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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rock Climbing at New River Gorge National River

Image: by Greg Phillips, On the Ice/ Junkyard Wall

A new, New River Gorge National River Climbing Management Plan has now been implemented. The objectives of the National Park Services new plan is to protect the park's natural and cultural resources and the scenic integrity of the area while providing the opportunity for climbing related recreation. The plan also seeks to maximize input from the public and climbing community, determine the appropriate commercial use as related to climbing, and develop an effective interpretive and educational program to enhance compliance of the plan.

The National Park Service will phase in the changes over the next year while working with organized climbing groups to develop a plan of implementation. This will include a requirement for accreditation or certification for commercial entities as well as, “leave-no-trace” training requirements and group size limitations.

The New River Gorge National River encompasses 63,000 acres and over 1,400 established rock climbs. "The New" has become one of the most popular climbing areas in the country with cliffs comprised of unyielding sandstone. Climbs range from 30 to 120 feet in height with highly featured rock, and an abundance of crack and face routes.

Most of the routes in the gorge favor the advanced and expert climber. The majority of routes are 5.9 and harder, and most sport routes fall in the 5.10 - 5.12 range. A guidebook is an essential tool for locating climbs, and local climbing shops can offer information and specific recommendations.

Image right: Image by Greg Phillips, Quinsana Plus/Endless Wall

When ever you go climbing think safety first; experienced climbers know that climbing has inherent risks and hazards, and is a potentially dangerous activity. A variety of skills and techniques are required to ensure a safe climbing experience. So please, seek qualified instruction before venturing onto the cliffs.

Many of the climbing locations at the New River Gorge National River are located miles from roads, and rescue is difficult. Please, climb smart!

You can download an Adobe Acrobat version on the New River Gorge National River Climbing Management Plan here- NERI DRAFT CMP (3.0 MB Acrobat File)

For more information on climbing locations at the New River Gorge National River, click here.

Leave No Trace -- Climbing Ethics and Education

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