Toll Booth (direct start to Middle of the Road)
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Route sequence (left to right): 3
Route Summary | Ascent Notes (0)
Mark Nord ??? 2010
I had thought for some time that a direct start to Middle of the Road (5.11) would improve the aesthetic of the climb. Middle of the Road is one of the best thin-face climbs in the Potomac Gorge, but the first part of the route follows the 5.10, One Lane Highway.
My first attempt at a direct start yielded On Ramp. On Ramp is only marginally more direct. It ascends the right-leaning ramp just to the right of the One Lane Highway crack using no holds in or left of the crack, but sharing many holds with the One Lane Highway start. The moves are balancy, but not harder than 5.10.
I then set to work on a more direct start on the bouldery face to the right of On Ramp, eventually completing Toll Booth. (It is the shortest way to the middle of the road, but you have to pay a price.) The Toll Booth start extends the difficulty level of Middle of the Road right down to the ground. It is at least as difficult as any single move on the rest of the climb. It stays right of the ramp except for the hold just reachable from the ground at the top of the ramp. It moves more or less straight up to the ledge that connects One Lane Highway to Middle of the Road and joins Middle of the Road at that point.