Upcoming Club Events and Local Climbing News

Local Adopt-A-Crag Events

Local Mid Atlantic Climbers Stewardship Events – more info here or email [email protected].

Great Falls Adopt a Crag – March 17, 2024

Rachel Carson Conservation Park Adopt a Crag – March 23, 2024

Ilchester Adopt a Crag – April 7, 2024

Catoctin Adopt a Crag – April 13, 2024

Sugarloaf Adopt a Crag – April 27, 2024

Carderock Adopt a Crag – May 25, 2024

Old Rag Day Use Tickets

From March 1 to November 30, visitors to Old Rag Mountain, including climbers and hikers on the Saddle, Ridge, and Ridge Access trails, must obtain an Old Rag day-use ticket in advance. A total of 800 tickets will be available each day ; 400 will be released 30 days in advance and the remaining 400 will be released five days in advance.

Day-use tickets for Old Rag Mountain for the 2024 season will become available February 17, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. Tickets are valid for the day-of arrival only, and do not guarantee a parking spot. Tickets will cost $2.00 and can be reserved up to 30 days in advance. Entrance fees – or one of several types of NPS passes – still apply in addition to the day-use ticket.

You can obtain Old Rag day-use tickets online in advance from Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. You must have an account with Recreation.gov to obtain tickets. Tickets will not be sold in person at the Old Rag entrance station because there is currently no internet service at the station. Also be aware that cell service is not reliable at the Old Rag entrance station, so plan to purchase your ticket before arriving in the Park.

Note that this includes the Saddle Trail, the shortest approach to the Projects/Sunset Walls area accessed from Berry Hollow on the back side of Old Rag.

More details can be found on the NPS Shenandoah website.

Seasonal Closure – Narrows Ice Climbing Area

The Narrows – officially named the Nockamixon Cliffs Natural Area – is a well known ice climbing area near Kintnersville in South Eastern PA for ice climbing. It is a State Park and each year there are seasonal restrictions from February 1 related to raptor nesting.

2024 Closure Notification from DCNR
Beginning February 1, a major portion of the Nockamixon Cliffs area of the park will be closed to all activity, including ice climbing. As in previous years, the closure is in effect for the protection of sensitive species. Visitors to the area may still park in the roadside lots and use the towpath as normal. Closed areas are posted with signage. Public cooperation is much appreciated during this closure, which first began in 2016. Since then, the cliffs have been closed annually between Feb 1 and July 31.

As a reminder, the Nockamixon Cliffs are a designated Natural Area. This special designation is an area within a state park of unique scenic, geologic, or ecological value which will be maintained in a natural condition by allowing physical and biological processes to operate usually without direct human intervention. Title 17 Chapter 17, (Conservation and Natural Resources) of the Pennsylvania Code provides some additional information on the designation and administration of these lands. Ice climbing is allowed when conditions permit, outside of the closure time frame. During the closure, some established climbing routes on either end of the closed area will remain open, including “Dead Deer Gully” and “45 MPH”.

If there are any questions, please call the park office at 610-982-5560.

A diagram of the closed area can be found here. Note that the restrictions include dry tooling and also rock climbing

Sugarloaf Access Restrictions

Sugarloaf – closed in August 2023 because of an attempted break in – was reopened October 10 2023. There are some changes for visitors. More details are provided on the Stronghold website.

Harpers Ferry Recreational Restrictions

2024 Peregrine Falcon Seasonal Closures
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park issues a seasonal temporary cliff closure to protect peregrine falcons in years when the birds are present in the park. From February 15 to July 31, 2024, portions of Maryland Heights, including several climbing areas and rock outcroppings near the overlook, will be closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Details and a diagram of the closed areas can be found here.

Road Closures
The NPS on September 6 2023 announced temporary closures to selected recreational areas at Harpers Ferry to allow rockslide stabilization work. A section of US 340 between Virginia 671 (Harpers Ferry Road) and Chestnut Hill Road will be closed. Detours may be up to 22 miles in length, adding an average of 35 minutes of travel time for many visitors. More details here.

Monongahela Climbing Management Plan

Nearly three years ago the Forest Service started the preparation of a Climbing Management Plan for the Seneca Rocks – Spruce Knob Recreational Area, which also includes the Smokehole Canyon and the half dozen or so crags in that valley. Progress has stalled but at some point this will restart. Additional information is here.