Summersville and Gauley River Rock Climbing
Nuria pulling a swim-up start
Summersville Lake is not in the NRG Proper, but due to it's proximity it is considered a part of the area. It is home to a host of high quality single-pitch sport routes along its northern shore. Ratings range from 5.easy (such as at the Orange Oswald Wall) to 5.14 (in the Coliseum), and there are even a pair of outrageous projects yet to be done, as well as much untouched cliffline that is either inaccessible or would require a boat. Water levels in the lake vary seasonally, which in turn affects the accessibility of certain routes. During warm months, deep water soloing can be a great relief from oppressive summer heat. CURRENT WATER LEVEL AT SUMMERSVILLE LAKE
Whippoorwill, Long Point, and parts of Summersville Lake are accessible when the reading for Summersville Lake at the link above is below 1600ft. When they drain the lake is dependent on many different factors and it's hard to say when it will be down/up with any sort of certainty.
Please note that there have been a few break ins in these areas. Make sure to park as close to the road as possible and keep valuables out of sight.
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 east for a ways until it descends down, crosses a stream at an old bridge, and then heads back up again. Shortly thereafter head right into the woods at a well-marked trail. Follow this trail past a few branches until it descends steeply by a stream and small waterfall. There is a ladder here to faciliate the scrambling. This will deposit you very near the DC Memorial Boulder. Head climber's left along the cliff band to access the Perot Wall and the Coliseum, or right along the cliff to the Long Wall, Narcissus Cave, and Orange Oswald Wall. Pirates' Cove, a great area that is only accessible during low water, can be reached via a separate trail or by scrambling around from the Colosseum.
The approach includes a 15ft ladder, if you are bringing lassie, plan on lowering it down.
Either take them down the ladder or use the following directions:
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.
Weather station 1.5 miles from here
176 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',19],['3 Stars',84],['2 Stars',63],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
Classic Climbing Routes in Summersville and Gauley River
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Summersville and Gauley River
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Summersville and Gauley River:
Featured Route For Summersville and Gauley River
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
Still Life before the hold broke. 14b
BETA PHOTO: Ladders with dogs, not impossible.
Swimming and climbing during a hot WV summer... li...
Camp site after one hell of a storm.
Cliff jumping is super fun, yet carries a $5000 fi...
A little something for everyone !
Whippoorwill from the slab.
The Collesum on the right and Summersville Lake Br...
Oct 7, 2015
Please refrain from writing messages at the base of climbs with chalk. It is unsightly, unnecessary, and becoming unfortunately common at Summersville.
If you need to leave a critical condition report (bad bolts or anchors) for popular climbs, please rely on word of mouth, this website, or by reporting bad hardware to NRAC. Everyone wants to be a good steward, but turning the rock into a message board is not the way to do this.
By Daniel Paly
From: Seattle, WA
Sep 12, 2016
Don't be too scared off by the water level notes. As someone who didn't know the area I was worried major parts of Summersville Lake wouldn't be accessible late August with the CURRENT WATER LEVEL link still saying just over 1,600ft. I didn't check out Whippoorwill etc., but everything from The Coliseum to The Circus was well above water and eminently climbable :)
Sep 12, 2016
Daniel -- The collesium thru circus wall are always above water, barring floods or other anomolous conditions. Whippoorwill and Pirates Cove are accessible during low water only. Not sure where the confusion came from, as this info is pretty clearly indicated.