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Andrea working B.C. in the Coliseum, New River Gorge

Last weekend, I got a chance to visit the New River Gorge to attend one of the biggest climbing festivals on the East Coast, the New River Rendezvous – an annual get together that raises funds for the New River Alliance of Climbers. I was out at the Rendezvous last year and had a blast, so I was really excited that my sponsor, PETZL wanted to get me out there this year. 


My weekend program began with a”Crank Like a Girl” clinic I taught with my friend Whitney Boland, a super strong climber from the Southeast. Hiking out to Summersville Lake with our participants, we had some serious doubts about how the day would turn out: it was raining; everything was wet and muddy; the crag (Orange Oswald) we were supposed to climb at was vertical and probably drenched….all indications for a recipe for disaster. Upon nearing the bottom of the trail, Whitney and I decided to hit up a different sector, one that had harder routes, but would stay more dry in the rain. We went to the Gun Wall which has some nice 5.10s. The climbs were wet, and a bit difficult for many of our clinic participants, but those guys took it all in stride. They really made the clinic a success, staying motivated and in good spirits throughout the day.

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Andrea sportin’ her awesome PG Tank! 

For the rest of the weekend I got to climb with my good friend Chuck Odette, who was responsible for coordinating PETZL’s sponsorship of the event. Chuck and I climbed at the Coliseum both Saturday and Sunday. The Coliseum is this huge cave, really steep and long, with a bunch of really fun 5.13s. This area is probably one of my most favorite places to climb in the country. My project for the weekend was a route called B.C., a 5.13b/c about 100 ft long. The climb is about 5.12c for 90 ft, then you get a 5 move boulder problem, the hardest move being the huge move you have to do to grab the final hold. The route has broken the heart of many climbers, and it treated me no differently.  I tried the route 6 times on Saturday, 3 times falling with my hand in that final hold.  Then, the same thing on Sunday, 4 goes, 2 with my hand at the top. But no sendage. I had an awesome time, nonetheless, and now I have an excuse to go back next year!

Andrea Szekely happily calls PG her home training ground, or even her home away from home, spending nearly as much time here as she does in her dorms at Stanford.   DId her clinic sound interesting?  Andrea also gives private lessons at PG too!