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The VA/MD/DC Rock Climbing Group Message Board The VA/MD/DC Rock Climber's Meetup Group Discussion Forum › climbing (route) guides for our area?

climbing (route) guides for our area?

Cabin John, MD
Post #: 3

Eager to climb outside, I have tagged along some great climbing parties recently. It only made me want to do more. So, I'm in the process of collecting gear & knowledge for such endeavor.

I'll be asking about some of it -- to learn from the vast knowledge of the group members.
Here is Q#1 --

It seems that there are very few book (sites?) that describe the details of local toprope (or other) routes.
I found the below, but non seems to be recent:

1) Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland
by Eric J. Horst, Stewart Green

2) Outdoor Escapes Washington, D.C. : a Four-Season Guide (Outdoor Escape Series)
by Kevin J. Carnahan

3) Climbers Guide to the Great Falls of Potomac
by James Eakin

Two sites (Dr.Topo & SuperTopo) -- one closed one only West Coast routes?

So, anything better? Any recommendations?

A former member
Post #: 13
The Horst book is a good all-around resource for the area, but some climbing spots are covered in more details in other books. Some of the areas are fairly accurate (Carderock, Great Falls) while others not so much (Coopers, Franklin). I'm not very familiar with 2 and 3. And you're correct, SuperTopo is for those spiffy west coasters.

The local mountaineering section of PATC (Potomac Appalachian Trail Club) has quality guide books on both Carderock and Great Falls, covering the area in greater detail and have some cool history on your local crags. I highly recommend them. You can sometimes find them at REI, EMS.... probably others, or just order online (http://www.potomacmou...­. You could probably just e-mail them and figure out a way to meetup with them to buy directly, I'm betting. They're a pretty cool group.

I don't know any book on Sugarloaf better than Horst's. The sites and have varying levels of quality on places around here. Just..... stay away from the forums (especially RC). The crap to quality ratio can be really bad.

If you're interested in other areas not particular to top roping (Frankling, Coopers, the New, etc), let me know.
Cabin John, MD
Post #: 5
Great info. Thanks!
I will be looking at other areas hopefully soon -- however, as a beginner, I mostly stay "local", to learn the ins & outs of outside climbing. Later, I will expand my horizon (not hat I will automatically refuse an offer to climb elsewhere :)). I just took the lead course, so it will be a while before I feel ready to actually do it outside. BTW, there is another local climbing organization I found -- their site is Seems like a great bunch of people!

A former member
Post #: 1
Climb Maryland is another good resource. written by Mark Kotche. you will find it at the Rockville gym in the book section. also if you google Indie's underground climbing guide you'll find good stuff.
Adam M.
Salt Lake City, UT
Post #: 23
All great suggestions so far. One thing to realize is that climbing guidebooks are such a niche market, that there are only a few books and they're not updated that often. So going to a local bookstore is probably a waste of time. I've found most (if not all) books are available on Some books are out of print and you need to buy used copies. Strangely, the PATC-published books don't seem to be too prevalent on but can be purchased through PATC directly and are often in stock at local REI and Hudson Trail Outfitters stores.

The following 4 books are the only guidebooks for the DC area that I've seen:

Besides books and websites, you can get a lot of good local knowledge from staff at Earth Treks and Sportrock, PATC, Mid-Atlantic Climbers, and local professional guides.
Cabin John, MD
Post #: 7
Great collection. Of course, unless I have an iPhone 4, and can have a two way video conversation, asking the staff about a specific location of a route is kinda hard :))))

Last weekend I went to CR, and ended up climbing the twin Crack (I think it is the name) -
it is usually a wet climb, but you can get there by meandering from rock to rock in a dry path
right now. The problem was -- the rock was hot HOT HOT in the afternoon. I much better morning climb ;)
user 3513997
Group Organizer
Arlington, VA
Post #: 117
Just like to add, if you want to look at a book before buying, your best choice is REI or other stores that carry climbing gear.
user 3037728
Bethesda, MD
Post #: 16
I really hate that Horst guide. I would not recommend it to anyone unless they are going to climb old rag (in which case it is the only option available... though be aware that the directions to the climbers parking lot are actually wrong), and that isn't really a very good first climbing destination. The Climb Maryland book is definitely the way to go for Annapolis Rocks and Sugarloaf. The PATC books are your best option for Great Falls and Carderock... Seneca has its own guide, as does the new.
Cabin John, MD
Post #: 8
I found another website -- the Indy "unofficial" local climbs.
Pretty comprehensive, and has some cool info too.
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