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Pendleton County, WV

Seneca Rocks

It is unknown who the first person was to climb Seneca Rocks. Undoubtedly Native Americans scaled the rocks prior to European settlers reaching the area. The documented climbing history of the rock began in 1935 with a roped ascent of the North Peak by Paul Brandt and Florence Perry. In 1943-44 the U.S. military used Seneca Rocks to train troops mountaineering before the invasion of Italy during World War II.

Sececa Rocks
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Seneca Rocks, a nearly 900-foot quartzite formation rises above North Fork Valley. The quartzite is approximately 250 feet thick, and is located primarily on exposed ridges. The rock is composed of fine grains of sand that were laid down approximately 440 million years ago, as an extensive sheet at the edge of an ancient ocean. As years of geological activity followed, the ocean receded and the under layer of rock uplifted and folded. Millions of years of erosion stripped away the over laying rock a left remains of the arching formation known as Seneca Rocks.

Rock climbers are often seen scaling the ledges one of the best climbing spots on the East co. Due to the hardness of the Tuscarora sandstone I mation and the degree of climbing difficulty, Sen Rocks offers rock climbers a unique opportunity adventure. There are over 375 major mapped climbing routes, varying in degree from the easiest (5.0) to the most difficult (5.12). Only trained and experienced rock climbers should attempt to scale rocks. For the non-climber, a self-guided interpretive trail, beginning behind the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center, offers a way to reach the lofty heights of rocks and view the scenic valley below. The trail is 1.3 miles and ascends the north edge of the rock: a viewing platform. Steps, switchbacks and benc scattered along the trail ease the trip for visit Exhibits and displays at the Discovery Center' help explain the geology of the rocks, history of region and provide a good introduction to the many activities and attractions of the area.

View the majestic, vertical walls of Seneca Rock climb the trails at the junction of US Rt 28 and Rt 33 in the village of Seneca Rocks.

Legend of Seneca Rocks

Seneca Rocks gets its name from the Seneca Indians who made the area their home. The only daughter of Chief Bald Eagle and his wife, White Rock, was Snow Bird. As a young girl she played at the base of the towering rocks, often gazing at their topmost peaks and longing to be able to climb the tallest of them. As a young woman, she was the most beautiful of all the maidens of the Seneca Indians. As the day arrived to choose a mate, all suitors for the hand of the Seneca princess assembled in a semi-circle facing the mighty rocks. A hush of silence fell on the group as Princess Snow Bird moved swiftly and gracefully into the circle to face her suitors.

Snow Bird spoke to her suitors: "Of all the Seneca Indians, I am the only one who has accomplished the fear of climbing the rocks. There have I spent the happiest, the most enjoyable days of my life. To the brave who can master his fear and follow me to the top I will give my hand, my heart and my life."

The journey began with Snow Bird in the lead. As the climb became more difficult, some turned back while others crumbled in a heap near the pinnacle. Finally, Snow Bird reached the summit and turned to look for her suitor. He was only a few feet below her. As his foot slipped on the ledge of rock, the maiden caught the falling brave and drew him to safety and herself.

Long they talked of their future before descending the trail at the rear of the gigantic rocks. As darkness approached Chief Bald Eagle and White Rock greeted the couple. The great chief conferred upon his newfound son-in-law the honor of successor as the chief of the Seneca tribe.

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