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Areas in Summersville Lake (main)

Circus Wall 0 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Coliseum, The 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
DC Memorial Boulder 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Gun Wall 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Long Wall, The 0 / 19 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Narcissus Cave 1 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Orange Oswald Wall 5 / 14 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Pirate's Cove 6 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Satisfaction Wall, The 2 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Access Issue: Writing in chalk Details

Description [Suggest Change]

Summersville Lake is formed in the gorge of the Gauley River, and houses one of the New River Gorge's best concentrations of sport lines from 5.6 to 5.14d. Overall, the rock is more featured and more closely bolted than the lines of the New River Gorge proper. Be aware that many lines (including literally ALL of Long Point and Whippoorwill) are inaccessible except by boat from about April to November, due to the reservoir waterline. Deep water soloing can be popular here, but is illegal.

Getting There [Suggest Change]

Follow Rte. 19 north from Fayetteville and the NRG for about 20 miles. After crossing the obvious bridge over the lake (with views of the cliffline on both sides), park in a large lot on the east (right) side of the road. Although the following directions may sound complex, if you just follow the main signs of foot traffic, you'll get directly to the crags.

Follow Rte. 19 north out of Fayetteville for about 20 miles, almost reaching the town of Summersville. After crossing the obvious Gauley River bridge, park in a large lot on the east (right) side of the road.

Follow a wide trail through a gate for 5-10 minutes keeping an eye out for a left exit that descends down over a small creek. Just pass this creek crossing and at a gravel berm, take a right back into the woods via a more narrow trail. Follow this for another 5-10 minutes before taking another right down to a creek, and then a ladder that puts you near the DC Memorial Boulder.

If you are bringing dogs that cannot descend the ladder, take the following, longer direction:

Go to the ladder, then double back to the first right and keep your dog leashed, stay right for ~10 minutes until you find two houses. When on the trail follow the red blazed tress down the to gully. This puts you out about 3-5 minutes climber's right of Orange Oswald. Please remember to keep your dogs leashed in this area.

111 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Summersville Lake (main)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 332
Hippie Dreams
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 149
Menace Alert
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 184
Chunko Goes Bowling
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 273
Orange Oswald
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 221
She got the Bosch, I got Drilled
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 124
Chewy
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 150
Strong Arming the Little Guy
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 83
Flight Path
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 117
Baby With A Nail Gun
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 229
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 71
Barfing Butterflies
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 135
Under the Milky Way
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 160
Narcissus
Sport
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
 86
Reckless Abandon
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 65
Apollo Reed
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Hippie Dreams Orange Oswald Wall
 332
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Menace Alert Long Wall
 149
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Chunko Goes Bowling Orange Oswald Wall
 184
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Orange Oswald Orange Oswald Wall
 273
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
She got the Bosch, I got Dr… Orange Oswald Wall
 221
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Chewy Long Wall
 124
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Strong Arming the Little Guy Orange Oswald Wall
 150
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Flight Path Long Wall
 83
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Baby With A Nail Gun Orange Oswald Wall
 117
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Satisfaction Guaranteed Satisfaction Wall
 229
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Barfing Butterflies Orange Oswald Wall
 71
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Under the Milky Way Long Wall
 135
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Narcissus Narcissus Cave
 160
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Reckless Abandon Coliseum
 86
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Apollo Reed Coliseum
 65
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Summersville Lake (main) »

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Getting There:
To the "Summersville lake parking lot".
If you search for this address it will get you kind of close:
205 Up Yonder Drv. Summersville WV 26651.

More specific directions:
from Fayetteville take Hwy 19 north for 21 miles.
Drive over the only big bridge over a big lake with a sign that says "Hughes Bridge - Summersville Lake".
Then immediately turn right on the first little side street; this is at mile marker 39.0.
Then you will see a big gravel lot on your right where you will park.

Hike on the dirt road behind the gate up the hill. After about 8 min's, you will turn left off the dirt road down the first well traveled, narrow foot-path which heads down into the woods.
After a few minutes, this path will take you across a stream beside a very old, wooden, rotting bridge.
Follow the rest of the directions above. Jun 30, 2015
Sep 5, 2015
Liet Keynes
Denver, CO
Liet Keynes   Denver, CO
I found the directions to be pretty good and Austin's more specific directions helpful, except one thing: "Shortly thereafter head right into the woods at THE SECOND well-marked trail" - this was misleading, and I tried a couple not-trails I shouldn't have. After crossing the little stream, continue for 3-5min, not so shortly thereafter. And then yes, take the second very well-marked trail down steeply by a stream and waterfall to the ladder. Sep 12, 2016
Kyle Sutton
Richmond, VA
Kyle Sutton   Richmond, VA
Some additional directions clarification

I too tried a few "not" trails and after some unnecessary bushwacking and poor orienteering found the correct way, so wanted to add additional clarification for first-time venturers like me.

Getting to the stream crossing is fairly straightforward. Once you cross the stream, you will head slightly uphill. The trail actually diverges here to the left and right. You want to stay to the right. At the time of writing, there is a small rock cairn that marks the correct path. There is also a trail marker with a crudely scrawled "Rock -->" that can be hidden by branches.

You'll keep hiking for a little ways and then once again the trail will split. You want to stay to the right again. There is also a rock cairn at this point as well. You'll know you're going the right way if you see trees marked with red blazes and Army Corps of Engineers boundary signs on the trees.

From this point the other directions are accurate.

The first "exit" off this trail will take you to an overlook with remnants of a campsite. There is a waterfall and stream here as well, but this is not the one you want for access to the majority of the climbs. This is for Pirate's cove. There are boat ropes tied here to assist with the climb down that I do NOT recommend using based on their current condition. So, if you find yourself in this area unintentionally, go back to the trail with red blazes and continue for a bit until you reach the second "exit". You'll find timber "stairs" leading down to a stream crossing and the ladder as previously mentioned. Mar 7, 2017

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