The following article is a paid collaboration with Wild, Wonderful West Virginia.
What better way to help your little ones burn off some energy than learning to rock climb? It’s not just physical exercise. The sport will also require your kids to use their brain power to figure out the best way up the wall. Lucky for you, West Virginia is home to a variety of well-known climbing camps and clinics for children.
From indoor rec centers to week-long outdoor expeditions, here are the best rock climbing options in the state for kids:
1. Seneca Rocks Climbing School
Seneca Rocks is one of the best-known climbing areas in the state, if not the entire East Coast. Seneca draws some of the country’s top climbers to the Monongahela National Forest for its quartzite walls (that closely resemble the feel of sandstone) and demanding multi-pitch climbs.
The Seneca Rocks Climbing School calls the crag home, and while most of its classes are open to all ages, the top rope course is especially recommended for kids who are just learning to climb. Top rope climbing is the safest, least intimidating way to learn the sport, and you can rest easy knowing that your little ones are in good hands. The course is open to new climbers of all ages, so you can also take a class as a family for a fun summer bonding activity.
2. Climbing New Heights Kids’ Camp
This indoor climbing gym in Martinsburg, WV, is the perfect place for your little ones to let loose. The family-run gym may be small, but is home to the familiar climbing culture that the sport thrives on.
New Heights has summer camps for kids, which have a mix of both indoor and outdoor climbing. Parents are encouraged to tag along, especially when the group climbs outdoors, so you ‘ll have the perfect opportunity to check in on your kiddo(s) as they scale the walls.
Camp is day-by-day, so you can sign your child up for as many days as you want. The gym also has before- and after-camp care with movies and games to keep your kids occupied until you get off work.
3. Coopers Rock Climbing Guides
This is one of the top climbing camps for children. It’s so much more than just a climbing camp: Coopers Rock is also highly educational, with a heavy emphasis on geology, so your children will learn rappelling and climbing techniques while discovering how the cliffs formed and which types of rock they’re holding on to.
The seven hour long, one day camp takes place a few days each summer in Coopers Rock State Forest. It’s open for children between the ages of 8-12, and on average, there are two counselors for each group of six campers. Excited parents are welcome to join in on the adventure and snap as many Insta-worthy pics as you want, all day long.
4. Earth Treks Teen Rox Expedition
Earth Treks is one of the largest climbing gyms in the Virginias. While the gym itself is in Virginia, instructors have a teen-only climbing camp right in Coopers Rock, WV, just across the state line. The week-long camp helps your teen develop climbing skills, no matter what level they’re starting at.
There are workshops for first-timers and courses that go all the way up to multi-pitch climbing skills. Plus, with a max group size of only eight kids per trip, your teenager will receive plenty of one-on-one attention from climbing instructors. Besides climbing techniques, they’ll also learn about camping skills like cooking around a campfire and how to become a strong leader.
5. Experience Passages Rock Week
Experience Passages is a summer camp geared toward outdoor adventure sports. Each week focuses on a new activity, and adventures range from river kayaking to fat tire biking, with a full week devoted to rock climbing.
During Rock Week, Experience Passages takes campers to the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia, where your 11-to-17-year-old will learn new skills to improve their technique and increase their climbing grades. For seven full days, campers will send routes known around the world.
Note: This camp is not for beginners. Your child must be able to climb 5.9s before signing up.
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