This past weekend was one of the greatest weekends I’ve had in a long time and so needed after the hustle bustle of the past month.

 A few months ago, my old college roommate and dear friend invited me on a trip to West Virginia to go rock climbing and zip-lining. I immediately said, YES! The few months prior to the trip had been a blur in between moving twice and starting a new job so the trip really crept up quickly. A few days before the trip was due I checked out the website of the place that we were going and I think my stomach dropped upon seeing the pictures. This was not the rock climbing that I expected at all. I was thinking that we would be climbing a few rock fronts, but nothing too tall or scary.  Boy, was I wrong.

The rock climbing experience that we decided on was at Nelson Rocks Outdoor Center in North Folk Valley in Pendleton County, West Virginia and we stayed at Germany Valley Cabins that were nearby. The area is known for their fin like rock formations that jet out above the mountains. The climb that we chose to do is called Via Ferrata, which means ‘iron road’ in Italian. These systems are found worldwide and consist of iron rungs that are implanted in the mountains. It’s a mountain route of fixed iron ladders, cables and bridges that are to be utilized by climbers.

The specs of the climb we did are:

  • 3.5 miles long
  • ~1100 feet of elevation gain/loss
  • 280 feet of vertical exposure
  • A 200 foot long, 150 foot high suspension bridge
  • A top height reached of ~450 feet
  • Breathtaking views and shaking hands (just kidding, but not really)

After a 9 hour drive, a night spent by bonfire laughing and catching up with old friends and watching the Perseid meteor showers (so awesome in the pitch black night sky and so many meteors), it was finally the day to climb! After signing our life away (no really, their old waiver is crazy, funny and the most badass waiver I’ve ever seen: read here) , we finally suit up in our harnesses and hike the route to the beginning of the trail. WHOA, was my first thought when I looked up. Do we really want to do this? Pushing nerves aside we start the climb after explanation on how the carabiner and cable system works. The first climb was the most nerve-wracking and not because it was the most intense, but because you are learning how to use the cable system. After only a few minutes though we all were pretty comfortable with it and climbed on.

Below are just a few of the photos from our trip (here are all of them).

The view driving in was amazing! 
Our idyllic cabin for the weekend!

The view off the deck of our amazing cabin. Mountains surrounded us completely. 

Lots of cows that followed us all around the property.

The four people it took to start a fire 😉

Hubs and I before the climb started.

The view after the first part of the climb…still have a long way to go.

Handsome hubby at the turn of the fin. Gorgeous scenery at this point and a bit ore challenging maneuver to get around to the other side.

At the edge of the fin.

Looking down at Angie and Jim. Getting high by this point.

Good view of the treetops.

The scary suspension bridge. The wind of course picked up at the time I had to cross and it swayed pretty god, especially once there was more than one person on it.

The slats were pretty far apart…nice view of the ground 150 feet below. Eeek!

View from the top. I feel like we were looking down from a plane. 

Superman atop the mountain top!


If you look closely, you can see the suspension bridge we crossed earlier in the climb.

The whole group at the summit!

The watering hole at Seneca Rocks. We took a dip after the climb because we were burning up being in the sun all afternoon.

Hazy sunset our last night at the cabin.

If you’ve ever contemplated rock climbing or a via ferrata climb I highly recommend giving it a go! This was one of the coolest mini vacations that we’ve done. Aside from West Virginia, there are also climbs available in Colorado, Kentucky, Utah, Arizona, Tennessee, Canada and other countries. 

Have you been rock climbing or tried a Via Ferrata climb before? Would you like to? Would a fear of heights stop you from doing something like this?
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