Sugarloaf

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Sugarloaf Mountain is a small 1,200ft monadnock  20 miles south of Frederick, MD.  Sugarloaf offers local climbers some of the closest traditional lead climbing to the Washington Metro Area. It is also notable for some excellent top-rope routes, as well as numerous boulder problems scattered throughout the forest.

The private Stronghold Foundation owns the land and welcomes many hikers and climbers each year.  Please bring $5 cash to donate at the entrance (encouraged but not required). Sugarloaf is also a trash free park, so pack it in pack it out. There are port-a-potties at the West parking lot.

The most popular climbing areas – Middle Earth and Boy Scout Ledges – are a short walk from the  West View Parking lot

To reach Sugarloaf, follow I270 to the Hyattstown exit, follow Route 109 to Comus, then right on Comus Road to the Sugarloaf Mountain entrance.

Location

Address:
7901 Comus Road, Dickerson, Maryland, 20842, United States

Harpers Ferry

Details

Venue Phone: (304) 535-6029

Venue Website:

Harper’s Ferry is a National Historical Park that sits at the intersection of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers join.

Although subject to some seasonal raptor restrictions, at present  climbing is permitted on the  Maryland and West Virginia cliffs but not on the Virginia cliffs. Parking at the Lower Town Center/railway station is very limited and you may have to park at the visitor center and take a shuttle. At present, registration is not required as it was pre-Covid.

Climbing information is on Mountainproject.  There is also a relevant guidebook – Climb Maryland Vol II.

Location

Address:
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, 25425, United States

New River Gorge

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The New River Gorge is a National Park near Fayetteville, WV.  There are over 2000 single pitch sport and trad routes on a number of cliffs along the New River and in nearby climbing areas along Highway 19 (The Meadow River and Summersville).  The New River Gorge is a big rafting destination and there are a number of commercial campgrounds as well as an AAC campground. Climbing guidebooks and gear can be purchased at Water Stone Outdoors.

Route information can also be found on Mountainproject.

Location

Address:
Fayetteville, West Virginia, 25840, United States

Looking Glass

Details

Venue Phone: (828) 877-3265

Venue Website:

Looking Glass Rock is a large granite dome located in the Appalachian mountains in the south western part of North Carolina.  It is in the Pisgah National Forest.  Looking Glass Rock is a major trad climbing area offering multi pitch free and aid routes, and is close to other well known climbing areas – Whitesides, Laurel Knob and Rumbling Bald. There is reasonable route info on Mountainproject and guidebooks can be found at Ground Up Publishing

Location

Address:
35.30449, -82.79472, (Near) Brevard, North Carolina, 28712, United States

The Gunks

Details

Venue Phone: (845) 255-0919

Venue Website:

The Gunks (short for Shawangunks) is one of the premier trad climbing areas in the country. Located near New Paltz, NY, the Gunks is about 85 miles from the NYC metropolitan area. It is part of the Mohonk Preserve, a 501c(3) charitable organization.

To climb at the Gunks you need a day pass or an annual pass.  The  nearby town of New Paltz has a climbing store, Rock and Snow,  and there is camping at the AAC  Samuel E Pryor III campground.

 

The rock is quartz conglomerate with horizontal rather than vertical cracks. Climbing at the Gunks is characterized by roofs, jugs, traverses, big air, and sometimes “sporty” pro. The Gunks is famous for great one-to-three-pitch climbs of all levels of difficulty. You’ll find some of the best easy and moderate trad climbs in the country at the Gunks. There are a few bolted climbs at the Gunks, but no sport climbs.

Location

Address:
New Paltz, New York, 12561, United States

Seneca Rocks

Details

Venue Phone: (304) 567-2827

Venue Website:

Seneca Rocks is a mostly trad climbing area in West Virgina with over 500 routes from 5.0 – 5.14. It is located in the Monongahela National Forest which is administered by the Forest Service. There are multiple campsites, guiding services and The Gendarme,  a climbing store located below the cliff.  Climbing information can be found on Mountainproject and there is a climbing guidebook available from the Gendarme.

Location

Address:
Seneca Rocks, West Virginia, 26884, United States

Old Rag

Details

Venue Phone: (540) 999-3500

Venue Website:

Old Rag is a granite mountain in the Shenandoah National Park offering good hiking and challenging trad climbing on a number of mostly one pitch cliffs. Although there are many bolted and mixed routes on Old Rag, they are not sport climbs. There is a recently published (November 2023) climbing guide available from Sharp End Publishing.

Old Rag is located several hours drive south west of Washington DC near Sperryville VA.  There are two main points of access,   with parking at the NPS Ranger Station on the north side of Old Rag and at Berry Hollow on the southwest side.

Visiting Old Rag requires a limited availability day pass – purchased in advance – from March 1 – November 30.  This is in addition to paying the entry fee or possessing one of several NPS park passes.  Details re obtaining the day pass are here.

Location

Address:
38.5579376,-78.325019, (Near) Sperryville, Virginia, 22740, United States

Reeds Creek

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Venue Website:

Reeds Creek  is a limestone sport climbing area in West Virginia,  a few miles from  Seneca Rocks.  Parking is extremely limited and the climbing is described in this Rakkup Guide and on Mountain Project

There are around 70 routes from 5.7 – 5.12.

Reeds Creek is close to the Smokehole Canyon, another limestone sport climbing area, and can be accessed from Highway 220.

Location

Address:
38.785, -79.288, Upper Tract, West Virginia, United States

Smokehole Canyon

Details

The Smokehole Canyon is in West Virginia,  a few miles from Seneca Rocks.  The canyon contains a number of limestone sport climbing areas, mostly located towards the north end of the canyon.  Parking is extremely limited and the climbing is described in this Rakkup Guide.  There are also routes on the Entrance Walls near the start of the Canyon – this Rakkup Guide. Limited information is listed on Mountainproject. There are around 200 routes on a number of different cliffs, and several commercial campgrounds nearby.

The Smokehole Canyon is close to Reeds Creek, another limestone sport climbing area, and can be accessed from Highway 220 (south end) and Highway 28 (north end)

Location

Address:
(Near) Upper Tract, West Virginia, 26866, United States