West Virginia – New River- Fern Buttress

View from Fern.

New River Gorge was visited again but this time it would be a a focus on the sampling of the Fern Buttress and the Endless Wall. I drove up solo, having phone conversation with long lost friends who I begged to entertain me on my drive. I got to the a very pack and crowded ACC campground. It kind of a sad place to be now, after staying there back in the beginning when it was the wildwest. With a forgotten tent, I pulled the blazer into a open slot and sleep through the night.

In the morning Alex made me breakfast and I contributed to the activities by breaking my cameras UV filter. With this great start to the day, we pulled out of the AAC in the early morning fog, destined for the Fern Buttress Parking. Pulling in we met two climbers I had run into before at Moores Wall and the Gym, Jeff and Katie. They were out for some trad sampling too.

The first sport line we came to we hopped on, Ron Kauk Gets a Perm. Fun stuff except I ignored the book beta and missed the easy top out. From here we climbed some dumpy little jug line, Mega Jug. Chalk was splattered everywhere. Next was SpiderWalk, which turn out to be a pretty whiteknuckle climb at the top, about 6 feet above the last piece. Then it was one to some offwidthing, Yert Yak Crack. Enjoyable until you get out of the crack and have rap off a weird slung block. Then we waited for some Scarf-wearing Virginia Beach Stoners to get off there Instagram proj, Two Bag Face. I don’t mind a selfie, but these bro-hoes took a solid 10-15 photoshoot together at the rap rings.


We push onward down the cliff line to get away from some people found the Wild Seed Line. An old guy was reminiscing about his bigger whipper on it years ago. He was extremely happy that we were going to climb it. Then we found a odd sport climb call the Chameleon, which was pretty hard for 4 bolts. Next up was a beautiful slab climb called Fragile Ecosystem.

But now we were starting to get tired and worn out, but we had made it one of the main crack climb areas. Anal Clenching adventures was a hard and glassy route. Bisect was a 2 move wonder. Then after all those our bodies started to shutdown on the classic Springboard. We tried to finish off the day on Ritz Cracker, but it was taken up so we found a really fun sport line, New Tricks for the old dog.
12 brand new routes had whittled us down. We limped our bodies back to the Blazer and feasted on a brain cupcake that Alexis had supplied. Then it was to Pies and pints for pizza and a beer. Many other climbers were there posted at the bar as well. We tried to get warm showers, but someone had stolen all of the hotwater operators from the mens room. So I coldly shivered and splashed water and soap on myself.

Sunday, we awoke and made the decision to go to endless wall and cross off some lines I have not climbed yet. The hike in we smelled something foul for the first 5 mins of the hike, then found a steaming pile of bear poop. So we concluded that we had flushed out a bear. At the endless wall temperatures, had skyrocketed. I hopped on both Remission and Can I Do It Till I need Glasses all really fun. Then we booked it over to the Leave It To Jesus Wall. I laid down and took a nice nap. A large garter snake hung out with us as we rested and ate. Alexis then hopped on a rarely down 11.

Then I got setup to go for the onsite of the “Leave it to Jesus”. Sketchy climbing led me up to the first big throw to a ledge good stance. I kept breathing and found a spot to slot a cam. Next was a section with some finicky moves and good locks. I powered through the finger locked to a good edge and dropped in a perfect offset nut. Then I got to the rest. Toe and heel cams kept me in place a small fixed wire was clip and slung long at my waist. I held here for about 5-10 mins as I recovered and study the thin crack above. Looking at the crack and pods, I pre-sorted my nuts at the ledge. I then looked up to study a sequence, 1 spot looked blank, but saw something I could attempt to high step on. Decision made, I fired up the line. Crimp, Fingerlock , Tiptwist, dropped the nut. Push higher, at the high step, commit and hit the big edge. I wiggle in a small #4 brass nut, and 00 c3 and push up in to the big horizontal. The ledge is big, but the pump is real, I push on to the chains. My goal for the year was now complete.

We decide to start the walk out and sample 2 more climbs on the way out, A terrible sport climb call exoduster. It was like a chalk dumpster of tweaky holds in 40ft of dumpster beta spray. This experience was washed clean by the experience of Party in My Mind. Which is probably one of the best single pitch 5.10 trad lines in the country. Perfect placements and just the right amount of runout.
Other things of note: Kurt and Sal got a thai food rub down that I was jealous of, I got handed a bag of ice while driving down the highway. ACC is way to scene nowadays.

 

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