(Not) Work Week 2023 Recap
Photo by Jay Young
The idea behind the first (Not) Work Week began in 2014. This was when Gene Kistler created the equation, work + fun = not work, thus the creation of (Not) Work Week.
This year, when Gene came up with the most complex project of them all, we felt like we’d been prepping for this one for the last nine years.
We knew this project would require special materials and extra funds. Bryan Simon, NRAC board member, secured grant funding for the project through the Access Fund and American Alpine Club.
Weeks before the event, Gene rallied local climbers for at least a week’s worth of prep work, including loading and unloading 50 timbers onto the barge to make their way to the project site at Whippoorwill. He lined up a specialty crew of volunteers with rock masonry, trail construction, and project management skills. The National Park Service offered up their tools and a trail crew member to help.
This year’s (Not) Work Week started out muddy and rainy. When we say muddy, we mean folks were covered head to toe. Andrew Jordan demonstrated his willingness to get dirty immediately, setting the standard for the rest of the week.
Photo by Augie Wagner
Each day started with coffee from Ranger Finder Coffee and a pep talk from Gene, where he described the day’s objectives and told us not to get hurt. He said “bungle” at least once daily when describing the terrain. #IYKYK, and if you don’t know, that’s okay – it just means we were working with rocky terrain.
Our progress was slow from the start. We thought our project might take longer than planned, and then BAM… A super strong crew of volunteers were picking up and sliding precast stairs weighing 465 lbs. down a makeshift slide made from a piece of culvert cut in half. It felt like we might even construct a pyramid. Volunteers were moving so quickly!
Keith Marretta started busting out timber stairs like it was his job. But remember, it wasn’t because this is (Not) Work Week after all. By the end of the week, 44 timber stairs made their way into the ground, and 20 precast stairs led the way to the top of the Whippoorwill approach trail.
Each day, our buddies Cote Womack and Darek Czarnecki with the Army Corps of Engineers delivered load after load of gravel on two barges to Whippoorwill so we could fill 64 gabions with tons of gravel. How many trail workdays have you heard of that included not one but TWO barges?! Props to those who spent time shoveling gravel into the gabions. This is truly back-breaking work!
The entire week wasn’t just about working our butts off but also about making new friends and catching up with old ones. Some volunteers returned for their 5th year in a row! We made new friends from Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. We also had the chance to finally meet community members who recently bought homes or moved to the area!
Photo by Iris Lee
Each night we had dinner together, family style. Local restaurants provided food at Burnwood Campground, and community members hosted us in their homes on other nights. A big shout-out goes to the Kistlers, Crumms, Fussells, and Chabers for hosting!
We wrapped up the week at Bridge Brew Works with a BIG F*@&ING PARTY, aka the BFP. Our buddies at Cast Iron Smokers made food while a local band, Kid Cherry and the Graduates, played music.
It feels hard to explain why (Not) Work Week is so special and why this year felt more special than all the others. Moving dirt, shoveling gravel, smashing rocks, and building stairs seem simple, but when you combine that with a badass crew of volunteers and an enormous volunteer community effort, it feels like we’re making history.
Thank you to everyone who made this year’s (Not) Work Week the best one yet! We can’t wait for next year!
Spring Safety Tips
𝘚𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦!!
As the warmer weather arrives, we know that you are gearing up for sport climbing season here at the gorge!
With that being said, We want to highlight some important 𝘴𝘢𝘧𝘦𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘪𝘱𝘴 to help keep you safe and prepared this season! After all, no matter how experienced of a climber you are it is always good to go back to the basics.
We know there are many things out of our own control when it comes to safety, but what about the things we can control?
𝗛𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻: This may seem simple, but make sure to have a plan in place if someone gets injured, the weather changes or the day out is taking longer than expected. Always make sure someone else knows your trip plans.
𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘄 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗿𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗲: Research ahead of time about the area you are visiting and the routes you want to climb. Be sure to have all the appropriate gear you will need and be sure you are comfortable with how to use it.
𝗛𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗱:Outside conditions such as wind or flowing water can make communication much more difficult, be sure to have a nonverbal communication plan that everyone understands.
𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗰𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗻𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗴𝗲𝗮𝗿: Double-check your and your partner's knots, harness, gear, and all other safety devices.
𝗧𝗶𝗲 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗿𝗼𝗽𝗲𝘀: Tie a knot at the end of your rope when lowering and belaying.
We hope you have a fun and safe spring season!
𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗻𝗲𝗿!
WE SET A NEW RECORD!
We want to give a 𝙃𝙐𝙂𝙀 shoutout to everyone who joined us this past Saturday, April 1st, for the Whippoorwill Volunteer day!
𝗪𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝗮 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗻𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗳 𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻 𝘂𝘀 𝗱𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝟳𝟬 𝘃𝗼𝗹𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗹!
Thanks to all of you, we were able to move rocks from the lake bed and fill another row of gabions which will help to halt shoreline erosion! This effort helped us to save time and energy for our upcoming (Not) Work Week which will focus on preserving this beautiful area.
Do you want to stay up to date on our volunteer opportunities?
𝘉𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵
Photo: Matt Carpenter
Volunteer for (Not) Work Week!
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS!
We are excited to announce that registration is now OPEN for [𝘕𝘰𝘵] 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘞𝘦𝘦𝘬 2023!!
Every year a group of YOU, our amazing volunteers, get together for a week full of stewardship projects, community building, and good times. We would love for you to join us.
[𝗡𝗼𝘁] 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗪𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗶𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟭𝟯𝘁𝗵 – 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗠𝗮𝘆 𝟮𝟬𝘁𝗵
Wondering what awesome projects we have in store for you this year? This year we will be focusing on projects at Whippoorwill at Summersville Lake!
We will be…
-𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗢𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗯𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮
-𝗕𝘂𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗰𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗰𝗵 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗽 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻
-𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝘂𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗳 𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝘂𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗽
𝘈𝘊𝘛 𝘍𝘈𝘚𝘛 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩 𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘶𝘱 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘺! 𝘝𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘔𝘜𝘚𝘛 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦.
We invite you to join us for a day, a weekend or even the entire week!
All volunteers will receive free camping at the NPS Burnwood Campground, meals to include breakfast and dinner, an event t-shirt, and cool swag from our brand sponsors!
𝙒𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙧𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤𝙙𝙖𝙮? 𝙑𝙞𝙨𝙞𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙠 𝙞𝙣 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙗𝙞𝙤! 🔗
Questions? Email: email@example.com
A message from Matt, our President:
"I first want to thank all our donors, volunteers, and those who support and continue to support our organization! None of our work would be made possible without your support!
This week I traveled to Washington, DC, where several of us have spent the last few days with the Access Fund (@accessfund) lobbying our senators to support America's Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) and Protect America's Rock Climbing Act (PARCA).
Fixed anchors in the wilderness are threatened due to policy changes in land managing agencies.
AORA and PARCA are bipartisan bills that aim to protect fixed anchors in the wilderness and establish rock climbing as an officially recognized and accepted the use of wilderness areas.
This matters to us at the NRG even though none of our climbing is in wilderness areas because many of us travel and climb in these threatened areas. They are part of our community.
Senators seemed receptive to our plea and promised to support outdoor recreation industries. However, the fight is far from over, as we expect bill markups sometime around May. It'll require more action by writing our legislators to support AORA/PARCA.
We've been working on revamping our rebolting program. We hosted a training day where we taught some of the ins and outs of bolt replacement techniques, and we will continue to train a new cohort of rebolters. We'll also rebolt much of the Tattoo Wall at Bubba City in April.
Our largest trail-building project of the year, (Not) Work Week, is happening from May 13th-20th! Sign-ups will open up shortly, so stay tuned and be sure to sign up to volunteer!
The Climber Stewards Program is back in partnership with the Access Fund! This program was wildly successful last year, and we're excited to continue it. So be on the lookout for the Stewards at the Crag from May thru October!
Meadow River access... While I have nothing definitive to offer now, many of our brightest minds are all working hard to restore access. The future looks bright.
Let's keep working together to preserve our well-loved climbing areas!"
NRAC’s annual Diversity in Guiding Grant has partnered with Climbing for Change for the past two years to award two BIPOC recipients the funds needed to obtain their AMGA Single Pitch Instructor certification. It's not to late to apply for the scholarship!
Funds will be awarded to any BIPOC-led local or regional diversity, equity, and inclusion work or project.
The Dr. Paul Nelson Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a student-climber who exemplifies the passion that defined Paul’s life and contributions to the New River Gorge region. It's not too late to apply for the scholarship!
THIS SATURDAY NIGHT!
We are kicking off the season with Reel Rock 17, and you're invited!
Join us for an evening of community, prizes, and excitement as we kick off the spring season by showing "Reel Rock 17" at The Outpost Campground in the New River Gorge on 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆, 𝗔𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗹 𝟭𝘀𝘁, 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝟳:𝟬𝟬-𝟭𝟬:𝟬𝟬 𝗽.𝗺.
(No, this is not an April Fools' joke!)
You can grab a ticket in advance (link in bio) or at the door.
We are asking for a suggested donation of $15 per ticket. 100% of the proceeds from the event will go toward preserving our well-loved climbing areas!
Doors: 7:00 p.m.
Film: 8:00 p.m.
We'll also be raffling off some great prizes from our sponsors and have snacks and drinks available for donation.
📍The Outpost Campground: 843 Fayette Station Rd, Fayetteville, WV
𝘏𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘺 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘕𝘙𝘈𝘊 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺! You may have noticed that we have been focusing a lot on climber impacts over the past week and different strategies that you can use to help minimize your impact.
𝗧𝗼𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘄𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗯𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘄𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗵𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴
So, how do you start to boulder smart??
𝘿𝙚𝙘𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙥𝙖𝙙𝙨!
Avoid digging up the landing zone or stacking rocks, etc. to make the base of the boulder suitable for landing. Instead, stack and double up pads to create the flat zone that you are looking for to be kinder to the natural habitat of the area!
𝘾𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙠!
Tick marks and chalk build up are like trash, so please try to clean up the boulder that you are climbing on! You can use a brush and even small amounts of water to clean your chalk or tick marks that may have been left by you or previous climbers.
𝘿𝙤𝙣'𝙩 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙨!
I know, everybody loves a shortcut but when it comes to the crags you are visiting please stick to the most heavily used trails between boulders. Avoid using social trails that trample vegetation over time.
𝙇𝙚𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙣𝙤 𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙚!
It may seem obvious, but before leaving the area be sure to scan for any left behind trash like wads of tape, wrappers, plastic bottles etc. You can even restore a more natural look to your landing zone by placing some pine needles, leaves, twigs before you head off!
We hope you can take these quick tips on your next day out at the crag! Let's continue to help 𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝗪𝗩 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗪𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗳𝘂𝗹 and share this post with all your climbing buddies!
**The information in this post was gathered from Climbing.com, “How to Reduce Your Impact While Bouldering”
"I've only lived in the New River Gorge area since 2015. Still, it's certainly been long enough for me to see how much our presence in these beloved outdoor spaces has impacted some of my favorite climbing areas.
I'll never forget when I sent "Bimbo Shrine" at Kaymoor. I recall using this right-hand side-pull slot hold that a friend had pointed out for the sequence to work and for me to snag the send...
At the time, the hold had no chalk and was incredibly hard to see. However, whenever I return, I find that same hold plastered with chalk, feeling worse every time I grab it.
I share this not to complain that no one is brushing the holds. Instead, I share this to highlight how different an experience it is now to enjoy the same route, landscape, or climbing area.
It is different because the impact has accumulated. As a result, my experience in this space and those who come after me will likely always be different.
They won't have the joy of finding that secret hold for themselves (or with help from a friend!).
That said, 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗱𝗼 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗺𝘆 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗮𝗰𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗺𝘆 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗰𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘄 𝗥𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗚𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲:
-I choose to avoid climbing in highly populated areas on the weekends or during peak times.
-I try to brush all the holds on the boulder or routes I climb on.
-I volunteer my time to organizations such as NRAC for trail improvement projects.
I hope my actions inspire the actions of others so that we all can have an enjoyable outdoor experience for years to come."
-Kristi, Outreach Committee Chair
Photo by Lukas Jaekel