|By Layne Wyse
From Pgh, PA
Dec 7, 2010
New River Gorge and Red River Gorge. Spring is excellent, though not as good as fall. Sounds like you have a good chunk of time to spend, so if you wanted you could easily devote weeks to each location and never get sick of it. Both areas will offer the occasional break of comfortable weather from Jan-early March, but will be consistently good late March-May. June really starts to heat up, with corresponding nasty humidity. I haven't really climbed extensively around the country, but am quite familiar with the New and with Shelf Road (southern CO) which would provide a beautiful high desert setting and great camping, and is climbable throughout the winter.
As for New specifics, if 12 sport is your game, Meadow River and Endless Wall can keep you quite busy. Meadow offers a little more "wild" feel, and Endless affords fantastic views and excellent exposure. Summersville Lake offers stacks of high quality 10s-12s with an interesting setting on the reservoir which doesn't start to fill until spring. Bubba City isn't as interesting of a setting but has high quality routes in all grades.
A few route suggestions at the New:
Masuko 11a, @ Whippoorwill
Long Wall at Summersville Lake - 10s and 11s of supreme quality, such as:
Jesus is my License Plate 10d
For What? 10b
World at War 11d
Maximum Overdrive 11c
Satisfaction Guaranteed 11a
Strike a Scowl 10b
Fool Effect 5.9 (easy but fun, long, and rewarding)
At Bubba City:
Immaculate Combustion 10d
Sheer Energy 11a
At Cotton Top:
End of Innocence 11c
I could go on, but I'll stop. The stone at the New and the Red is so fantastic.
If you find yourself wishing you were a little stronger for your favorite route at the New, head to the Red for a bit and you will bulk up.
All three places have excellent new guidebooks and the star ratings will give you a good start as far as what is not to be missed.