Climbing

Alex Nixon / 90.5 WESA

The Seneca Rocks area of West Virginia's Monongahela National Forest re-opened Friday morning after a nearly week-long, 5-acre fire tore through the western base of its north peak.

Officials said climbers should use caution when re-entering the area because of unstable footing along access routes and possible changes to climbing routes. The feature's hiking trail and observation platform were both impacted by the fire, but have been cleared of immediate hazards, officials said.

Michael Virtanen / AP

Law enforcement responded to a fire this weekend at one of West Virginia’s most recognizable landmarks.

Officials said guests at the Seneca Rocks area of the Monongahela National Forest set off fireworks that sparked a blaze around the Lower Slabs climbing area at around 10 p.m. Saturday. The fire and its plume were still visible through the wee hours Monday morning.

Massive and intimidating, the craggy, knife-edge landscape of Seneca Rocks draws serious rock climbers from southwestern Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, to its fiercely vertical routes.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA

Todd McCormick leaned against a freshly scrubbed, cinder block wall and jammed the toe of his shoe against speckled gym floor matting.

“Words,” he said, grinning – willing the rubber to yield. “Words cannot even express how excited I am.”

Mitch Pa / flickr

Pittsburgh's Derek Davies is embarking on a journey to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mt.Kilimanjaro. Part of his mission is to raise awareness and money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Derek Davies joins us to discuss his adventure along with Pat Joseph, Executive Director of the Western PA Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The world of climbing lost a daring innovator Saturday when Dean Potter, 46, died during a wingsuit flight from Yosemite National Park's Taft Point. Potter was killed along with Graham Hunt, 29, as they attempted to soar above Yosemite Valley and El Capitan.

The pair attempted their wingsuit flight on Saturday around dusk — a time that National Geographic says many athletes choose for BASE jumping, which is illegal in all of America's national parks. They were found Sunday by a search and rescue helicopter.