Type: TR, 40 ft
FA: unknown
Page Views: 1,475 total · 18/month
Shared By: Rocket on Aug 18, 2012 with improvements by Stephen Montgomery
Admins: Frances Fierst

You & This Route

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Darn if I know. Zig, zag, finish the same as Triple A. Then show me how :)


Hades Heights, about 15 feet from the downstream end of the trail


Trees and large boulders for toprope anchors


Andy Weinmann
Silver Spring, MD
Andy Weinmann   Silver Spring, MD
Zig Zag follows the incipient crack system to the right of fingernail. The two large edges further to the right are off route. Once you're up to the ramp you can finish the top section any way you like; the hard climbing is in the lower section and is all about balance and precise edging/smearing. I'd probably average it out and call it 11c/d. As most probably know, Carderock can be extremely weather dependent because of the friction needed to climb routes like this. On a crisp fall day this will seem easier than in the gross humidity of July. This is also a height related crux...definitely easier if tall (~5'9"+). May 2, 2013
Chalk in the Wind  
I see the rating here has been changed, seemingly reflecting a suggested update last fall, and I'm going to have to disagree with the 10- and especially the suggestion that it really is a 9. Yeah, I have my doubts that it's really 12 as some books say, but this is harder than 9 or 10a. Many Carderock climbs have off-limit holds and other rules in order to achieve the rating, and when I see people commenting that the climbs are easier than advertised (not a common remark about Carderock, which has a big sandbag reputation), I notice in their comments that they often seem to have climbed the route "incorrectly."

This route has the hard parts on the first half as you follow the zig-zagging incipient crack. For the 12, you are supposed to use only holds along that crack system, and nothing big, especially not some very tempting good holds just off the crack system. This "12" is not strenuous, which I also think makes some doubt it; it is just about balance and precision. Frankly, although I've done it twice, even once eliminating good holds that seem to be "on" but which seemed too easy for the grade, I don't really like this climb because it's a pain to do it "right" and you spend more time worrying about what's on and off than you do enjoying it. If you want something more enjoyable, try Fingernail, just to the left; it's a fun 10b with, as is the case much of the time at Carderock, the harder stuff on the lower half.

ETA: Now the rating is back up to 5.12a. Does MP automatically update ratings based on user notes? Apr 17, 2016