Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gephardt-Dufty at Seneca Rocks

http://www.rockclimbing.com/routes/North_America/United_States/West_Virginia/Roped_Climbing/Seneca_Rocks_Region/The_Panhandle/Seneca_Rocks/Southern_Pillar/Gephardt-Dufty_41639.html

I just got back from Seneca Rocks today where I climbed the Gephardt-Dufty route. It is a 5 pitch 5.7 with very much an alpine feeling. It ascends a long ridge buttress for about 500 feet.

The climb has tricky route finding because the buttress is quite wide in many spots, allowing a variety of options. When in doubt you’re probably off route, it shouldn’t ever feel harder than 5.7 (Seneca 5.7 anyway…). Additionally the rock has tons of lichen which is often right on the route. Which brings me to the fact that yes, there is a lot of loose rock on the route itself and on the ledges. Hand holds are not a problem since you can usually feel when the rock is loose. Foot holds are a problem, make sure you have a good handhold. Do not ever do this climb when other people are at the base. Make sure your belayer has room to duck. Test, every, hold.

That being said, it’s an awesome climb. You have probably the best view of all the climbs at Seneca, truly awesome. It’s a pity I didn’t bring my camera. It’s also quite adventurous if you’re into that kind of thing. It is probably the longest climb at Seneca!

The descent involves a 100 foot rappel on the east face of the southern pillar and a long mud/bushwhack/scree descent. It really sucks. You can avoid the crappy descent by stopping one pitch short of the top and going off the right to Climbing Punishment anchors.

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