|Maryland Heights, MD
View of Maryland heights, looking down on a popula...
Maryland Heights is the tallest rock in central Maryland reaching 200 feet tall and offering much multi pitch trad climbing, some sport lines, and a few aid lines. There is very little top-roping that can be done without leading a climb first. Be sure to check out the Area Divisions Photo
Mandatory Sign in
To climb on Maryland Heights it is REQUIRED to sign in at the rangerís information station itís easy and doesnít take long. Not signing in may result in a $150 fee. This is the only cliff in the Harpers Ferry area that one needs to sign in for. The rangers often get reports from non-climbers that someone has climbed up onto the cliff and are in trouble. So by signing in the rangers know who should be on the cliff and who should not be. The rangers ask you to sing out however if itís after hours 5:00pm and the station is closed there is no need to worry about it. Please do sign out to keep good relations with the park when possible. The rangerís information station is located in the historical town in WV. The station is the last building on Shenandoah street (south side), near the intersection of High street. see marker 3 on map
The Rock quality varies form excellent solid clean rock to broken and loose blocks with razor sharp edges. Most of the popular routes are fairly clean. The areas to avoid are above the sign particularly the top right section. Also The Union and Confederate Walls and the Gully seldom see climbers and will contain much loose rock, See Area Divisions Photo.
The Climbing Season is early spring to late fall, but seldom in the peak of summer. The rock faces South West so there is morning shade for most of the cliff. However the Train Tunnel wall and Confederate walls face south and will see the sun much earlier. Also the rock is mostly black and soaks up the solar heat making temperatures 10 degrees hotter then forecast. Harpers Ferry is notorious for chiggers in the summer time. So bring bug spray and spray your shoes and socks and donít sit down.
The Main rappel is located on the left side of the sign and is setup for 2 rappels with a single 60m rope. The top rappel is located at the outer edge of a 6 foot wide chimney. From the top of the cliff the chimney is located on the left side below the middle overlook, when facing the town, and requires a little scrambling to get down into it. Walk out the bottom of the chimney to the face of the cliff and step down to a tree. Bolts with chains can then be found on the north wall, right side when facing the town. On the first rappel watch where you lay the rope when exiting the chimney there is a spot with a V notch that some times will snags a rope. A 60m rope is required and do be careful not to rappel off the end of the rope when reaching the 2nd set of rappel chains.
Parking around Harpers Ferry can be frustrating when arriving after 9:00am on beautiful days. The recommended parking lot is the CSX / Marc lot located off Potomac St in downtown Historical Harpers Ferry, see marker 1 on map. This lot fills up quickly. The Fee is $10 and a year pass can be purchased at the visitor center for $30. From here it is a short walk to sign in at the ranges information station, see marker 3 on map. Head across the train bridge on the pedestrian walk way to the cliff. At the bottom of the stairs for the bridge walk under the railroad and go another 60 feet walk into the dry canal and mantle the wall on the other side from a stack of rocks. Cross Sandy Hook road to access the trails to the cliff. The trails to the climb ďHard upĒ and all the routes left of the train tunnel is located on the right side of the old white stone building at the base of cliff.
Alternative parking on the Maryland side is the trail head parking for MD heights,see marker 2 on map. Located a half mile north from the cliff on Sandy Hook / Harpers Ferry Rd. However this lot only holds about 8 cars. If you arrive later in the day itís possible to find a spot here particularly if you wait around for 15 minutes as someone may leave. There is a self pay box located 100 feet up the trail for Maryland Heights.
If everything mentioned above is filled up you will be forced to park at the visitor center and take the bus into town which also means you need to be out before 5:00 to catch the free buss back.
Browse More Classics in Maryland Heights, MD
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Maryland Heights, MD:
Featured Route For Maryland Heights, MD
Center Stage and All Alone
A2 PG13 MD
: Harper's Ferry
: ... : Train Tunnel Wall
From the flared V-notch at stop work up to the thin crack on small nuts, micro cams, cam hooks, rurps and birdbeaks. Crux is likely passing the long rectangular block wedged in the crack about 25 feet up. Once at the roof make a move or two right and then back left at a horizontal. Some 5.6 slab moves will get you up the slab to the ledge and the anchor.A great aid pitch for the intermediate aid climber. Good gear is had though there are several body weight only pieces. Be careful in the first ...[more] Browse More Classics in MD
View from Maryland Heights, looking down on Harper...
Brain Roland, free climbing above anchors bare foo...
Photo: Dave Fiorucci
Approach the wall via the railroad tracks that cro...
Looking up the Potomac river north-west into WV. C...
BETA PHOTO: An overview of Maryland Heights. The Sign Wall is ...
BETA PHOTO: Marker 1: CSX / Mark Parking
Marker 2: Trail Head ...
BETA PHOTO: Maryland Heights
BETA PHOTO: Yellow Arrows are the main Rappel
A single 60m rop...