Bridge Day Climbing Beta – The Real Scoop on Bridge Day

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bridge day cartoon for rock climbers informationApparently,  the word on the street in the past has been to avoid climbing at the New on Bridge Day weekend.  We know the concerns all too well…  Too many people in town, you’ll be swarmed by B.A.S.E. jumpers  everywhere you go (who I heard are even worse than raft guides), Tudor’s will run out of biscuits, all the beer will be gone, etc…  As locals, we have survived climbing bridge day weekend for years (some would say even thrived climbing on bridge day weekend).  All it takes is a little preparation and the inside scoop. 

Some of you may be wondering, “what the heck is Bridge Day?”  For the past 30 years the New River Gorge bridge has been closed to traffic for one day to allow B.A.S.E. jumpers to hurl themselves toward the roaring rapids below.  Who would be interested in such a spectacle?  Well, about 80,000 intrepeid travelers and locals alike are expected to converge on the bridge Saturday morning to watch.  “Man, 80,000 people that sure seems like a lot to me,” you may be thinking to yourself.  Actually it’s about as many people who head to the Orange Oswald wall to climb on any given Saturday.  So, yes…  It’s a lot. 

BUT, think about it man!  If all 80,000 folks are on the bridge, they can’t be at the crag at the same time.  And this, my friends, is where the bridge day beta comes in to play. 

Union or Conferedate?

Your first decision to make about climbing Saturday is whether you’re climbing on the North or South side of the bridge.  The traffic is shut off from 7am-5pm so wherever you lay your head Friday night is where you’ll clip your bolts Saturday morning. 

North Side of the Bridge

The world is your deep fried oyster.  Tug on some moderates at Bubba City, put a top rope up at Junkyard,  find some exposure on some long classics at Endless, or plug gear into some of the New’s arguably best gear lines at Beauty Mountain.  Boulderers, head to Beauty Mountain take your second trail on the left by the Super Mario Boulders and acquaint yourself with the Short Creek boulders.  You could also head up to the Meadow river crags and have the place to yourself.    Or, an even bigger rarity, climb at Summersville lake on  a Saturday without having to wait in line!  (Starting to see the benefit of the Bridge Day beta yet?) 

Depending on where you climb you could head to a rafting company for dinner and beers (Smokey’s on the Gorge is always cooking it up or check out N.A.R.R.’s barbecue buffet Saturday night) or make your way up to Summersville to check out some of their great local eateries.  Take a left at the Burger King/ Dairy Queen light to head into the actual town of Summersville and look for Spoon’s cafe!

You have the option of staying at the River Rock Retreat hostel, a few pay campgrounds, or for free at the Summersville dam. 

South-Siders

You can soak up all the beautiful goodness that Kaymoor has to offer.  It’s not just all about Rico and the Hole, the climbing at Kaymoor is diverse and beautiful.  You’ll notice a lot of shiny new hardware thanks to a massive NRAC rebolting initiative in the area.  If you don’t want to tie in head to Hawk’s Nest or Cotton Hill and get your boulder on.  We’ve got a few excerpts from the old Sketches guide that cover those two areas or head to drtopo.com and print some info out for yourself.  There are also a handful of beautiful bolted gems at the cliffline above the Cotton Top boulders.  Or, if you’re feeling adventurous check out some of the often overlooked crags on the south side of the bridge like Domino Point, South Nuttall, or the Sunshine Buttress.

The best thing about climbing on the south side of town will be coming into the court house lawn from 4-7 pm for the chili cookoff!  Fill up on all the different teams offerings and then head to the beer garden and wash the spice away.  (**Don’t forget to vote for the Water Stone crew’s chili…) 

If chili isn’t your thing and you don’t want to wait in a huge line to eat at a local restaurant, call in a to go order.  There are no shortages of beautiful places to eat a big ol’ pizza, bag of burritos, or Gumbo burger.  Pie’s and Pints- 304-574-2200.  Diogi’s 304-574-DOGS.  Gumbo’s- 304-574-4704.  Sedona- 304-574-3411.  All of those restaurants have websites with their menus featured.

Camp at Rogers.  You know you’ll have a great time.  You always do. 

Music

Not only is all of this other cool stuff going on, but there will be live music going on in town starting at 5pm! 

The ShopWe’ll be having a big sale all of Bridge Day weekend, so come check it out.  But, if you want to head out early Saturday morning and need to stock up on supplies before hand, don’t worry, we’ll be open until 8pm Friday night.  Come on in and see us! 

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