Mountain Project Map - Harpers Ferry

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

Absent Without Leave, 5.11

Some new route activity to check out for the confident 5.11 climber. 

It looks enjoyable to me with some exposure and scenery as well as

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fuse 5.9-

(Revised 11/21/12, see below)
It's been nearly 2 months since I've posted any news on Harpers Ferry rock climbing activity.
Though I'm sure there has been lots of climbing happening I have just one small news bit for you. John Kelbel shared with me, in late September, that he has a fun new start to

Friday, September 14, 2012

Please read below for an update about the web info on Harpers Ferry rock climbing at Mountain Project. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

That's All Folks! - Taking a break

This is, by the way, either a Gaston Rebuffat photo or him on top of a kick butt pinnacle.

Well folks, it's been a good run. The first post was on June 4, 2009. That means there are 3 years of posts to sort through for information. I hope to have documented historical climbing information to orient future Harpers Ferry rock climbers to the achievements of the past and the style of Harpers Ferry rock climbing.  I'll still be around but I'm going to put this to rest for now. Maybe, in the future, I will return to the blog to post about the next generation of Harpers climbers. For now, you could look to Robin Close's bouldering page for an occasional trip to Harpers Ferry. Many thanks for tuning in and be safe but have fun out there.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Follow Up Imagery - Balcony Jr. Session

If you've been tuned in to the blog over the last couple years then you know a little about "Cold Steel Corner" 5.8/9 on Balcony Jr..  It is a really great route with an upper dihedral section. It's on the left side of Balcony Jr. and is one of the tallest climbs on the cliff.  As some will testify it is no slouch of a lead.  You may remember that

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Robin's Bouldering Blog features some Harpers Ferry rock climbing

Please check out Robin's Bouldering blog which is currently featuring two posts on climbing at Harpers Ferry.

The first post is on a trip to the Train Tunnel Wall and the second post is on a bouldering tour of Elk Ridge.  He tells of his encounters with exposure during his first roped adventure in a long time and he created a nice video of some Elk Ridge boulder problems.  Robin gave his experience at Harpers Ferry a positive review.

Many thanks to Robin and Dan for coming out.

Post #1 on his rope climbing adventure HERE
Post #2 on the bouldering tour with accompanying video and pics HERE  and video embed below


Bouldering Grades.....sandbagged!? Oops!

I've had some inquiries lately from different people about the grades of the bouldering problems as shown in the guide.  Unintentionally, a large portion of the grades may be sandbagged. Please take the grades with a grain of salt and keep in mind that the problem may be harder than the grade it is given in the guide. This is due to having the problems wired from years of circuiting on them, I thought V4 was the end of the line of my abilities, I'm tall so my beta is different than a lot of other climbers, and these problems just haven't seen the kind of traffic other areas get so the grades are not based on a consensus rating.  Don't let the mis-rating get you down. Just get out there and enjoy the climbing and then pass on to your friends what you think it should be graded. Eventually they will settle in on being accurate.
Thanks and Enjoy

Monday, June 18, 2012

Session Success

Thanks to all who came out to Balcony Jr. and the Secret Six Tavern on Saturday for food and beers and good conversation.  The PA and MD crew was a great mix. We had a blast and did some fantastic climbing.  I'll post a pic or two when they become available.

On Friday Robin Close and Dan Montague came out for a bouldering tour of Elk Ridge.  It was a ton of fun and we sent a highball project on the 2012 top projects list. Look for images and video to emerge in the near future from Robins's blog .


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gathering - 6/16/12 - Balcony Jr.

On Saturday, June 16, 2012, a group of rock climbers is meeting up at Balcony Jr. from approximately 8am to 12:30 pm.  This is not a guided activity, you are responsible for your own safety, so please only come if you are experienced or are with an experienced climber. All those meeting these criteria are welcome to join us.  At 12:30pm we will be headed to the Secret Six Tavern for lunch and beers.

Parking instruction for the School Bus Turnaround
As always, parking is limited in Harpers Ferry so please carpool.  The Secret Six Tavern is in Harpers Ferry. We will walk to the tavern as parking in the town itself is near impossible. 
The weather is forecast to be great.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Climber on "Outrage" (5.12)

A nice shot of a climber on "Outrage", Enjoy
I believe the shot was taken by Indy

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Annapolis Rocks Time Series (Climber POV)

You may find this photo sequence from Annapolis Rocks, Md of interest. Annapolis Rocks is a climbing area along the Appalachian Trail north of Harpers Ferry by about 20 miles. We climbed the classic "Pound of Obscure" climb. Enjoy

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Great Escape - Maryland Heights

An update on the new route left of the Sign on Maryland Heights. Dan M. has decided to name it "The Great Escape"
The Great Escape

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Pillar - Maryland

John Kelbel was kind enough to share a photo he grabbed of a climber on the pillar. Enjoy

The attached photo is of a climber on the pillar over at MD Heights take around 2/8/12
John Kelbel

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Black Tie Affair

It occurs to me that I am posting on April Fools Day.  This isn't a joke, at least coming from me. I could be the butt of someone elses joke but it is without knowing. We'll find out soon enough.

So, I received a report that Black Tie Affair (HERE and HERE) was climbed by Dan and Martin. Congratulations fellas.  Also climbed was their second project left of the main face of Maryland Heights. I don't know what they have decided to name this second climb but I will update when they decide.

Apparently, they are already eyeing up another line. .
A rolling stone gathers no moss

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Balancing the Sugar to Medicine Ratio

A strange flying woman, who makes climbing seem awfully ridiculous given that you could get to the top of that cliff with an umbrella, once said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.  Lately, it's been all sugar here on the blog so don't whine as I deliver the medicine.  Just open wide and digest the following educational information from the Access Fund. 

In the recent Vertical Times publication, that I receive from the Access Fund as a proud member, was a piece called "The Ecology of Climbing".  It contains important information that is relevant to all who rock climb but I think those persons who have visited Harpers Ferry, particularly Balcony Jr., will find meaning in it more than others, at least I hope.  It should also illuminate other actions that we could be taking so allow your conscience to stray into the area of ways you could should be participating (guilt trip).  I scanned it as a jpeg so you can read it here or you can view it on page 6 of the recent Vertical Times HERE.  If you find this type of material to be interesting then you should check out the Access Funds Climbing Management Planning webpage and their very informative Climbing Management: A Guide to Climbing Issues and the Development of a Climbing Management Plan.

Now, Swallow!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Action Filled Update on Black Tie Affair Project

Despite rainy conditions Martin and Dan made a go at the Black Tie Affair project. Apparently, the wall overhangs so much that even in the rain it is dry and climbable. Not until the sun came out did they have to abandon their efforts as it became too hot to hold the crux holds. They were not able to put the whole climb together on lead but they have improved and done the most difficult crux. They have provided some great photographs for your viewing pleasure. Many thanks to Dan and Martin for being so generous and open with their fun.
First things first. Thanks to some community harassment Dan has his safety in order.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Has Sprung - MD Heights Climbing - "Black Tie Affair" Project

Right now you're asking yourself "Why the Superman image?", hold that thought. First, what happened to winter? The season of prime friction has passed.  Spring has sprung and it's time to put away the cold weather gear and grab your shorts. It's time to break out the deep buckets of chalk, the moisture is back. Fantasies of a cold snap with some nice ice are going to have to be stowed in the attic with your snow pants, flannel shirts, and wooly caps.

To get you in the mood for placing some spring gear, how about a couple quick snapshots of some Maryland Heights action!? Thanks be to Martin Leska for the photos and

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Northeast Video Contest - Climberism Magazine

Details on the contest can be found @

Here is a chance to showcase your film making skills, network with other climbers, share your favorite lines and locations, and win some booty.  I know there are "amateur" film makers out there who are capable of high quality work.  Deadline is October 9, 2012.  Video Length <= 3:00 minutes.

If anyone needs info on Harpers Ferry such as aesthetic lines, high lines, hard lines, etc... I am more than happy to help.

Also, Issue #10 of Climberism is now out.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bouldering Video - Balcony Rock Main Boulder - Problem comparison

Robin Close uncovered a newish bouldering video on problems at the main block of the Balcony Rock boulders. See Robins blog at

The new video climbs some

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Small Milestone for the HFC blog (10,000 hits)

This won't be news worthy to most of you but the HFC blog hit counter shows 10,000 hits. Impressive!
Thanks for staying tuned over the last, oh... 3 years or so. Before this version there was Harpers Ferry Bouldering which died and came back as the and HFC blog sites. I'd also like to point out the multiple generations of climbers to be represented through the last 3 years of blog posts. Get connected, stay connected, reach out and share with other individuals to support the next generations, and most importantly be safe and have fun out there.
Many Thanks

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trad Routes - MD Heights - January/February 2012 Ascents

(Edited 11/17/2015, Metropolis was revised to be called The Broadcast. See Mountain Project for details) The sampling of warm weather this winter has provided great opportunites to try some new lines on the cliffs around Harpers Ferry.  In the past month, Martin Leska and Dan Montague have been pushing outward from the well traveled terrain to explore rock that to the current collective knowledge has not seen ascents.  Please post comments if you are aware of historical ascents, and share any photographs if you have them available as we all love eye candy.

As I've said before, the main cliffs of Maryland Heights are the bullseye on the Harpers Ferry rock target.  And, just like the bullseye on a real target, the main cliffs are a small percentage of the total area on which to set your sights.  Don't get me wrong, aim for the sweet spot and hit those main, popular lines. But, don't be afraid to stray off center and venture into new terrain once you have sampled the prime established lines and are comfortable and competent on the rock.

You now have two, newly reported lines to consider on your next visit.  I'll include the descriptions as written by the ascentionists to preserve the first hand experience.  The first picture features a

Monday, January 9, 2012

Climberism Magazine - Free Digital Climbing Mag for us...kind of

Do you ever jones for northeast/midatlantic/"anything east coast" climbing news, photos, anything, everything!?

Well, I do.  There is something about climbing in the dank, dark, leafy, humus rich, dripping wet woods of the east coast Appalachians, and like mountains, that will never grow old for me. I crave it and I love it. I could do without the ticks but hey, it isn't like they can kill you.

The problem is that the east coast, particularly the Mid-Atlantic region, is underrepresented in the media stream. Now, I don't want to go letting out the secret on all of our super, travel-from-anywhere-in-the-world, climbing crags but

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I wanted to immediately post, following the prior post on new routes, to comment on the diversity of climbing in Harpers Ferry. The gorge has all styles of climbing currently available (trad, top rope, aid, bouldering, sport, and ice) except for plastic indoor climbing. Given the diversity of styles, the number of people in the area, the history of nearby areas such as Seneca, the proximity of modern climbing gyms, a tendency for climbers to be egotistical, a climbing culture that likes to encourage "owning" climbs and claiming routes, and the tendency for people to identify with a certain "style", friction can sometimes develop. BUT, I'd like to take a moment and remind you with photos about the roots of Harpers Ferry and the positive, sharing, adventurous attitude of climbers like Rob Savoye who first brought this area to light. It's about brotherhood, respect, inclusion rather than exclusion, and good times. Thanks Rob for setting the tone and teaching us what it's really about, Cheers!

View onward for more photos

New Routes - Maryland Heights Cliffs

While most visiting roped rock climbers seem to stick to the popular, well traveled, main stay routes, Harpers Ferry is seeing talented roped rock climbers get creative, venture out into new vertical terrain, and then share their exploits with the rest of us so we can sample these new lines. If you've been following along then you know that we have also been seeing talented bouldering climbers visit Harpers Ferry.

Just yesterday I placed a call to Maryland climber Dan Montague and we spoke for over an hour on his and Martin Leskas new exploits. It seems that they and others are bringing a combination of strength, trad skill, and head game to climb previously unreported "new" lines, repeat existing climbs, and to attempt to free climb old aid lines... with spicy results at times.

Also in the mix are John Kelbel, Carl Orr, Daniel Langdon and their willing partners. These guys have been teaming up to create some spectacular spectacles on the history immersed cliffs of Maryland Heights. Most of what follows below comes from the ascentionists themselves, so thank these guys for caring and sharing.  Martin Leska, Dan Montague, John Kelbel, Carl Orr, and Daniel Langdon. Read on for the full story.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Routes on Maryland Heights

Information is coming soon. Stay Tuned!

Three new routes by Dan Montague and Martin Leska, two new routes from John Kelbel and partners, and a repeat of an R route done a couple years ago.