Keep Climbing Outside this Summer by Exploring the New River Gorge


Summer is the perfect season to take your climbing skills outdoors, and there’s no better place to do this than the New River Gorge. Just 3.5 hours from Charlotte, the New River Gorge offers a unique and thrilling climbing experience, especially with its deep water solo climbing opportunities. Together, let’s explore the essentials of climbing at this stunning location, delve into the details of deep-water solo climbing, and discuss tips on how to make the most of your adventure using tools like the Inner Peaks Belayer Finder on Facebook and the Mountain Project App.

Discovering the New River Gorge

The New River Gorge, located in West Virginia, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse climbing routes. With towering cliffs and the winding New River below, this area offers a climber’s paradise. The summer months bring warm weather and extended daylight hours, making it an ideal time to explore this outdoor climbing haven. Sounds pretty perfect huh? We think so too!

What is Deep Water Solo Climbing?

Deep water solo climbing, also known as psicobloc (sounds like of like an alien right?), is a form of rock climbing performed above deep water without the use of ropes or harnesses. The water below acts as a natural safety net, providing a soft landing in case of a fall. This style of climbing is exhilarating and liberating, as it allows climbers to push their limits without the encumbrance of traditional climbing gear.

Best Practices for Deep Water Solo Climbing

1. Assess the Depth: Ensure that the water below is deep enough to safely cushion your fall. A minimum depth of 10-15 feet is recommended.
2. Check the Water Conditions: Be aware of currents, tides, and any submerged obstacles that could pose a hazard.
3. Warm Up and Stretch: As with any climbing activity, warming up and stretching are crucial to prevent injuries.
4. Climb with a Partner: Having a partner nearby enhances safety and can provide assistance if needed.
5. Wear/Bring Appropriate Gear: While ropes and harnesses aren’t necessary, consider wearing climbing shoes for better grip and a life jacket if you’re not a strong swimmer…a paddle booard is the ULTIMATE beta!
6. Know Your Limits: Start with easier routes to get a feel for the environment and gradually progress to more challenging climbs.

Popular Deep Water Solo Climbing Areas at the New River Gorge

The New River Gorge boasts several prime spots for deep water solo climbing:

1. Summersville Lake: This is one of the most popular locations for deep water soloing in the area. With its clear, deep waters and numerous climbing routes, Summersville Lake is a must-visit for any climber.

2. Hawks Nest Lake: Another great spot, Hawks Nest Lake offers a variety of routes suitable for different skill levels, all set against the stunning backdrop of the West Virginia wilderness.

Finding Climbing Partners and Routes

To make the most of your climbing adventure, connecting with fellow climbers and accessing detailed route information is essential. Here are two excellent resources:

1. Inner Peaks Belayer Finder on Facebook: This platform allows you to connect with other climbers in the Charlotte area who are planning trips to the New River Gorge. You can find belay partners, share tips, and organize group outings to get out of the gym and into the sun!

2. Mountain Project App: This app is an invaluable tool for climbers. It provides detailed information on climbing routes, including maps, difficulty ratings, and user reviews. You can search for specific areas like Summersville Lake and Hawks Nest Lake to find the best deep water solo routes.

Climbing at the New River Gorge in the summer offers an unforgettable experience, combining the thrill of deep water solo climbing with the beauty of nature. By following best practices and utilizing resources like the Inner Peaks Belayer Finder and the Mountain Project App, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure. So pack your gear, suncreen, water proof disposable cameras, grab your climbing partners, and head to the New River Gorge for an epic summer climbing trip!

Happy climbing!




Photo from Climbing Magazine