The New River Gorge hosts some of the best rock climbing in the world. That’s music to the ears of the 1,100 folks at the New River Rendezvous (NRR), a huge climbing festival in the Summit’s backyard held every May.
Climbers from across the country have been coming together for this event each spring for 9 years. The ‘Vous, as it’s known in the climbing community, raises money for the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC), an organization that works to protect the climbing resources in the area.
[pullquote]“We set the bar for other climbing events.” — Maura Kistler, Rendezvous organizer[/pullquote]
The NRR is a grassroots event that is organized and run by volunteers who want to help the organization and its mission. Those involved work to keep the over 1,600 established rock climbing routes within the New River Gorge National River accessible and climbable. According to Maura Kistler, a Rendezvous organizer, most other climbing events are more commercial (or at least as commercial as rock climbing gets), but the NRR focuses its efforts on preserving the area.
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“Every penny raised [at the Rendezvous] goes back to NRAC,” said Kistler. “We set the bar for other climbing events.”
Kistler explained that climbers are excited to participate in NRAC and the NRR because of the quality of climbs in the Gorge. The bullet-hard sandstone in the New River Gorge and the sheer variety of climbs available sets the area apart from other climbing destinations in the country.
How To Get Yourself Ready
When you visit the Summit, climbing opportunities will surround you; make sure you don’t miss out on one of the best areas in the universe to practice rock climbing, bouldering and rappelling. And if the idea of all that climbing has you really stoked, Kistler says to “get in the gym” (your local climbing gym, that is) and start climbing. It’s never too early — or too late — to get started on your climbing skills so you’ll really be ready to take on the Gorge.
Also, if you’re new to the area or to the sport of climbing, be sure to go out with a certified climbing guide and follow the BSA Climb On Safely guidelines. Keep in mind that, because of the sensitive area around climbing pitches and impact of visitors, any troop or other group needs a permit from the NPS to climb in the Gorge.
Question: Have you ever gone rock climbing with Scouts? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.