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Seneca Rocks beta for the light weight traveler?
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By Jerimiah Gentry
From Denver, CO
May 17, 2014

Hello World:

I'm a Front Range climber (don't judge) and I will be in DC area this summer for a family reunion. I will be spending a few days afterward - a Sunday night to Wednesday night - camping with my girlfriend and my sister and her husband around Seneca. Sibling and spounse are non-climbers but the GF and I climb. I'm a solid 5.10 trad climber (up to 11+ for straight forward crack climbing, less so in Eldo) and clip bolts in 12 range. I've climbed in Eastern Tenn and Western NC a fair ammount. Solo around 5.5 on avg in familar terrain. I'd like to bring a minial rack. Any recomendations for a moderate tick list and a moderate rack? I don't want to check a bag. Can I get by with a 50m rope, RPs, nuts and a single set of cams up to a #2 BD? I know grades are subjective yadayada, just want your 2 cents.

Thank you kindly,

Jerimiah.


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By robrobrobrob
May 17, 2014

Been a while since I been there, but pleasant overhangs is well within your grade and a good warm up. Marshall's Madness is another.

Have fun


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By Lewis Hardcastle
From Incline Village, Nevada
May 17, 2014

I would throw in a #3 and obviously 30 sets of Tri-Cams.


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 17, 2014

Love Seneca. I am not a local but have made the 14hr drive 10 times. I have always used doubble 60's there. If I brought a single it would likly be a 60 for the rapps? It is very much like a desert tower. Many of the pitches are or can be short but I can not vouch for the rap stations? this spring there were some newer bolted rap stations and they may be set for modern ropes. Some of the stations were moved off of trees etc. I know the rap fromthe top of Pleasant O's/ Greenwall we did a 10m rap and then a very full free hanging 60m rap. I do know you can get donw with a single rope or downclimb Old ladies etc.

Gunsite 5.3 or 5.4 depending on which way you go is an amazeing solo. Old ladies is a good orientation solo.

Do not discount the 5.7's and eights as they are many of the most classic lines and pleanty good climbing.

5.7 Megga classics.
Green Wall
Pleasant O's
Extacy
Soler
and a must do West Pole 7+ with the highly recomended direct finish.
5.8 Megga Classics
Tomato
Alcoa
Tripple S 8+
Conns East with the direct start.

5.9
Marshals Madness
High Test 9+

5.10
Crack Of Dawn
Agony
Castor
Orangeaid

You are a bit stronger than me but my standard Seneca rack is...
single set of BD soldered micros
doubble set of BD stoppers #4 to #9
Single set stoppers #9 to #13
Single set micro cams to small purple Camalot
Doubble set of Green.75 camalot to #3 blue camalot

Hope this helps


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 17, 2014

A few shots from last month.

west face
west face


top of Tomato
top of Tomato


Typical Seneca 5.7
Typical Seneca 5.7


Seneca 5.8
Seneca 5.8

More summit action
More summit action


Seneca 5.3
Seneca 5.3


Seneca 7+ ;)
Seneca 7+ ;)


View from the campground
View from the campground

Princess snowbird campground is cheaper and has better Van/truck camping but the bathrooms are HORRID!
Seneca shadows State campground has a better view and nice clean bathrooms. The pizza upstairs of Harpers is edible but if you want any kind of real grocerys bring em with you. there is a real grocery store in Petersburg but it's long on spam, ham, turkey,beef and american pasturized, processed cheese food product but real short on organic fresh veggies, free range egs,etc. ;)


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By TFerguson
May 17, 2014
Seneca Rocks, WV

Single set of stoppers
Single set of cams, micros through BD#3
A few tricams
Set of Hexes

Do West Pole into Bring on the Nubiles. It'll rock your world.
Marshall's Madness to Crack of Dawn also highly recommended, along with Castor, Pollux and Orangeaid on the East face.

A single 60 will do just fine for the raps.


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By Mark Cushman
From Cumming, GA
May 18, 2014
Profiley Styley

Bring a 60m for the raps, a rack of nuts, single set of cams to #3 and maybe a few tricams. RPs aren't really required but they don't weigh anything either. Make sure you climb Ecstasy, the Burn, Soler, West Pole, Triple S and Gunsight Direct and you'll go home happy. Grades are stiff compared to Eldo.


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By Doug S
May 18, 2014
Edge of Time <br />

Mark Cushman wrote:
Bring a 60m for the raps


+1

Pleasant overhangs is a great route but has a hanging belay. Green Wall is right next to it and also awesome.


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By Alex Hilshey
From Hollidaysburg, PA
May 19, 2014

As crazy as it sounds, if you want to go light, bring hexes. I NEVER use hexes anywhere, but i always have two with me at Seneca. That places EATS passive gear. I use two hexes to double up on #1 and #2 BD sized cams. Doubles from .4 to .75 are nice. Singles in metolius #1 and #2.

You'll likely want a 60 meter for a lot of the raps.


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By Alex Hilshey
From Hollidaysburg, PA
May 19, 2014

And if you're going to do any moderates, bring a BD #3.


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By Chris Clarke
From La Paz, BO
May 19, 2014

That would be a normal rack for most of the 5.11s too.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
May 20, 2014

There is a place to buy fresh eggs about four or five miles south of Seneca on the west side of the road look for a sign. Zero cell service but AT&T starts around a church parking lot about 3 miles south of town on the east side of the road.


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By Eric Fernandez
From Dixon, CA
May 20, 2014

Pretty much all covered, one suggestion, if you can fit it to have double ropes will really save a ton of time and add to the mileage you can put it, you can do most of the raps straight to the ground in one rap instead of two and will be able to pass a lot of parties futzin around rigging rappels, weekends can be busy especially classic routes so it really does help to move fast and beat other parties to the routes you want. climb soler first get the summit out of the way and If it is a busy day avoid afterwards, climb route rap from there, have a blast the place rocks!!


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 20, 2014

why would you want to get the summit out of the way? how about enjoy the summit because it is pretty darn special. that seems like the same yo yo mentality that I encounter from many of the younger climbers. they are so quick to lower off of everything that they miss out on much of the climbing experience. heck you would almost think that they don't like being up on a cliff. Yes the summit can be a cluster on a busy weekend but if you have doubbles there are many ways down other than the west pole/old mans cluster rap. only used that one twice on our last trip. But yes we had doubbles and therefore had many more choices of decent.


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By J. Serpico
From Saratoga County, NY
May 20, 2014

I agree with the idea of passive gear. Hexes, nuts and tricams are really all you need at Seneca. If your willing to stay a few grades below your limit, I see no reason to bother with cams.

Most routes can be done with a 50m rope.


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 20, 2014

I see no reason to bother with hexes or tricams;)


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By BrianWS
May 20, 2014

Hexes, nuts, and tricams are all you need if you want to climb the easy routes that are frequently clogged with huge lines of slow parties. Anything 5.10 and up usually requires small cams and brass. I'd recommend racking up to #3 with doubles in the small cams, extra small-medium nuts, and RPs if you're trying to save weight and climb the classic lines harder than 5.9.

The climbing is comparable to Eldo in terms of seriousness, with occasionally suspect stone and an abundance of antique fixed hardware. Grading is more or less similar - there are notable sandbags here and there, but it isn't as exaggerated as some make it out to be.

Lots of folks have mentioned Crack of Dawn - it is a great route, especially if done as one pitch. Other good 5.10 routes: Sunshine, Cottonmouth/Venom, Castor, Pollux, Madmen Only, etc. There are a few good sport lines in your range, too - check out Spinnaker.

A 50M rope will make lots of otherwise great climbs a pain in the ass. Bring a 60.


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By Eric Fernandez
From Dixon, CA
May 20, 2014

Nick easy man, I just don't always climb for the summit. I agree the summit of Seneca is beautiful, fun, and very unique for the East but the climbing is better than dealing with the cluster up there in the middle of the day on a Saturday or Sunday. Avoiding, maybe the wrong word, allows for a lot more time actually climbing. I say Soler because it is great to top out right on the summit the first time instead of the class four scramble of a lot of the other routes.

I find a lot of people who want to take every route or link up to the summit and while I enjoy being up there I usually try to get up early, people seem to sleep in at Seneca, climb a route to the summit when it is empty and then have fun following or avoiding the sun the rest of the day depending on weather. Not trying to knock the guides, love them there and they do a lot of great work/maintenance/upkeep on the rock and trails, and taught me how to climb, but by the time the guided parties are on top it's just to many people, and hard to find a decent anchor when the big block is taken to bring up a second if climbing something on the East face.

Routes like Triple S, West Pole, Marshall's Madness, and Ecstacy are all amazing and don't go to the top, and yes I agree with you avoid that Old Man's, Conn's West rappel unless you have to climb something right near the base of it.

I heard from a friend they updated/added/changed the rap stations this Spring, anyone have info on that?


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 21, 2014

West pole does in fact go to the summit if you climb the whole route.
top of West Pole

Top of West Pole
Top of West Pole


Top of west pole direct finish
Top of west pole direct finish


Belay on top of West Pole
Belay on top of West Pole

yes you do need to scramble back through the slot for the old mans/ west pole rap but there is 2 rap stations there now. Doubble 60's get you within scrambeling distance of the ground from the anchor climbers left of the big clusterfck.

there are 3 new glue ins at the top of pleasant O's, Green Wall area. it is possible that doubble 70's make it down from here but i would hate to try it and be wrong! We did a 30-40ft rap to older bolts and then a looong 60m rap that just barely touched down. We used this station to get down from Tomato.
rapping from the new bolts above Greenwall
rapping from the new bolts above Greenwall
Hight test goes to the summit and has bolts to get back down with 60m doubbles.


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 21, 2014

Top of West Pole. you won't have to share this summit with the guides;)

Top of West Pole
Top of West Pole


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 21, 2014

TrippleS and Marshals have summits as well if you do the complete route.


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By Stagg54
May 21, 2014

I've climbed there a lot. A standard trad rack will do just fine. ie. 1 set nuts, 1 set cams. TCUs or Mastercams or equivalent are useful. RPs are useful on some routes. Be careful with a 50M. I'm not sure, but I think it would probably work (a lot of routes were put up with 50s).

Grades can be stiff. Approach anything with a plus (especially 5.9+) or anything that is not an uber-classic with caution. If you are feeling strong though, Crack of Dawn is a great climb. Haven't done it , but High Test is supposed to be awesome. Castor and Pollux are great. Don't overlook the Southern Pillar either, there is some good stuff over there - Climb and Punishment, and Gephardt-Dufty stand out. Also recommend, The Burn, Lichen or Leave it, Ye Gods and Little Fishes. So many good climbs there...

Also it may be very easy for you, but Gunsight to S Peak (direct or regular, but I prefer direct) is amazing. One of the coolest 5.4s you will ever do...


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 21, 2014

+10 on Gunsite. we did it in a snow squall once. Full value:)


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By Kirby
From DC
May 21, 2014

Hi Jerimiah,

You aren't a Front Range climber, you're a Tallahassee Rock Gym climber!

Seneca is my home crag. I love it so much. Here's a few tips:

- I live in DC if you want to borrow my double rack and 60 meter and guidebook and HELMET--you'll want. You could also rent them from the Gendarme climbing shop right next to the general store. The borrowing gear thing would work if you are coming back to fly out of DC. I think a single rack would work for almost all of these climbs (though you perhaps couldn't do the money linkups like Cottonmouth-Venom and Marshalls-Crack of Dawn).

- Seneca has some spectacular climbs, pretty much all mentioned here are great. My personal favorites:

Marshall's Madness 9
Crack of Dawn 10a
Triple s 8+
Cottonmouth 10a
Madmen Only 10a
Orangeaid 10b
Judgment Seat 10a
West pole 7+ (DO WEST POLE--best 7 there, feels almost like a 10!)
Bring on the Nubiles 9+
castor/pollux 10a
Soler 7
Candy corner 6

- Other stuff: Front Porch Restaurant Pizza is decent and cheap. Bring your 6-pack up from the store.

- Princess snowbird is cheap and kind of loud from engine brakes, but not bad. Check in at the general store. You also have the option of staying in one of the hotel rooms above the general store, but they are probably shitty.

Also I'm going to PM you my email and cell in case you decide to borrow gear. I wish I could come out and show you around myself but, alas, work.

-Kirby


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By Nick Goldsmith
May 21, 2014

Feels like a 10:) It would be a 5.9 @ rumny:)
Mad men is a 10b in my book and felt All of that!


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By Kirby
From DC
May 21, 2014

Mad men is a GREAT route :) I love when you pull into the second wide blocky crack, wind whipping through the hole, and you reach your arm into it... only to grab the other side of Seneca Rocks!


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