Headed to Seneca Rocks to climb for the first time? This guide will give you the beta you need for a successful first ascent!
Seneca is located just 3.5 hours or less from major cities like Washington, D.C., Pittsburg, PA, Richmond, VA and more. The appeal of Seneca is that not only does it host amazing multi-pitch rock climbing but, it's the east coast's tallest 5th class summit. Routes range from 60 to 300 feet tall over 1-6 pitches. You can start climbing from Roy Gap road or hike up the "Stair Master" to the base of the South Peak to shorten the day. From the road it's 5-6 pitches to the summit, while hiking the stairs shortens the day to around 3.
Seneca can present difficult route finding, following, and rappels. Hiring a guide to show you around the area can ensure you learn your way around and get plenty of climbing in!
- Blue Ridge Mountain Guides
- Seneca Rock Climbing School
- Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides
- March through November
- Winter Climbing is Possible
What to Bring
- Trad Rack: Stopper, Cams 0.1-3, and Tri-Cams
- 60m 9.2-9.8 Single or Half Ropes
- 20-30 Liter Backpack
- Satellite Communicator (there is no cell service)
- Guide Book
Where to Stay
- Seneca Shadows Campground
- Yokum's Motel
Where to Eat
There is not an abundance of food option in Seneca. The main restaurants are below. If you need a grocery store, you can travel north 30 minutes to Petersburg, WV. Anyone with dietary restrictions should plan on bringing their own food.
- Harper's Front Porch
What to Climb
Seneca has a number of classic climbs. We recommend starting out on a route well below your climbing ability at Seneca. Routes can be sandbagged!
- Old Man's Route 5.3
- Conn's West 5.5
- Banana, Debbie, Gunsite to South Peak 5.7
- Ecstacy 5.7
- Tripple S 5.8
- Cotton Mouth 5.10
Common Rappelling Options
Some rappels at seneca do require 2 60m ropes and will leave you in a free hanging stance if you don't have enough rope. The most common rappel is Traffic Jam. For this reason, many first time visitors choose to climb to the summit via Old Man's Route which passes by the top of traffic jam.
- Traffic Jam 3x 30m rappels
- Conn's West 2x 30m rappels
- Pleasant Overhangs/West Face Summit 2x 60m rappels
Grant is an American Mountain Guides Certified Rock Instructor who serves as the Head Guide for Blue Ridge Mountain Guides.