At just under an hour’s drive from Charlottesville, Wintergreen is central Virginia’s premier after-work crag. This collection of rock outcroppings is known for its stunning views across the Appalachian foothills and its high-quality, grippy granite. Most of the routes here require some trad climbing proficiency, though you’ll find several boulders and a handful of sport routes scattered throughout. Plus, there are both shady and sunny aspects, so you can climb year-round. With a wide range of grades and styles and nearly 50 climbs to choose from, Wintergreen has something for everyone.
Wintergreen is home to routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.12c, and boulders from V0 to V7. Here are a few local favorites.
Simplicity (5.6): The first pitch of this three-pitch slab line is bolted, which makes this a great practice route for new sport leaders. You can either stop at the anchor, or keep going for a 310-foot trad variation known as Beyond Simplicity—a great opportunity for burgeoning multi-pitch leaders to practice their skills.
Happy Cracks (5.8): Great gear placements and fun movement make this twin-crack system one of the most popular routes at Wintergreen. Rappel rings at the top make for an easy exit and allow for a top-rope setup. This one’s not to be missed.
Fear and Loathing (5.10): Technical, delicate movement makes this 40-foot mixed line one of the best climbs in the area. There are three bolts, though most climbers bring a piece or two of trad gear for extra security.
Heroes and Handlebars (5.11a): Small gear and interesting tension moves make this seam, corner, and crack climb a good challenge for the experienced leader. Not quite ready to lead it? No problem: You can climb to the top of the Happy Cracks anchor (see above) to work it on top-rope.