Best Bouldering

Lee Walter

“After the smoke from the Bosches blows away, don’t be surprised if a Golden Age of New River Gorge bouldering finally arrives. When it does, there will be an incredible circuit that runs for miles.”
– John Sherman

I may be one of very few who can say that their first trip to the New River Gorge was strictly a bouldering trip. I had a stapled together Dr. Topo pamphlet that I borrowed from a friend, and we loaded up the pads and headed south for the first week in January. Every day we found ourselves in a cave to climb dry rock because of snow and rain, but we were blessed for our persistence and on our last day we climbed at Hawks Nest in perfect 60 degree and sunny conditions. I was hooked. Since that first trip I have travelled the country and have bouldered at many world class destinations only to find that the bouldering at the New is really one of the best in the US. The boulders here are defined by a limited amount of holds, which creates a multitude of pure problems. Let it be known that the New is not your typical boulder field, and you will need to devote time in order to see the incredible amount of boulders. But for the best, hardest sandstone in the states, it’s worth your time.

The bouldering in the New is no new game; it has been around almost as long as the route climbing, and full areas are still being developed! A bouldering trip to the New will take you to the sleeping giants spread throughout the Gorge, to the serene setting of the dries below Hawks Nest Dam, to the amazing boulders and easy access on the Meadow River, and the sun soaked winter bouldering at Summersville Lake.

The first full guidebook for the New was “Sketches”, written by Chris Anthony, and was published in 2005. Unfortunately this book is totally out of print, if you’re lucky enough to come across one, snatch it up.

A competition guide pamphlet was compiled for the 2013 New River Rendezvous, which features several areas around the gorge. It’s the perfect guide to get you out and exploring the area, but is by no means all of the bouldering in the New. You’ll find that guide here.

A full comprehensive guidebook is in the works and will include all current bouldering in the Gorge, on the Dries, at the Meadow, and at Summersville Lake.

For beta, stop into the shop and ask a waterstoner!

NRG Classics Tick List:
Gymnastic Fantastic V2 – Short Creek
Helium V3 – Sunshine Boulders
Way of the Gun V4 – Fayette Station
Face Blasting V4 – CSX
Leaving Las Fayetteville V4/5 – Hawks Nest
Sunshine Arete V5 – Sunshine Boulders
Honky V5 – Interp
WV Hot Pocket V6 – Teays
Water Equation V6 – Short Creek
Ronski Feint V7 – Interp
White Eyebrow V7 – Hawks Nest
The Raven V8 – CSX
Money Shot V8 – CSX
Half Moon Tilt V8 – Cotton Top
The Black V9 – Sunshine Boulders
Bitches Get Stitches V9 – Genocide Boulders
Masters of Manipulation V10 – Fern Point
Lord of Chaos V10 – Fern Creek
F5 V10 – Fern Creek
Octagon Control V10 – Fayette Station
Man on the Moon V11 – Cotton Top
Black Pocket V11 – Hawks Nest
Spinal Remains V11 – Barbeque Babies Cave
Relic, Rapture, Wrath V12 – Fern Creek