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Pat Goodman during the first ascent of The Scavenger 5.13c, New River Gorge, USA
Photo by Chuck Fryberger
Matt Wilder during the first ascent of The Golden Bullet 5.13d, New River Gorge, USA
Photo by Chuck Fryberger
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Hard trad at New River Gorge, Virginia, USA

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American climbers Pat Goodman and Matt Wilder have established the trad routes The Scavenger (5.13c) and The Golden Bullet (5.13d) at the New River Gorge, Virginia, USA.

We don't talk usually much about hard trad on the North American continent, and when we do, it is often Canadian Sonnie Trotter making headline news with climbs such as Cobra Crack, The Path and the first ground-up trad ascent of Alan Watt's classic 130ft East Face of Monkey Face (5.13d R) at Smith Rock, USA.

North America has a long tradition for being a forging ground for difficult routes on natural pro and in truth there are plenty of other climbers pushing the limits at various crags dotted around the country. One of these which has recently seen rekindled interest is the New River Gorge in Virginia, a former testing ground on a par, during its early heyday, with other crags such as the Shawagunks, Eldorado Canyon and Yosemite.

Pat Goodman and Matt Wilder are the two climbers who have now brought this crag back to the forefront, adding another two desperates: Goodman established The Scavenger (5.13c), while Wilder made the first ascent of The Golden Bullet (5.13d). Both routes are short, bouldery and with little pro; not ideal, but with over 1600 other routes, the New River Gorge is bound to offer something from everyone.

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