New River Gorge, West Virginia

First Visit to New River Gorge
Location: Fayetteville, West Virginia
Purpose for my visit: Rock Climbing – Top rope
Duration of stay: 2 Nights, 2 Days

Favorite Routes:

  • Reachers of Habit (5.11b) – located in the Junkyard area. I have never climbed a 5.11b, and I didn’t make it to the top of Reachers of Habit. However, this route became such an addicting project during our time at the New. The crux (for short people) is a long reach that Mountain Project states has “non-existent feet.” Fortunately, I was able to use two essentially non-existent nubs to balance and statically reach for that next hold. I only completed this move once..  I definitely plan to return one day and continue working Reachers of Habit.
  • Team Jesus (5.10a) – located in the Junkyard area. A fairly straightforward climb, except one move. There is a point that seems to have one good left-hand hold, but nothing for your right. The right hand hold is kind of hard to find, but once you’ve got it, it is beautiful for its size and fun to maneuver around.
  • Angel’s Arete (5.10b) – located in Bridge Buttress area. Fantastic view of the bridge once you get near the top. Note: Once you switch from the right side of the arête to the left, there is a big beautiful hold right in your face. It is about ready to fall off the face so it is best to climb around it.
Looking up at the crux of Team Jesus


  • We chose to camp in Chestnut Creek Campground. It costs $10 per person per night if you pay in cash and $11 per person per night if you pay with card. They have shower facilities and fire pits. Reservations are required which allows you to guarantee yourself a campsite. The owner, Seth, is extremely kind and is happy to answer any questions you have.
  • Another good option is the American Alpine Club Campground. Their price is $7 per person per night for the general public and $5 per person per night for members. Reservations are not required at the American Alpine Club Campground which allows you to maintain a flexible schedule. They are currently constructing a bathhouse and will take online reservations once the bathhouse is complete. We did not camp here, so these details come from what I have heard from other campers or read online.

Climbing Guides:

  • Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland: This is the book we used and with some guidance from Seth, our Chestnut Creek Campground manager, it worked beautifully for our 2 day visit.
  • New River Rock, Vol. 1: This is the book that everyone seemed to have at the crag. Much more detailed and worth it if you plan on regularly visiting the New.
  • New River Rock, Vol. 2: Second volume of the previous guide.
  • Mountain Project: Free online route guide. Definitely a super convenient and awesome resource. However, actually buying a guidebook proved to be super useful at the crag.


Lesson Learned:

View from the top of Bridge Buttress
  • When we attempted to climb Angel’s Arête, it was the last route of the entire weekend. I was so exhausted, I didn’t finish. It wasn’t that I couldn’t finish, but I didn’t. I got one move past the point where you switch from the right side of the arête to the left. This is the point with the giant off-limits hold that I mentioned in the route description. I could not find a way around it. I told Stephen, my belay-er, that I would try one more thing and if I didn’t get it, I would come down. My body defied my expectations (not an unusual occurrence in climbing) and I found myself at the next move. I got it. However, before even looking for the next move, I told Stephen to lower me. My mind had been set on coming down. I was tired, and immediately as my feet touched the ground, I regretted coming down. Lesson learned.

4 thoughts on “New River Gorge, West Virginia

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