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Description

Small sport climbing area located between Franklin and Petersburg with limestone cliffs very similar to Franklin Gorge, but with more moderate climbs. South facing wall with all day sun. Many routes from 5.7 to 5.11 and potential for more climbs between already established ones. For up to date information, check out Mike Gray's rakkup guide http://rakkup.com/guidebooks/smoke-hole-canyon-reeds-creek-rock-climbing/

Access issues

Located on public lands, in the National Forest. Generations of locals have hunted game here, so apprise yourself of hunting seasons & regulations, and be respectful of other user groups. Please note that the plateau above the routes is PRIVATE LAND, and the land owner does not permit encroachment of any sort.

Approach

Turn on Reeds's Creek Road from Rt 220 near Upper Track, WV. There will be two small pull-outs on the left: first about 100 ft from the 220 intersection and second about 500 feet by the stream crossing. Both can take 2-3 cars. Additional parking can be found on the intersection with Rt 220. The trail-head is about half way between 2 pull-outs on the right. The trail is easy to spot because of steep rock steps leading from the road.

A typical Potomac Highlands approach, short & steep, but on a good trail. Staying on the trail is imperative, as even a slight mis-step causes a good bit of negative impact. Always remember that a hillside trail is much stronger on the uphill edge, and much weaker on the downhill edge.

Where to stay

  1. Eagle Rock private campground is 10 min. away at "38.824398, -79.290244". Beautiful location, but all you get is field to pitch your tent and an outhouse.

  2. Franklin, WV is 15 min. away with stores and motels.

  3. Thorn Springs Campground near Franklin is 20 min. away. Privately owned.

  4. Big Bend campground in Smoke Hole Canyon near Ketterman is 30 min. away. This USDA Forest Service campground is one of the the most scenic and secluded in the area. Great destination on it's own.

Ethic

Leave No Trace, stay on trails, you-damage-trail-you-fix-it-NOW, no trundling onto road, no Quick-Links, no tick marks, clean up your chalk, clean up your tape, no chipping, no theft, no defacement, use camouflaged hardware, inspect & replace worn carabiners, respect red tags, walk on the left side of the road, respect hunters & hunting seasons, no top-roping through fixed gear, etc., etc.

Areas

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Routes

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Grade Route

The trail from Gypsy wall to other areas goes all the way to the wall at the place with large partially detached column. To the right of the column there are 2 long climbs that share first couple bolts.

The climb goes through the initial wall to a ledge where the route splits. The right fork goes next to a sharp arete which can be used to chimney up to access the upper wall. Continue face climbing passing several bolts.

Note that Mike Gray's guidebook mistakenly says 6 bolts, there are actually 10 plus anchors.

The trail from Gypsy wall to other areas goes all the way to the wall at the place with large partially detached column. To the right of the column there are 2 long climbs that share first couple bolts.

The climb goes through the initial wall to a ledge where the route splits. The left fork pull through a bulge before continuing up the upper wall.

[Still a closed project, please respect the efforts of the FA] The trail from Gypsy wall to other areas goes all the way to the wall at the place with large partially detached column. To the left of the column there is a deep crack, face, arete and larger face again. Start there and follow 4-5 bolts t0 the right to a bulge with old, rusty, down-pointing piton. Continue to the top.

FA: M. Fisher, 2012

Located in a lower part of the cliff band, within plain sight of Reed's Creek Road. Begin on a steep face, with a dihedral to your right. Climb past 2 bolts, to a good stance below a slight bulge/overhang. Pull past the bulge at the third bolt, onto a face with good holds. Continue past several more bolts, traversing slightly to the right, then onto the sharp arete above, finishing at a set of ring anchors.

FFA: R. Eubank / M. Fisher, 2011

Located 50 meters up the hill from Stop The Presses. As the main trail goes up the hill there will be smaller short trail splits that will lead to a narrow wall with arete on the right and open book on the left.

The climb is on a tall vertical wall flowing large features. Moderate well protected and highly recomended.

FA: Mike Fisher, 2012

Climb past the blocks in the large corner, finishing at a tree above the left face.

FFA: Pat Frank, 2011

Bolted line on the far right side of the wall. Climb chiselled holds on steep rock to a ledge, move through an overhang (look for underclings) and finish on a fun move to the top.

FA: Mike & Cindy Gray, 2014

Scramble up under big roof, clipping the first bolt near the lip. Pull straight through the roof, and continue to the top on more moderate terrain. Finish at a set of ring anchors.

FFA: Michal Stewart, 2011

Left of the large low roof withe Rain route, just underneath 30 degree corner half way up. Start at a small roof with an under-cling hold climb a steep face with large side-pull on the left and finger crack on the right to better holds. Cruse long moderate but steep and sustained face to chain anchors.

FFA: M. Gray

Climb starts ten feet to the left of the Still Laughing and ten feet to the right of Golden Horseshoe. Climb a short & steep face with good holds, to the first clip. Pull the crux through the overhang on small holds, to a welcome stance below the second clip. Continue up the steep sustained face, to finish at a two bolt anchor. An excellent route, this was the first addition after the "rediscovery". Very worthwhile and harder than Still Laughing.

FFA: Michael Gray, 2009

Climb starts ten feet to the left of Reaching Conclusions and few feet right of a small cave. Scramble up the short face, to a sizable roof with good holds, to the first clip. Pull the roof by traversing few feet to the left to a good sidepull, than continue up the steep face above. Finish at a set of rings. Harder than Reaching Conclusions to the left.

FFA: Ryan Eubank, 2009

Stepping up onto a short pedestal, climb the obvious line past five bolts, to a lay-down rest under the roof. Pull the roof at the sixth clip, continuing up the headwall past one more bolt, finishing at a set of chains. An excellent route, with strenuous & sustained climbing on the lower two thirds.

FFA: Michael Fisher, 2010

FFA: Michael Fisher, 2013

Extending bolts 6 and 8 good for rope drag. Please don't TR through the fixed draws at the anchors, one is grooved already, hopefully replaced soon.

FA: Mike Fisher

Climb up a mini-buttress to the first bolt, continuing up the face past four more bolts, and onto a sizable ledge. A brief run-out to the sixth bolt, then continue past one more bolt, finishing at set of ring anchors. A very fine & popular route.

FFA: Michael Gray, 2009

FFA: M. Gray

Climb past five bolts to a good no-hands rest. Continue past one more bolt, accessing the headwall on the right side of the roof. Pass two more bolts, finishing at a set of welded cold shuts. A wild ride, for sure. Cleaning the draws on top-rope is advisable.

FFA: M. Fisher / C. Clarke, 2010

FA: Mike Fisher, 2009

Five bolts to a set of chain draws. Starting below the rock pile, climb straight up the steep rock past two bolts, to a ledge. A #10 Hexcentric (or #3 Camalot) protects the run-out to the third bolt. Continue past two more bolts, pulling a small overhang, to finish at a set of chain draws.

FFA: Ryan Eubank, 2010

From the ground directly below the anchors of 'Internal Dialogue', climb straight up to the big roof, to clip a bolt. Pull the roof, to another clip, then climb past one more bolt, and finish at the anchors of Internal Dialogue.

FFA: Ryan Eubank, 2010

Good sustained climbing past four bolts, leading a good rest on a small ledge with a bolt. Climb past the bolt to another good rest. From the last rest, trend right, surmounting the lip, then the slightest traverse sneaks past the final roof, to a wonderfully exposed finish. Seven bolts, to a two bolt anchor with links. Cleaning the draws on top-rope is advisable.

FFA: Michael Gray, 2009

Thin climbing past four bolts, easing slightly at the fifth, then up to a good rest on a ledge. A brief run-out above the ledge, then two more bolts, finishing at a set of chain draws hanging out of the left side of the very large triangle-shaped roof above.

FFA: Ryan Eubank, 2011

Steep & sustained, climbing out of a small maw and onto the face above, passing a small roof on your right, then up through a slightly larger roof to gain the upper arete. Seven bolts, to a set of chain draws. Fun, pumpy, and engaging.

FFA: Ryan Eubank, 2010

FFA: Michael Fisher, 2010

Climb up a slab with a crack on the left. A #3 Camalot can protect the run-out to the first bolt. Climb up to a good rest at the third bolt, then continue up the steep face, easing off to finish at a set of chains. A very good route with a nice sequential crux.

FFA: Michael Gray, 2010

Start 10 feet downhill from Winter Harvest on a pyramid of rocks stacked so one can reach a large starting hold. Climb steep rock past three bolts, to a good rest at the forth clip. Continue up the beautiful face on smaller holds, finishing at a set of chains. Very high quality overhanging route with some hard to see holds placed exactly where they need to be.

FFA: Michael Gray, 2010

Another early route, that is both devious & sequential. Seven bolts, to a now two bolt anchor.

FFA: Justin Day et. al.

Begin in a large open book on the right side of wall, just right of Grapevine Massacre and it's large roof with a chain draw. Climb shallow chimney on the right side of the open book past 2 bolts, to a third one at the base of the headwall on the left side of the open book. Continue face climbing up past five more bolts, with a good rest in between, finishing at a set of ring anchors. Very worthwhile.

FFA: Michael Gray, 2010

Beginning in the maw of a large cave, just left of Winter Harvest with a large horizontal roof about 20 ft from the ground with a chain draw. Climb up past a bolt to the roof. Continue past 4 bolts under the roof, then onto a beautiful head wall. Continue past five more bolts, finishing at a set of chain draws. Very impressive, and quite burly.

See also "Harlem" 5.12 b-c (FA: Mike Farnsworth) described at http://www.mountainproject.com/v/harlem/110118878

FFA: Mike Farnsworth

FFA: M. Fisher / M. Gray, 2010

The rightmost route at The Boneyard, 4 bolts, to a two bolt anchor. Very fun.

FFA: Michal Stewart, 2010

Extending the 2nd bolt will greatly reduce rope drag, but make sure you clip bolt 3 before attempting the roof moves.

FA: Peter Habuda, 2005

At the "Boneyard" just right of Sea of Tranquility. This is known to be one of the first sport routes at Reed's Creek. Follow the shiny hangers up to a BIG roof with good holds. Pull the roof, and continue up to a set of bolts with chains & links. A very good line, with a bouldery crux. This route is believed to have been established by a Seneca guide by the name of Justin Day. If anyone has any other info, please post up in the comments.

FFA: Justin Day

At "The Boneyard" just left of Catfish Stanglehold. Scramble up to a large ledge. A # 8 Hexcentric can provide additional safety to reach the first bolt. Continued moderate climbing leads to the first roof, and the third bolt. Sustained steep climbing passing two more bolts and one more roof. There might be several ways off climbing past the second roof, traversing to the left or to the right to easier terrain. Finish at a set of chains.

Due to the high angle, it is advisable to have a second remove the draws, and make their descent via rappel. There are some loose rocks at the roof and large loose blocks further to the left of the roof but possibly within the reach, so belayer and other members of the party should not stand underneath. The crux of the climb becomes ascending the roof without pulling or stepping on the loose stuff.

FFA: Michael Fisher, 2009

5 bolts, to a set of shuts. Scramble up a short dihedral off the ground, to a good stance at the first bolt. Continue past two more bolts, and through a small overhang, to a good rest on a narrow ledge. Continue up to another bolt at a small bulge, climbing straight up the face above, to a large roof with the last bolt at the lip. Pull the roof there, and finish at a pair of welded cold shuts. With varied & strenuous climbing, this is an excellent, and engaging, route. A #.5 BD cam under the roof after bolt 4 protects the moves to bolt 5 very nicely.

FFA: Michael Fisher, 2010

'Superman" area is currently the secondmost furthest established route "upstream", at the end of the maintained trail. Begin from the same ledge as "Superwoman" but climb the left facing column. Follow the easiest line up through big holds above 2rd bolt. 3rd bolt cannot be seen from the ground. Traverse right to the arete after the 4th bolt and enjoy. West facing, morning shade, and evening sun. 4 bolts, to a set of welded cold shuts. The belay ledge is suffering serious erosion issues, be mindful of that with your belay. A lower first bolt was added and then removed as it did not help with the erosion issues.

FFA: Michal Stewart, 2010

Begin at the face just left of the steep 3 foot wide earth ramp leading to the top. Follow the bolts through tricky face climbing to the anchors. Following the FA this is 5.7, though many find it harder. This is an exercise in route finding outdoors, once you lock in the moves (go a little right at bolt 4, then up and traverse to be a little left of bolt 5) the FA rating is solid, maybe give it a 5.7+.

FA: Guy DeBrun, Connie Magee, and Mike Farnsworth & Mike Farnsworth, 2014

Activity

Check out what is happening in Reed's Creek.