Rising above the mighty Ohio River is a formidable sandstone rock outcropping beckoning for Ohio Valley rock climbers. Located just one mile north of Hannibal, OH, the Kiedaisch Wall presents the most variability and is the largest sheer rock face in the greater Wheeling area.
A quick look at the “Mountain Project” app, used by climbers across the country, shows 22 routes of various levels and climbing styles (4.3% are top rope, 52.2% are trad routes, and 43.5% are sport routes). The location is also quite accessible with parking on both sides of Route 7. Follow the marked Kiedaisch Wall Trail (look for the wooden sign) for about a quarter mile and you will reach the crag. The trail splits with the right side going to the face and the left side gently climbing uphill providing excellent access for securing top ropes above the cliff.
These cliffs are not the only highlight of the Kiedaisch Park area. The overlook at Kiedaisch Point towers above the Ohio River bottom some 500ft. The commanding views from the scenic vista looks down upon New Martinsville, WV and the Hannibal Locks & Dam. The viewshed north looks toward the old Ormet Aluminum Factory and the rolling hills of Appalachia.
Climbing is gaining popularity thanks to the rise of outdoor recreation. Millenials are experience-driven creatures and this sport fits that nitch. The Adventure Park at Grand Vue Park in Moundsville and Ascend Climbing Gym in Pittsburgh have really energized the industry in this region. And much to everyone’s delight, Ascend has announced plans to build a new facility in Bridgeville, PA, which will make this activity even more accessible. If you’re looking for like minded individuals, be sure to check out the Wheeling Climbers Facebook group where folks can meet fellow climbers, share climbing locations and catch rides to the climbing gym.
After a long day outdoors at Kiedaisch Park, a stop to Baristas is a must. Located in New Martinsville, they have great eats and local brews. The pub area (located in the basement) is like Drovers in Wellsburg, WV, with a beautiful sandstone cellar and an even better craft beer selection. Be sure to visit Thursday, Friday, or Saturday for their brick oven pizza. If the weather is great, there is a nice courtyard area for outdoor seating. For the early risers or the caffeine enthusiasts, their coffee is spectacular too.
Adventure sports are inherently dangerous, so please know the risks and triple check all safety gear. Always climb with someone else, inspect equipment religiously, and know your limits. Never go alone and always respect nature. Don’t put yourself or others in danger. Happy climbing!