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Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing!
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lofstromc


Mar 19, 2008, 5:00 PM
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Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing!  (North_America: United_States: Maryland: Central__Md_: Carderock)
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The following quote is from the routes section of this website...
"Carderock is a part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park. It is located on the Potomac River between Vaso Island and the Canal along the Billy Goat Trail.There is no fee to enter the Park. The rock is micha-schist and ranges from 30-50 Ft.with the majority of the climbs about 35 ft. There is a good variety of features in this small area, aproxiamately 200 yds. of friction slabs, overhangs, and cracks. A predominately low angle base makes this an excellent area for bouldering. While the rock is stable, it is not recomended for trad climbing because the protection will slip or break out. Bring enough anchor for trees about 20-30 ft. from the edge of the cliff. There are 35 routes 5.5 to 5.8 and 65 routes from 5.9 to 5.12. Many of the routes can be climbed from the same anchor, providing for good warm-ups and challanges for climbers of all abilities. Carderock can be very crowded on weekends in good weather."

I've heard all the warnings of not placing pro at Carderock. Has anyone actually seen the gear fail as the warnings say? I'm curious.


(This post was edited by lofstromc on Mar 19, 2008, 5:01 PM)


carbonrx8


Mar 19, 2008, 6:11 PM
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Re: [lofstromc] Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing! [In reply to]
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By the time that you are high enough to place gear, yer done.


renlad


Mar 21, 2008, 5:19 PM
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Re: [lofstromc] Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing! [In reply to]
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A few of us trad there. It never fails that someone always stops by and says how magical the rock is. It either explodes or turns to liquid and lubricates cams. We've heard it all, most of the time from people soloing next to us.

There are two things that are real. The rock is slippery for your feet, which means that placing gear with solid feet is a bit sketchy. This is because toproping polishes the rock, and Carderock is toproped a lot. Which is a shame.

Also the surface of the cracks are smooth so cams have a higher chance of slipping out.

That said, just place more gear than you need to. It's a great place to trad. We have taken falls on gear and it's held just like everywhere else. We've trad'ed most of the classics like sterling and the diamond. I'ts great climbing right here in our backyard. It's a great place to practice and build your skills.


hyhuu


Mar 21, 2008, 6:36 PM
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Re: [renlad] Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing! [In reply to]
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I have seen gear fail on the other side of the river at Great Falls, which has the same kind of rocks. I also saw gears that held. Because the mica schist is form in thin layers and they are ex-foliating, the rock layers are indeed weak at spots. Thus gear placement can be bad and it can be difficult to judge at times by just looking at the surface. Also, the quartz imbeded in the rocks are weak along certain plane and can shear off rather easily. Lastly, all of this can lead to permanent damage to the rocks if the gears ripped.

That said, it seems like there are a handful of route that were deemed "leadable" as some have done them in the past. But like other said, by the time you need to place gears you are either half way there or almost at the top.


marlinmje


Feb 25, 2009, 4:59 PM
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Re: [Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing! [In reply to]
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carderock is a great place to practice lead trad. There is a lot of hollow rock but some of the cracks have good solid rock to place gear. I think that it is a great place to practice. The people that say that it will not hold gear have know idea what they are talking about or how to place gear.


(This post was edited by marlinmje on Feb 25, 2009, 5:02 PM)


altelis


Feb 25, 2009, 5:44 PM
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Re: [marlinmje] [Carderock Trad, yeah...Trad climbing! [In reply to]
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marlinmje wrote:
carderock is a great place to practice lead trad. There is a lot of hollow rock but some of the cracks have good solid rock to place gear. I think that it is a great place to practice. The people that say that it will not hold gear have know idea what they are talking about or how to place gear.

No disrespect, but have you fallen on gear placed at Carderock? What hapened? Don't get me wrong, I make gear anchors there all the time- it saves on a lot of weird and complex rigging for some of the routes.

That said, I have also spent a lot of time aid-soloing there. I can tell you from experience that the rock is anything but bomber. It is made of very fine layers, and applying enough or repeated force to gear can and does lead to these layers crumbling and gear becoming suspect.

I tell you this from experience. I have placed cams in what would anywhere else be a bomber placement and watched them slowly slide and/or begin to expand as the rock disintegrates. To be fair, I did have to bounce-test the living fuck out of them. But it happened none-the-less; these were placements that in other types of stone would NOT have reacted this way to a bounce testing. No way no, how.

So take that for what its worth. I would say you are probably fine leading trad there. I would say DO NOT run it out, as the more force you put on the gear the better the chance the rock won't hold. Remember, we aren't talking exploding rock but rather fine layers disintegrating and widening the placement. Nuts in good constrictions are great; I have found that slightly overcamming cams can help to prevent catastrophe.

A blanket statement like "that rock is solid and if you say otherwise you are incompetent" is PATENTLY FALSE and could get somebody hurt. You absolutely can lead there, you just need to understand the limitations of the rock, accept them, (perhaps) alter your normal SOPs and have fun.


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