Access Senstive!! Be repectful to environment, neightboors, locals and remember Guideline #1. Do not camp at Franklin. Not in your car. Not anywhere.
Pockets, Jugs, Rails, Overhanging jugs hauls, Moderate classics and many other awesome things about Franklin are frequently overlooked by everyone in the climbing world except for locals.
Great collection of sports routes here that folks generally use as a local crag, not neccesarily a destination.
Many locals use Franklin's cliff as a trainging ground for the challenging vertical cliffs of the New River Gorge (3-4 hours away).
A good guidebook doesn't exist for this area, so onsight!! For those who don't like onsighting... Online Guide Here isn't exactly the best guidebook, filled with errors, but it is better than nothing.
Yay, my first clean 5.10 TR was here!! 7-05
From Harrisonburg, VA the distance is about 41 miles, driving time is just over an hour. To reach Franklin: Drive west on Rte 33, through Rawley Springs, into the National Forest and over Shenandoah Mountain, with great views all along the way (about 15 miles to the top of Shenandoah Mtn from Harrisonburg).
Stay on Rte 33 through the small town of Brandywine, making a right turn before passing over a bridge on the way out of town. Watch for deer along this stretch of road near sunset.
Pass through Oak Flats to climb over the next mountain and descend into Franklin, past a welding shop and State Police Headquarters. The Roadside Crag lies along this stretch of road, as well, directly across from Delta Road 31.
2.8 miles after the State Police HQ, slow down as you approach the obvious bridge over the South Fork of the Potomac River, with Kemper's Store on your right. Please patronize this local business, whose owners have always been welcoming to climbers of all types.
Between Kemper's entrance and the bridge is 5|11 River Gap Road (dirt). Turn right. Maximum speed on this road should be about 10 mph- it is narrow and rough, and large 4x4s can appear from the opposite direction.
Follow dirt road to obvious parking, exactly one half mile in. Park in consideration of other parties and traffic. Please do not block the gate going up the mountain, or your car may be towed.
To reach the new trail, new bouldering, and upper walls: Hike up the log/stone steps leading to the "Parking Lot Wall" (Look for pink ribbon tied around a large tree about 8'off the ground.). Head right from here along the new (and still improving) trail. For the River's Bend crags, park as you would for anything else, then hike downstream to where the road ends and continue along the riverbank for another 2/10s of a mile. Coming from Seneca, the Franklin Gorge turn off is one mile east of the town of Franklin on Route 33.
While not a destination, it is great limestone climbing if you are in the area you should go. There is a lower band of limestone with sandstone on top. Most routes have a mix of the 2 rock types.
Id hesitate to do any gear routes here. Eddie Begoone, a serious hardman and no wuss on poor gear related a story once about taking a modest fall on a perfect #1 camalot and having it pull at Franklin. I think he abstained from gear routes after that when at this crag.
All routes have now been restored with new bolts and hangers to replace the junk hardware used in some of the original installations. New routes have gone up and the trail is in better condition than ever, with a new set of stone and mortar steps (courtesy of Eubanks Renovation's Ryan Eubanks and the NoVa/D.C. Crew and with a little help from yours truly), new trails around Blood Sweat and Chalk (thanks to Amber Childress and Whitney Moss), and an increased police presence in the parking lot to prevent local partying from reaching such destructive levels.
It's fall,kids... the best time of all to enjoy Franklin. Come on down and enjoy!
I left a pair of size 44.5 (I'm pretty sure it's about a mens 10-1/2 US) LaSportiva Speedsters (the new green and yellow slippers) just 30-ft right of the climb Jump Start. If you find them please email me!!! I will hook you up!
Are there any lines here that would stay dry in the rain, and how long does it usually take to dry out. I have a trip planned to seneca and it looks like we will be dodging rain the whole time. any info would be great thanks. chris