Mountain Project Map - Harpers Ferry

Friday, March 1, 2019

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Stinger Arete breakdown

The Stinger Arete is a V4 boulder problem in the Highlands area of Elk Ridge, MD. It is a long overhanging problem that follows the right arete of the overhanging wall.
Scott on The Stinger Arete
There are two main exit options and the grade fluctuates a little between the two. You can easily step off of the problem at any point because the ground mirrors the angle of the wall. The arete has a mix of jugs, downsloping rails, and crimpers linked by flowing moves. The difficulty crux seems to be the powerful first move though the problem it isn't over until you manage the sloping topout.
Rather than describe the problem move by move I'll let photographs do the work. Read on...

The Iron Pickle breakdown

The Iron Pickle is a V4- boulder problem on the Throne boulder in the upper Highlands area on Elk Ridge, MD. It is about 25-30 feet tall and involves both slab and roof climbing. The problem has a secret hold that is pretty much invisible from the ground, from the top of the boulder, and from any nearby vantage point you can gain by climbing or walking. The physical crux is probably getting to the secret hold but the mental crux is moving upward from there. The landing is pretty flat and has a rock or two sticking out but nothing close to being jagged and gnarly.
The Iron Pickle climb the slab and comes out the overhang and up the headwall.
Below are photos taken by Coco Boan. She did a good job of capturing nearly every move on this problem. Thanks go to her.
View and read onward for the beta...

The Secret Six breakdown

The Secret Six (V5) is a bouldering problem in the Tiers area on Elk Ridge, MD. It is found on the overhanging side of the tall skinny block that also hosts John Browns Body and Isaac Smith Arete. It is maybe 50 feet uphill from the road.
Drew sitting at the base of the problem preparing for a go. In this photo, you can see the opposing starting vertical sloper features and the right hand crimper divet as well as the first vertical sidepull for the right hand.

Some of you are likely asking yourself at this moment, "Why is it called a V6 when it is a V5?". Well, the answer to

Thursday, November 17, 2016

More Bouldering Photos - Saturday November 12, 2016

More bouldering photos have trickled in from this past Saturday, November 12, 2016. These are all compliments of Coco Boan. Thanks to her for taking pictures and sharing them.
Jeff spotting Drew on a problem in the Outlying Area.
 Click the "read more" link to see more photos...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Crowded Woods and Magnificent Sending

Jeff, Coco, Scott, Conrad, Steve, and Drew. Off doing some rope climbing and not in the photo are Courtney and Greg. The Throne Boulder with The Iron Pickle looms over our heads. Photo Credit: Steve Emswiler
Steve E mid-air after going for broke on the Iron Pickle and coming up short; As much of  a source of inspiration as a full blown send. He landed over-rotated but without injury. Photo Credit: Coco Boan
This past Saturday, eight climbers met in the woods at the base of Elk Ridge, MD to boulder and rope up on the quartzite stone. For those of you who don't boulder in the woods of Harpers Ferry you probably don't know that most of the time it's you and the trees. Eight people together makes the woods feel crowded to those of us who are often by ourselves so we joked that we were feeling claustrophobic. In reality we were quite happy to be sharing our climbing with others. When me met, not one person knew everyone else. We were all a stranger to someone. By the end of the day though, that was no longer true. We had new friends and great memories. The strangest of all of us was my friend Scott. He was in Maryland helping me with a job. He lives outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, and had never been to the mid-Atlantic region before. I was beyond happy to have him up and to show him Harpers Ferry climbing and to have others join us and make it a more social day. Scott climbs a lot of fantastic stone in New Mexico, including quartzite, and likes a little spice in his climbing diet. There were a lot of climbs I wanted to show him but I definitely had one thing in mind as a goal. 
Last time I was out with Jeff and Steve, we started at the Balcony Rock Boulders and moved up to the Outlying Area. We didn't want to cover the same ground again so we started our day with

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Smoketown Brewing Station & Beans in the Belfry

While posting on the subject of eating establishments I might as well list two other places for you to look into. They are both in Brunswick, Maryland and about 5 miles from Elk Ridge.

Beans in the Belfry
Facebook Page
Beans in the Belfry is located in a century old, historic, restored church building nestled in downtown Brunswick and rewards your visit with the finest quality coffees & teas, excellent espresso, delicious coffee specialty drinks & the best hot chocolate.  Breakfast lunch or dinner, served all day, our delicious fresh baked goods, soups, chili, snacks, salads and Panini sandwiches get rave reviews, seven days a week.
Smoketown Brewing Station
Facebook Page
We have transformed Brunswick, Maryland's 1948 former fire station into an on-site brewery offering a tasting room 7 days a week. Come in for samples, full pints or growlers to go. We offer a family friendly environment with patio seating or tasting room seating. Feel free to bring your own food or visit any of our town's great restaurants. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for current beer selections, music line up and events
I've heard good things from climbing and boating friends about these places. For those of you coming from Frederick, Baltimore, or DC these are a really short drive off of 340 as you travel to and from Harpers Ferry.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Guide House Grill (old Cindy Dee Restaurant location)

On my way to and from last weekends bouldering excursion on Elk Ridge I noticed the Guide House Grill is the newest establishment in the old Cindy Dee Restaurant location. The Cindy Dee had shut down and was replaced by a family restaurant for about a year. The Guide House Grill has taken up the location and it looks like a great prospect for post-climbing trip dining based on their website, menu, and speaking with them personally on the telephone. I was unable to stop and eat because of family obligations but I intend to have a personal experience first chance I get.
Their logo includes a paddle so I asked if they were boaters, meaning river lifestyle outdoor enthusiasts. They are. The boater community is a brother/sister community to the climbing community in Harpers Ferry, shares a similar dietary intake to climbers, and also worth noting that the community is admirably successful in procuring boater access privileges to parking and their resource. I say these things because I used to kayak and be a part of the community.
I have long tried to promote, and quite unsuccessfully, eating options in Harpers Ferry and to promote an establishment where a community could spontaneously occur "off the rock", meaning not at the crags or boulders. I think the primary reason for the lack of success is that the options I promoted always had an access catch, but what could I do about that. They were out of the way or had strange hours or were more touristy establishments with mediocre food. The Guide House Grill has none of the previous catches as far as I can tell. The only current downside seems to be that they don't yet serve alcohol. I say "yet" because in my telephone conversation I was informed that they have submitted paperwork to be able to serve alcohol and are hoping that will come through by mid-late November of this year. I don't know about you but delicious brews shared with friends are much desired after any climbing session.
Please, check out their website and menu and they even have a Facebook page to follow. Judge for yourself and let others know. It would be really nice if they succeed in filling the role of a local restaurant that serves healthy food and delicious brews with easy access for hungry, parched, chalky palmed climbers. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Early Fall Bouldering 2016

The great temperatures, dry air, and the coming of fall colors set the stage for a perfect day of bouldering with friends (Steve E., Jeff B., Conrad S.). We met early on a Saturday morning and made our way to the Balcony Rock boulders to sample the easier problems and warm up our bodies. We ended up running a circuit of problems V5 and under, limiting ourselves to three attempts at most on any given problem. This way we kept moving and didn't lose momentum at one particular problem, as so often happens. The goal was to get to the upper Highlands area. As we began circuiting problems our talk quickly turned to particular problems that gave each of us trouble or seemed to be wrongly graded, in other words sand-bagged.  After a few hours of bouldering we had climbed a bunch of great problems, taken some good pictures to capture the action, settled on revised grades for those troubling problems, and even established a new problem together. Our revised grades have been meshed with the existing Mountain Project beta, some description text has been revised, some pictures added, and the new problem we all sent together is now in the database. 
The tick list went as followed, and pictures are below the tick list (click "read more").

Balcony Rock Boulders

  • Skippy's Flapjack
  • Crescent Glide
  • Y Equals X
  • Wreck Tangle
  • Tetris
  • Ramped Up
  • Fruit Cake
  • Finger Fillet
  • Slinky and the Slime Mold
  • BiCeption
  • Dirty Hooker

Outlying Area

  • Dish Network
  • Duped by a Rubber Goat
  • The Portal
  • Cove Arete
  • Covert Op
  • Crash Quartz in Crimping
  • May The Quartz Be With You (NEW)

Friday, July 22, 2016

LIFTED: Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection 2016

The cliff closure alert disappeared from the park service website. I called the park and confirmed that the closure has been lifted. The main cliffs are open again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Economic Impact of You

Don't Crush and Rush

The Access Fund recently wrote about a study examining the economic impact of climbers on the Red River Gorge region of southeastern Kentucky. In short, rock climbers have a significant economic impact on that region.

There is a lot I would like to say about my own personal motivations to build outdoor community at/in Harpers Ferry but these things don't amount to much more than hopeful ideas. What's impactful is how climbers (you) interact with the people and resources of Harpers Ferry and surrounding area. If you rush in, crush your climbs, and rush home (The Crush and Rush) you miss out on a lot of "things" (people, community, and experiences) and those "things" miss an opportunity to build a relationship with you.

While Harpers Ferry is not a Red River Gorge and our region is not southeastern Kentucky, economic impact is significant to any rural region. The areas surrounding Harpers Ferry have some great local establishments worth a visit. Explore your opportunity to build unexpected relationships and to have unexpected experiences and know that in doing so you are making an impact on local people (ie economy).

Sunday, March 6, 2016

NPS: Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection 2016


[EDIT: Closure has been lifted]

A pair of Peregrine falcons is attempting to nest on the cliff face of Maryland Heights in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Park and US Fish and Wildlife staff have observed the falcons building what appears to be a nest on the cliff face.
To protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, areas in and around the cliff face of Maryland Heights will be closed effective March 1. The areas will be closed to all visitor use, including climbing activities, along the cliff face area. The climbing areas affected by the closure include all the routes in the Gully, Sign Wall and ABC Ramps sections. 
For the full details on the closure please visit the NPS webpage.