Elevation: 37 ft
GPS: 38.904, -77.064 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Paul Hunnicutt on Jan 7, 2012
Admins: Jason Halladay
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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.

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Scott Coffin
Riverside, CA
Scott Coffin   Riverside, CA
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. Jan 29, 2014
John Ely   DC
I've lived in DC for a while and have looked around. It's amazing how much of the stone work is so tightly pointed that there is little chance of buildering on them. There is supposedly a real piece of rock in the rock creek behind the Italian Consulate on the side opposite the Parkway. Also in the Zoo parking lot, the one down on Rock Creek, if you walk north up the service road past the compound where they store the gardening equipment, there is a long low delightfully pointed thing. It is not hard, avg. 5.6-5.7 moves, but the retaining wall is long enough to tire out most climbers once they start lapping it.... Oct 10, 2017