REI Community
Summersville Lake (main)

Select Area...
Circus Wall 
Coliseum, The 
DC Memorial Boulder 
Gun Wall 
Long Wall, The 
Narcissus Cave 
Orange Oswald Wall 
Pirate's Cove 
Satisfaction Wall, The 

Summersville Lake (main) Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.2445, -80.85393 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 106,738
Administrators: Pnelson, Ladd, Shawn Heath, Jake Jones, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Whisenhunt on Nov 27, 2013  with updates from Antonio Caligiuri
Forecast:
Sorry, weather is currently unavailable.
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
BETA PHOTO: MAP of Summersville Lake area

Writing in chalk MORE INFO >>>

Description 

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 

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.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.7 miles from here

105 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',14],['3 Stars',42],['2 Stars',42],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',1],['5.7',1],['5.8',4],['5.9',13],['5.10',33],['5.11',22],['5.12',17],['5.13',11],['>=5.14',3],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Summersville Lake (main)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Summersville Lake (main):
Hippie Dreams   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 75'   Orange Oswald Wall
Chunko Goes Bowling   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 90'   Orange Oswald Wall
Menace Alert   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 50'   The Long Wall
She got the Bosch, I got Drilled   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 90'   Orange Oswald Wall
Orange Oswald   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Oswald Wall
Strong Arming the Little Guy   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Oswald Wall
Chewy   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   The Long Wall
Flight Path   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 40'   The Long Wall
Voodoo Surfing   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Orange Oswald Wall
Baby With A Nail Gun   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Orange Oswald Wall
Going Ballistic   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 50'   The Long Wall
Satisfaction Guaranteed   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   The Satisfaction Wall
Barfing Butterflies   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Orange Oswald Wall
Process of Elimination   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   DC Memorial Boulder
Maximum Overdrive   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 70'   The Long Wall
Under the Milky Way   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Long Wall
Reckless Abandon   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Coliseum
Narcissus   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 55'   Narcissus Cave
Tobacco Road   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Sport, 100'   The Coliseum
Apollo Reed   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   The Coliseum
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Summersville Lake (main)

Featured Route For Summersville Lake (main)
Rock Climbing Photo: the direct start is V5+ ish

Narcissus Direct 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b  West Virginia : The New River Gorge : ... : Narcissus Cave
Start on the pockets immediately left of the short dihedral start of Narcissus, work the sequetial pocket moves up to the middle of the traverse of Narcissus. Then, using jugs, and big crimps make the traverse quickly clipping as you go. Breathe and then get ready for the meat of the route, make a long reach off of some crimps (shorter climbers sometimes dyno, sometimes use a bad intermediate), then grab the big rounded lip, traverse out onto the arete bear hug it and get up a heel, make the...[more]   Browse More Classics in West Virginia

Comments on Summersville Lake (main) Add Comment
Show which comments
By Austin Harris
Jun 30, 2015
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.
By CarolineOdell
Sep 5, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Johnny Bravo (5.10a)
Johnny Bravo (5.10a)
By Daniel Paly
From: Denver, CO
Sep 12, 2016
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.
By Kyle Sutton
From: Richmond, VA
Mar 7, 2017
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.

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About