Learn to: rock climb

World-class peaks and cliffs are just a lesson away.

Start on the best, with the best, and learning something new is so much easier. Imagine what heights you’ll reach in the Mountain State!

Here’s where you can become a rock star:

NROCKS Outdoor Adventures | Circleville

At this unique mountainside, getting started is a breeze.

One of the best things about NROCKS is the privacy. It owns the cliffs, so crowding from other outfitters isn’t a problem. This is an immense benefit for beginners in particular. Small class sizes are another benefit. At the most, there will be 5 other students besides yourself.

From there, you’ll learn all about rope climbing — a method involving a personal harness with a rope that’s attached to anchors. A belayer on the ground holds your rope and adjusts the slack as you progress. If you’re nervous, this technique makes an ideal starting point, since your assistant’s counterweight helps prevent a serious fall.

Beginners can also try NROCK’s via ferrata system. The stunning double-finned rocks that soar over the property are — believe it or not — within your reach. Thanks to sturdy iron rungs and a double-carabiner lanyard system, you’ll gain 1,000 feet in elevation and the views of a lifetime.

Hard Rock Climbing Services | Fayetteville

Spend a lesson deep in the New River Gorge.

Climbers throughout the country flock to the Fayetteville area for a reason: those sandstone cliffs. The Gorge’s celebrated rockscape is iron-hard and full of character. With Hard Rock Climbing Services, you’ll scramble over some of the best mountains in America. Not bad!

Half-day lessons make great introductions for beginners, too. Besides climbing, you’ll also do rappelling, or controlled descents. Hard Rock also has full-day lessons. These tackle common formations like chimneys and cracks, plus more nuanced techniques. No prior experience is necessary for either class. Your instructor will also provide all the gear.

New River Climbing School | Scarbro

Pick a class that matches your goals; this southern West Virginia outfitter has a wide selection of options.Climbing sandstone in West Virginia

To begin with, the half-day and full-day classes are private. Learn top roping and single-pitch techniques if you’re a beginner, or more advanced methods if you’re not. Move at your own pace; that’s one of the beauties of one-on-one instruction!

If time is an issue, sign up for the 2-hour climb or rappel course instead. New River also has family trips.

Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides

West Virginia’s most iconic ridgeline is open for school.

Seneca Rocks — a jagged crest of Tuscarora quartzite, is a geological rarity. It’s one of America’s few “true peaks.” For that reason, it’s a popular multi-pitch route.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, either. With Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides, you can sign up for Trad Fundamentals: a 2 or 3-day immersion experience. Tie knots, belay, build anchors and more!

This school also has private guiding, classes exclusively for women, family trips and teen camps. You can take seminars in anchoring, self-rescue and seconding multi-pitch fundamentals, too.

Coopers Rock Climbing Guides | Morgantown

Take lessons on some of the most romantic cliffs in West Virginia.coopers rock state park

It doesn’t hurt that mountain climbing and stupendous vistas go together. At Coopers Rock State Forest — where this school bases its instruction — layered cliffs overlook a broad horizon of endless forests. It’s especially striking at sunset, when gold tints projecting crags and canopies.

Intrigued? Coopers Rock Climbing Guides has your ticket to climb. Patient instructors have years of experience with beginners. They’ll coach you through routes that are more crafty than intimidating. Along the way, you’ll learn basic techniques, too.

Outside-In Climbing Gym | Beckley

Not all who climb are outdoors …

At Outside-In Climbing Gym, a 30-foot wall is your objective. Ascend to the top by following color-coded routes, or get help from trained belayers. Beginners are especially welcome, too. In fact, it’s a popular spot with families. For kids’ birthday parties, there are cakes with action figures “climbing” frosting walls with gummies!

Even more beginning climbs >

This post was last updated on March 1, 2022