack, is a good introduction to NRG technical face climbing. Don't let the grade scare you off because none of the individual moves are any harder than 12a. But, they do add up and there are multiple cruxy sections. Bring your fancy footwork and strong fingers to reach the anchors on this one. On a historical side note, Dan Osman soloed this route in 1991. The story goes that Dan worked the crux on a short leash never really diali...[more]   Browse More Classics in WV

Photos of The New River Gorge Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The bridge. Photo by Carter Shumaker
The bridge. Photo by Carter Shumaker
Rock Climbing Photo: Get off the trail a little way off the beaten trac...
Get off the trail a little way off the beaten trac...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset over the New River Gorge, WV.
Sunset over the New River Gorge, WV.
Rock Climbing Photo: Free showers.  Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Free showers. Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Rock Climbing Photo: Hidden waterfall, with view of the NR bridge.
Hidden waterfall, with view of the NR bridge.
Rock Climbing Photo: its not always good climbing weather but often dam...
BETA PHOTO: its not always good climbing weather but often dam...
Rock Climbing Photo: Bridge from Long Point.  For scale, bridge is over...
Bridge from Long Point. For scale, bridge is over...
Rock Climbing Photo: Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Rock Climbing Photo: Bridge view from junkyard wall (jumping jack flash...
Bridge view from junkyard wall (jumping jack flash...
Rock Climbing Photo: Another one of the NRG in the clouds.
Another one of the NRG in the clouds.
Rock Climbing Photo: Best Nachos I've ever had at Pies and Pints. Total...
Best Nachos I've ever had at Pies and Pints. Total...
Rock Climbing Photo: World class whitewater, Fayette Station Rapid (bel...
World class whitewater, Fayette Station Rapid (bel...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rhododendrons at the New River Gorge (late May - e...
Rhododendrons at the New River Gorge (late May - e...
Rock Climbing Photo: Please TR off you own gear I beleieve the claim wa...
BETA PHOTO: Please TR off you own gear I beleieve the claim wa...
Rock Climbing Photo: The radness of the NRG! Love this place! Lombardph...
The radness of the NRG! Love this place! Lombardph...
Rock Climbing Photo: NRG local.  Lombardphoto
NRG local. Lombardphoto
Rock Climbing Photo: More Cracks and Ladders.  Lombardphoto
More Cracks and Ladders. Lombardphoto
Rock Climbing Photo: Welcome to Fayetteville
BETA PHOTO: Welcome to Fayetteville
Rock Climbing Photo: A familiar landmark for many who frequent the New ...
A familiar landmark for many who frequent the New ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beware - Notorious speedtrap on Rt. 19 near Fayett...
BETA PHOTO: Beware - Notorious speedtrap on Rt. 19 near Fayett...
Rock Climbing Photo: Umm...any questions?
Umm...any questions?
Rock Climbing Photo: Off the beaten track. There is a cave in there.
Off the beaten track. There is a cave in there.
Rock Climbing Photo: these things love the trails during the rain
these things love the trails during the rain
Rock Climbing Photo: Expect a few rainy days while visiting the New!!
BETA PHOTO: Expect a few rainy days while visiting the New!!

Show All 36 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on The New River Gorge Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 30, 2015
By Jake Jones
From: Richmond, VA
Nov 26, 2014
NRG aficionados will probably enjoy this Enormocast episode. Pretty entertaining.
By floridatim
Jan 29, 2015
RAYS CAMPGROUND IS AWSOME. Ray and Dren are really good folks, they are helpful and very friendly.if you are looking to climb in the gorge check them out
By Doug Joness
From: logan, ut
Aug 27, 2015
Specialty gear for the new--spider web stick. If you have a stance, use it to whack away the incredible amount of spider webs. If no stance, plow through them and pick them out of hair once lowered.
By Brian Lockard
Oct 19, 2015
I am planning a trip to climb at NRG this spring and have not been there before. My group is looking to hire a guide for the first day to help us find climbs so we dont spend a lot of our limited time route-finding. I looked into local guide services and found some good options, but they seem expensive for the value we'd be looking for (we are experienced climbers with our own gear so we don't need someone to set up climbs and give is gear).

Can anyone recommend a service that could help get us around for a day but would be cheaper than a standard guide? Even an experienced local climber who is interested in making some money for walking some visitors around the gorge to the best climbs would be great.

thanks to the climbing community for any info!
By Chris Whisenhunt
From: Fayetteville, WV
Oct 20, 2015
Have you tried New River Mountain Guides out of WaterStone? If you know how to climb safely and are experienced enough then just do what everyone else does and buy a guidebook, and head to the crag. Mikey does an amazing job with his guidebooks and they are extremely easy to use.
By Jake Jones
From: Richmond, VA
Oct 20, 2015
I second Chris's suggestion. A few years ago, being a NRG neophyte, I ponied up and bought the first edition of Mike Williams's guidebook. I was easily able to locate what I was looking for, and it got me hooked to come back season after season. If you are looking for a particular difficulty, type, or style of climbing (e.g. gear protected vs bolt protected, crack vs face, etc.) then shoot Chris or myself an email. If you're climbing higher end stuff, Chris would be a better choice. For outstanding crack climbs 5.11 and under, I'm pretty well versed in the quality stuff and obscure classics.

Even with this beta, it still needs to be augmented with a guidebook. You can drop by WaterStone in town and pick one up. They're quite well made and durable, and the content itself is impeccable and very easy to follow. You will definitely get to the areas you want to climb with no issue. Another option is to rent a digital guidebook from It's a more economical option if you just plan on being there a short time, and not returning for a while. Personally, I recommend the book. You certainly will not regret it.
By Brian Lockard
Oct 29, 2015
Hey Chris and Jake:

Thanks so much for the recommendations. I picked up the guidebook and it is great.

Thanks so much for your offer to get in touch directly to ask about routes to climb. Once I've read through the book and picked out some areas, I'll be in touch closer to my trip to ask for some more guidance on areas to hit. My group is looking for lots of moderates in the 5.9-11 range and it looks like there is plenty to choose from!

thanks again

By Chris Whisenhunt
From: Fayetteville, WV
Oct 29, 2015
Yeah man, follow Mikey's 4-star route suggestions and you will have a great time. Please remember though that if you are sport climbing that it's best to take a stick-clip with you everywhere.
By Jake Jones
From: Richmond, VA
Oct 30, 2015
Don't forget to donate to NRAC! They maintain route hardware and trails!

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