Top this iconic rock formation for a jaw-dropping view

You’ll dig rock climbing at Seneca Rocks if you only have one quality—a love of true adventure.

For beginners:
Seneca Rocks is a West Virginia icon, and if you want an even better view than the amazing spectacle from the hiking trail, you can scale the formation itself.

There are local guides who can help you climb at Seneca Rocks safely, even if you’ve never been climbing before.

For experienced climbers:
A little bit of western alpine-style rock climbing tucked into a rural corner of West Virginia, Seneca Rocks is best known for multi-pitch trad climbs and stiff old-school ratings.

While Seneca Rocks may be accessible to many, its alpine demeanor is not to be taken lightly. A few of the challenges Seneca Rocks throws at its climbers: difficult approaches, loose rock, unrelentingly vertical faces and sandbags galore.

But for anybody willing to take it on, the rewards are fun, technical climbing, off-the-charts exposure, rock that dries almost immediately after the rain ends, and the only true peak in the eastern United States.

Another thing Seneca has going for it: quality multi-pitch climbing that actually begins at the bottom of the scale at 5.1. In fact, pound for glorious pound, Seneca has more low-end, yet mega-fun, pitches of rock than probably any place in America. That’s good, because most first-time Seneca visitors should probably back off a grade until they’re used to the notoriously hard-for-the-grade climbing.

Make it through all the adventure Seneca can muster, and you will find yourself perched upon a summit of stone that is only as wide as a sidewalk, but boasts sheer drops on both sides of more than 300 feet.

Since a day can entail ascents on one side and descents on the other, it’s also a good idea to travel light and carry everything up the wall. It’s not uncommon to see people racking up at the car, which seems nerdy, but those are the pros whose lead you might want to follow.

A little tip: stay away from the South Peak on weekends, because while there are many ways up, Seneca only has a few established rappel routes to get you back down. On crowded days, that’s where you’ll find all the sunlight-sucking bottlenecks.

If you thrive when the outcome is uncertain, then you’ve got to check this place out.

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This post was last updated on July 17, 2020