The New River Gorge is one of the premier climbing areas on the East Coast. Between the New River Gorge, Summerville Lake, and The Meadows there are more than 1600 established routes on 60+ miles of cliffline. While the moderates at some crags can be extremely crowded on weekends there are other areas that see very little activity and still others where many FAs are still possible.
The rock itself is very solid sandstone. Height ranges from 40 to 150 feet. Overhangs, roofs, splitter cracks, and dihedrals are common, but slabs and other routes exist. The cliffs are very long with few breakdowns. Most trails go thru these break downs, but because there are stretches more than four miles long without breakdowns ladders have been established in some areas so that hiking out is possible. However, most climbers will find it easier and more convenient to climb out. Most routes have a <15 min approach, but almost all routes can be reached inside of 45 minutes.
The ratio of traditional to sport climbs varies crag to crag. One should be aware that some of the sport routes are actually "mixed" and that gear might be important, unless you are looking for a spicy adventure. Boulders are frequently found along the bottom of the cliffline, although they are seldom cleaned and climbed because of the classic lines that lie above them.
The New River Gorge offers a great variety of climbs, however, most of the Sport routes in the NRG are from 5.10 to 5.13 and finding a quality 5.9 that is bolted is extremely rare. Most of the Trad climbs (that don't require significant crawling through painful vegetation/ huge spiders) go at somewhere from 5.8+ to 5.11+.
It should be noted that the New River Gorge is not a beginner or a gym rat's climbing mecca. The New is best suited to the 5.11/5.12 climber who is comfortable leading up to 5.11+ on sport and 5.10- on Trad.
Summer can be hot and humid, but there are always routes in the shade and deep water soloing at Summersville Lake.
Highway access is from Route 19, between Beckley and Hico, and from I-64, between Mossy and Sandstone.
The American Alpine Club campground at the New River Gorge is a climber’s dream… free camping (for a limited time) walking distance from the Junkyard and Bridge areas. This new facility was built in 2012 and will be expanded in 2013. Join the American Alpine Club to support this project. Open year round.
There are quite a few different living arrangements available in the NRG, especially if you come close to or during rafting season (May-Oct).
These options range from car-camping, to tenting, to cheap motels and hotels.
There is also a new hostel which is located on the north side of the gorge. I haven't had any experience with it, but it is there supposedly.
Places For Food
Cathedral Cafe The best breakfast and lunch place in the NRG. Local, climber and paddler hangout. Reasonable prices($4-$7), public computers, WI-FI and good food make this restaurant my favorite in the NRG.
Pies and Pints Awesome pizza, very interesting different types of pizza than you have ever thought existed. Tuesday nights are a buffet $8 buys you as much as you can eat, it is awesome and worth it!
Sambino's $5 large pizza with one topping, ultimate cheap place to get awesome pizza. This pizza is cheaper and better than Dominos. My favorite quick dinner fix after a day of guiding/climbing. It is in the smae plaza as Krogers, South of Fayetteville on US 19 West side of the road, first big plaza you'll hit.
Krogers Grocery Store just south of the NRG on US19 on West side of the road.
Wal-Mart Everyone loves to not spend lots of money, but get lots of stuff. Wal-mart is the Devil. South of town on US19 East side of road before Krogers.
Climb the cracks in the left facing corner until you are about level with the Exoduster shuts 10 Ft. to the left(5.8). Continue up and right over some easy but interestingly featured rock to gain a right facing corner. Follow the corner to the roof and traverse right about 10 Ft. to the shuts. On rainy days, the first half of this climb stays dry and you can traverse left to the shuts on Exoduster. ...[more]Browse More Classics in WV
I just got back from NRG. Spent tree days climbing around Junkyard wall and Bridge area. Unfortunately I got back home covered by chiggers!! So if you are planing to climb on those areas don't forget to pack bug spray, preferably one with DEET on it. (the only thing that is fully effective against chiggers).
Ditto on bug spray at the New, especially during the warmer months.
By Ladd Raine Administrator From: Plymouth, NH Jul 2, 2008
I lived in a tent for three summers down in the New and never had a problem with the biting insects. Maybe you need to gain some perspective, feel free to come up to New Hampshire some spring to experience the black flies and ticks.
Oh, not sure any additional (NH?) perspective is necessary. Most folks are quite capable of recognizing the attacks of parasitic insects, and the New definitely has its share. Personally, I've never dealt with chiggers, but the pesky no-see-ums can be a real annoyance (always seem to show-up when I'm belaying) . I say, bring your bug spray, and have it handy just in case.
By E thatcher From: Plymouth/ North Conway (NH) Dec 22, 2008
Some friends and I were thinking of doing a road trip down there in the middle of March for spring break. Any one got some beta on what the weather might be like at that time of year? temp and precipitation wise. Will the cliffs be in spring seeping conditions, wet from melting snow or anything?
Mid-March weather at the New is anyone's call....cool/damp - warm/dry....so best be prepared and flexible. Moisture may linger in shaded cracks and corners, however, face routes and those in the sun (obviously) dry out rather quickly. Stay in the sun and you'll be comfortable with plenty of routes to choose from.
I was thinking of coming out for the entire month of October and am interested in renting a place for the month with 3 of my friends..........does anyone have any recommendations on where to look that would be affordable? Thanks! firstname.lastname@example.org
If you plan to climb at the Endless Wall the Chestnut Creek Campground is a good option. It is within a mile or two of the Endless Wall parking lots. Clean facilities with showers. Between $7-10 per night per person depending on time of year.
Rogers is right next to Kaymoor. I think he is charging around 7 dollars a night + an extra dollar or two for dogs. This is the place to go if you like more of the Miguel's atmosphere. Lots of climbers to hang out with. Porta potties are really disgusting there.
My personal preference is the free camping at the base of the Summersville Dam. This is the place to stay if you're climbing at the Meadow or Summersville. There are a lot of river people down there right now for Gauley Season so it can be difficult to find a spot on the weekends.
I 2nd Chestnut Creek. It's 10/person if you pay by card and 9 if you pay in cash. He has heated showers and nice toilets (read: not portopotties). The sites are pretty private, secluded, and has a really nice/quiet atmosphere. It's on the road to the Endless Wall. People complain about Brian's "rules"...which are nothing more than common sense rules such as don't shit in the woods, use the bathroom, and put out your fire at night. If you're not a space cadet it's really easy to post up here.
I left my Miuras around Kaymoor Slabs (packing out in the dark :() and when I went back for them they had been picked up. If anyone could help get them back to me I would really appreciate it. They are expensive and I JUST broke them in. Thanks!
Hi I was wondering if anyone found a pair of La Sportiva Muira women's size 36 at summersville lake/narcissus cave/near sniff that drill 5.8 route on July 8th. Thanks for your help!
By jennatemp From: Salt Lake City, UT Sep 18, 2012
Can anyone tell me if I'd be able to climb a good amount of routes with a 50-m rope? Got a good deal on one & I'm flying in this weekend to climb and it'd help to save on weight for my checked bag. I haven't been on any routes here before. Looking to climb mostly at Fern Buttress & Endless wall...
I wouldn't do a lot of stuff at Endless with a 50. A bunch of popular routes a 60 barely gets you down. Most routes at Fern a 50 would probably be fine. Take the 60 as your personal item (think purse or small bag) as a carry on if weight is a huge issue. A 60 doesn't add much over a 50 weight wise though in all reality. Carry on your climbing gear if your pack isn't massive too.
By jennatemp From: Salt Lake City, UT Sep 18, 2012
True. I was thinking of putting most gear in a carry on, but less to carry around is best! So weight aside, would I be missing out on much if I brought a 60 versus a 70? Thanks for the quick response!
Hello locals. Ive been wanting to come and climb, raft and fly fish at The New River Gorge for a decade. Were considering a 3 week trip there this fall. What are typically the BEST 3 weeks for consistently good weather? Also, could anyone recommend a lower budget rental accomodation? thanks