The climbing opportunities in West Virginia truly have the Mid-Atlantic market in terms of terrain diversity, varied climbing styles and overall accessibility.
Three major hubs throughout the state boast a lifetime of climbing options and several smaller satellite areas could keep any climber content for ages.
Cooper’s Rock State Forest in the north-central region of the state has top-rope climbing options but is better known for its vast inventory of gritstone boulders featuring something for everyone ranging from V0 to V7. A great place for friends of all – from beginner to expert.
New River Gorge, Summersville Lake, and the Meadow River corridor are all centrally-located within the state and are home to prolific sport and trad climbing in a single-pitch environment. Surrounded by the up and coming town of Fayetteville, climbing in this area makes for a great day cragging with plenty of options for food, music, and nightlife. A footprint of the ancient Teays River, the “New” River gives climbers a glimpse into the geological past.
Seneca Rocks, located in the central-eastern portion of the state falls near the Virginia border and is home to the one true summit only approached by technical rock climbing in the east coast. Seneca offers up to Grade III terrain and is famous around the US for its hair-raising traditional climbing routes with a splash of history: The 10th mountain division used this area to train for assaults in the Italian Dolomites during WWII and is a virtual museum of climbing artifacts, as one frequently encounters old pitons and other gems along their way. The areas north and south of Seneca also feature incredible sport and mixed climbing (Franklin, Reed’s Creek, Smoke Hole Canyon, etc.).
Other outlying areas such as Hawks Nest boulders near the Gauley river, North Bend State Park of Parkersburg and the rocky cliffs of Harper’s Ferry in the eastern panhandle will also amaze and leave a lasting memory of the Wild Wonderful rock of the Mountain State!
Time to Climb: West Virginia's Climbing Guides (Highland Outdoors)
Best times to go:
It is possible to climb throughout the year in West Virginia if you catch warm days in the winter and stay in the shade in the summer. That said, the preferred climbing season is Spring through Fall.
Rock Climbing Web Resources:
The Mountain Project- West Virginia
Rock Climbing.Com - West Virginia
Rock Climbing Education & Safety:
American Alpine Club - Know the Ropes, AAC Library, Universal Belay Program