So apparently Old Rag is known as “…the best climbing in the state of Virginia”. Here I thought sport rock used that motto. Regardless, Old Rag is “The place to learn how to climb cracks, and where to get some backcountry experience”.
From the I-95 corridor, follow I-66 west and exit westbound onto US 29 at Gainesville. Leave US 29 at Warrenton by exiting onto US 211. At Sperryville turn south onto US 522 and shortly turn right on Virginia 231 toward Madison. A little over 8 miles from Sperryville, watch for the signed turn to Old Rag at Route 602. The road becomes Route 707 at an intersection (stay left on the south side of the river). At the next fork bear left again, now on Route 600. Follow this road to its end at the parking area.
From I-81, take the US 211 exit east at New Market and proceed to Sperryville.
Reflector Oven Directions:
Approach via the Ridge Trail: From the nice level section of the Ridge Trail at the far East end of the summit ridge just after the long scrambling ascent, quite close to where the trail turns from NE/SW to E/W, locate a 10ft-tall stout dead tree on the Right, right next to the trail. This is a good 500yds/15 mins hiking East of the summit, before even reaching the relatively long bit of scrambling atop the PATC/Skyline Wall!! The Bushwhack Trail begins immeadiately across from the dead tree – go South down a narrow steep climber’s trail into a bowl which is pretty obvious when the trees aren’t leafed in but invisible otherwise).
Approach via the Saddle Trail: Go all the way to the top of the mtn (2.8mi from Berry Hollow parking) and continue on; after a bit of descending, scramble along the trail atop the PATC/Skyline Wall. Then, after a 50ft rocky scrambly descent the trail becomes level, and the 10ft-tall stout dead tree can be located on the Left, next to the trail. This point is some 15 mins (500yds) east of the summit!!!
The Bushwhack Trail begins immeadiately across from the dead tree, heading South steeply downhill into a bowl, and then curves back East. The cliff can be seen off to the Right – turn Right (S) onto a spur trail that crosses a talus slope and traverse along the bottom of the cliff, going through a big tunnel formed by a large slab leaning against the cliff. Strawberry Fields is the most obvious crack in approximately the middle of the wall beyond the tunnel. NOTE: the start of the climber’s trail down is easy to miss by late spring due to the foliage – it begins directly across the Ridge Trail from the 10ft-tall standing trunk of a large dead tree. Watch out for the nettles on the way down during the summer!
SNP Big Meadows: http://weather.weatherbug.com/weather-safety/online-weather-center/OnlineWeatherCenter.aspx?aid=2843