SENECA ROCKS MOUNTAIN GUIDES EAST

DC AREA OUTDOOR CLIMBING COURSES

at carderock and great falls

Whether you’re brand-new to climbing, new to climbing outside, or looking to further your skills, take the next step with Seneca Rocks Mountains Guides East and our 30+ years of training climbers and alpinists to reach their goals—from getting to the top of your first outdoor climb to multi-pitch and alpine objectives.
 

Rock climbing is a craft, best taught through experience. For the the first time ever, we’re bringing our philosophy of small classes and hands-on learning to the Capitol region to prepare you for safe, successful, and independent climbing at your local crag, at Seneca Rocks, and beyond.


our 2021 season is open!

We're excited to launch a full season of foundational and advanced classes, road trips, and exclusive events! New offerings include Advanced Top Rope Systems, Self-Rescue, backcountry and multi-pitch camping and climbing trips, and youth summer camps. See our full schedule below or contact us for custom programming.

DC-AREA CLASSES

local TRAD CLASSES

WOMeN'S EVENTS

NEW! ROAD TRIPS

NEW! SUMMER CAMP

PRIVATE GUIDING

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DC-AREA CLASSES​

Our industry-leading classes are hands-on experiences led by professional, certified guides in small groups for personalized instruction close to home. From first-time climbs to skills for trad leading and self-rescue, continue your journey as an independent rock climber with expert guidance from the area's most trusted instructors.

Introduction to OUTDOOR Rock Climbing

$135 per person | full day

CARDEROCK/GREAT FALLS | no experience required

 

Get outside! Fundamental skills for new and aspiring outdoor climbers—taught on real rock. Whether you're climbing for the first time or a gym climber looking to try climbing outdoors, start your journey near home with expert guidance.​ You'll learn:

 

  • Gear selection and use

  • Basic knots

  • Belay technique

  • Rock-reading skills and climbing movement

  • Rappelling

  • Crag etiquette and stewardship​

UPCOMING DATES

 

- May 22 (one spot) - May 30 (two spots) - June 12 (FULL) - July 3 - July 24

TOP ROPE ANCHORS

$135 per person | full day

CARDEROCK/GREAT FALLS | TOP ROPE CLIMBING & BELAY EXPERIENCE PREFERRED

A full day focused on the skills you need to climb safely and independently outdoors—wherever and whenever you want. You'll learn best practices and gain hands-on experience building solid and redundant top rope anchors using natural protection (trees and rocks) that you can climb on with confidence. You'll learn:

  • Fundamental principles and current best practices for solid, redundant anchors using natural protection in common terrain

  • Anchor gear selection and use

  • Essential knots and backups

  • Terrain assessment, site safety (mind the edge!), and efficiency

  • Environmental impact mitigation

This class is also available as part of our Coopers Rock Road Trips

UPCOMING DATES

 

- May 23 (three spots) - June 5 - June 12 (FULL) - June 27 - July 17

new! ADVANCED TOP ROPE SYSTEMS

$135 per person | FULL DAY
CARDEROCK/GREAT FALLS | TOP ROPE ANCHOR EXPERIENCE REQUIRED 

 

Continue to build your anchor skills and access new challenges with advanced techniques for top rope anchors. You'll gain hands-on practice as well as contextual critical thinking skills to help you confidently manage complex sites and climbs, including top-access sites (such as many riverside climbs at Great Falls) and climbs with additional hazards such as roofs and traverses. You'll learn:
 

  • How to build solid, strong anchors for top-managed sites

  • Critical top-belay and lowering techniques

  • Basic hauling and pulley systems

  • How and when to use directionals to increase climber safety

UPCOMING DATES

 

- June 12 - July 11

GYM TO CRAG: INTERMEDIATE OUTDOOR ROCK CLIMBING 

$135 per person | FULL DAY

CARDEROCK/GREAT FALLS | top rope climbing and belay experience REQUIRED

Turn your indoor climbing skills into smooth, confident movement on real rock. With a focus on subtler footwork, balance, and the nuances of finding and using rock holds and features, you’ll refine your climbing technique and technical skills for deeper engagement with every route and a strong foundation for all future climbing objectives. This next-step technique and movement class will have you climbing stronger both indoors and out! You’ll learn:

  • New climbing techniques unique to climbing outdoors, including basic crack climbing techniques

  • How to stand, smear, and smedge confidently on small and slippery feet

  • Weight shifting, balance, and body tension for efficient movement on poor holds

  • How to read the rock, identify holds, and sequence your climbs

  • Crag etiquette and management of the different objective hazards of outdoor climbing

This class is also available as part of our Coopers Rock Road Trips.

 

UPCOMING DATES

 

- June 6 (two spots) - July 10

WOMeN'S CLIMBING CLINIC

$135 per person | full day

carderock | top rope climbing and belay experience preferred

Join us for a day of crushing your climbing goals and discovering new ones with other women in a supportive, community-building environment! The area's best female instructors will guide you through a day of building confidence, climbing skills, and technical knowledge. You’ll learn the fundamentals of outdoor top rope climbing, including:
 

  • Movement and technique on natural rock, with instruction tailored to your strengths

  • Best practices for safety and stewardship

  • Basic top rope anchor demo and explanation of principles

  • Opportunities to find new climbing partners

  • A supportive and inclusive environment

UPCOMING DATES

 

- May 29 - June 19 - July 17

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dc-area trad climbing classes

Ready to see the big picture? Start building the technical skills and essential knowledge to tackle multipitch traditional (free climbing with removable protection only—no bolts!) objectives in Seneca Rocks and beyond. Our unique DC-area trad climbing classes are designed to launch you toward your goals while maximizing your time—take the first step near home and be ready to make the most of continuing education in Seneca Rocks.

MULTI-PITCH FUNDAMENTALS

$150 per person | full day

annapolis rock/great falls/catoctin | top rope climbing & belay experience REQUIRED

Get oriented and build familiarity with the gear, systems, and skills of traditional climbing in a multi-pitch environment—you'll practice technical skills and gain the knowledge you need to be a safe, competent partner to a guide or leader and get the most of every trad following experience. When you're ready, book further classes in Seneca Rocks, WV to try your new skills in a real-world multi-pitch environment. You'll learn:

  • Advanced belay skills including lead belay/top belay and use of ground anchors;

  • Multi-pitch systems including rope management and belay transitions;

  • The basics of cleaning trad gear as a follower;

  • Multi-pitch rappels

This class is also available as part of a backcountry camping and climbing trip at Annapolis Rocks July 24-25.

UPCOMING DATES

 

- June 13 (one spot)​ - July 11

intro to trad climbing

$150 per person | full day

annapolis rock/great falls/catoctin | top rope climbing & belay experience REQUIRED

Prepare to get on the sharp end with a comprehensive introduction to trad lead climbing—the ultimate path toward adventure and freedom. You'll level up your climbing with hands-on practice placing and testing passive and active protection and learn to build the complex anchors you'll need when there are no bolts in sight. When you're ready, put your new knowledge into action with multipitch trad climbing classes in Seneca Rocks, WV. You'll learn:

  • To place, assess, and test both passive (nuts and hexes) and active (cams) protection

  • To build bomber multi-point anchors in unique situations using natural protection and gear

  • Hands-on practice placing gear while climbing with instructor feedback

  • Principles and concepts of safe, successful trad lead climbing

This class is also available as part of a backcountry camping and climbing trip at Annapolis Rocks July 24-25.

UPCOMING DATES

 

- May 22 (two spots) - June 19 - July 3

NEW! SELF-RESCUE FUNDAMENTALS

$150 per person | full day

annapolis rock/great falls/catoctin | top rope climbing & belay experience REQUIRED

The greatest day at the crag can go wrong. Do you have the technical skills and assessment framework to manage challenging situations and get yourself back to the ground safely? In this full day of hands-on learning and practice, you'll learn critical skills to handle the most common scenarios requiring rescue or alternate solutions—​foundational knowledge for any outdoor climber. You'll learn:

  • Alternative belay methods for emergency use

  • Rope ascension techniques

  • Emergency rappel systems 

UPCOMING DATES

 

- July 18

WOMEN'S EVENTS​

Build confidence, technical skills, and community in women's-specific events led by inspiring guides in a fun, supportive, and inclusive environment. 

WOMeN'S CLIMBING CLINIC

$135 per person | full day

carderock | NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED

Join us for a day of crushing your climbing goals and discovering new ones with other women in a supportive, community-building environment! The area's best female instructors will guide you through a day of building confidence, climbing skills, and technical knowledge. You’ll learn the fundamentals of outdoor top rope climbing, including:
 

  • Movement and technique on natural rock, with instruction tailored to your strengths

  • Best practices for safety and stewardship

  • Basic top rope anchor demo and explanation of principles

  • Opportunities to find new climbing partners

  • A supportive and inclusive environment

UPCOMING DATES

 

- May 29 - June 19 - July 17

new! TOP ROPE ANCHORS (WOMEN'S-ONLY SESSION)

$135 per person | full day

carderock | top rope climbing and belay experience preferred

A full day focused on the skills you need to climb safely and independently outdoors—wherever and whenever you want. You'll learn best practices and gain hands-on experience building solid and redundant top rope anchors using natural protection (trees and rocks) that you can climb on with confidence. You'll learn:

  • Fundamental principles and current best practices for solid, redundant anchors using natural protection in common terrain

  • Anchor gear selection and use

  • Essential knots and backups

  • Terrain assessment, site safety (mind the edge!), and efficiency

  • Environmental impact mitigation

UPCOMING DATES

 

- coming soon

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ROAD TRIPS

Ready to next-level your climbing experiences? Our signature road trips are complete weekend climbing trips—you'll learn new skills, meet partners, and enjoy the satisfaction of leaving the city behind to immerse yourself in the area's most beautiful locations. Led by guides with unique local knowledge as well as technical expertise, you'll find new crags to call home.

Road Trip: Coopers Rock, wv

$350 per person | Full weekend

coopers rock, wv | Top rope belay experience recommended

A full weekend of technical instruction, movement clinics, and plenty of climbing time on the unique American gritstone of Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia. Overlooking the beautiful Cheat River Valley, Coopers Rock is a hidden gem with hundreds of boulder problems and routes on highly featured, coarse sandstone. Hone your skills, camp on-site or stay in nearby Morgantown, and enjoy an immersive climbing trip to one of our favorite area crags.

This weekend-long event combines our Top Rope Anchors and Intermediate Rock Climbing classes into two full days of experiential learning and engagement with the rock—you’ll learn to build a variety of solid anchors, then put them to the test by climbing on them during movement and climbing technique clinics. You’ll learn:

 

  • Fundamental principles and current best practices for solid, redundant top rope anchors

  • Anchor gear selection and use

  • Intermediate to advanced top rope anchor setups (optional) 

  • ​Movement techniques unique to climbing outdoors, including basic crack climbing techniques; how to stand, smear, and smedge confidently on small and slippery feet; and weight shifting, balance, and body tension for efficient movement on poor holds

  • How to read the rock, identify holds, and sequence your climbs

  • Crag etiquette and outdoor ethics

Please note the fee includes instruction only; we recommend reserving a campsite in the Coopers Rock State Forest or staying in Morgantown if you prefer not to camp.

UPCOMING DATES

- June 5-6
- October 16-17

NEW! Road Trip: backcountry trad at annapolis rock, md

$350 per person | Full weekend

annapolis rock, md | Top rope belay experience recommended

A proper trad climbing weekend! Backpack in along the Appalachian Trail to local beauty spot Annapolis Rock and spend two full days learning and practicing multi-pitch and trad climbing skills on steep, tall white quartzite cliffs—some of the best climbing within an hour of DC. We'll camp overnight within sight of the crags and enjoy dinner and breakfast overlooking Maryland's best sunset vista in a truly immersive backcountry experience. 

This weekend trip combines our Multi-Pitch Fundamentals and Intro to Trad classes into two very full days—by the end of the trip you'll have a solid foundation of knowledge and practice to continue building on for traditional multi-pitch climbing. You’ll learn:

 

  • Advanced belay skills

  • Multi-pitch systems including rope management, belay transitions, and complex rappels

  • Essential gear knowledge and cleaning skills

  • To place, assess, and test both passive (nuts and hexes) and active (cams) protection

  • To build bomber multi-point anchors in unique situations using natural protection and gear

  • Hands-on practice placing gear while climbing with instructor feedback

  • Principles and concepts of safe, successful trad lead climbing

This trip includes a short but strenuous (2 mile) guided hike carrying your own camping gear into the backcountry. 

UPCOMING DATES

July 24-25 (FULL) - new dates coming soon

New! ROAD TRIP: OUTDOOR SPORT CLIMBING in NELSON ROCKS, Wv

$350 per person | full weekend
nelson rocks, wv |  Top rope climbing and belay experience required; indoor sport lead and lead belay experience recommended

 

Learn to sport lead climb safely outside and you'll be able to access thousands of crags and climbs around the world. Spend a full weekend immersed in the technical skills, climbing techniques, and outdoor climbing know-how you need need to lead climb and lead belay safely anywhere you go.

This class is an SRMG exclusive, offered for the first time at a private sport crag designed for the effective instruction of hard-to-teach techniques—it's a unique chance to learn essential skills in an environment that has all the nuanced challenges of real sport routes in a comfortable, focused setting. Lodging and activities for non-climbers are available on-site at Nelson Rocks; contact us or check out their website for more details. You’ll learn:

  • The mechanics of lead climbing and belaying outdoors, including hanging draws, clipping, and taking and catching falls; 

  • Essential technical skills for outdoor sport climbing, including cleaning anchors, using a stick clip, and more;

  • Techniques for smooth, confident movement on outdoor sport routes, from route-reading and sequencing to climbing and resting techniques unique to real rock;

  • Crag etiquette, site safety, and management of the different objective hazards of outdoor vs indoor lead climbing.

There is no strict climbing ability limit for this class, but we suggest being able to toprope 5.8 outside to get the most out of the day. Some indoor lead experience is recommended but not required. Private camping at Nelson Rocks and group dinner/breakfast at SRMG base camp in Seneca Rocks is included.

UPCOMING DATES

- May 22-23 - June 26-27 - July 17-18 - August 21-22 - September 11-12 - October 9-10

NEW! Road Trip: SENECA ROCKS, WV

$350 per person | Full weekend

SENECA ROCKS, WV | Top rope CLIMBING AND BELAY EXPERIENCE RECOMMENDED

All roads lead to Seneca Rocks—the tallest peak on the East Coast only accessible through technical climbing. Unique fins of Tuscarora quartzite tower over a confluence of two rivers, offering spectacular multi-pitch climbing and breathtaking exposure that have called to climbers from all over the world since the 1940s. You'll have the opportunity to build skills with a custom curriculum, or simply enjoy being expertly led up classic routes by the most experienced guides in the North Fork Valley. Get ready to stand on the summit of Seneca Rocks! This camping and climbing trip is open to all skill levels and includes:​

  • Camping at SRMG's private creekside campground with full outdoor kitchen and amenities

  • Dinner Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning

  • Two days of guided climbing

UPCOMING DATES

- May 22-23 (FULL) - June 26-27 (FULL) - July 17-18 - August 21-22 - September 11-12 - October 9-10

SUMMER CAMP: TEEN ROCKS AT SENECA

Achieve new heights as a climber and leader in the outdoors with a full week of climbing, camping, and adventure in wild and wonderful Seneca Rocks, WV.

New! summer camp: teen rocks at seneca

$1475 per camper | 8 days (saturday-saturday)

seneca rocks, wv |  Top rope climbing and belay experience required

Spend a full week climbing, camping, and developing confidence and leadership skills outdoors in unplugged, rustic Seneca Rocks, WV—the tallest peak on the East Coast only accessible through technical climbing. Unique fins of Tuscarora quartzite tower over a confluence of two rivers, offering spectacular multi-pitch climbing and breathtaking exposure that have called to climbers from all over the world since the 1940s.

 

An action-packed seven days include plenty of time on the rock in single- and multi-pitch climbs, with technical instruction including gear, movement, and self-rescue skills—but the lasting takeaways include learning to communicate with a partner, assessing risk and solving problems in wild country, and taking on leadership roles within a group.

Tuition includes all climbing and camping equipment (except personal sleeping gear) as well as meals and group camping on-site at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides Base Camp. High guide-to-camper ratios ensure each camper receives personal attention and achieves success on challenges tailored to their ability levels. Our expert guides are the area's most experienced and trusted certified professionals, with unique local knowledge and industry-leading safety standards and records. Camp activities include:

  • Single- and multi-pitch climbing instruction and coaching with certified guides

  • Trad following and leading practice

  • Self-rescue seminars and practice

  • Full indoor climbing gym on-site

  • Camp cooking and backcountry skills

  • Teamwork, communication, and partnership skills

  • Risk assesment, group management, and problem-solving skills

  • Leadership development

UPCOMING DATES

June 19-26 | July 10-17 | August 7-14