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Elevation: 2,128 ft
GPS: 39.6368, -79.81334
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Shared By: Ray Weber on Feb 10, 2011 · Updates
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Description Suggest change

Coopers Rock State Forest is a hidden gem for climbers in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is known for its stiff grades and “gritstone” like rock. Conveniently located just off of I-68 in northern West Virginia, it hosts hundreds of established boulder problems, several top-rope climbs, and enough short trad leads for some to warrant bringing a rack. With its close proximity to Morgantown and the West Virginia University campus, it tends to stay fairly busy with climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and your everyday tourists.

Guidebooks

There have been a number of climbing topos created for Coopers Rock, but there are two published guidebooks that are helpful. “Coopers Rock Bouldering Guide” is the most current guide for bouldering (though it’s not up to date at this point) and “Cheat Canyon Rock” by Andrew Leich is the most current rope climbing guide.

Geology

The “gritstone” featured at Coopers Rock is known as the Upper Connoquenessing Sandstone of the Pottsville Formation. This resistant quartz rich layer of Pennsylvanian age sandstone is roughly 300 million years old. This rock unit outcrops throughout the Cheat Canyon and in many other places in the state including Blackwater Falls, Dolly Sods, and Spruce Knob. For climbers, this rock is characterized by an abundance of slopers, rounded jugs, sloping pockets, and the occasional edge. Many routes here have very shallow features that can only be used effectively due to the very coarse texture of the rock.

Winter Gate Closure 

Climbing here in the winter tends to be inconvenient due to the forest’s front gate being closed from around December 31st through March 31st, weather dependent. The only way to access the majority of the climbing when the gate is closed is to hike the nearly three miles out the road.

Rainy Days

The rock at Coopers tends to take a long time to dry. After a hard rain, plan on giving the area a whole day to dry out. Generally, if the road is dry when you get into the forest, the rock will be dry as well. The first area to dry is usually the Tilted Tree area. Roadside and Upper Rock City take a bit longer. The Rhodo cave tends to stay completely dry, and can be climbed during a full downpour, unless the rock condenses in the cave on a hot summer day. A few other bouldering routes that tend to stay dry in the rain are everything in Picnic Cave, Always Dry Roof, The Cave Route, and most of the routes on the Mad Butcher Block . If you do get totally rained out, Coopers has a good network of trails for hiking and mountain biking.

Climbing Rules

There are a few important rules here pertaining to climbing, please follow them in order to keep climbing access secure and help us climbers maintain a positive relationship with the park rangers.

1. The forest closes at dark. If your car is still in the parking lot after dark, a ranger will find it and you may be ticketed.

2. Placing bolts is not allowed in Coopers Rock State Forest. If you are caught placing bolts by a ranger, you'll likely be prosecuted. While climbing here, you'll most likely come across a few bolts. Use them if you'll, but just know that these were not placed in accordance with the forest rules.

3. Please adhere to the no climbing zones, this is crucial. These zones include the main overlook and the area surrounding it indicated by “no climbing” signs. They also include the Haystack Block below the main overlook.

Local Climbing Gym, Gear Shop, and Restaurants

As of 2020 Morgantown has a new full service climbing gym, Gritstone, offering lead, toprope, autobelay, bouldering, yoga classes, and weightlifting. If the weather isn't cooperating for outdoor climbing, it is honestly worth making a trip to Morgantown just to climb at this gym. UNFORTUNATELY Gritstone is currently closed and not an option to climb indoors!

The local outdoor gear shop in Morgantown is Pathfinder, it is located on High Street. They have a large selection of outdoor gear in stock and should have just about any climbing gear you might need. You'll also find many good restaurants in this area, most notably Black Bear. This fantastic burrito restaurant has a great variety of food and craft beers and is a favorite among the local outdoor community.

Camping

Camping can be had within Coopers Rock State Forest at the McCollum Campground or Rhododendron Campground or just outside of the forest and across the interstate at the Chestnut Ridge Campground. Both have camping for tents, hookups for campers, and shower houses.

Hunting

Hunting is quite popular at Coopers Rock. Although much of the climbing is within the no hunting “safe zones”, some is not. If you are outside of these zones during any hunting season, consider wearing bright orange and be respectful of hunters, they have just as much of a right to be there as you do. That being said, if you are within the normal climbing areas listed in the guidebooks and don’t venture too far off of the trails, you should be fine.

Getting There Suggest change

Located in West Virginia, just off of Exit 15 on I-68. 20 minutes East of Morgantown. 1.5 hours South of Pittsburgh. 3 hours West of DC.

1,292 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Coopers Rock State Forest

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V-easy 3
 21
Spiderwoman Problem
Boulder
V1+ 5
 26
Knife Fink
Boulder
V2 5+
 29
Always Dry Roof
Boulder
V3 6A
 104
Moby's Dick
Boulder
V3 6A
 27
The Cave Route
Boulder
V4 6B
 30
Tombstone Arete
Boulder
V4 6B
 21
Colorful Corner
Boulder
V4 6B
 52
Anti-Elvis
Boulder
V5 6C
 42
Helicopter
Boulder
V5 6C
 19
Mountaineer's Route (Direct)
Boulder
V5 6C
 29
Twist Dah Hick
Boulder
V5 6C
 29
Roundhouse
Boulder
V5 6C
 20
Tomb Raider Roof (stand-start)
Boulder
V5-6 6C+
 22
Ship's Prow
Boulder
V7 7A+
 22
Final Fantasy
Boulder
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Spiderwoman Problem Rdside > Ceiling Block Area
 21
V-easy 3 Boulder
Knife Fink Upper Rock City > Knife Fink Area
 26
V1+ 5 Boulder
Always Dry Roof Tilted Tree > Tilted Tree Area > Tilted Tree Corridor
 29
V2 5+ Boulder
Moby's Dick Tilted Tree > Moby's Dick Area > Moby’s Dick Boulder
 104
V3 6A Boulder
The Cave Route Rdside > Tendon Repair Kit Area
 27
V3 6A Boulder
Tombstone Arete Tilted Tree > Fiddle Area > Fiddle Rock
 30
V4 6B Boulder
Colorful Corner Upper Rock City > Romulus & Remus Area
 21
V4 6B Boulder
Anti-Elvis Tilted Tree > Anti-Elvis Area
 52
V4 6B Boulder
Helicopter Rdside > First Set Boulders > Helicopter Cave
 42
V5 6C Boulder
Mountaineer's Route (Direct) Rdside > Tendon Repair Kit Area
 19
V5 6C Boulder
Twist Dah Hick Tilted Tree > Tilted Tree Area > Tilted Tree Corridor
 29
V5 6C Boulder
Roundhouse Upper Rock City > Roundhouse Area > Roundhouse Boulder
 29
V5 6C Boulder
Tomb Raider Roof (stand-start) Upper Rock City > Tomb Raider Area > Tomb Raider
 20
V5 6C Boulder
Ship's Prow Upper Rock City > Tomb Raider Area > Ship's Prow
 22
V5-6 6C+ Boulder
Final Fantasy Tilted Tree > Tilted Tree Area > Final Fantasy Cave
 22
V7 7A+ Boulder
More Classic Climbs in Coopers Rock State Forest »

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