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Vaso Island Top Roping Trip

September 30 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Ever wondered what Carderock was like before the masses wore the walls smooth and broke off the good holds? Well, you can find out – sorta. Just take a little trip across the water to Vaso (nee Herzog) Island. There’s a lot of history here. For example, there’s a climb that, back in the day, every chairman had to complete before they could take the gavel, it’s called the Chairman’s Chimney. And if you don’t mind cleaning out some Poison Ivy it’s a fun climb. There’s also a chimney named for Jan Conn and a climb called knifeblade because it used to have a knife stuck in the rock like an old piton.

There are several walls on the western side of the island. The tallest of which is about 70 feet tall with routes in the neighborhood 5.6-5.7. Other climbs on the island range from low 5s to at least 5.11. All on rough, nearly virgin rock. Rare for Carderock. If you happen to have a copy of Indy’s new book, check out pages 218 to 233 (especially the outstanding photograph of Mark Maier on 232). And if you don’t have Indy’s new book, you might think about getting it! I will bring my copy.

In the 30s and 40s, the DC Rock Climbers used an inflatable boat called the Sink Stopper to cross the water of the Potomac. We’re gonna do the same. I have an inflatable boat that will take three to four people including gear – I also have enough PFDs for everyone. Technically speaking, this part of the river requires a helmet if you’re in the boat – since we’ll have our climbing helmets anyway, this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s only about 50 yards across the river to the island and it’s a pretty easy trip. If you have a kayak or other boat you would like to contribute that would be helpful.

If it’s not obvious, it’ll be kind of a pain to run back and forth to the car, so bring everything you need with you for the whole day.  Food, TP, sunscreen, bug spray, sun shirt, climbing gear are some of the things that come to mind.

This trip will be limited to ten people. If people bring their own boats, it’ll be easier to get everyone across.

If we need to use the rain date, we’ll decide that Friday night.

Please do not use the guest registration function unless you have a family membership. Otherwise, each climber needs to register individually.

Please note that this is not a guided event and none of our trip leaders are professional guides. You will be climbing on ropes set up by members of the club who are hobby climbers and not professionals. Climbing is an inherently dangerous sport and you do so at your own risk. You are responsible for yourself and your own safety at all times.

If you need to cancel your reservation, go back to the event page, log in, and scroll down to the RSVP portion. Click the red “view your RSVP” text and it will take you to another page where you can change your RSVP from “going” to “not going”.


September 30
8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Brian Florence
Carol Clayton


Carderock Recreation Area
Billy Goat Trail C - North Parking Lot
Carderock, MD 20854 United States
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All PATC-MS events are subject to the terms of the membership Liability Waiver.  To review the terms of the waiver, or print if for your records, click here.