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Summersville Lake

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Circus Wall 
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Satisfaction Wall, The 

Summersville Lake Rock Climbing 

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Location: 38.236, -80.8553 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 77,331
Administrators: Ladd, Chris Whisenhunt, Shawn Heath, Jake Jones, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Whisenhunt on Nov 27, 2013  with updates from Antonio Caligiuri

63° | 58°

66° | 34°

46° | 28°

38° | 23°

49° | 34°

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BETA PHOTO: MAP of Summersville Lake area

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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.

Getting There 

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 TO THE LEFT OF THE MAIN TRAIL, crosses a stream NEAR an old bridge, and then heads back up again. Shortly thereafter head right into the woods at THE SECOND well-marked trail (the first right will lead you down to Pirate's Cove). Follow this trail past a few branches until it descends steeply by a stream and small waterfall. There is a ladder here to facilitate 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 or use the walk-around below.

Note: if you have a large dog and using the ladder is not a viable option, there is an alternate approach. Instead of taking the trail down to the stream and ladder, continue along the trail of red blazes for ~10-12 minutes until you see a house up to your left. At this point you can cut down towards the lake where there is a break in the cliff. This deposits you ~5 minutes past the Orange Oswald Wall. Walk to the climber's left along the cliff until you reach your desired destination.

Climbing Season

Weather station 1.5 miles from here

98 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',42],['2 Stars',38],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Summersville Lake

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Summersville Lake:
Hippie Dreams   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 75'   Orange Oswald Wall
Chunko Goes Bowling   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 90'   Orange Oswald Wall
Menace Alert   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 50'   The Long Wall
Unnamed Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Orange Oswald Wall
Orange Oswald   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Oswald Wall
She got the Bosch, I got Drilled   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 90'   Orange Oswald Wall
Strong Arming the Little Guy   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Orange Oswald Wall
Indian Summer   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 50'   Pirate's Cove
Baby With A Nail Gun   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Orange Oswald Wall
Satisfaction Guaranteed   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   The Satisfaction Wall
Mutiny   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Pirate's Cove
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
Ly'n and Stealin'   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Circus Wall
Apollo Reed   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   The Coliseum
The Mercy Seat   5.13a/b 8a 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Coliseum
Pod   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Coliseum
BC   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- 30 E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Coliseum
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Summersville Lake

Featured Route For Summersville Lake
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 Add Comment
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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: Seattle, WA
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.

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