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Friction Wall

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
4 Bolts S 
Corner, The T,TR 
Drilled Pockets S,TR 
Hidden Art T,TR 
Make Believe T 
Truth, The T,TR 
Unknown 1 S 
Unknown 4 S 
Yoda's Vision TR 
Unsorted Routes:

Friction Wall Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 100'
Location: 39.2642, -76.7914 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 6,073
Administrators: Frances Fierst, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Dominic Albanese on Jul 26, 2009
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: The main slab on the left and the sport routes to ...

Use discrestion while on the approach via the tracks (CSX property) MORE INFO >>>


And old quarry that has been closed for some time. Has sort of an eerie quality. North facing so shady and buggy with the threat of chiggers during the summer.
There have been at least two deaths in the last twenty years and rumors of a man living another mile up in the woods.

Despite all this 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.

A video showing some of the aid in the back right corner can be found here

Getting There 

From downtown Ellicott City park in the end of the lot past the train museum. If heading west on Frederick Road this is the first left after heading under the train bridge and just as you get into town proper.

Make sure you feed the meter appropriately as they are very strict about policing the area. Also a few spots are reserved for the private residences at the end of the cul de sac and should be respected.

Hike east along the tracks (keeping the flour mill on the left) for about 1/4 mile. The cliff will appear over a little rise on the right.

Divided into 4 sections from left to right as you are looking at the cliff. They are small enough not to warrant being divided into different areas on Mountain Project but it helps to find the right climb.

  • The Slab - Home of The Truth
  • The Sport Wall - Chipped/Bolted routes around the arete from the slab. The corner dihedral that used to be an aid route has fallen off due to ice and can be seen at the left end of this wall.
  • The Back Wall - a single bolted line on the slab in the back of the quarry
  • The Aid Wall - Practice aid routes in the back right of the quarry

Climbing Season

For the All Locations area.

Weather station 6.2 miles from here

9 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Friction Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Friction Wall:
The Truth   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Friction Wall

Featured Route For Friction Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Hidden Art is the thin crack line at the left end ...

Hidden Art 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  MD : Patapsco State Park : Friction Wall
This route and Yoda's Vision both start off the same ledge, which is most easily reached from rappelling in from the top. Find the furthest most point of land at the top and use a high sling on the small tree as a directional.Leave the left end of the ledge via a thin crack in a corner, which changes to pure thin crack up higher.A great find recently unearthed by John Kelbel. Certainly worth the effort to get to, as it is probably the nicest crack line at the cliff.Staying tied in while belaying...[more]   Browse More Classics in MD

Comments on Friction Wall Add Comment
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Jan 26, 2016
There was a fatal train accident along the tracks in this area and hiking the tracks is very likely to result in an arrest. The area can be accessed from above;
from the train station downtown drive up St. Paul St; turn left on College Ave. There is a new subdivision on the left. Turn on Old Leaf Ct and then right on Old Stag Ct. There is guard rail at the end. The woods on the other side of the railing is state park. Proceed directly down hill and you should find the top of the quarry. Bring a wide brush to clean off the sand on most climbs
By Mjf
From: Ellicott City, MD
Sep 6, 2016
Since the flooding in Ellicott City, roughly 5 trees have fallen over the main part of the crag. It blocks the beginning section to hop onto the main slab, as well as the ground where we usually stand to belay. Bolder people might not mind climbing around and over trees, but when we went we did not want to test it.
By John Kelbel
From: Eldersburg, Maryland
Sep 21, 2016
Mid Atlantic Climbers and John Kelbel are working with the Patapsco State Park to clear the fallen trees from the rock face. It just takes time as the park has limited resources and other more pressing issues to deal with since the flash flood. Some of the trees hanging on the cliff face are a potential hazard to anyone climbing on the slab. We are asking that climbers do not climb at friction wall for the being. This self regulating act show the Park that we are a responsible user group, which goes along way to preserving access.
For more info