Hi, I'll be in the Seneca Rocks area, April 16-20, 2016. This was my stomping ground when I started climbing in the 1970's, and I'd like to become re-acquainted with some of my old favorite routes. I'm looking for someone to climb with. I still can handle up to 5.10 trad, though I recall Seneca Rocks ratings are very sandbagged (which I didn't realize until I started climbing elsewhere). I'll have rope and full year rack. You can reach me at mettatout-03 @ yahoo com.
I climbed there a lot in the late 70s to early 80s. Back then the gun site notch was still a gun site (the Gendarme was standing) and Roy Gap road was the place you camped. And then there was Buck Harper. Towards the end of my climbing at Seneca, the field above the Gendarme was opened for camping. It was free then. This is now the Seneca Shadows Campground which is now owned by the Forest Service and is no longer free. It is very nice though.
Since then, the visitor center has burned down and has been rebuilt a mile or so south. Back in the early 80s there were probably less then 10 bolt on the entire cliff. Now they are pretty common. They're mostly at rappel stations and at some belay stances. Not necessarily a bad thing, just not something I expected after climbing there in the earlier years. A lot of the rating have been adjusted. When I opened up the latest guide book, I found that I had climbed a lot more 10s than I knew of.
As far as the local, it seemed that back in the 80s they just lived with and accepted that people climbed out there. Now it seem like there is a lot more of the local population that sees the rocks as tourist/money making opportunity.
In reality, probably the biggest difference is when I was climbing out there in the 80s, I was seeing it through the eyes of someone in their 20s. Last time I was there I was seeing it through the eyes of someone in their 50s.
Either way, I love the place and hope to make it back there soon.
Mark Thesing From Central Indiana Joined Apr 20, 2010 63 points