New River Gorge Climber Rendezvous

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The first annual New River Gorge Climbers Rendezvous, put on by the New River Alliance of Climbers (NRAC), went off without a hitch on May 16 through 18, despite weather that turned sour on Saturday morning and stayed wet for the duration. Accommodating the roughly 300 climbers who turned up, event organizers Blaze Davies, Kenny Parker, and Gene and Moira Kistler decided to waive all entrance fees for the various competitions, clinics, and seminars, accepting donations for NRAC (which will use the money for trail improvements and anchor replacement) and the Access Fund instead. So, while the rain pounded down on Saturday, climbers sought shelter under capstone roofs and in the New’s famous caves, regrouping at Burnwood campground, on the rim of the gorge, for a high-energy party, “grind session,” and dyno comp on Saturday night. While Sunday’s clinics and seminars were held in a pavilion at Burnwood instead of at the rocks due to continuing rain, participants still had a blast. “The biggest success for us was to see that people got it,” said Davies. “They kept coming up to me saying, ‘I want to help. I want to be part of this.’” As Malcom Daly, of Trango, concluded: “Everyone is always trying to put on what they call a ‘grass-roots’ event. These guys nailed it. There was great energy.”