Summersville Lake [rock(tr,sport)]

Twenty minutes north of the New River Gorge, Summersville Lake is both a worthy diversion and a solid trip in and of itself.  That is of course if you like to clip bolts.  All of the routes at Summersville are single pitch sport routes (5.7 to 5.14+).  There are routes for all with several moderates at Orange Oswald, Long Wall and just to climber’s right of Narcissus Cave.  On the other hand, if you warm up on 5.12 then the Colosseum is the place for you.  During the summer months, swimming and deep water soloing opportunities exist as well…but just don’t fall because cliff jumping is worth a $5000.00 fine, which may ruin your weekend.

The approach is a little confusing but thank Eric Horst for this description (see below for full and legal citation):

From the climber’s lot “follow a dirt road up the grassy hill then back downhill about 400 yards to a wooden bridge across a stream. Cross the wooden bridge and take the first right turn onto another dirt road. Continue another 100 yards to a fork in the road-take the right hand trail.  In about 50 yards, you’ll see a faint trail off to the right–this trail leads to The Pirate’s Cove downclimb (only usable during low water). Stay on the main road and continue roughly another 250 yards to a well-worn trail off to the right.  Take this trail downhill and cross a small stream to a ladder. Descend the ladder and follow the trail a few paces to the Mega Boulder.  The full approach takes about fifteen to twenty minutes.”
Oh and wooden bridge should read more like piece of wood.

Climbing Gear

Leave the rack back in camp…a dozen draws should do the trick.


Various free topos abound of various quality…

Dr. Topo 

Real books include…

Steve Cater’s  New River Gorge, Meadow River and Summersville Lake Rock Climbers’ Guidebook

Eric Horst’s  Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland

Look out for a new guidebook Fall 2009 from Fayetteville local Mike Williams 


Water Stone Outdoors : Excellent shop in Fayetteville, WV.  Quality website with a bunch of local info and many YouTube videos… 

New River Mountain Guides :  HQ in Water Stone Outdoors.  Claim to be cheaper than a trip to the ER…something to think about.

Getting There

Probably 4.5 Hours from the Oakton Rally Point.  See these directions.If you are coming from the New River Gorge things are much easier.  Take US-19 N roughly 20 miles from Fayetteville, WV.  The climber’s lot is the first right after the bridge over the lake.  It is hard to miss because there are probably already other cars in it.  If not, you got up too early…this is sport climbing after all. 

Where to Stay

Look here

Where to Eat

Try these