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AO8


Mar 4, 2013, 11:27 AM
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Washington D.C. Area Climbs/Gyms/Information Please...
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So I finished college and decided to travel a bit before buckling down and settling into the working world as an educated man. I have been traveling and climbing around the west coast, climbing like a madman and loving every minute of it but its time I move on and it looks like Washington D.C. is my next destination, to start work soon, and continue climbing as much as possible... However, I have some questions before heading that way...

IS THERE ANY CLIMBING IN THE AREA?

I pride myself on outdoor sport climbing and bouldering. Because I currently live in Bishop, California, I have been spoiled to death. Also, my home rock is Smith Rock near Bend, Oregon, so I have had it easy since my climbing career started.

I do NOT drive but am hoping to meet awesome and friendly climbers in WA D.C. to climb mostly outdoors, but getting back into the gym could be fun as well.

Any information regarding local climbing crags and bouldering spots would be appreciated. I am loathing the move but ONLY because of the apparent lack of climbing in the region.

I hope some advice can be offered and I can make this a happy home. Climbing is a huge part of my life, as it is for most of you as well. Thank you!


(This post was edited by AO8 on Mar 4, 2013, 11:29 AM)


hyhuu


Mar 4, 2013, 11:45 AM
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Re: [AO8] Washington D.C. Area Climbs/Gyms/Information Please... [In reply to]
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Dude! You are so screwed. Good climbing/bouldering around here is 3+hrs away. EarthTrek and Sportrocks are two good gyms here and accessible from the Metro. There are plenty of friendly climbers that you can hook up with for trips, if your schedule is flexible. Good luck.


binkus


Mar 4, 2013, 7:59 PM
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Re: [AO8] Washington D.C. Area Climbs/Gyms/Information Please... [In reply to]
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Adding to the previous poster, I have heard good things about Earth Trecks and I climb at Sport Rock regularly and feel that it is a great gym. For near by climbing you have Great Falls and Carderock only 20-30 min from DC. Not the best climbing, all short top roped routes, but they are close and convenient for a quick trip.


brinosaur


Mar 4, 2013, 8:38 PM
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Re: [binkus] Washington D.C. Area Climbs/Gyms/Information Please... [In reply to]
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Earth treks in Rockville (~30 minutes or less via metro from downtown DC) is one of the country's biggest gyms with tons of steep terrain and a few nice sculpted cracks. As far as indoor climbing goes, this gym is absolutely fantastic.

Natural climbing requires at least a 2 hour drive to get anywhere decent. Carderrock and Great Falls are virtually unleadable, short, and crowded. There is nice granite in Old Rag, VA (~2 hours), Seneca Rocks in WV (3 hours) offers some good multipitch, tough sport, and heady gear climbs. 5 hours will get you to the New River Gorge, which is a stellar sport and trad destination. 5 hours to north will get you to the Gunks.

There is a sizable community of climbers out here, despite the lack of good local rock. Getting hooked up with a crew is easy -- I ended up with some awesome folks immediately after moving here a few years ago.


(This post was edited by brinosaur on Mar 4, 2013, 8:44 PM)


RClose78


Mar 5, 2013, 4:15 AM
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Re: [brinosaur] Washington D.C. Area Climbs/Gyms/Information Please... [In reply to]
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There's actually some really good bouldering within an hour of DC, just not as well known or sizable as the areas in WV and further out. The Frederick area in particular has several small boulder fields of fantastic quality quartzite that are as good as anything I've climbed in "destination" areas. Here's quick video of a few problems I like (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJhW5BVqPO4). There's also plenty of bouldering immediately around DC. A little on the sharp side and not the most scenic, but it'll get you strong.

Check out mdguides.wordpress.com for mini-guides of Maryland bouldering areas, and my blog (robinclose.blogspot.com) has a lot of pics and other info. Also the Adventures in Pebble Wrestling blog (pebble wrestling.wordpress.com) has some great pics, and most of them live in the immediate DC area so they might be able to help with the transportation part.

As for sport climbing, there I'll agree you're probably screwed! Aside from a few lines out at Harpers Ferry or driving up to Safe Harbor, there's not a lot around. Plenty of short trad though, and several "harder" trad lines (12+) going up around Maryland Heights recently.

Hope that's useful, and feel free to send me a message if I can be of more help.


brinosaur


Mar 5, 2013, 7:37 AM
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Re: [RClose78] Washington D.C. Area Climbs/Gyms/Information Please... [In reply to]
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Ah yes, I forgot about Safe Harbor, Pa. Come to think of it, there's a pretty good reason as to why... Birdsboro has some bolted climbing as well, but to date, I have not checked it out. There is roped climbing around Frederick and Baltimore, and even some bolts.
RClose is right, there is a fair amount of bouldering scattered around the DC/MD region, the closest being NW Branch. By others' accounts, it is indeed pretty good. In my own (very limited!) experience I found it to be pretty lousy. Anecdote time: I bouldered outside of Baltimore for a bit, and it was absolutely hideous -- full of ticks, abandoned homeless encampments, and piles of human crap (even on top of the boulders) galore. We even found a used enema (!!!) at the base of one boulder. Never again!

I will stress this once more: if you have gotten used roped climbing out west, the immediate DC/MD/PA scene is going to bum you out. The climbs are generally short, homely, and not worth more than one or two visits, as much as some long time local climbers will insist otherwise. You're better off flipping a few gas-bucks to a buddy and driving out to WV for the New for the weekend if you want to climb quality sport.

If you are locked into school out here (as I am), your best bet is to get a membership at Earth Treks if you are in DC or MD, or Sportrock if you are in Northern VA. You will find solid, dedicated partners to get out with on the weekends quickly and easily.


(This post was edited by brinosaur on Mar 5, 2013, 7:45 AM)


wjca


Mar 5, 2013, 9:01 AM
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First, either get a car or hook up with someone you meet at the gym. Earthtreks has several gym (Rockville, Columbia and Baltimore.

Second, check out the following all in MD and within an hour drive of DC area:

Rock State Park
Annapolis Rocks
Maryland Heights
Sugarloaf

Third, if you want bigger rocks and can travel a few hours:

Seneca Rocks, WV
New River Gorge, WV
Most of North Carolina
Old Rag, VA


RClose78


Mar 5, 2013, 9:27 AM
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Fortunately I've only encountered human crap a few times (once is arguably enough), but good point about the ticks. They're pretty common around here, enough so to influence where I climb during certain times of year, and I make a habit of always checking for them after climbing in the warmer months. Certain parts of Northwest Branch (like the Long Wall area) and Morgan Run tend to be winter spots for me due to heavily vegetated approaches that are a little heavier on the ticks. The main area of NWB isn't too bad though. And fortunately, most of the Frederick area spots with the higher quality rock also have thinner forests that are easier to navigate year round. As for winter time, the forests are all wide open and it rarely gets cold or snowy enough to be a problem.


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