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Routes in Carderock

Bad Rock T,TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Barnacle Face T,TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Beautiful, Little, Lie Back T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Beginner's Crack T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Beginner's Face TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Biceps TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Biceps - Var: Right Wall T,TR 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Biceps - Var: Thumbthing T,TR 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Biceps - Var: Thumbthing Else T,TR 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Billy Goat Boulder V2 5+
Blue Easter Egg TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Buckets of Blood Arete TR 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Buckets of blood (overhang) V10 7C+
Bulge, The TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Bulging Crack T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Bump, The TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Butterfly TR 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Carderock Low Traverse V5 6C
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go V1- 5-
Chockstone Chimney T,TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c PG13
Chris Wex Don Traverse T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
Chris' Cruz T,TR 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Chris's Goat TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Copycat TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Court Echelle TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Crack, The T,TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Cripple's Crack TR 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Cripple's Cube V2 5+
Cripple's Face TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Crippling Paralysis TR 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Crucifixion T,TR 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13
Crystal Ship TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Death Nerve T,TR 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Desperation TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Diamond, The T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Dream Direct, The TR 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Dream, The TR 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Easy Layback TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Eight Ball TR 5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
Eliminates T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Elsie's TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Elsie's Arete TR 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Elsie's Nose TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Elsie's Other TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Evan's Bolt Ladder T 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b A1
Face To Right T,TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Fat Man's Fantasy T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Fifi T,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Fingernail TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Flake, The TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Flutterby TR 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Friction Layback TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Golden Staircase TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Green Bucket TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Green Easter Egg TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Guillotine T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
Hades Heights Girdle Traverse T V1-2 5
Herbie's Horror TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Herbie's Left TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Impossible T,TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Incipient TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Iron Cross TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Jackknife T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
Jam Box TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Jam Box Chimney TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Jam Crack TR 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c
Jan's Face TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Jan's Face - Var: Eight Ball T,TR 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Jan's Face - Var: Left Edge T,TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Kindergarten TR 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c
Krypton V5+ 6C+
Lazy Daisy T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Left Edge of Jane's Face TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Leonards Lunacy T,TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Mad Dog TR 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Make A Wish T,TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Margie's Chimney T,TR 5.1 2 6 II 7 MD 2a
Marion's Chimney T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Meenehan's Edge T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Meenehan's Staircase T,TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Merv's Nerve TR 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Near Matt Splat T,TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
Norris' Nipple T,TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Norris's Nipple T,TR 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Nose That Blows, The TR 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Nose, The TR 5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
Nubbin (Nubble) Face TR 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Outlook Rock Boulder V1-2 5
Overhanging Block T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Parking Lot Traverse, The V2 5+
Photogenic T,TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Pre-Kindergarten Boulder T V-easy 3
Rack Direct, The T,TR 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Rack, The T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Road Rage V0 4
Ronnie's Leap TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Serenity Syndrome TR 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Shipley's TR 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Shonard's Lunacy TR 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c V6 7A
Silver Spot TR 5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
Silver Sucker TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Slot It Out V3 6A
Sloth, The TR 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Spider Walk TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Stannards Playground / TB Boulder TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Sterling's Crack TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Sterling's Double Cracks TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Swayback Layback TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sweethog TR 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
Swollen Head T,TR 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13
Tea and Scrumpet V4 6B
Tomb of the Unknown Shoulder, The T,TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13
Top Roping at Carderock with Tots TR 4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Triple A TR 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trudie's Terror T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Turkey V2 5+
Twitch T,TR 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Upper Wall Crack T,TR 5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c
Upper Wall Jam Crack T,TR 5.1 2 6 II 7 MD 2a
Vulgarian Wedge T,TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Walk On By T,TR 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Wet Dream T,TR 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Wish Come True T,TR 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
X, The T,TR 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
Yellow Jacket TR 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Zig Zag TR 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Unsorted Routes:
Elevation: 50 ft
GPS: 38.976, -77.207 Google Map · Climbing Map
Page Views: 69,337 total, 557/month
Shared By: franciscov on Sep 17, 2007 with updates
Admins: Frances Fierst

Description

A cliff band on the east side of the Potomac River just northwest of Washington DC. The rock is hard with quartz crystals and about 40 feet high. The area is top roped using trees and there are lots of hard foot work challenges. It's a beautiful area in the hardwood forest that is peaceful, but very popular.

Getting There

just of I-495 exit on to the Clara Barton Parkway in Carderock Park. Park in the far north parking lot and walk west on a trail to the cliffs.

126 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Carderock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Here is a bunch of additional information from about.com Climbing:
climbing.about.com/od/where…

Carderock, located along the east side of the Potomac River in Maryland just north of Washington DC, is one of the most popular urban climbing areas in the eastern United States. The 25- to 60-foot-high, west-facing cliff offers lots of easy and moderate top-rope routes, with a few harder climbs as well as numerous eliminate routes and boulder problems.

Most Popular Cliff on East Coast
Since Carderock is in the Washington DC metroplex, a densely populated area that also includes cities in Maryland and Virginia, it’s extremely popular—probably the most climbed cliff in the eastern United States. Local climbers come after work for a few quick routes, while large groups, including guided trips, Boy Scout troops, and others, flock on the weekends. To avoid the crowds, plan on climbing during the week when it’s usually quiet and you can put a top-rope on any climb you want.

Geology: Carderock Schist is Slick
Carderock climbing ranges from easy to hard and often depends on the temperature and humidity. Summer is not the best time to climb the crag’s harder routes. The rock surface is often slick and polished, making careful footwork important. Some climbs also feature quartz crystal knobs and nubbins, allowing for friendly moves on solid handholds. The occasional crack climbs found at Carderock offer laybacks and jams. The cliff at Carderock is composed of mica schist, a metamorphic rock that was originally deposited as shale and mudstone and was later subjected to intense heat and pressure which transformed or metamorphosed the original deposit.

Solid Rock for Solid Climbing
The rock at Carderock is generally sound with a clean surface although sometimes hollow flakes or loose holds are found. Most routes, however, have been climbed a lot so any loose rock has been cleaned off. The cracks, however, are not ideal for leading since protection is often difficult to place and the schist has a reputation for being friable and breakable if a piece of gear is subjected to a leader fall.

One of Oldest Climbing Areas in Eastern USA
Carderock offers lots of fun easy and moderate climbs that are easily top-roped from a rope strung from tree anchors.

Carderock, with its proximity to Washington DC, is one of the oldest established climbing areas in the eastern United States. Gustave Gambs, partnered with Don Hubbard and Paul Bradt, introduced climbing here in the 1920s. These early climbers used laid manila ropes, which were looped around their waists and cinched up with a bowline knot. They either top-roped routes or led them, pounding pitons in cracks for protection.

Early Carderock Climbing
In the 1940s, climbers continued to explore Carderock and Great Falls, particularly in Mather Gorge on the Virginia side of the Potomac River farther upstream. Carderock, however, was more easily accessible to city climbers. The area’s first climbing guide, “Rock Climbs Near Washington” written by Don Hubbard, was published in the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) Bulletin in July, 1943.

Herb and Jan Conn Go Climbing
In 1942, Herb and Jan Conn, who later settled in the Black Hills of South Dakota and opened many routes at The Needles as well as explored and mapped Wind Cave and Jewel Cave, began climbing at Carderock. The Conns climbed and named lots of the routes at Carderock, including Herbie’s Horror in 1942. This route, first climbed by Herb Conn, was one of the first 5.9 routes in the eastern United States. Other Conn routes were a bunch of top-ropes on Jan’s Face and Ronnie’s Leap, which Jan Conn says “was named for our dog, who mistook that spot for the walk down near the Spider Walk. He came hurdling down while we watched in dismay, but at the bottom he trotted off without a backward glance.”

Letter from Jan Conn

In 2008, Vincent Penoso with the PATC sent a copy of their new guidebook to Herb and Jan Conn. Jan replied with a thank you letter, which is scanned and posted on the PATC website. She wrote: “We had a ball reading your new guide to the climbing at Carderock. We marvel at the places people now climb. The last time we were there (1985) the glaze made by slipping feet below the Spider’s Walk hand crack brought to our minds that these climbs get harder as the years past. We’re glad we did all our climbing before the polishing. The guide brought back fond memories of the period in our lives when we realized that life is what you want it to be. If climbing is more important than having a prestigious job or a family, go for it!” Well said, Jan!

Carderock Climbing Equipment
Carderock is a top-rope climbing area although some routes can be led. All top-rope anchors are trees either along the cliff-top or set back. Bring an extra rope or length of rope, preferably static, to create an equalized top-rope anchor using trees and to extend the anchor to a master point over the cliff edge. Long lengths of webbing can also be used for anchors. Also bring several slings and locking carabiners. A small assortment of Stoppers and cams can supplement your anchor too. While the top edge of the cliff isn’t sharp, you can also bring a sheath, a section of garden hose works fine, to protect the fixed rope where it drapes over the cliff-top. Read Top-Rope Climbing Equipment for more gear information.

Location
North of Washington DC and the I-95 beltway along the Potomac River in Maryland.

Finding Carderock
Carderock is on the Maryland side of the Potomac River about 12 miles north of Washington DC. Follow I-495, the Capitol Beltway, and take Exit 13. Drive north on the Clara Barton Parkway to the first exit for Carderock Recreation Area and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. Turn left and drive across the parkway on a bridge into the national parkland. Follow the road to the last parking area. A trail starts on the south side of restrooms. Follow it for 0.1 mile to the cliff-top. Access the cliff base by scrambling down a gully in the middle of the cliff or by hiking right and descending around the north edge of the cliff.

Take the Bus to Carderock
If you’re visiting and don’t have a car, you can reach Carderock from Washington DC. Take bus #32 from the Bethesda Bus Station in Washington DC. Ask the drive to drop you off at the gate for the naval base. Cross the bridge over the parkway and hike up to the road to the parking area and trailhead. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes. Apr 17, 2012
Richard Radcliffe
Louisville, CO
Richard Radcliffe   Louisville, CO
Carderock is a huge sandbag. This is quite evident from the video that Dan posted which shows a 5.15 climber falling multiple times on a climb rated "only" 12d. On TR, no less. (That's a great little video, BTW.) Oct 25, 2009
Jhernand
Salt Lake City, UT
Jhernand   Salt Lake City, UT
As far away as VA...? just across the river? hell of a trek! Oct 1, 2009
The secret of Carderock climbing is out! Once known only by locals, the area now draws climbers from as far away as Virginia and has even been visited by a climber from California: npr.org/templates/story/sto… Jan 10, 2009
SqueegeeJoe Scoresby
Manassas, VA
SqueegeeJoe Scoresby   Manassas, VA
Carderock's a busy, busy place. On any given weekend, you can find local gyms and schools using this area for groups and classes, scouts climbing up and down, and dozens of locals out with their buddies or solo. No solitude here.

Top-roping is the recommended technique. There are no bolts worth trusting, and everything is so slick from use it's hard to get gear to stick. Dec 17, 2008

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