Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland  by Eric J. Horst and Stewart M. Green

Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland Guide Book

by Eric J. Horst and Stewart M. Green (Falcon Guides)
Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland  by Eric J. Horst and Stewart M. Green
The Mid-Atlantic region abounds with superb rock climbing areas, including hidden gems far from the crowds. From the granite peaks of Old Rag Mountain to the miles of glowing Nuttall Sandstone in the New River Gorge, the states of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland offer exciting and diverse climbing opportunities.

© 2013 Eric J Horst and Stewart M Green/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 58.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 58.

Aid Box is home of some of Great Falls’ hardest climbs, as well as one mega-classic crack, Lost Arrow (5.10c). While the routes are rather short, they require good technique and lots of power. May the force be with you!
Reston, VA - Climbing
The clean white faces of Annapolis Rock arguably offer the state’s finest climbing opportunities. However, with an hourlong approach along the Appalachian Trail, the crags are visited by more hikers than climbers. The area’s west exposure provides a great view of the Potomac River Valley and, quite often, a stunning sunset. Consequently, Annapolis Rock is a popular camping area with AT hikers, and there are numerous sites located near the overlook at the top of the cliff.
Boonsboro, MD - Climbing
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By itself Beauty Mountain would be a significant climbing area anywhere in the country. Simply put, it’s got everything: classic cracks, killer sport routes, and good bouldering. Still, this area is overlooked by many visiting climbers enamored of Endless Wall or Kaymoor. Make a break for Beauty; you won’t be disappointed!
Lookout, WV - Climbing
On just about any nice day, you’re bound to find a flock of rock climbers perched on the 50- to 60-foot cliffs of the Bird’s Nest area— and for a good reason: There are more highquality climbs here than in any other section of Great Falls. The Canal Cut area, just a few paces upstream, also offers four routes. which are detailed here. Please note that rock climbing is prohibited in the Canal Cut proper.
Reston, VA - Climbing
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If the miles of “endless” Nuttall Sandstone walls at the New River Gorge aren’t enough for you, there is another small stretch of quality rock about 50 miles upstream from The New. In this rare case “upstream” means “south,” and it’s just above the Virginia–West Virginia border that you’ll find Bluestone Lake State Park and a small, moderately developed cliff known as Bozoo.
Pettry, WV - Climbing
Bridge Buttress is many climbers’ first stop upon arriving at The New, probably because of its location directly below the visitor center and the US 19 bridge. While there are some excellent routes here, don’t spend too much time at this crag, as there are many bigger, better things to be found in the gorge. Most of the routes here have been equipped with top anchors, so it’s easy to set up topropes using the cliff top access just beyond the left-end routes.
Fayetteville, WV - Climbing
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While Bubba City is just one of several crags that contribute to the New River Gorge’s world-class climbing reputation, recent new-route activity and anchor upgrades have made this area exceedingly popular. The routes at Bubba are not the highest or steepest in the gorge, but for a combination of easy access and high-quality climbing in a pleasant setting, it is tough to beat Bubba City. The routes here range from 35 to 100 feet in length and average near vertical, although there are also some overhanging sections and a few big roofs. The climbing is typically thin and technical, and will test your problem-solving abilities; many of the routes are also sustained and pumpy.
Fayetteville, WV - Climbing
Carderock is an exceedingly popular climbing area located along the north bank of the Potomac River, just outside Washington, D.C. Featuring cliffs up to 60 feet high and a 2-minute car-to-crag approach, the area has long been an after-work favorite of D.C.–area climbers. Weekends are likewise busy, as beginner and intermediate climbers infiltrate from other metropolitan areas, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. Add “corporate outing” and climbing school groups, and you’ll understand why this is, per square foot of rock, one of the most highly used areas in the country.
Cabin John, MD - Climbing
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Walk up Roy Gap Road until you see the first buttress of rock on your left. Take a blue-blazed trail that begins at an obvious set of stone steps just across Roy Gap Run. Hike uphill a short way and stay left as the trail splits near the cliff base. Continue up wooden steps and a series of switchbacks to gain a plateau with numerous hemlocks. Here the trail bends right through a brief talus field and then ascends a few 3rd-class moves to a split in the trail. Take the right split to access Luncheon Ledge and routes on Humphrey’s Head and Cockscomb. The left trail leads directly to The Face of a Thousand Pitons.
Onego, WV - Climbing
Just 40 yards downriver from Bird’s Nest are a few more good climbs at the Cornice area. The routes here are up to 60 feet high, with the most popular routes in and around the Cranko and Tiparillo section.
Reston, VA - Climbing
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Crescent Rock, as it’s known by climbers, offers many high-quality toproping options on a modest crag not more than 50 feet high and 300 feet wide. Its southwest exposure makes this a popular destination on cold, sunny days from late fall through spring. During the winter it’s quite possible that you’ll hike in through a few inches of snow to find T-shirt climbing conditions at the crag.
Round Hill, VA - Climbing
A power climber’s dream crag. Barely 30 feet high, this huge boulder has a severely overhanging west face with numerous three- to five-bolt routes.
Summersville, WV - Climbing
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One of the more popular areas, Dihedrals is easily identified by the Mather Gorge plaque along the trail at its summit. The climbs here are up to 60 feet high and range in grade from 5.3 to 5.11. There’s a little of something for everyone at Dihedrals!
Reston, VA - Climbing
This is the last really good climbing area at the downstream end of Great Falls. There are a few stout 5.11+ testpiece routes to attempt if you visit the Doctor. The climbs here range from 40 to 60 feet in length.
Reston, VA - Climbing
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This huge, southeast-facing slab is plainly visible when viewing the Old Rag crags from VA 231. No doubt, the routes here are classic slab climbs with great position. Unfortunately, there are two drawbacks to the area—the descent trail is usually overgrown, and furthermore, the climbs are marginally protected, 1980s test-piece lines that might make a 2000s sport climber quake in his boots!
Nethers, VA - Climbing
Located in the northern fringe of the George Washington National Forest are two small but popular crags of unique and interesting character. Often referred to as “Elizabeth Furnace,” the two crags—Talking Head Wall and Buzzard Rocks—offer vastly different climbing experiences. Depending on your climbing preferences, you’ll likely love climbing at one of the areas and take a pass on the other. Let me clarify.
Strasburg, VA - Climbing
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As one of The New’s more low-profile areas, Fern Buttress is (for those in the know) a favorite “get-away” crag on busy weekends. Here you’ll find a high concentration of sport routes from 5.10a to 5.13b. The twenty-three routes described below are all within a 15-minute walk of the parking area.
Fayetteville, WV - Climbing
Home of Summersville’s first climbs, Excellent Buttress offers high-quality face climbs from 40 to 70 feet in length.
Summersville, WV - Climbing
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While limestone crags are seemingly ubiquitous in the western United States—Rifle, Shelf Road, Wild Iris, Ten Sleep, Utah Hills, Mount Potosi, Mount Charleston, and American Fork, to name just a few— it’s hard to name a single good limestone crag in the East. For this reason the modest limestone cliff near Franklin, West Virginia, offers a unique climbing experience in the Mid-Atlantic region. Certainly many oldschool “traditionalist” climbers will have a hard time understanding why anyone would climb on this sub-par rock when a worldclass crag like Seneca Rocks is less than an hour away. But for bolt-clipping aficionados, the choss-tugging at “Cranklin” (as it’s called by some locals) is some of the most enjoyable climbing in the region!
Franklin, WV - Climbing
Named after the incredible, 60-foot Oh My God Dihedral, this area contains nearly a quarter of Old Rag’s routes. Unfortunately for the first-time visitor, the area is somewhat difficult to navigate since its climbs lie on three different tiers. See the overview topo and photo for access tips and landmarks to help locate the route of your choice. The best approach for each sub-area is described below; however, all the approach trails become choked with vegetation during the summer months. The best months for climbing at God’s Area Crags are from late October through April.
Nethers, VA - Climbing
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