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Washington and Lee University

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Goshen Pass and Iron Gate

Overview of the Area

Virginia boasts several great climbing areas.  Many of these areas are only an hour's drive from Lexington.  Here we'll describe two locations in the area:  Goshen Pass and Iron Gate.  If you are looking for some of the best climbing in the East, then look no further than West Virginia.  You'll find Seneca Rocks with its multi-pitch, classic cracks, as well as the steep world -class sport climbing of the New River Gorge.  Fore even longer weekend trips, try Looking Glass and others in North Carolina or visit the Gunks in New York.

Grading System and Equipment

Since these two areas are class 5 Grading (Free Climbing: Belaying and technical climbing gear are necessary for safety), we are using the Yosemite Decimal System for a range of 5.0 (easy) to 5.9 (difficult) to 5.14 (professional climber with natural ability).

Climbing like many outdoor sports, can be taxing on your wallet if you buy everything you need at once.  To truly enjoy climbing, however, you don't need much money, as a few basic pieces go a long way.  A basic list includes:

  • Pair of climbing shoes or slippers
  • Helmet
  • Harness and belay device

If you are ready to take the plunge and start setting up your own climbs you'll nee to purchase:

  • Rope
  • Several pieces of webbing
  • Some carabiners

A Climbing Code

  • Never climb beyond your ability and knowledge.
  • Never let judgment be overruled by desire when choosing the route or decidng whether to turn back.
  • Carry the necessary food, clothing and equipment at all times.
  • Leave a trip itinerary with a responsible person.
  • Behave in a manner that reflects favorably upon mountaineering, with minimum impact on the environment.

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