Tag Archives: west virginia

daaaahle sods

No climbing this weekend. Apart from that tree. My fingers are beginning to feel better though. We hiked in the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area (in West Virginia), and had campfires (with no marshmallows or damper). Long drive in on a dusty pot-holed road. Heavy dew overnight. Camping on an island (calling it an island is probably a bit of an over-dramatisation, you’d be expecting something exciting that could be raided by pirates, and has coves, and buried treasure; this was more a bit of land that happened to have a stream flowing either side of it, a stream that was … Continue reading daaaahle sods

deep water deep water deep water

The weekend was spent playing in the water at Summersville Lake (deep water soloing if you will). We had a pontoon on Saturday, until a thunderstorm came along, and some people started to get dubious about how well lightning and metal boats go together. So the boat was returned, we were pelted with rain for 3 minutes, then the weather was perfectly fine again. Of course! Lara and Captain Ducky (or possibly Admiral Ducky?), one of the more awesome floaties from the weekend.  Boer jug hauling his way up the arete  Plans to go bouldering at full moon were ruined … Continue reading deep water deep water deep water

congealed pools of blood (or, how i learned to stop worrying and love seneca rocks)

You realise what a fragile grip you have on your climbing lead head, when you start up the third pitch of a climb, stick your head out around a corner, and are confronted with a large shiny, sticky pool of congealing blood. It’s bright red still, with flies crawling around it. It’s also exactly where you need to go. You’re 40 metres up the climb already – you knew there was blood somewhere up here, and you knew the guy was fine – he just nicked his ankle apparently, you’d heard him yelling down to his belayer about it. You … Continue reading congealed pools of blood (or, how i learned to stop worrying and love seneca rocks)

Then the storm would pass, and they would go back to their primitive lives, chasing rabbits and impregnating their womenfolk.

The world’s most mediocre climbers have discovered a dangerous new way to defy gravity — free soloing above a lake, which sometimes has swell from passing motorboats, which makes it really extreme, and totally hardcore. I’ve just seen the future of climbing. It’s not on Everest, or a wind-lashed Patagonian spire, nor is it on some gargantuan wall in Yosemite Valley. It’s in West Virginia, on some sandstone cliffs above Summersville Lake. I insinuated myself into a clan of cragrats, practitioners of a new mode of climbing called “deepwater soloing.” I was bobbing in the swell from passing speedboats at … Continue reading Then the storm would pass, and they would go back to their primitive lives, chasing rabbits and impregnating their womenfolk.

evil lurking menacing water

Todays random posting is brought to you by a close-up of a waterfall in Dolly Sods Wilderness, part of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. Wildlife sighted over the weekend: some Whitetail Deer, a Chipmunk, and a Groundhog. Chipmunks are a lot smaller than I would have thought. Also, they don’t seem to sing in high pitched voices as often as I’d assumed. They do try and steal your food though, and chew through your slackline.

the american way

Climbed at Seneca Rocks on Saturday, lots of routes, but very easy ones, in an attempt to keep my finger tendons happy. The view of the rocks through the morning fog (and Boer and his ute, which he seems to believe is a truck – I told him he was dreamin’). The view from the top – down to the bustling township of Seneca (look Mum, you can see my tent!), and the oddly geometric river junction with the ubiquitous Potomac (I think it might be following me). And doing things the American way (well, the Seneca way anyway) – … Continue reading the american way

franklin super crag

Saturday was spent clipping bolts and avoiding the special detachable holds at Franklin River Gorge. Photo snappage ensued. Jumpstart, 5.8. Study in blue – on Castaways 5.8. Vegas auditioning for a role in our climbing mockumentary as ‘constanty stoned, introspective and spiritual new-age hippy sports climber’. Lessons from the day – At Franklin they mark the loose blocks and holds with an X; some climbs would be well served with a huge X across the whole damn thing – While wandering from cliff to cliff, always attach my down jacket to myself if it’s in its stuff sack, otherwise I … Continue reading franklin super crag

it’s a hard life

Went to Snowshoe in West Virginia on the weekend. On top of all the snow they’d already been getting, there was 6 inches of new fresh powder on Friday night. It kept snowing all day Saturday, and was a bit foggy too, which led to fun as I checked out new runs, with the visibility suddenly plummeting down to 10 metres. The skiing was still great though. Sunday was beautiful and clear and warm (though a bit windy round the top of the mountain). I checked out the feared Western Territory and discovered the black runs there, although 1.5 miles … Continue reading it’s a hard life


West Virginia reminds me of Tasmania – an interesting mix of conservationist hippies, and redneck conservatives. Lots of snow around – four hours drive out to Whitegrass from DC, and there was snow the whole way. Camped in the snow both Friday and Saturday; there was consistent cover, but not much of a base, so in places it was just fluffy powder disguising clumps of rocks and bushes underneath. And I’ve now remembered all about those skiing muscles that I only use at that time of year. Skiing off the mountain after camping up there the night before Nearly down … Continue reading whitegrass