Whippoorwill



Another high adventure spot on Summersville Lake in the Gauley River National Recreation Area. ‘The Whip” is a sheer, west-facing wall that rises about 80 feet off the lake level. It’s a popular climbing spot, due in part to the setting and also because the rock is mainly sheer. It’s got great adhesion for climbing since the rock is so fresh, only recently exposed when a chunk cracked loose leaving an impressive roof at about 60 feet off the water. Anchors at the top mean you can lower to a ledge about 40 feet off the surface.

Alicia Landis, a climbing goddess, has a tiny scar on her chin that she earned at The Whip just after uttering what are statistically the four most dangerous words in the English language, “Hey guys, watch this.”

“If you’re climbing and want to turn it into a dive, get a good push off," she says fingering the knick in her mandible.

The nice thing about The Whip is that you don’t need to use a boat to get there and, unlike most other places on the lake, it’s not so convenient for motorized watercraft to visit. So there is some peace. Open sky to the west and south means that it gets toasty warm. There is a place about the form of a king-sized bed six feet above the anchor. Not a lot of comfortable shade, though. All the cover is low and brushy.


Copyright Running Water Publications 2002