Hard Rock Climbing Adventure, Visit West Virginia – During our stay at River Expeditions in West Virginia, we were fortunate enough to experience rock climbing and rappelling in the New River Gorge area…. .Talk about living on the edge and having FUN! Let me tell you about our exciting family adventure!
So we’re staying at River Expeditions in West Virginia and we tell them we want adventure on this trip…… Well, let me just say that I had no idea what I was in for! Not at all, they booked us on a ½ day tour with Hard Rock Climbing for some added excitement (as if we hadn’t already had enough going White Water Rafting the day prior!). It was time for some rock climbing and a rappelling adventure…… and I thought the adventure was over – NOPE, it had only begun!! I don’t know what I was thinking on this trip telling my kids we were going on a “high adventure” expedition…. Insanity had set in! No, but really I am tired of living life safe, reserved, sheltering us all from the world (we’re home schoolers). And so, we made a choice to try something new every day… and boy oh boy did we do just that and Hard Rock Climbing was like the grand finale of the adventure!!!
So we pull into the small Hard Rock Climbing parking lot, which is right across from the local food hang out called Cathedral Cafe with no idea what to expect…. After all, I’m a mom, I could use a little more exercise, and although I loved hiking I had no idea if I could physically handle what could potentially be thrown my way but I was determined to be a part of the fun and not let my family down. I injured my knee a bit ago and I was determined it wasn’t going to slow me down and for some crazy reason I must have thought I needed to PROVE it!
After we walk in we meet Bryan who completely relieved me of my nervous fears! Bryan is author of 2 climbing/hiking guides (Hiking and Biking in the New River Gorge: A Trail User’s Guide, and Vertical Aid: Essential Wilderness Medicine for Climbers,Trekkers, and Mountaineers), plus he’s military trained and well experienced in nursing, climbing injuries etc…. Relief! I was gonna be safe and if I wasn’t Bryan was as good and it gets for help in the field! You may be laughing but as a mom I had to admit fear did happen to cross my mind a time or two!!!! ☺
So we leave our car in the parking lot, hop in the Hard Rock Climbing SUV and drive outta town while I nervously explain my former knee injury to Bryan praying he has mercy on this body because the next day I’ll wake in my own bed and return to real life and would prefer not to be on large doses of Motrin due to severe muscle aches! He was probably chuckling to himself the entire time, either that or he’s heard this a million times! Whichever one it was, he made us all feel at home, safe and excited to get going!
Rappelling was our first adventure. We started with a short rope climb where we hold on to a rope and kind of walk ourselves up some boulders. Then it’s a rather short hike on a trail to a breathtaking spot overlooking the bridge we had just walked under! We planted ourselves on a rock and Bryan pulls out his gear from the pack and sets up the rappelling gear while doing a great job of educating us on the safety system, how it all works, then finally asking for a volunteer to go first!
My son volunteered first and was excited to begin. He’s never been rappelling and although he’s rather introverted, he’s always up for an outdoor adventure! As I watched him drop down all I could think of is, “Am I really allowing this man to drop my son over the side of a cliff!!!” I was second….nervous, excited, thrilled to start! Once I started my way down I realized that the system allows you to let yourself down slowly, as slowly as you like. From the pictures it looks like it takes a HUGE amount of strength to go rappelling but really after I did it I’d say anyone could! No regrets from this mamma!
Next was Samantha, my 8 year old 48 lb daughter. Well, she tried and tried but she just didn’t have the weight to make it down. She still wanted the adventure so Bryan hooked himself up, did a double take and went down with Samantha and then RAN back up to give my husband his turn. OMG, this guy was what I call awesome in action. He’s like a superman! We had great fun!
Back into the SUV and we’re headed on a scenic route to do a little mountain climbing. I’m thinking we’ll use our hands and feet and scramble over some boulders, right? I tell myself I can handle this after all, I used to climb Old Rag Mountain and that was no easy task! No way….! Mountain climbing in West Virginia is scaling the side of a rock wall! Thank goodness my kids used to love those rock wall climbs at places like Bass Pro because they were putting all of their skills to the test on this adventure! Bryan hooks up a safety system so that if anyone falls the harness and ropes will catch them (thank goodness!) and then he asks for a volunteer to start. Of course it’s my son once again. I’ve never thought of him as a thrill seeker but maybe I overlooked that aspect of this quiet teen.
They were amazing to watch as they scaled these beautiful mountainous rocks like Spider-man would! They climb up as high as they can go and then sort of bounce their way back down hitting their feet against the rocks bouncing off every 3 to 5 feet or so. They looked like they’d been doing it all of their lives….It was exhilarating!
Hard Rock offers a great opportunity for families to work their bodies and minds as they take on new challenges and experience rock climbing like never before. As much as it looks like my kids are pros and have parents who did this every day we weren’t…. We’ve hiked, scrambled over some rocks but this? Nothing like it before but honestly I’d do it over again. I bet the Fall season with all of the leaves in their glory would make for the most engaged climb!
And I’ve gotta give a shout out to our personal guide, Bryan. He’s just awesome in action for sure! All climbing equipment was provided for us, as was transportation to our site and I was so proud of my kiddos, who rappelled and climbed like naturals.
Hard Rock Climbing Services has been providing climbing guides and instruction to families since 1987. Rock climbing is what they do! They take safety seriously and their guides and instructors are all Wilderness First Aid and CPR certified so you can feel at ease knowing your family is in good hands when they go on this exciting adventure. Kids as young as six years old can climb!
In closing I’d say get out and live a life of excitement and engage your kids with nature. These are the memories and experiences that last a life time and leave a family feeling on top of the world – literally and figuratively! Cheers!