Highlights from the 2006 event.


Last year the 5th Annual New River Rendezvous exploded. Attendance jumped 50% to around 1200 participants. “Everyone was great, patient with the lines and all, but we got dangerously close to blowing out the venue so it was time to reel it in,” stated event organizer Kenny Parker. This year organizers, working in conjunction with the National Pak Service, who manages the venue, Burnwood, have gone to a pre-registration system. Seven hundred slots are available at $25 a head. Currently 400 slots are taken.

The event is scheduled for May 16-18.

Another major change was born out of last year’s event. “Last year we were appalled at the amount of trash the event generated. We didn’t feel like we were working from a sustainable model so we decided to overhaul that too,” commented Gene Kistler who is in charge of set-up and breakdown. This year’s event will be completely No-Waste. All participants, sponsors and VIP’s will need to bring their own cup, plate, fork, etc. If folks forget they will be able to find what they need on site but there will be nothing disposable anywhere. “We aren’t hedging our bets. Not one plastic beer cup will be hiding behind the bar” maintained Kistler.

Event organizers came up with the tagline Step Up or Stay Home! acknowledging that doing the right thing does entail more effort. The event website states “Climbers are smart, conscious, awake, aware, and willing to do the right thing…and therefore make the perfect guinea pigs for establishing a national model about how to do an event of this size in a totally sustainable way.” Wash stations will be available.

Organizers are asking all participants to take their trash and recyclables home with them, adopting a pack it in, pack it out mindset. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.

This annual fundraiser for New River Alliance of Climbers will continue will the same schedule of parties, comps, contests, clinics, dinner and breakfasts but will expand their program in numerous ways. The event will still kick off formally on Friday with the Dessertapalooza extravaganza, but an informal Ease into the Event program has been added Thursday evening. “Last year we had 150 tents set up by Thursday, with hundreds of folks milling around with nothing to do, so we thought we would go ahead and offer a relaxed program to get everyone in the swing of things,” explained organizer Maura Kistler. A double feature of Steve Cater’s classic, campy New River Gorge climbing videos will be screened. Featured climber and local legend Porter Jarrard will introduce the films. Endless popcorn and hot chocolate will round out the offerings.

Participants can also look for several new contests, a Saturday breakfast option, more clinics, an awesome band out of Massachusetts and a bunch of other fun whistles and bells. The event’s super-comprehensive website provides details: www.newriverrendezvous.com.