Talking Headwall may not be the largest crag in Virginia, but with a day’s worth of sport and mixed routes, one of the shortest approaches to be found anywhere, and a swimming hole you could throw a rock into from the base, it doesn’t leave much to complain about.
Most routes here are bolted, but some require a piece of gear or two to prevent runout. A standard single rack of nuts and cams to 3″ will suffice even for the trad routes.
Cell Phone Coverage/Internet Access
Cell coverage is weak but adequate at the crag and fine a short drive out of the steep valley.
Nothing closer than the usual DC area outlets. Aside from Mountain Project, there is now a Rakkup guide, (http://rakkup.com/guidebooks/elizabeth-furnace-rock-climbing/)
Take I-66 to exit 6 for US-340/US-522, heading left (South) at the exit. Drive about a mile, keeping a close eye on the speed limit — it drops quickly here and there is often a law enforcement presence on weekends. After going over a bridge turn right (East) at the light onto 55 — look for a 7-11 on the left. Drive another well-policed 5 miles and turn left (South) at Fort Valley Rd/VA-678. After about a mile you will pass VA-619 on the left and a sign that says “Fish Culture Station” — this is the turn off for Buzzard Rocks. Keep going on 678 for a total of about 1.8 miles from the turn from 55. The crag is on the right and easy to miss while driving, but shortly after the cliff band meets the road you will see a paved pullout on the right with space for about 8 cars. Park here, admire the view of Buzzard Rocks, and then walk carefully back up the road about 200 yards to an obvious trail where the cliff meets the road.
Where to Stay
Although this is a National Forest, camping is forbidden in the valley due to the heavy use the area sees from fishermen. Dispersed camping is permitted in other parts of the forest nearby — consult the Lee ranger district of the George Washington National Forest at (540) 984-4101 for details. Indoor accomodations are available in Front Royal, but this is a day trip destination for most climbers.
Where to Eat
There are a few country convenience stores along 55 with reliable stocks of coke and candy bars but somewhat unreliable hours. The strip mall complex north of 66 at the exit has fast food and a Wal-Mart super center with groceries.