Played out

This blog was spun up to spread some better beta for the tiny areas in central MD. It’s built up a better collection of free Maryland guides than you’re likely to find elsewhere, but… there hasn’t been a new guide posted since April 2013.   woof.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the west coast, Mountain Project’s less helpful here than it is there, and no matter where you are,’s a better forum site than climbing resource. The work required to put out good beta on those two is why this site is here. Turns out the joke’s on me; mini-guides aren’t easier.

New Site:


CliffCloud‘s been in the works for a while, but it’s finally at a point where it can handle some use. Here’s the gist:

  • It’s built so that climbing developers can put out good beta fast. Everyone benefits.
  • Contributing is (somewhat) limited
    • If you’re itching to contribute, email and you’ll get set up as an area developer. Eventually it’ll be open to anyone.
  • Make a profile!
    • Log in with Google; CliffCloud only gets the info a visitor would see on your Google+ profile, nothing sensitive.
    • You’ll be able to start building climb collections right away
      • tick lists, sent routes, area classics, rainy day routes  — anything
    • If you’ve got videos, add their links to the climbs. Nobody wants to read beta; videos are the best medium for beta.
  • The site’s mobile friendly!
    • With a charged phone, you’ll have a guide at the crag. For free!

MDGuides will still be here, just inactive (barring user submitted guides). Put your new stuff on CliffCloud!

Check out some other MD climbing blogs too: Blue Ridge Climbing, Robin’s Blog, Harper’s Ferry Climbing, Indy’s Underground Guide, and Patapsco Rock.


Balcony Junior

The Balcony Junior guide is up!  But, before you download it and run out, take a second to read the access issues; there isn’t much.

Parking can be difficult here.  As the guide touches on, there is a parking lot that serves as a school bus turnaround on the week days.  There is only a small area to park here,  once you find it (at the end of the small town of Sandy Hook) just remember the picture below.

balcony parking directions

Parking anywhere else could get you towed on weekdays or ticketed on weekends. Also, there’s not restricted or limited access right now, but where resources are scarce, in this case parking, is where access issues come from. Be smart and climb safe!

And now for the download link: Balcony Junior MDGuide

If you’re interested, the Harpers Ferry section of mountain project lists a couple other parking areas that could be useful to know in case the spots are taken at the turnaround.

Routes are coming!


Update 11/15/13: The guide’s out and posted here!

The title sums it up: the first routes mini-guide is coming.  So far, this blog has been catering to the crash pad denizens, but it’s time to expand!

If you’ve tapped out Carderock, Rocks State Park, and Annapolis Rocks, Balcony Jr should give you some new terrain!  Here it is:

It’s (kind of) divided into two sections: one, with sport routes on very featured rock, and the other, mostly trad routes with gear gobbling horizontals.

One thing to point out is that there are sport routes here, which, if you’ve tried to find bolts to clip in maryland, you probably know that sport routes are few and far between.

The guide’s about finished and should be posted within the week; keep your eyes peeled!

And don’t forget to look back once you clip the anchors!

Eden Brook Grades

Pitch in for consensus grading!

Here‘s the original post.

Murray Hill Mini Guide

There was a post about this place a while back, but it’s finally here!  If you’re in the Columbia area, this is the perfect after-work bouldering location.

Right now, there’s some tall grass under the powerlines, so if you’re not a fan of walking through a few hundred feet of grass, just wait till winter;  it’s just around the corner!

There are 8 boulders in total, some better than others, but for being a local area, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The oulders to the north of the river

The North Boulders

Now for the climbing:  The boulders are split by a river, leaving 6 on the south side and two on the North.  Parking for the North boulders is a bit more tricky and if you’re interested, it’s not too difficult to figure out on Google maps.

The South Boulders

The South Boulders

The South boulders are easier to get to and offer more climbing.  There are a couple projects:

One on the South Boulder

Attempting The Full Value Project

Full Value Project

And two on the Aquaman Boulder (there’s now a platform below the Platform Project)

Aquaman Projects

Platform and Aquaman Projects (with the platform visible)

If you’re not out for the projects, there are plenty of problems for almost anyone.   Here’s a video from Robin’s Bouldering Page for a few moderates:

And here’s the guide: Murray Hill Mini Guide

Enjoy it!

Harpers Ferry

One of the larger, if not the largest, climbing areas in Maryland is Harpers Ferry.  Known for it’s moderate, sometimes loose traditional routes, it has not developed a proper reputation.

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With two mountainsides nearly covered in boulders and riverside bouldering peppered across the banks, this is not a place to overlook if you’re trying to get some good bouldering in.  (And it’s got some good routes too, but that guide will come later)

A few local climbers have put up a range of boulder problems ranging from v-easy to near double digit problems.  A resonable number of those climbs are featured in the videos below:

For all of these bouldering problems, there’s a great, well-put-together guide from Conrad at the Harpers Ferry Blog!

Here’s the download: THE_HF_BOULDERING_GUIDE

Levitation Grades

Here’s a shot at getting some consesus grading for local areas.  Hopefully, it will be a little more reliable and accurate than the typical word-of-mouth grades!