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Washington, DC

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Canal walls 
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Washington, DC  


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Location: 38.9043, -77.0643 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Sam Vanderhyden, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Paul Hunnicutt on Jan 7, 2012
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Description 

Bored with your business trip to DC...bored with the not so close to downtown DC gyms, don't have time for New River Gorge, Seneca Rocks, or even Great Falls...looking for a quick fix...hit this small "crag" in Georgetown. Yes Georgetown, Washington, DC. This collection of man-made stone walls behind M Street in Georgetown isn't the next Red River, but you can climb them.

I'm not aware of any access issues, however I have not seen anyone else climbing here - though I'm sure others have.

Please be aware this is a highly visible spot and a popular jogging & biking path. Therefore you might want to save the highball mischief for off hours. Also make sure you don't land on anyone jumping off your latest "project" here. I've never used a pad here as it is difficult to place because it would be right on the walking path. However, if you have someone to spot you and pick up the pad it could work.

Other things to watch out for: glass and trash at the base and on top of the walls, joggers/cyclists on the path behind you, passer by's who want to tell you about the 60 Minutes piece on "this guy climbing without a rope 2,000 feet up a cliff - have you seen that!!??"

The wall directly behind the mall is good for long traverses and just west of there (upstream) is a good low warmup wall and just west of that is a wall inset that is a hard slab traverse with tiny crimps and horrible feet. I haven't completed the entire thing yet and feel it would land in the mid V range. Your own FA awaits!

Most of the walls are just about vertical, give or take a few degrees. Lots of flat edges, slopers, sidepulls, and the occasional joint between stones to practice your thin crack jams. Frequently the footholds disappear, which makes it a good place to practice crimpy vertical climbing.

Walls face south and are great in winter (less people out as well). Summer is sticky and humid, but so is all the climbing on the east coast then. Non business hours and weekends are best due to lots of traffic on the path. I've never been really bothered by anyone, but have had to hang on the wall pumping out for someone to pass behind me on the path.

Getting There 

Find M Street in Washington, DC. Go behind the Georgetown Park mall or Dean and Deluca (shopsatgeorgetownpark.com/) to the canal. You can also head down Wisconsin Ave from M Street towards the Potomac river and access the canal there. You can also come across Key Bridge onto M Street, go down the first street on your right (34th???) to access the canal. There are walls on either side, but typically I have climbed downstream around the bridges closer to Wisconsin Ave. The stuff just under Key Bridge and west of there seems to be very very thin and crimpy stone work.

Find a wall and enjoy.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.9 miles from here

1 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',1],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]


Featured Route For Washington, DC
canal walls 1

Canal walls V2 5+  * In Progress : Washington, DC
Most of the walls are just about vertical, give or take a few degrees. Lots of flat edges, slopers, sidepulls, and the occasional joint between stones to practice your thin crack jams. Frequently the footholds disappear, which makes it a good place to practice crimpy vertical climbing. stone can be very sharp in spots. I would not grab a lot of the beige colored mortar as it tends to break off very easily.the traverse behind the mall is super long, slightly monotonous, but can get a decent for...[more]   Browse More Classics in * In Progress

Comments on Washington, DC Add Comment
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By Scott Coffin
From: Laramie, WY
Jan 29, 2014
Anybody have beta on more buildering projects around the district? Surely some of those old monuments are climb able. The Georgetown canal can't be the only rocky edifice worth getting calluses on! DC climbers need to unite! PM me if you are in DC and want to get outside.