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Areas in Maryland Heights, MD

ABC Ramps 9 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Confederate Walls 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Gully, The 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Pillar (MD), The 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Sign Wall 10 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
Sport and Transept 1 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Train Tunnel Wall 7 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 8
Union Walls 14 / 0 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Access Issue: Mandatory Sign in for all outcrops. Closed West Virginia, Maryland Heights, Skink Rock, Stone Fort. Details


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 division photo
Maryland Heights Area divisions

Seasonal Closures
As of March 4, 2016, Sign Wall and points right are closed for Falcons. Confederate Wall is open. Rangers claim Union Wall is also open, but there are signs along the approach trail indicating the trail area is also closed, so while the wall itself may be doable it'll require a different approach, from climber's far left. This closure is now expected yearly and normally ends in August. No closures expected for 2017. For further information check with Mid Atlantic Climbers.

Mandatory Sign in
To climb on Maryland Heights it is REQUIRED to sign in at the ranger’s information station it’s easy and doesn’t 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 it’s 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 ranger’s 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.
Marker 1: CSX / Mark Parking Marker 2: Trail Head Parking Marker 3: Rangers Station Red line: Approach trails

Rock quality
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 at the top.

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 don’t sit down.

Getting There

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 below. This lot fills up quickly. The Fee is $10 or 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 below. 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 “Hard up” 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 the MD heights trail, 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 it’s 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 bus back.
Marker 1: CSX / Mark Parking Marker 2: Trail Head Parking Marker 3: Rangers Station Red line: Approach trails

59 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Maryland Heights, MD

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
A2 PG13
Center Stage and All Alone
Trad, Aid
5.1 2 6 II 7 MD 2a PG13
A-1 Climb
Trad 2 pitches
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
B Real
Trad 2 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
'D' Route
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hard Up Direct
Trad 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trad 2 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hard Up
Trad 4 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Black Powder
Trad 3 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trad 4 pitches
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Sign Route
Trad 3 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Sweet Piss
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Absent Without Leave
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Center Stage and All Alone Train Tunnel Wall
A2 PG13 Trad, Aid
A-1 Climb ABC Ramps
5.1 2 6 II 7 MD 2a PG13 Trad 2 pitches
B Real ABC Ramps
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad 2 pitches
'D' Route Sign Wall
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
Hard Up Direct Sign Wall
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 3 pitches
Yellowjacket Union Walls
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 2 pitches
Hard Up Sign Wall
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 4 pitches
Black Powder Sign Wall
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 3 pitches
Hard-On Sign Wall
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 4 pitches
Sign Route Sign Wall
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R Trad 3 pitches
Sweet Piss Sport and Transept
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Absent Without Leave ABC Ramps
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Maryland Heights, MD »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Due to climbing activity last year at Maryland Heights Peregrine Falcons' nesting was unsuccessful. These falcons start preparing nesting sites in January, not March. Harpers Ferry National Park will temporary close specific routes in the upcoming nesting season in consideration of the peregrine falcons. Thank you for being considerate and sharing the Maryland Heights wall with these feathered friends! Sep 21, 2016
After PM'ing Bridget T we have some more information. She says she works "with" the Audubon Society and they work with the National Park Service. It looks like she is likely a volunteer with good intentions. Look for official announcements from Harpers Ferry National Historic Park on cliff closures via their Current Conditions page… Sep 22, 2016
I, too, am curious as to the data used in the conclusion re: the falcon nesting. I am currently working on a new climbing guide to Maryland and want to have the best data and information possible in it. Sep 22, 2016
Went in to visitor's center today (Sept. 25, 2016) and asked two different park rangers. There are currently no cliff closures on Maryland Heights. Sep 25, 2016
Thomas Carson
Jackson, WY
Thomas Carson   Jackson, WY
Closed walls are open again. I climbed Sign Wall two days ago. May 10, 2017
Just got told by parks service that all of Maryland heights climbing is closed due to a tiny landslide hundreds of yards away from sign wall that is supposedly making the whole wall unstable... but hiking and driving around the landslide are still open. Anybody got any information on this? Jul 18, 2018

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