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Summersville Lake - 2004

It took us a surprisingly long time to drive to Summersville Lake the next morning. Distances in West Virginia can be deceiving if one just looks at a map. The roads wind up and down through several valleys which must be crossed when traveling accross the mountains. Some snow was left at the higher elevations, but it was a bright, sunny morning, rather auspicious. Embarassing as it may be to admit this to a trad climbing audience, we bypassed Seneca Rocks and went west, then south ... to go sport climbing.

Summersville Lake is interesting, and has a weird sort of look in the spring. The lake is drained to a much lower level to provide enough downstream flow for rafting and kayaking down the Gauley River. There is about 200 yards of no-mans land with completely white boulders and gravel between the cliff and the waters edge, that is submerged during the summer and the fall. The 5.8 routes we did had some interesting moves, and a bit of a pump factor also. We continued the approach of having both of us lead every climb. This yielded slightly less climbing overall, but spendng most of the day on lead seemed to help me get my lead head back together. I even led a trad pitch, which was unexpectedly fun. The 5.9 I tried on toprope, however, defied our respective flash attempts ... showing the previous days' occurences were no accident.

It was getting dark when we walked out, but hey, at least we were on the ground and packed up. We walked near the lakebed towards the bridge, but could not find a trail up. Bushwhacking at that point was completely unappealing, so we backtracked for a while and found another trail, that negotiated a small cliff band at some fixed slings (to the right of the waterfall shown on the area maps). We made it to Fayetteville shortly thereafter, and were totally psyched to spend the next two days climbing at the New.


List of Climbs

  • That Eight (5.7 *)
  • Sniff the Drill (5.8 *)
  • Jeff's Bunny Hop (5.8 *)
  • Unknown SL#15 (5.6 *) trad

Franklin
The New
Home
2003
2005