First Timer's Guide to Cooper's Rock
Cooper's Rock State Forest is only about 3 hours from Sportrock locations and is a hidden gem for bouldering. We've compiled this quick and dirty First Timer's Guide to have everything you need in one place for your first trip out to Coopers.
What to Expect
First, while there is some top rope accessible climbing and trad at Cooper's Rock (as well as a bolting ban), the bouldering is where it's at. And the bouldering is tough. With several hundred document boulder problems, there is something for everyone at Cooper's but expect some old-school "sandbagging" (problems that feel harder than the grade of the climb indicates).
Cooper's is a great place to learn how to boulder outside and a fantastic location for slightly larger groups. There is plenty of space to hang out, and a killer overlook at the end of the parking lot. Expect a fair bit of foot traffic, especially on weekends, but the traffic for climbing is generally not too bad.
What to Bring
Most landings are relatively clear and most boulders are under 15 feet tall, so you shouldn't need more than a couple of pads to protect each climb. We suggest 2-3 pads for every boulder you intend to climb on at one time.
Bug Spray and Sunscreen
Most boulders are pretty well shaded, but West Virginia summers can get pretty hairy, so bring the sunscreen. More importantly, make sure you stop and pick up some bug spray. The forest is pretty dense, and Cooper's is notorious for bugs!
Chalk is perfectly acceptable at Cooper's. Just be sure to avoid spillage and brush off as much chalk as you can when you leave a boulder as a courtesy.
Cooper's Rock Bouldering Guide Book is a fairly comprehensive guide to the climbs in the area. Pick it up from Sportrock or another local climbing gym if you have the chance. If you don't have the guide, there are many classic climbs logged on Mountain Project, and they are easy enough to find!
Food and Water
There are tons of places to hang out and have a picnic, so don't be afraid to make a day of it! It can get pretty muggy during the summer, so pack extra water if you are taking on the heat.