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Friday, October 3, 2014

Adopt-A-Crag Day: Harpers Ferry, November 15, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Climbers has announced they will be doing an Access Fund Adopt-A-Crag day on November 15, 2014.
You can find more details by going to

Please get out to the event and pitch in. It's a great opportunity and long awaited.

Thanks to MAC.
maryland heights climbing

Friday, August 29, 2014

Access Alert: Train Tunnel Wall, Maryland Heights - Tunnel Under Construction

It was brought to my attention by Chris Irwin, Access Fund Regional Coordinator for Maryland and Mid-Atlantic Climbers President, that CSX is working on both train tunnel entrances. He commented on the Train Tunnel Wall page on Mountain Project and requested the following

ACCESS ALERT: CSX work going on with both tunnel entrances. Please do not access or climb on the train tunnel wall while CSX employees or equipment are present.
The construction will eventually end but until then please act accordingly. When the time comes, if  you are aware that construction has ended then please comment here or on Mountain Project (preferred).

On a separate note, there is a rumor out there that an Access Fund Adopt-A-Crag day may be scheduled for Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry. When further news is made available to me I'll post a notice here on the blog.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

See Mountain Project for new HFC Climber Activity

If you want to see news or signs of activity on climbing at Harpers Ferry I recommend going to the Harpers Ferry page at Mountain Project.. I don't have the material or time to keep the blog going but want to connect you to information so you can get out there and enjoy everything the area has to offer.

I've noticed that some climbers have been visiting the crags of Harpers Ferry and then logging their ascents on They've also been contributing their ratings. Most are positive but there is always one or two who are the negative nelly in the bunch and throw the ratings off by low balling the quality. Some climber "Kirby" has given a "bomb" or 1 star rating to some of the classics. These are routes that many well traveled climbers agree are top notch for Maryland routes. We all know that there is better rock/routes out there but don't take it upon ourselves to dump on the local resources. My advice is to pay attention to the positive reviews and make the trip to sample the routes for yourselves. Dwelling in the negative makes life suck.
Climber on "Oh, My Eyes" at Skink Rock. See for more. Pic by Josh S.

I found a few nice pictures that

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gym to Crag & The Future of Fixed Anchors

I want to share two very important topics with you. They both affect the resources available to us within the water gap at Harpers Ferry and they both were recently discussed in the "Vertical Times" publication from the Access Fund. You can view the entire issue at this LINK.

The first topic/issue, arguably more important as many more people fit this user group, concerns the transition of a climber from the indoor climbing gym to the outdoor crag.

Please take a moment to read this image that I scanned from Vertical Times (click on the image to see a larger version)

The second article will not seem as applicable to most of you because very few of you are doing route development that requires fixed anchors. But, I would say that it is an issue for all to be aware of because you do climb on the anchors others place and having general awareness of good anchor practices benefit everyone. Read below for a discussion of where things are headed in this nation and a mention of some good basics to be aware of. If nothing else, just scan the bulleted items listed as some Key Takeaways.
Thanks for tuning in

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Tiers - Elk Ridge - 2 Routes - Information

On the HFC Web Guide The Tiers information only includes boulder problems. There are two routes to be mentioned as well. I've updated the Harpers Ferry Mountain Project pages to include The Tiers and the two routes.

Link to the Mountain Project page

I do not have photos at this time. Please feel free to contribute to the Mountain Project page.

School Bus Turnaround parking spots

Some climbers have reported receiving parking tickets for parking at the school bus turnaround at the western end of Sandy Hook, MD. I had posted prior to these tickets being issued HERE & HERE with instructions on how to park. People received tickets after these posts so I thought I'd look a little closer at the signs.

This spot is used to access Elk Ridge climbing (Balcony Rock, Balcony Jr., Outlying Area, all of the bouldering, etc.). Carpooling is required because there are only 2 spots at this location.

I examined the signs at the turnaround. There is the central sign saying no parking in the turnaround and on both sides of the semicircle are directional parking signs. They indicate, with arrows, that parking inside of these signs is not allowed. The spots that appear to be legal are outside the No Parking zone and are not in the actual turnaround. If the two spots are full you must find somewhere else to park. Please adhere to the rules for parking in this area and keep this issue "off the radar". Parking is already very limited and to lose these prime spots for accessing all of Elk Ridge would be a huge loss.

If you are at this parking area and see other people parking illegally then please, using your own judgment, consider educating them on the fines that have been issued and work to maintain this access point.

See the Parking page of the HFC Web Guide or the HFC Google map for more parking options and information.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival - June 15, 2013

More information to share. I picked up this bit of information from my discussion with Kandee of River & Trail Outfitters.  I've seen but never participated in the Tim Gavin Race. I believe this festival is an expansion of the race and it looks like fun. I noticed the festival planners include climbers in their list of user groups they are bringing together but, so far, they only have advertising photos of paddlers and musicians. It would be great to see a climbing photo too, straight from the rock in Harpers Ferry, but it depends on you attending and representing and helping grow the climbing component of the festival.  

There is live music, camping, and more. It would be a great opportunity to kick back, have some fun, and meet new folks and build community. 

The Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival

and Tim Gavin Down River Race

Saturday, June 15, 2013

As far as we know the festival will be held at
The Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival is a yearly event held to raise money for river and environmental conservation and to raise environmental awareness. The Festival is used to bring together participants, activists, and enthusiasts of the many outdoor activities in our area including kayakers & canoeist, rafters, hikers, bikers, campers, anglers, climbers, bird watchers and anyone else who shares our love and concern for our natural environment. We are here to promote the healthy and peaceful enjoyment of everything which our unique area has to offer.
We raise money and awareness by hosting a variety of events including the Festival, the Tim Gavin Down River Race, the Outdoor Film Festival and Swap Meet, and one or more river cleanups. Money raised through the events is donated to river and environmental conservation charities to support their ongoing conservation work and research. We do not raise money to promote any businesses.
The Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival, Inc. is a volunteer organization formed exclusively for charitable purposes as specified Internal Revenue Code.

Money raised through the event is used to help Friends of the Shenandoah River, Friends of the Cheat, Friends of the Blackwater, and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. Admission to the festival is only $10 and is free to anyone participating in the Tim Gavin Race or the Trail to River Run . Don’t miss the Whitewater Film Extravaganza!



Friday, February 8, 2013

Dining Establishments - Update

I stopped in at River & Trail Outfitters to explore for potential solutions to what seems an inevitable access crisis (ie parking) for climbers visiting HF. While there I spoke with a very knowledgeable employee by the name of Kandee.  She turned me on to all kinds of information including two dining establishments you may want to visit while in HF. I had mentioned I enjoyed the Secret Six Tavern and she relayed these two other locations that are very nearby and likely have easier access for those who choose to drive in to town.  I updated the Harpers Ferry Climbing Google map to include the two establishments and have posted some information below. Check out their menus and keep them in mind.

Canal House Creamery and Cafe @
It looks like they closed and will re-open on February 15, 2013. See their facebook page for updates/info.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Balcony Rock, Route Update

I revised the Balcony Rock section of Mountain Project to include a "new" route. We have climbed it for years but the top anchor setup is now easier so you may want to place the route on your to-do list. Advanced notice, the rating could be off a little.
"Train Song"

Ancient Tools

@ Balcony Jr.
Just sharing for fun. Looks like the signs of the hammer glancing off the piton and hitting the rock wall are still visible.
Thanks, Enjoy

Ice is Nice

(edited 2/7/13)

It's winter and some of you are searching for ice to climb. It doesn't seem to be an abundant resource in our area and it takes special conditions for it to form. I wanted to share some possibilities for those who are on the hunt.

First, recall a previous post and possibly the best ice, though access issues exist, in Harpers Ferry [ HERE ].

I stopped in at a waterfall in Harpers Ferry this past weekend to see if it might be frozen. Since it had rained

Maryland Limestone

I've posted here before on limestone climbing in Maryland near Shepherdstown, WV [ HERE and HERE ] and wanted to revisit the topic after a recent excursion to these cliffs.
See below for a topo/beta photo

My experience with limestone has always included

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Obscure Alternatives

While this post, at first, will appear to have nothing to do with Harpers Ferry rock climbing, some HFC blog and website users live close enough to possibly find this useful.

Obscure Alternatives
Fringe climbing and routes less traveled: A guide to less than mainstream climbing in eastern Penna.

I was recently digging through old boxes of personal stuff from the late 90's. I came across a copy of a hand written climbing guide to a few obscure rock climbing areas in eastern Pennsylvania.  I acquired the guide while going to college at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE.  I couldn't bring myself to recycle the guide without sharing it here, hopefully preserving a bit of history. If anyone knows about this guide (author, history, date of publish, etc) it would be great to see a comment below with that information. It's in Tiff format as pdf files don't load on this blog. See the google docs link below.


Friday, December 7, 2012

How to Get Rich in Harpers Ferry

Rich memories, that is. Read on.


As the blogger and web page host for Harpers Ferry Climbing I get a unique perspective on the flow of information on climbing at Harpers Ferry and I get to see some of the feedback mechanisms that are at play

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Broadcast 5.10 & A Traditional Inquisition 5.10

I've been out of the loop with work and other life matters and lost touch with Harpers Ferry climbing. I thought I would post a couple good looking additions. Please visit Mountain Project for more information/routes. There have been some local climbers really working hard to update the Harpers Ferry section. They are doing a good job.

A while back I posted on a climb that Dan and Martin had explored (HERE). It is now up on Mountain Project. At the time of my original post they were