Climbing

Massive Snake Slithers Down Climber’s Anchor and Leg on Multipitch

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How’s this for a first day of climbing? A massive black snake (western rat snake) slithers down David Hylton’s anchor and leg at the top of the second
pitch of Skyline Traverse at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia.

“I’m slightly more scared of snakes than I am of heights,” Hylton says.

Adult black snakes commonly reach six feet in length and the species holds the official record for the longest snake in North America, at eight feet five
inches. But fortunately, they’re nonvenomous.

“Had that been an Eastern Diamond Back Rattlesnake,” says Hylton, “I’m sure I would have unroped and gone on a free solo escape.”

Despite an unusual first-time rock climbing experience, Hylton says that it hooked him and has been climbing ever since.

Video submitted by David Hylton