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Rocks State Park

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Biceps Wall 
Breakaway Wall 
King and Queen Seat 
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Rocks State Park Rock Climbing 

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Location: 39.6359, -76.4121 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Frances Fierst, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brad.mering on Oct 22, 2007
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Vertical(5.6) at Rock State Park


Rocks State Park is about 40 minutes north of Baltimore, and has some of the best trad routes in Maryland. There are three main climbing areas. The main outcropping is called the King and Queen Seat, and hosts the majority of the routes. A small, 40ft pillar juts out from the end of the King and Queen Seat, to form the Strawberry Jam Pillar. Finally, off in the woods to the east is the Smoke and Ash Crag, hosting two short routes. Most of the worthwhile climbs are in the first two areas.

There are about 25 routes and a couple of variations. A couple of them are fairly high quality for the area, and two or three are exceptional by Maryland standards. The grades range from 5.4 to 5.12 and most of the routes can be toproped, either by slinging trees and blocks, or with a bit of gear.

The rock is fairly hard and eats up stopper placements. Cam placements can be a bit tricky due to the flaring rock. The main wall, with the highest concentration of high quality routes gets early sun.

There are few objective hazards in Rocks. There are copperhead snakes in the area, and occasionally popular climbs like Breakaway(5.9) and Vertical play host to wasp nests.

There is some old fixed gear, but all new fixed gear is banned, except by permission of the park ranger. The only access issue is that the park closes at sunset, and you will be fined if you are caught in the park after dark.

Getting There 

Drive north on I-95 to Route 24. Take 24 north about 10 miles. The road will go from a major highway to a small two lane country road. 24 becomes Rocks Rd. About a mile after you pass Cherry Hill Rd. You'll see a couple of parking lots on your left. If you hit a fork in the road with a bridge on the right (St. Clair's Bridge Rd.) you've gone to far. Park a the second lot and hike up the trail until you see the crag.

Climbing Season

Weather station 9.5 miles from here

24 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',9],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Rocks State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Rocks State Park:
The Crux   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, TR, 55'   Biceps Wall
Beginner Flake   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13     Trad, TR, 50'   Biceps Wall
Peanut Butter   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Pinnacle
Vertical   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 70'   Breakaway Wall
First Line   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Pinnacle
Bone Jacker   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Breakaway Wall
Green Subtrafuge aka Centrifuge   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 85'   Breakaway Wall
Strawberry Jam   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Pinnacle
Breakaway Right   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Breakaway Wall
Breakaway left   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Breakaway Wall
Strawberry Jam Direct   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Pinnacle
Mike's Finger Buckets   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b R     Trad   Breakaway Wall
Piney   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch   Breakaway Wall
Smoke 'n' Ash   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, TR, 30'   Smoke 'n' Ash Boulder
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Rocks State Park

Featured Route For Rocks State Park
Rock Climbing Photo: Renee climbing Strawberry Jam in mid April.

Strawberry Jam 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  Maryland : Rocks State Park : Pinnacle
Follow the left leaning crack on the west side of the pillar....[more]   Browse More Classics in Maryland

Photos of Rocks State Park Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Tanya climbs Vertical (5.6) at Breakaway Wall, Roc...
Tanya climbs Vertical (5.6) at Breakaway Wall, Roc...
Rock Climbing Photo: My first lead on vertical
My first lead on vertical
Rock Climbing Photo: At the lower part of breakaway.  nice corner featu...
BETA PHOTO: At the lower part of breakaway. nice corner featu...
Rock Climbing Photo: Brakeaway Wall; the main wall at RSP. Routes vary ...
BETA PHOTO: Brakeaway Wall; the main wall at RSP. Routes vary ...

Comments on Rocks State Park Add Comment
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By kenr
May 24, 2015
I recorded some (approximate) locations with my GPS when I visited and climbed in May 2015:

parking lot low "rapids" -- (latitude longitude N39.6381 W76.4125)
. on the West side of route 24, just N of a maintenance building.
. about 1.15 mile north from the intersection with Cherry Hill Rd
. about 0.35 mile north from the intersection with Rocks Chrome Hill Rd
. about 0.25 mile south from the intersection with St Clair Bridge Rd

parking lot high "picnic" -- (N39.6351 W76.4158)
. reached by driving from St Clair Bridge Rd

Kings Queens Seat (N39.6354 W76.4129)
. West end of the cliff top ridge

Strawberry Jam Pinnacle (N39.6358 W76.4123)
. East end of the rocks

Ledge at bottom of Breakaway wall (N39.6355 W76.41235)

getting there
from Low "rapids" Parking to Kings Queens Seat
. uphill about 255 vertical feet (80 meters) over a distance of 0.2 mile (300 meters)
. typical hiking time 10-15 minutes.
. I followed the obvious well-maintained trail (with some wood steps) up South from the low Parking. Just after a radically-leaning stone pillar and a sign for a historical quarry, the main trail turned right (N39.6361 W76.4128). Here I turned Left off onto another unmarked trail and continued south up to the top of the rocks.

from High "picnic" Parking to Kings Queens Seat
. downhill about 100 vertical feet (30 meters) over a distance of 0.35 mile (600 meters)
. typical return time 5-7 minutes.
. I followed the marked wide trail at first SE then generally E.

Breakaway ledge:
In theory the wide ledge at the bottom of the Breakaway wall could be reached by scrambling up west from the route 24 road. But I found this was steep slabby dirty -- not something I'd ever do hauling gear or with ground even slightly wet. Also there's no legal parking along the road by there. Although that approach was mentioned in an old guidebook, it did not look like hardly anybody does that any more (now that there's a nice maintained trail on the N side of the rocks).

From the Kings Queens Seat, hiking down around the SW side of the rocks leads to a gully below the Breakaway ledge. Which then requires scrambling up a steep slabby dirty gully to actually reach the ledge -- not something I'd ever do hauling gear or with ground even slightly wet.

So I guess that's why most people get to the base of Breakaway by first going to Kings Queens seat, then scrambling E down the N side of the rocks, crossing the ridge a bit W of the Pinnacle and scrambling SE down the rather steep rocky gully (not something I'd try when wet). Or rappelling down in from the Epitaph Ledge.
By Agarciap
Apr 15, 2016
Are there anchors on anything but the Pinnacle?
By Scytalle
Jun 7, 2016
@Agarciap Last time I was there in the fall I think the only thing that was bolted was the pinnacle. Everything else you need to set anchors with gear or long slings/static to sling boulders or trees.

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