Trad Fundamentals

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Trad Fundamentals...AKA Intro, Intermediate and Gym to Rock

Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides is the home of Seneca’s most experienced certified multi-pitch guides.

Our educational methods and guiding strategies are based on 40 years climbing, teaching classes and guiding on Seneca Rocks. This experience led us to recognize early the very profound and unique influence of climbing gyms and club programs. We responded by creating new tools and tailoring classes that blend the skills you have learned indoors into a personalized curriculum. This educational style is exclusive to SRMG and will create a seamless transition to outdoor ‘Trad’ climbing.

Don’t let different climbing abilities or experience levels keep you and your climbing partner from taking a course together. Disparate skills and abilities are actually an advantage and we are experts at creating unique experiences for each person in the course. Our talented guides will design the ideal curriculum and lead you on climbs which allow you to zero in on the skills specific to your place in the climbing team, the second, lead climber or rescuer. While our courses are easily the most progressive and comprehensive at Seneca Rocks our friendliness is legendary. Please don't hesitate to call or email with questions.

No matter your learning style, ability level or goals SRMG will create the optimum program for you.

Classes begin on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

Free Camping included w/all courses!

Class Times

Course 1 person 2 person 3 person
Trad Fundamentals 2 Day $295 $250 each $235 each *
Trad Fundamentals 3 Day $395 $350 each $335 each **

* 3 Person 2 Day class can start any weekday except Friday

** 3 Person 3 Day class must start either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday

All other weekday courses start on Tuesdays

Cancellation Policy

Typical 3 -Day Class

To design the best program for you we'll need to ask you a few questions, such as have you or your climbing partner followed any traditional climbs (protected only by removable gear? If so, where and how many? Have you followed any multi-pitch climbs?

A typical class would go like this...

Saturday: On the Rock You guys show up at our place in downtown Seneca Rocks, WV, by 8:30 am, and meet your guide. First, we'll review your experience to get an idea of what the day will be, and make sure you have all the equipment you need. (Bring the gear you already use, and we'll fill in the gaps.) Then we head to the crag. Your guide will figure out a route that relatively easy for you, although all the routes at Seneca have their own interesting challenges, whether it be steepness, awkwardness or exposure, so we can be sure that we're all speaking the same language on fundamentals, such as knots, anchoring, belaying the leader, direction of pull, and so on. You and your partner will be following your guide, removing protection on your way up the pitches to the summit of Seneca Rocks. Seneca's exposure, and objective hazards such as rockfall, will keep your interest no matter what the grade. Meanwhile, under your guide's supervision, you and your partner will be learning essential skills of traditional lead climbing: building bombproof anchors, belaying one another and learning about protection by removing the gear your guide has placed. At many strategic locations on the rock we'll also introduce and teach skills such as rope management at hanging belays, equalizing anchors, basic self-rescue techniques, etc. Learning will follow a logical progression based on you're and your partner's learning styles and comfort zones. We'll head back around 5, take an hour break, and then come back to our one-of-a-kind indoor climbing center.

Saturday evening - optional add on: Held in the Trad Wall Climbing Center. If you opt to keep learning, your guide will design an evening session to complement and reinforce the skills and information you and your partner learned during the day or teach you something completely new. Our one-of-a-kind Trad Climbing Center gives you the opportunity to practice placing protection and building anchors in actual rock walls and cracks (see our website, Because the skills you will learn are so specialized, and visits to the crag so limited, that we've found it's amazing how well an evening session helps you master and retain the skills and information you learned during the day. This is a two hour seminar.

Sunday: On the Rock! Today you and your partner get to apply all your learning from Saturday. You'll tackle tougher multi-pitch climbs, and maybe your guide will throw you a curve by having one of you play the role of injured climber and walk the other one through a basic self-rescue. By this time, you should be using the guidebook to help your guide make decisions for your party along the way. Today you might emphasize mileage, jetting up as many routes as possible, or work on more difficult routes, with your guide helping you through tricky sequences. Your guide can also hold mini-clinics along the way, depending on your and your partners interest and abilities. Your day will end around 5, unless you're staying a third day.

Sunday evening optional add on: If you still haven't had enough, it starts about an hour after you get down from the crag. By this time, you will have learned most of the skills to make you a competent second to a lead climber. But what if something goes wrong? Everyone who participates in lead climbing should know how to escape the belay, how to climb a rope using prussiks, and the basics of raising and lowering a climber. These are complex techniques, but when you're out in the wilderness and your partner's injured, they are indispensable. This evening will also provide your guide the opportunity to go over information and skills based on observation of your and your partner's climbing over the past two days.

Monday: If you are signed up for a 3 day course--back on the rock!! Your third day may be a stretch - multi-pitch climbing at or slightly above your comfort zone. If you want to lead, you may be sweating the hanging belays, roofs or precarious rests, thinking about how it would feel on the sharp end. It won't be as much trouble to remove the gear, and skills like rope management and anchor building will start to feel like instinct. If you want more lessons, your guide will be happy to oblige, but today is all about the climbing. A full day on the rocks, on routes you and your partner get to choose.

What Others are Saying

May 2010
Got back from the Intermediate Rockcraft class with Seneca Mountain Guides last night. I'll give the class two thumbs up. It was my first trip to Seneca so that was a big influence on how much I enjoyed it but the class was actually excellent. I debated whether or not the class was "advanced" enough but Brendan (highly recommended guide) did an excellent job tailoring it to me. I was lucky and was the only one in the class so it was just me and Brendan all three days. We got in a lot of instruction that I found really useful. Hopefully I'll put a little trip report together this week.
PATC Member Jeff Davis

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