Friction Wall Rock Climbing
|GPS:||39.264, -76.791 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||Dominic Albanese on Jul 26, 2009|
DescriptionFriction wall is an old quarry that has been out of operation for some time. Friction wall itself lies on park property and is open for climbing. The approach has changed in the last few years and the old approach along the tracks from Ellicott City has been replaced by an approach from above. See map below for more details.
Despite the approach complication Friction has some great climbs. From the perfect slab of The Truth, to the 5.12 Drilled Pockets, to practice nailing, this forgotten relic finds a way to keep on giving.
While this area has been bolted in the past, use discretion and find a local that can help sort through the history of the area to make sure that a new route would indeed be new. Also a few routes here (on the Sport Wall) were "created" via chipping and drilled pockets. While this quarry is essentially man-made the current ethic is to leave the existing routes but to refrain from the creation of new ones.
The top of the cliff is subject to extreme erosion, and reaching the top anchors is best done by rapping off a tree. The severe rainstorm of 2016 that effected the area may have further destabilized the top, in particular a block has come off above and to the left of the main slab. Use your best judgement and consider evaluating the condition of the top-outs from above before climbing below.
A video showing some of the aid in the back right corner can be found
Use discrestion while on the approach via the tracks (CSX property) Details
While the actual cliff of Friction Wall is on park property the longstanding approach via the train tracks is private. While climbers have been tolerated in the past, be discreet, park legally, and above all do not walk on the tracks!
Getting ThereHistorically, climbers have accessed Friction Wall by walking down the railroad tracks from Ellicott City which is, in fact, trespassing on CSX property. Since the train derailment in 2011 that killed two people, CSX has stepped up enforcement and MAC has urged climbers to stay off the tracks. Some climbers have been parking across from Sheppard Pratt on the shoulder of College Ave. In Google Maps you can see the green property of the park make note of the narrow strip of park land that touches College Ave.
Another possibility is at a new development that just went in off College Ave, at Old Leaf Ct and taking the first right on Red Stag Ct brings you to a dead end about 50 feet from the park boundary. At this time it is unclear if parking on the shoulder of the road and entering the park will be permitted however it may become an ideal access point. It may be more appropriate not to park at the very end of the street blocking the turnaround. Maintaining access is all about considering how your presence and actions affects others, and this also includes your safety on any property including the State park. Pleases let MAC know if you encounter any issues with these approaches.
Classic Climbing Routes at Friction Wall
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season