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Routes in Sign Wall

'D' Route T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Black Powder T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
C T 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Daniel's Variation T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Great Escape, The T 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hard Up T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hard Up Direct T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Hard Way Up, The TR 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Hard-On T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sign Route T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Space Walk T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a


The Sign Wall is one of the more popular areas of Maryland Heights and the home of the classic route “Hard Up”. The unique and fading sign in the center of the wall was painted around 1903-06 and reads “Mennen’s Borate Talcum Toilet Powder”. Click this link for a Historical picture of the sign.

Rock Quality
Most of the rock in this area is excellent however areas to be cautious in are to the right side of the painted sign. Also at the top right side of the sign above the cave / alcove the rock here has razor sharp edges and is broken and loose.

Rappel Location
The descends along the left side of the sign as viewed from the town and is setup for 2 rappels with a single 60m rope.

From the top of the cliff there are two main overlook areas the upper one has a park info sign the other is a little lower and on the left when viewing the town. From this overlook locate a 6 foot wide chimney a little lower and around on the left side of the overlook. Scramble down the base of the chimney all the way to the exposed main face and a tree. The rappel bolts are still out of sight until you step down to the base of the tree and look back into the chimney under an overhang on the right side of the chimney wall.

A 60 meter rope is essential for reaching the second rappel. On the first rappel watch where you lay the rope when exiting the chimney there is a spot with a V notch in the crack system that sometimes will snag a rope. There is a large smooth protruding horn near the 2nd tree it is about waist high and makes for an excellent place to lay the rappel line keeping it out of the crack system. Also watch that you don’t rappel off the end of your rope as this long rappel will take you to the end of your rope. Then next rappel will take you to the base of the crag and “Hard Up Direct”

Getting There

The direction on the main page “Maryland Heights” will get you to the base of the cliff on Sandy hook road. Take the trail on the right side of the white stone building and follow it straight up underneath the sign.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Sign Wall

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Burton Rosenberger
Woodbridge, va
Burton Rosenberger   Woodbridge, va
Trail from the "white house" to sign wall. If you are on Harper's Ferry side and cross the bridge when you get on the MD side you will use some stacked stones in the corner of the lock gate (not where the iron gate door is .. more left than this)

From here you will find another set of stones and be on the road a lot faster than the way I took (down the path to a bridge and back to the white house)

Also this trail meets mid-way up with a trail to the north (climbers left) which goes around to the other walls and there is an approach to get on top of the first sign wall climb, 'D' Route ... it is this or travers around climbers left when facing the wall after taking the approach I did.

I can tell you ... it is "fun" to do that with a 50lbs backpack on but it is possible and likely easier in climbing shoes. (video not shown) Oct 15, 2017

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