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Where do people that actually live in DC climb?
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By ACC
Jan 19, 2013
Sportrock and Earth Trek in Rockville are the two main gyms in the DC metro area but a bit of hassle to get to after work if someone actually lives in DC (not the burbs). I live in DC and am looking to get back into climbing on a regular basis a few nights a week on the weekdays after work. Driving out of the city after work can be a nightmare and taking metro is too expensive to be doing on a regular basis. The only other gym in DC proper that has a gym I think is Results in Capitol Hill. I'm not familiar with Carderock or Great Falls but those seem to be the local climbing spots. So where do DC people go to climb after work? Thanks.

FLAG
By Tony Hawk
Jan 19, 2013
Check out the canal walls in Georgetown. Decent workout for the desperate...

mountainproject.com/v/washingt...

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By Tony Hawk
Jan 19, 2013
The National Museum of the American Indian looks pretty sweet also...too bad you can't climb the thing!

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Jan 19, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Good luck! You do realize DC is right at sea level?

C rock will be crowded regularly. The TR anchors people throw up there will horrify.

Earth Treks in Rockville is a big gym that should satisfy you enough in between road trips to Seneca or NRG. The Metro gets you close enough to bike there. As for the cost of the train ride... Welcome to Washington DC

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By Wannabe
Jan 19, 2013
ACC wrote:
I live in DC and am looking to get back into climbing on a regular basis a few nights a week on the weekdays after work. Driving out of the city after work can be a nightmare and taking metro is too expensive to be doing on a regular basis.


You've got a pretty tough decision matrix working there ACC. You WANT to climb but don't want to drive or take metro. Sounds like you should build a woody at your place. Only solution I can see. I used to drive about 18 miles one way after work to get to Carderock one afternoon a week for 3 seasons out of the year. Somedays it was pretty annoying but that's how bad I wanted to climb. You might also check and see if Robin Close (I think that's his name) has any beta on boulders in Rock Creek Park on his blog. Good luck!

--Wannabe

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By MJMobes
From The land of steady habits
Jan 19, 2013
modern man
barstools mostly

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By ACC
Jan 19, 2013
thanks for the replies. I'm familiar with the wall that runs along the canal in Georgetown. I've run by it many times and I've only once seen people on it. I'm surprised it's not more popular. I guess DC people don't have many options as far as local spots. I was just wondering what DC-based climbers do for climbing on the weekdays especially during the winter months. Does anyone know anyone that actually ventures out to sportrock or earth trek from DC regularly during the week?

FLAG
By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Jan 20, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Yes I know people who go to Earth Treks during the week. I met a guy at Rocks SP who said he goes there more than Cardarock. If you live near the Metro traveling there should be crowded but going back into DC should be easy. Once you're off the train the gym is a short walk away.

You should also look up Potomac Appalachian trail club. I met a bunch of them at Annapolis Rocks one day. Sounded like they would be a resource for info and partners.

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By Suqui
From asia
Jan 20, 2013
Carderock is a dust pan, Annaolis rock choss pile, Chikies choss, boring, Birdsboro manufactured holds abomination galore, the Great falls tourist trap, deteriorating conglomerates.....the whole area is a bore....go to the Gunks!

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jan 20, 2013
You stay away from mah pig!
Suqui wrote:
Carderock is a dust pan, Annaolis rock choss pile, Chikies choss, boring, Birdsboro manufactured holds abomination galore, the Great falls tourist trap, deteriorating conglomerates.....the whole area is a bore....go to the Gunks!



But Sharma had to project a 5.12a at Carderock! It must be awesome!

npr.org/templates/story/story....

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By Suqui
From asia
Jan 20, 2013
camhead wrote:
But Sharma had to project a 5.12a at Carderock! It must be awesome! npr.org/templates/story/story....

Carderock seriously sucks! Sharma ? I have to ask him why he even bothered....

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By C Runyan
From Pennsylvania
Jan 20, 2013
We built a great glue-up for bouldering on the stone wall in Rock Creek Park under the Porter Street bridge. 100 feet long, 15 feet high, and a nice grassy landing. D.DOT chopped it a few years back, but it wouldn't take much to bring it back to life.

Next on the agenda was the old stone wall on the running path under the Duke Ellington bridge (Calvert Street). It's more secluded than the Porter Street bridge (set back in the woods), but I moved before getting around to clearing the poison ivy hanging down over the wall.

Good luck!

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Jan 21, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
The Gunks? Yea, that's not far at all. I doubt he's going to drive six hours after work. Maybe the Metro could get him close? You want to see a choss pile? Check out Maryland Heights.

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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Jan 21, 2013
old 1/4" bolt.
Traversing the base of the Washington Monument is fun and challenging and you've got to experience the barn door on one of the aretes.

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By Wannabe
Jan 21, 2013
Suqui wrote:
Carderock is a dust pan, Annaolis rock choss pile, Chikies choss, boring, Birdsboro manufactured holds abomination galore, the Great falls tourist trap, deteriorating conglomerates.....the whole area is a bore....go to the Gunks!


I think climbing on "Choss Piles" builds character. I've now heard almost every crag I climb at referred to as a "choss pile" by one MPer or another-- including Seneca called a choss pile that looked like it was pooped by a giant choss monster. How psyched do you have to get to go climb a flatiron or in the valley? How hard do you have to work to learn how to climb different styles? We may have smaller crags but I wonder if it doesn't build bigger characters! (I used the "s" on there purposefully grammar police) I'd still swap my current abode for one next to big mountains in fairness, big mountains and probably smaller characters...

--Wannabe

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jan 21, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.
Wannabe wrote:
I think climbing on "Choss Piles" builds character. I've now heard almost every crag I climb at referred to as a "choss pile" by one MPer or another-- including Seneca called a choss pile that looked like it was pooped by a giant choss monster.


Hahaha. I completely agree. I've never been to the DC area, but what you say is true. If the choice is between even solo TR on a choss pile, and nothing, I'm going with the latter.

I remember that comment about Seneca. I've only been there twice, and I have to say that was my first impression too- especially for a lot of the lower grade routes on the west face. Still an awesome place with a lot of quality and adventurous routes and a lot of history.

FWIW to the OP, I have two rock gyms "near" to me- but in opposite directions. The traffic can't really be compared to DC, but either way I go, I have to drive through clogged interstate traffic- for an hour+. If I want to climb outside without planning a weekend trip hours away in another state, I have to drive almost an hour to old granite bridge abutments that have been bolted. Some call it a choss pile- which it is. I call it my only option sometimes, and I'm grateful to have that over nothing.

If you love it, and you really want to do it, you have two choices: A) figure out the fastest and/or most economical option and just do it, or B) go the way of so many others and move to an area where options and good climbing are much close and convenient and plentiful. It all comes down to how much you love it, and how dedicated you are to putting time in.

FLAG
 
By Rafael Rovirosa
From Las Cruces, NM
Jan 21, 2013
People call Seneca a choss pile because it is an enormous choss pile. Seneca is one of the only crags in the country that when you approach it on the highway coming from the New you say "Wow, we are 25 miles out and I can already tell that place is a crumbling, deteriorating, piece of choss." After climbing at Seneca for the first year or so of my trad career, I tapped on every hold to make sure it was good at all the places I went to afterwards. This practice is absolutely necessary at Seneca, but when I realized I didn't have to do that at quality crags, the association of choss with Seneca became permanently cemented. On top of the chossiness, if you climb harder than 10 then you are going to have to go above small gear like brassies and 00 tcus. The grades stop at 12 except for maybe 1 junky sport route that goes at 13. Even worse than not having hard climbs is the unbelievable amount of gumbies. No area in the world attracts as many gumbies as Seneca. If you get to a rappel station and there is even 1 party there you might as well walk down because the party will invariably be a bunch of gumbies that take 2 hours to set a rappel. The gumbies are also very dangerous; they will drop stuff on you, epic on 5s, and make stupid mistakes that someone with 20 years of experience should never make. Seneca gumbies are the worst in that regard; they are not gumbies because they have been climbing for 9 months and want to try trad, they are gumbies because they have been climbing for 20 years and still act like they have been climbing for 9 months. There are more of these "Perma-gumbies" at Seneca than anywhere else in the world combined.

Seneca's one redeeming feature is that it offers wild exposure on very easy climbs. The only reason I may ever go to Seneca again is to take someone who is new to climbing on Gunsight to South Peak Direct.

I recommend just driving the extra 3 hours and going to the New. With respect to climbing in DC, I know many people that take the metro 3 times a week to go to the Rockville gym. Too bad the metro is so poorly run and so expensive as a result. Good luck and don't go to Seneca.

FLAG
By Joseph DeGaetano
From Fayetteville, WV
Jan 21, 2013
STOP your bitching, NRG
DC can be a purgatory for climbers but with a little work and getting to know the community you can thrive as a climber in DC. First, the gyms are top notch. Both Earth Treks and SportRock are topshelf gyms where you can make great gains in your climbing.

As far as gettin outside on real rock, M-F you're best bet is Great Falls, VA or CarderRock, MD. The VA side of the Potomac River is much better and contains many more routes. Although it's primarily a toproping area, you just need to think of it really as highball bouldering on a rope. 11+ there is very stout and more likely mid 5.12. The 5.12s are very hard and technical. I cut my teeth at this place and I believe it did a great job of teaching me how to climb technical faces and how to crimp hard. Despite all the negative reviews, this place isn't bad for a local trip.

Old Rag will be an oasis in the concrete jungle. Yes, it's 2 hours away and yes it will take about an hour to get to the closest sector from the parkign lot but this place has impeccable granite crack and slab climbing. Mostly single pitch climbing in a wilderness setting. Totally worth the drive, hell worth an overnighter. Great granite climbing and some adventure bouldering. Enuf said.

Seneca, Franklin, NRG, and the Gunks are your closest weekend trips that are worthy of a weekend (or much more).

Within 5-7 hours from DC you can be in many different world class areas. (NRG, Western NC crags, Gunks, Seneca {not sure I'd call this world class but not bad}.

ACC go out there an explore the local area. I don't think you'll be dissappointed.

FLAG
By ACC
Jan 21, 2013
ok, thanks for the feedback. I had thought about moving closer to Earth Treks in rockville but I like DC so I haven't made up my mind. The metro from my place is almost a $10 round trip so that's going to be costly if I decide to head out there several times during the week. I was hoping to hear from some DC people to see what they do during the week. Since most people don't really climb outside during the weekdays after work especially during the winter months, I was primarily interested to hear what they do. Since I'm short on time after work, the climbing gym is the best option for me. Does anyone know anything about the local DC gyms that have climbing walls (the results gym comes to mind)? I've been to some gyms before that have climbing walls and it seems hit or miss.

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By "H"
From Manitou Springs
Jan 21, 2013
Axes glistening in the sun
Years ago, while dropping a buddy off back in DC after a trip to Seneca we somehow managed to do some "climbing" right along the Potomac. I don't remember the name of the park we parked in to get to these "climbs." I thought it was novel that we could see DC from where we were climbing from. Length of the climbs depended on how high the water was. Nothing huge either way. 25-30ft if that.

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By Josh S
Jan 22, 2013
"H" wrote:
Years ago, while dropping a buddy off back in DC after a trip to Seneca we somehow managed to do some "climbing" right along the Potomac. I don't remember the name of the park we parked in to get to these "climbs." I thought it was novel that we could see DC from where we were climbing from. Length of the climbs depended on how high the water was. Nothing huge either way. 25-30ft if that.


probably great falls

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By Jeff Fiedler
Jan 23, 2013
Joseph is right on.

ACC -- I know DC traffic can suck, but Sportrock in Alexandria is 20 minutes from downtown. Just go later, after rush hour. Really not that big a deal.

FLAG
By Will M
From Boulder, CO
Jan 24, 2013
Great falls does have surprisingly decent climbing, on both sides of the Potomac. There's even a deep water solo under one of the popular cliff jumping spots.

FLAG
By Seth Derr
From harrisburg, pa
Jan 24, 2013
Hey there!
Jake Jones wrote:
Hahaha. I completely agree. I've never been to the DC area, but what you say is true. If the choice is between even solo TR on a choss pile, and nothing, I'm going with the latter. I remember that comment about Seneca. I've only been there twice, and I have to say that was my first impression too- especially for a lot of the lower grade routes on the west face. Still an awesome place with a lot of quality and adventurous routes and a lot of history. FWIW to the OP, I have two rock gyms "near" to me- but in opposite directions. The traffic can't really be compared to DC, but either way I go, I have to drive through clogged interstate traffic- for an hour+. If I want to climb outside without planning a weekend trip hours away in another state, I have to drive almost an hour to old granite bridge abutments that have been bolted. Some call it a choss pile- which it is. I call it my only option sometimes, and I'm grateful to have that over nothing. If you love it, and you really want to do it, you have two choices: A) figure out the fastest and/or most economical option and just do it, or B) go the way of so many others and move to an area where options and good climbing are much close and convenient and plentiful. It all comes down to how much you love it, and how dedicated you are to putting time in.


haha i just called Seneca a chosspile in another thread, but a bit tongue in cheek. I love climbing there, probably more than the gunks. It can be a bit crumbly though.

FLAG
 
By Seth Derr
From harrisburg, pa
Jan 24, 2013
Hey there!
Rafael Rovirosa wrote:
People call Seneca a choss pile because it is an enormous choss pile. Seneca is one of the only crags in the country that when you approach it on the highway coming from the New you say "Wow, we are 25 miles out and I can already tell that place is a crumbling, deteriorating, piece of choss." After climbing at Seneca for the first year or so of my trad career, I tapped on every hold to make sure it was good at all the places I went to afterwards. This practice is absolutely necessary at Seneca, but when I realized I didn't have to do that at quality crags, the association of choss with Seneca became permanently cemented. On top of the chossiness, if you climb harder than 10 then you are going to have to go above small gear like brassies and 00 tcus. The grades stop at 12 except for maybe 1 junky sport route that goes at 13. Even worse than not having hard climbs is the unbelievable amount of gumbies. No area in the world attracts as many gumbies as Seneca. If you get to a rappel station and there is even 1 party there you might as well walk down because the party will invariably be a bunch of gumbies that take 2 hours to set a rappel. The gumbies are also very dangerous; they will drop stuff on you, epic on 5s, and make stupid mistakes that someone with 20 years of experience should never make. Seneca gumbies are the worst in that regard; they are not gumbies because they have been climbing for 9 months and want to try trad, they are gumbies because they have been climbing for 20 years and still act like they have been climbing for 9 months. There are more of these "Perma-gumbies" at Seneca than anywhere else in the world combined. Seneca's one redeeming feature is that it offers wild exposure on very easy climbs. The only reason I may ever go to Seneca again is to take someone who is new to climbing on Gunsight to South Peak Direct. I recommend just driving the extra 3 hours and going to the New. With respect to climbing in DC, I know many people that take the metro 3 times a week to go to the Rockville gym. Too bad the metro is so poorly run and so expensive as a result. Good luck and don't go to Seneca.


While most of this is kind of true, if you venture to the backside your chances of getting plunked from above by falling water bottles, gear, ropes, rock, etc decrease by at least 50%.

FLAG
By BrianWS
Jan 28, 2013
Rafael Rovirosa wrote:
People call Seneca a choss pile because it is an enormous choss pile. Seneca is one of the only crags in the country that when you approach it on the highway coming from the New you say "Wow, we are 25 miles out and I can already tell that place is a crumbling, deteriorating, piece of choss." After climbing at Seneca for the first year or so of my trad career, I tapped on every hold to make sure it was good at all the places I went to afterwards. This practice is absolutely necessary at Seneca, but when I realized I didn't have to do that at quality crags, the association of choss with Seneca became permanently cemented. On top of the chossiness, if you climb harder than 10 then you are going to have to go above small gear like brassies and 00 tcus. The grades stop at 12 except for maybe 1 junky sport route that goes at 13. Even worse than not having hard climbs is the unbelievable amount of gumbies. No area in the world attracts as many gumbies as Seneca. If you get to a rappel station and there is even 1 party there you might as well walk down because the party will invariably be a bunch of gumbies that take 2 hours to set a rappel. The gumbies are also very dangerous; they will drop stuff on you, epic on 5s, and make stupid mistakes that someone with 20 years of experience should never make. Seneca gumbies are the worst in that regard; they are not gumbies because they have been climbing for 9 months and want to try trad, they are gumbies because they have been climbing for 20 years and still act like they have been climbing for 9 months. There are more of these "Perma-gumbies" at Seneca than anywhere else in the world combined. Seneca's one redeeming feature is that it offers wild exposure on very easy climbs. The only reason I may ever go to Seneca again is to take someone who is new to climbing on Gunsight to South Peak Direct. I recommend just driving the extra 3 hours and going to the New. With respect to climbing in DC, I know many people that take the metro 3 times a week to go to the Rockville gym. Too bad the metro is so poorly run and so expensive as a result. Good luck and don't go to Seneca.


While much of the above is unfortunately true, not all areas in Seneca are created equal. The east face of the south peak, for instance, is about as clean as they come (ie not chossy).
The stiff grading, small gear, and minimal bolting all act as a deterrent for much of the crag, and can certainly be credited with dragging climbers' egos down along with general opinion of the place. Initially, I hated this place. After returning with a bit more experience with gear and cracks in general, I had a blast.

And yes, you do need to be on supreme lookout for dodgy climbers in this area given the amount of scrambles and moderates leading to the summit. Helmets!

FLAG


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