Me, Brooks, and Natalie decided to wait around last weekend and leave for the New River Gorge (NRG) after the local indoor bouldering comp at Alabama Outdoors. It's held once a year with always great prizes and a somewhat different style comp. We figured for the small entrance fee we were almost guaranteed to walk out with a hand full of prizes, most of which would be used for Beg, Borrow, and Steel in July or to be sold off and used for money for Beg, Borrow, and Steel.
I emphasize this as we were there for our unselfish act of indoor rock climbing at an outdoor store and not driving to West Virginia (9 hours) at a reasonable hour. . .
Me and Nat walked away with first place and took home some great prizes. I took a $200 dollar crash pad and countless other things, like a Chris Sharma rasta shirt. That one, im keeping.
An atypical drive for most seems to be common for us as we drove through the night only to stop at every Loves gas station looking at the same convenience store show room stock. 3 jugs of chocolate milk and an Egerit later (electronic cigarette) we arrived at Fayetville WV at 3:00 A.M. central time. We drove through the town looking for any signs of life and the thought of spending the whole week here made me forget about the 9 hour haul we executed.
After realizing Fayetville isn't one of those early bird towns and all the local restaurants didn't open till after 7:30, we decided to catch some z's at the local camping area, Wal-Mart. My 5'10" stature didn't hold up to the front seat of Brook's Prius. So for the next 4 hours I tossed and turned hoping to try and slide my whole body onto the seat that I had been tossing and turning in for 9 hours. . . Not the best rest.
We finally had enough when the last of the sleeping truckers pumped their air brakes and drove off hitting every gear with the jake break engaged. . . We hit the little prius button to no avail. The battery was dead. After contemplating how a car that mainly uses battery could die after such a short period of time without a known source of drainage determined... we asked the local skoal spitting redneck to give us a jump. Of course he had a truck that you have to jump in and out and his wife was pointing to the little car with confusion as he rolled up next to us revving his flowmasters and showing what that 5.7L can do. A quick jump and a thank ya sur we were on our way, ready for coffee and a chance to climb on the immaculate stone the NRG has to offer.
Let me stop here and say that Fayetville may have some of the worst service of any city, but it has the most unique places to eat, all of them are local, none of which are that pricey.... It's great.
From this moment in the story until now, it's all a big blur. It's a lot of walking, climbing, drinking, eating, climbing, more walking, rain, stair racing, more drinking, equestrian hunting, house shopping good time. I know, it's a lot.
I've never been one to spray, especially on the blog piece, a place where spraying is about as except-able as having an 8a account in the south. But for the jeopardy of my post I will do a little for everyone.
I really just want to document the week... It was a shit ton of fun, and it's kinda fun to think about it and then put it into words.
Lets see, first things first, we drove straight from breakfast to the Cirque. What seems to be the prize crag for the NRG (until you go to Central Endless) I found out that Proper Soul was not only fit for me but it was soaking wet at the top. The last boulder problem running to the chains was so wet the famous Brent Perkins couldn't take it down in the water. . . Bummer, such an amazing route. We all three got the beat down on the smeary feat and never positive holds. I somehow OS the 12b/c on the far right and then we decided to head for steeper more "comfortable rock".
Natalie had talked with Matt Stark, owner of Dead Point Magazine, about us staying with them during the duration of our trip. A full week. We all had met Matt in the past but who hasn't? We drove up to his house, a familiar place since we stayed with DPM editor and guide book writer Mikey Williams house last year (they are neighbors), and walked to the door with a little hesitation. Of course to no surprise Matt probably didn't tell his wife Megan we were coming, but they were excited to see some new faces and made us feel right at home...
I don't think Matt and Megan get the credit they deserve, so for all 3 of my blog readers out there. I'm gonna give them some credit. These guys work HARD! Matt was always the last one to go to bed and the first one up. He constantly stayed in his office piecing together footage and updating his facebook with You tube videos. Seriously, they do a ton. Megan is lucky enough to handle all of the volunteers for the Rendezvous scheduling hours and places for everyone to be. Matt on the other hand had to write a guide for the bouldering comp (Hawks Nest) that was completely submerged under water... On top of that DPM was hosting a water balloon shoot that would raise money for the Access Fund. If you hit a target you win a prize, but you have to pay to play. 2 days before the event the park service let us know that on page 36,882 sector b, paragraph m, it stated that there are no water balloons inside the national park. . . Perfect.
We went on, drawing the sponsors onto the plywood targets and setting them up for something to get shot with. Megan comes back with the Nerf Ball launcher. Less messy than the water balloons and still crowd pleaser.
I digress, throughout the week we checked out some areas as in the Cirque, Colosseum, Central Endless, and Beauty Mountain. I'm not sure exactly what the team rallied and did but I know Brooks sent Apollo Reed (12d/13a), The Pod (13a/b), and countless other 5.11 pitches. Natalie somehow got to the top of Apollo which is probably v6 between each bolt for her. I was really surprised and psyched. Big moves on that rig for sure.
I did an amazing route B/C (surprisingly 13b/c) that has a great intro boulder problem to no hands to a climaxing finish. I fell going to the anchor clipping jug 5 times in the same day. Next was Super Mario (13a) and the classic Pocket Route (13a). When you go to the New River you can expect to get shut down on anything 5 letter grades below your hardest OS. Oh yea, this shit is rough. Countless other "sampling pitches" left our bones aching. Plus the hikes in and out all though flat, whooped our asses. Here in Bama you usually worry about running into or off of the cliff you park so close.
An awful video of me failing at the last move on B/C.
We finished out the week with the final event The New River Rendezvous. A STELLAR event that went flawlessly. I cannot express how much fun this event is. It's 1000 people that all love climbing, partying at the same place. It's sad that more people from the south don't show up. We pretty much steal all our ideas off this event for Beg, Borrow, and Steel. So all you guys who have showed up to our event x that by 900 people.
I want to thank Matt and Megan for letting us occupy there time and house for an entire week. Odub for emceeing and hyping up the crowds, and all the sponsors for making this party what it is. Also a big thank you goes out to the park service, for finding a reason not to raise money for the Access Fund, even though we did!!!
Hope to see everyone next year!