Learning to climb.. from SWPA


Original Post
Josh Mankey · · SWPA · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

South of Pittsburgh, north of Morgantown is a geographic anomaly for climbing resources; some boulders, some sport climbs, few trad, and even the closest climbing gym is an hour away. Despite these obstacles, I still want get out of the gym and onto some real rock. I want to gain some basic knowledge and experience before I try anything though.

There are a few climbing schools at Seneca rocks and new river gorge that I've been looking into. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations or experiences with any of them. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks!

Redyns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

"some boulders" if endless world class sandstone counts as "some".
welcome to PA.

Luke Lindeman · · Lancaster, PA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

You're close to Coopers which is stellar bouldering, from what I've heard. Get a crash pad, some friends, and go.

If you're looking for solid multi-pitch roped climbs, the Seneca Rocks Climbing School will take care of you. They're great people, very professional and fun to climb with. I took my SPI course down there with Massey and have climbed down there quite a bit. It's great and you'll likely learn a lot about getting on rope. Seneca will also help you learn how to manage risk...

You've also got easy access to the New, which has an endless supply of sport, trad, and bouldering. You're not too far for weekend trips, so that's probably your best bet. New River Mountain Guides are also stellar, they can take you anywhere you want to climb in the gorge and I'm sure they do instructional courses as well. Get in touch with Waterstone or contact the guide services. They'll take care of you. Both are reputable.

Good luck, have fun.

Josh Mankey · · SWPA · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks for the response!

My greatest obstacle is finding climbing partners. I've exhausted all of my options with friends and co-workers that might have an interest (they do not). So I'm forced to eventually find strangers to climb with. I think it's safe to assume that most people won't want dead weight for a partner, which I will be until I receive some form of instruction.

I'm not opposed to bouldering, it's just not my end goal. I'd like to have the knowledge to do climbs that require gear when the opportunity arises.

Seneca and new river gorge are both about 3 hours from home, so they are my first choice when looking for a training program. I've heard a lot about the gunks and, from what I've found, there are several options for schools in that area. It's almost a 7 hour drive, but if anyone has a good recommendation, I could make it happen.

Also, if there are any other climbing schools in/around PA that I may have overlooked please let me know.

mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Your local AMC (or similar) chapter may have a group that does climbing classes.

They are a good way to meet leaders and learn how to be a good second.

In that environment, you don't have to worry about your inexperience; they wouldn't be having the classes if they didn't expect to need teach you.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
Josh Mankey wrote: So I'm forced to eventually find strangers to climb with. I think it's safe to assume that most people won't want dead weight for a partner, which I will be until I receive some form of instruction.
Advertise yourself honestly, and see what you find. You might be surprised at the people willing to take a newbie out. Climbers love to share what they know (for better or worse...).

Just do some research, and self learning so you can have some way to judge what this person is showing you.

Hiring a guide is another, or rather a parallel solution. Doing both is probably the best way to learn right, but not be so cost prohibitive to getting out there.
Matt Stroebel · · Lakewood, OH · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 40

Try the Partners search on Mountain Project, top of the page, between route guide and forums. I've met a half dozen or so great people through it.

RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

http://www.pittecp.org/

Nate Fye · · punxsutawney pa · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Hey Josh, I'm from just north of Pittsburgh (punxsutawney) and am in about the same boat. Usually it's just my daughter and I out bouldering and I set some to toprope up for her but she isn't even close to weighing enough to belay me. Im Always looking for climbing partners. There is some decent bouldering around and a few places to set up the ropes, if your interested lemme know and we'll go climbing

Michael Lagueux · · San Diego, CA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 225

Go bouldering! If you go alone, chances are you'll make new friends out there. While that's happening, you'll be getting better at making moves. That way you'll avoid being "dead weight", because you can climb! Once you come across someone that will be a good mentor for you, things will really take off. Good luck, and have fun!

John Silbar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Recently I found a lot of interesting ideas and travel through, look here .
I want to climb most popular mountains. Especially since I already know the cost of such expeditions.
It is interesting. What do you think about this?

Matt Michaels · · Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 0

The Explorer's Club of Pittsburgh has a rock school starting in the spring. It's a great way to learn how to build anchors, fundamentals of climbing, and climb with a bunch of people.

normajean · · Reading, PA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 50
Josh Mankey wrote:I've exhausted all of my options with friends and co-workers


In my experience, a chance that a random person, when asked, would agrees to try climbing is nearly null. At my lowest point, before realizing that, i found myself propositioning my dentist.

Josh Mankey wrote:I think it's safe to assume that most people won't want dead weight for a partner, which I will be until I receive some form of instruction.
You are not dead weight if you are a good belayer, and you can learn that in a gym.
Josh Mankey · · SWPA · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Hey thanks everybody! A lot of good suggestions here. I'm looking into ecp, and plan on going to a meeting this Thursday to see what it's about. In the meantime I think I will get a crash pad and get on some boulders since I can do that by myself.

Thanks again everyone!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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