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The West Virginia. Cyclopedia


Rock Climbing

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West Virginia ranks among the most popular rock-climbing destinations in the eastern U.S.: Richmond, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Washington -- four major metropolitan areas are less than a half-day away. However, ideal location is only part of the reason for popularity. Public access to climbing areas, incredible natural beauty, and the sheer number of established routes (more than 2,000 by some estimations) are contributing factors.

As many climbing areas in West Virginia are located in parks and forests, access is generally public, and federally managed access areas often include parking and restroom facilities. Camping areas are never far off, and several climbing outfitters maintain shops, guide services, and climbing schools at Riverton, WV, Seneca Rocks, WV, and Fayetteville, WV.


New River Gorge Area Climbing

The New River Gorge region of southern West Virginia is perhaps the most popular climbing destination in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is certainly among the largest. More than 10 miles of sandstone cliff are exposed along the rim of the gorge in the New River Gorge National River near Fayetteville, WV. More than 1,800 climbing routes have been established in the gorge, and new bouldering areas are being opened every year. Several climbing guides and oufitters operate in Fayetteville, the gathering spot for many climbers who are visiting the New River Gorge and Summersville Lake climbing areas.


Seneca Rocks Area Climbing

Thrust 400 feet into the Allegheny sky, the blade of quartzite known as Seneca Rocks became a climbing destination in the 1960s and has since become one of America's best-known destinations. The rock's hardness and difficulty (5 to 5.12) make it unique in the Eastern U.S., according to the U.S. Forest Service, which operates the Spruce Knob - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. None of the 375 major mapped climbing routes should be attempted without training and experience. Climbing shops, and two climbing schools, are located near the rocks at Riverton, WV and Seneca Rocks, WV.


Summersville Lake Area


Cooper's Rock Area