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Northwest Branch 
Patapsco State Park 
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Administrators: Frances Fierst, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Ladd Raine on Sep 20, 2007
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From the Chesapeake Bay to the hills beyond Hagerstown there is climbing to be found in Maryland, although most of the climbing can be found in central Maryland.

Rock State Park, Carderrock, A-Rock, and other various climbing locations are generally small, short but have beautiful setting and fun moves. Finding a local that knows where the classics are is defintely the crux of Maryland climbing.

Indoors gyms are extremely common, generally huge, and well-kept.

Getting There 

Maryland is a state, there are only 50, learn them know them, and even though the East coast states are small we have fierce devotion to our repective home states so don't say "oh! that is one of the small ones over by..." if you want to make friends.


Eric Horst's Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland does the best job of getting you from area to area and helping you to find the routes.

Tim Toula's aging Rock and Road does a decent job giving you an idea of what to expect out of Maryland climbing

367 Total Routes

['4 Stars',17],['3 Stars',110],['2 Stars',170],['1 Star',45],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Maryland:
Tea and Scrumpet   V4 6B     Boulder, 1 pitch, 10'   Carderock
Center Stage and All Alone   A2 PG13     Trad, Aid, 1 pitch, 80'   Maryland Heights, MD : Train Tunnel Wall
'D' Route   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 2 pitches, 225'   Maryland Heights, MD : Sign Wall
Seven Wishes   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Sugarloaf Mountain : Middle Earth
Vertical   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 70'   Rocks State Park : Breakaway Wall
Sterling's Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     TR, 45'   Carderock
Triple A   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Carderock
Jan's Face   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Carderock
The Sherpa Connection   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 25'   Sugarloaf Mountain : White Rocks
Hard Up Direct   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 3 pitches, 170'   Maryland Heights, MD : Sign Wall
Blue Rose   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Patapsco State Park : Ilchester
Strawberry Jam   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Rocks State Park : Pinnacle
Butterfly   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   Carderock
Ounce of Perception   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   Annapolis Rock : Faint's Roof
Breakaway left   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Rocks State Park : Breakaway Wall
Herbie's Horror   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 25'   Carderock
Breakaway Right   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Rocks State Park : Breakaway Wall
Black Crack   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Annapolis Rock : The South End
Midnight Lightning   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     TR, 1 pitch, 25'   Patapsco State Park : Ilchester
Buckets of Blood Arete   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     TR, 1 pitch, 25'   Carderock
Browse More Classics in Maryland

Featured Route For Maryland
<a href='/v/hidden-art/106499537'>Hidden Art</a> is the thin crack line at the left end of the ledge, and <a href='/v/yodas-vision/106499549'>Yoda's Vision</a> is the face to the left of that.  <br /> <br />The two bolt anchor that is shared by <a href='/v/drilled-pockets/106499492'>Drilled Pockets</a> and the unknown rightmost bolted line, can be seen on the left edge of the photo.

Hidden Art 5.9 5c 17 VI 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

Photos of Maryland Slideshow Add Photo
Left fork rocks in the Frederick watershed.
Left fork rocks in the Frederick watershed.
North Frederick Watershed - "Gem Arete"
North Frederick Watershed - "Gem Arete"
North Frederick Watershed
North Frederick Watershed
Frederick Watershed - "Still Life" boulder
Frederick Watershed - "Still Life" boulder
North Frederick Watershed - "Proud Roof"
North Frederick Watershed - "Proud Roof"
North Frederick Watershed
North Frederick Watershed
Frederick Watershed - "Still Life" boulder
Frederick Watershed - "Still Life" boulder
Comments on Maryland Add Comment
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By Mike Mu.
Oct 9, 2007

For a better description of Maryland Climbing check out Indy's Climb Maryland book. Here is the link for>>>
It is more thorough than any other guide. Maryland, when you actually go looking has a lot of climbable rock, you just need to get out there and find it.

By John Kelbel
From: Eldersburg, Maryland
Feb 24, 2010

For Rock locations in Patapsco State Park and the west side of Baltimore check out

By Robin Close
From: Columbia, Maryland
Mar 3, 2012

If anyone's interested in checking out videos of Maryland bouldering, I've added a video page to my blog with links to all that I could find, with the exception of a few from areas with questionable access. To access the page, go to and click on the "Maryland Bouldering Videos" tab at the top. I also post regularly about any climbing that I do, and have compiled a lot of Northwest Branch bouldering information under the "Northwest Branch" tab. Clicking on the names below the boulder photos will take you to pages with more information about the cliimbs on each.