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John Kelbel starting pitch 3 Don Startzell photo
No one denies that Maryland has no El Capitan. But for those who desire a whole day on rock this is about as close as you can get in MD.
3 pitches of aid followed but one pitch of 5.8 make for perhaps the only grade IV climb in the state.
- Pitch 1 - Refer to Center Stage and All Alone for a complete description. Basically follow the crack up, then slighly right, then back left to reach the slab and up to the ledge with anchor. C2
- Pitch 2 - Traverse down and left 10 feet to the corner (move belay if necessary) and climb the short left facing corner then discontinuous cracks above to a 2 bolt belay under the roof. A2
- Pitch 3 - The crux pitch tension traverses right under the roof then up and over at a thin crack. This is followed with difficulty up and left (stacked Kbs) There are a few fixed pieces (bolts and rivets) under the large roof due to bad rock. Above these wildly aid through the overhang to reach the large ledge above. A3
- Pitch 4 - The two short walls above go at 5.8
I believe this is still waiting a second ascent, and would love feedback on the route.
Start as for Center Stage and All Alone
After you have gotten yourself and all your gear into the pit. Locate the anarchy symbol. The climb starts in the flare to thin crack directly left of this graffiti.
To descend walk-off. Head uphill to the find the trail, and the take a right (east) and take the trail downhill. You will eventually end up on Sandy Hook Road at the other side of the train tunnel. Walk the road back to your gear.
The whole aid repertoire. Especially thin knife-blades. Beaks, RURPs, micro cams and hook were all used on the FA.
John Kelbel nailing the crux. Don Startzell photo
John Kelbe and Dominic Albanese Starting pitch 2 D...
Some rope antics while putting up Spectacular Spec...
John about to get into the crux of Spectacular Spe...
John just off the belay on P2 of Spectacular Spect...
John works his way up to the P2 belay on Spectacul...
Apr 27, 2012
We climbed this line in 1976, but it was likely done much earlier. There are actually several aid routes above the tunnel. The NPS used to keep a guidebook at the desk with all the routes on Maryland Heights. Easily over 20 free climbs, including the Sign and the pinnacle upstream.