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Seneca Rocks

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Cave, The 
Lower Slabs 
North Peak - West Face 
North Peak, East Face 
South End 
South Peak - East Face 
South Peak - West Face 
Southern Pillar 
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Seneca Rocks  


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.8338, -79.3663 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 743,258
Administrators: Ladd Raine, Shawn Heath, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Mark Cushman on Sep 19, 2006
Forecast:
Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
Partly Cloudy
84° | 67°
Partly Cloudy
86° | 63°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
84° | 64°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
89° | 65°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
86° | 65°
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: Major Seneca features to aid in locating routes

Description 

Located in the Monongahela National Forest, Seneca Rocks is best known for multi-pitch trad climbs and stiff old-school ratings. The rock is formed from white Tuscarora quartzite, which feels much like sandstone. Bring your helmet since some of the rock can be loose at times. Many moderate routes exist on Senca Rocks, and the wildly exposed summit pinnacle can be obtained by several 5.2-5.5 routes. This makes Seneca a popular destination for trad climbing on the East coast.

Camping can be had at either the Seneca Shadows campground (1 mile east of Senca Rocks on RT 33), or Yokum's Princess Snowbird campground in the town of Seneca Rocks.

Gear and guides can be found at the Gendarme and Seneca Rocks Climbing School or at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides. Food and beer may be purchased at Harper's Country Store or Yokum's, both located in the town of Seneca Rocks. The Front Porch restaurant, located above Harper's Country Store serves pizza, sandwiches and salads. The restaurant does not serve beer, but you may purchase beer in the store below and bring it upstairs to drink with your meal.

Getting There 

Seneca Rocks is located at the intersection of Route 33 and 55, east of Elkins, WV.

Climbing Season

Traffic By Month

207 Total Routes

['4 Stars',23],['3 Stars',94],['2 Stars',47],['1 Star',15],['Bomb',3]
['<=5.6',50],['5.7',31],['5.8',16],['5.9',33],['5.10',43],['5.11',25],['5.12',8],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Seneca Rocks:
Old Man's Route   5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c     Trad, 3 pitches   South Peak - West Face
Gunsight to South Peak   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   South Peak - West Face
Conn's West   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Gunsight to South Peak Direct   5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   South Peak - West Face
Candy Corner   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 95'   South End
Ecstasy   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   South End
Green Wall   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   South Peak - West Face
Pleasant Overhangs   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches   South Peak - West Face
Soler   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - East Face : Upper Broadway
West Pole   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Ye Gods & Little Fishes   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 85'   South End
The Burn   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   South Peak - West Face
Triple S   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 90'   South Peak - West Face
Climbin' Punishment   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 180'   Southern Pillar
Back to the Front   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   South Peak - West Face
High Test   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 120'   South Peak - East Face : Upper Broadway
Bring on the Nubiles   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   South Peak - West Face
Castor   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   South Peak - East Face : Upper Broadway
Marshall's Madness - Crack of Dawn   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Cottonmouth - Venom   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   South Peak - West Face
Browse More Classics in Seneca Rocks

Featured Route For Seneca Rocks
Matt on Orangeaid.

Orangeaid 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b  WV : Seneca Rocks : ... : Upper Broadway
Follow the orange streak left of Alcoa Presents through intermittent finger cracks to the roof, then step right and follow good jugs to bolt anchors just below the summit. Going left at the roof is possible, but harder....[more]   Browse More Classics in WV

Photos of Seneca Rocks Slideshow Add Photo
Wild flowers (weeds?) in full spring bloom.
Wild flowers (weeds?) in full spring bloom.
Seneca Creek in evening fall colors.
Seneca Creek in evening fall colors.
Used car dealership on the east side of Seneca.
Used car dealership on the east side of Seneca.
West Face from Seneca Shadows
West Face from Seneca Shadows
almost heaven
almost heaven
Oh, over there... <br /> <br />Gotta love Seneca
BETA PHOTO: Oh, over there...

Gotta love Seneca
Seneca, West Face. October '07.
Seneca, West Face. October '07.
The town of Seneca Rocks
BETA PHOTO: The town of Seneca Rocks
Inscription carved on the summit block: <br /> <br />D.B. SEPT 16, 1908 <br /> <br />D.B. was a hardman.
Inscription carved on the summit block:

D.B. SEPT...
View from behind (east of) Seneca Rocks on North Fork Mountain.
View from behind (east of) Seneca Rocks on North F...
Seneca Rocks
Seneca Rocks
Fish eye from the summit of the South Peak
Fish eye from the summit of the South Peak
Seneca Rocks from the meadow at Seneca Shadows on a stormy September morning
Seneca Rocks from the meadow at Seneca Shadows on ...
The West Face of Seneca Rocks
BETA PHOTO: The West Face of Seneca Rocks
View taken from the East side of Seneca
View taken from the East side of Seneca
Great shot of the rocks from the parking lot.Photo taken by Tim Anderson
Great shot of the rocks from the parking lot.Photo...
Spectacular view from the top.
Spectacular view from the top.
West side of North and South Peaks.
BETA PHOTO: West side of North and South Peaks.
Which way down?
Which way down?
View of the South End and the Cave as seen from the Southern Pillar
View of the South End and the Cave as seen from th...
Urtiscay Unyanray learns the story of Pollux
Urtiscay Unyanray learns the story of Pollux
View of the trail / road (Roy Gap Road) to the South Peak area in the morning.
View of the trail / road (Roy Gap Road) to the Sou...
dad looking up at south peak
dad looking up at south peak
First night of the road trip. Welcome to West Virginia
First night of the road trip. Welcome to West Virg...

Show All 41 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Seneca Rocks Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 20, 2014
By Brian Adzima
From: the Paris of Appalachia
Feb 8, 2007
Steep, sandbagged, and occasionally scary. What's not to like?
By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
May 3, 2007
For folks heading down to Seneca for the first time:
Don't trust pitons-many were placed during WWII as training and they aren't great placements.
Lots of loose rock!
Wear your helmet.
Be in awe of the voluteers that built The Stairmaster!
By Mark Cushman
From: Cumming, GA
May 3, 2007
About pitons - there are a few new ones here and there, you can tell they are new because the eyes are not rusting off them and aren't completely part of the rock. For example there is a very helpful newer piton on Conn's East at the crux of the second pitch. I'm pretty sure this was a replacement for an old one that was unsafe to clip, however many people clipped it anyway.
By Mark Cushman
From: Cumming, GA
Jun 14, 2007
The 4-U Restaurant is a decent place to get breakfast when climbing at Seneca. The prices are cheap and it's only a few miles south of Seneca Rocks on Route 33.
By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Dec 13, 2007
To read others' stories of Seneca Rocks and to share your personl experiences, check out Seneca Rocks Stories or Tales from Seneca Rocks.
By John Kelbel
From: Eldersburg, Maryland
Feb 17, 2010
A few interesting rules from the National Forest about the Seneca Rocks area. Below is just an abbreviated list from the link at the bottom.

There is No parking on Roy Gap Road.
Bivouacking is only allowed fifty 50 above base of rocks and only on the east face.
No other camping is allowed in the Seneca area except for the established campground.
No Alcoholic, No Fires, No Horses, No Bicycles on any trails.

Just to be clear this only pertains to the small portion of the National forest land considered as the Seneca Rocks Area, see the link for more details, this is where the information came from.

Have fun it's an amazing place.

fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c4/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSz>>>
By Mike Anderson
From: Dayton, OH
Oct 19, 2010
Gumbies swarm to this place (multi-star 5.3s are hard to come by), so bring your patience and try not to be too cynical.
By Gini Kramer
From: North Haven, CT
Sep 5, 2011
A few things of note...

The 4-U motel & restaurant is closed.
Valley View Restaurant a little further south on Rte. 33 does a decent breakfast.
Hellbender up in Davis serves burritos the size of your head.
Avoid the older section of Yokum's Motel at all costs. Appalachia Cabins, just north of Seneca Rocks, has a row of motel rooms that are much nicer (complete with micro wave, toaster, fridge, and coffee maker) and cost the same.
When they say that the ratings on Seneca Rocks climbs are stiff, they mean it!
By David Cooper
From: Annapolis, MD
Jun 9, 2012
Classic Seven Tour.
After the Hundred Club this is the next best way to spend a long day at Seneca. Best on a weekday or less crowded weekend.

My favorite tour, in order of routes... SJM, Ecstasy, Dufty's, Prune, Crispy Critter, T Jam, West Pole, Pleasant O, Green Wall, Soler, Rox Salt.

Start at sunrise and you should be walking out in time for dinner.

A fantastic way to shake it up a bit if you've been looking for a new Seneca adventure.
By Ted Bjorklund
Oct 28, 2012
Left a pair of la sportiva miuras near the cave entrance...pretty new, size 40. Please send me a message if you found them, or are going there soon.
By Cody Bradford
From: Boone, NC
Nov 13, 2012
Cell phones do not work at Seneca. Might as well keep it at home.
Not the best place to come if you are just beginning in the traditional game. Hard sandbags, tenuous rock, difficult route finding, the list goes on. Hire a guide.
That being said, Seneca is a delightful slice of humble pie and a great alpine training ground during winter months.
By Jonathan Spencer
From: Ballard, WV
Dec 17, 2012
Seneca Rocks, WV AMGA SPI Course Dec. 1-3, 2012
.
Here's a video of a course I took at Seneca.
By Benjaminadk
From: Lake George, NY
Oct 7, 2013
Did a week long climbing trip to Seneca last month. We camped at Seneca Shadows. I recommend staying in the field portion of the campground. Its cheap ($15/night), there is a fresh water spigot nearby, clean bathrooms with hot showers and its across the street from the climbing. I strongly suggest not buying their firewood. When we were there it was too moist to burn. Yokum's General Store sells dry wood for half the price. For eating out we liked the Front Porch, located above Harper's General Store and right next to the climbing shop. There is also a 5min hiking trail from the camping to the general stores and climbing shop. The Front Porch has great sandwiches, pizza and rocking desserts. There prices are dirt cheap compared to NY. Ten to fifteen bucks to get completely stuffed. There is also WiFi here and pay phones to contact the real world.
By Ronin
From: Smoke Hole Canyon
Oct 30, 2013
Just a reminder to our many out-of-state visitors- Hiking in both Germany Valley (near Seneca Rocks) and Pendleton Valley (near Franklin Gorge) this past week and encountered both rattlesnakes and copperheads in both locations, despite two frosts and a freeze in the last week or two.

Just a reminder, especially for those exploring some of the fun little spots "off the map" where there might be climbs but not a lot of traffic- the biters are still out there, and still active. Thick piles of leaves in sunny corners at the base of cliffs, thick vegetation in which the rodents that they hunt might still be active, and almost any trail running near or through talus should all be viewed with caution and traveled with care.


Cheers!
By John Groh
Jan 12, 2014
Not sure if it's an established problem, but we found a traverse problem in the V5/V6 range on the back left wall of the cave at the South End that's pretty much the only thing at Seneca that stays dry on cold rainy days when the rock is sweating.
By ChrisClimber
Apr 24, 2014
So I am planning a visit this summer. I will only be spending a few days there so I dont want to waste my time trying to figure out how different the ratings are. Is there anyone who can comment on what the conversion would be between muir valley, Red River gorge to seneca rocks? Im really looking at all grades (up to mid 12's at muir) This would really be helpful/save a lot of time.
By Brendan Mulhern
Apr 25, 2014
Chris, you can climb Triple S (5.8+) to get an idea of the grades at Seneca. Even if you are climbing much harder you will enjoy this climb and have something to compare the grades to. Climbing steep 5.12's at the Red? Try Chris Tolin's route-- The Predator (5.12).
By O.L.D.S.A.G.
May 18, 2014
If it rains, how long does it take to dry off? And does it dry off?
By Tom Draper
May 20, 2014
Hey,

I am about to embark on a leisurely drive from CT to CO and was hoping to stop at Seneca Rocks to camp, stretch my legs, and get a day of climbing in. Is anyone going to be in the area that could take on another climber, needs a partner, etc? I'm a very competent climber comfortable up through the mid .12's on bolts and throughout the .11 grade on gear. I'm easy going and simply looking to soak up some of the country's great climbing on my way westward. Should be passing through Thursday so let me know.

Thanks folks,
Tom