Boy Scout Ledges is a climbing crag just a few yards away from the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland. As it is a climbing destination unto itself, I have made a mountain/rock page for it and attached it to the Sugarloaf page as a child. I apologize to anyone who thinks a good page needs lots of photos-- a good wide-angle lens could capture the entire crag and all its routes, so three shots is actually pretty good for this spot.
The routes here are few and short, the longest climbing only 35 feet, but they are high-quality routes due to their solid rock, abundant cracks that accept cams and nuts very nicely, and overhangs that make fun if relatively fast pulls along the routes. This crag is great for people learning to lead or honing their leading skills in anticipation of moving on to harder things.
As implied above, there are good options here for trad climbing. However, most people toprope the routes, and there are good natural anchors atop the crag.
Finally, although Sugarloaf Mountain is no secret and is close to a heavily populated metro area, the climbing crags here are amazingly uncrowded. Yes, there will almost always be someone at Cub Scout Cracks (see below), and there will be climbers here and there elsewhere, you’re not likely to find the heavy usage so common at nearby Great Falls and Carderock. My climbing partner and I spent most of a sunny Saturday on Memorial Day weekend here and did not see many other climbers. Maybe it’s the longer drive out here for most people in the metro area that keeps them away. Maybe the climbing is less publicized, a good thing.
The routes, from left to right as one faces them from the bottom:
• For Tall Girls Only (5.8/5.9)--
Indy puts this at 5.8/5.9; Mountain Project has 5.9. Get into the off-width and pull the roof. In the Horst guide, this climb is incorrectly marked as Wish You Were Here.
• Wish You Were Here (5.9)--
If you own the Horst guide, note that this climb is incorrectly labeled in the book. Wish You Were Here is the roof to the right of the labeled climb. Indy
is the source for this, and most climbers from Maryland know his word is good. Use the cracks below the roof to get up to the roof. Pull the roof and gain the V-shaped notch above. Then a short, easy crack goes to the top. It's slightly harder to do it without using the holds to the right of the climb; maybe that's where the 5.9 comes from.
• Time of the Prophets (5.7)—
The 5.7 part is at the start as you climb through a small roof and then onto the vertical face, after which the route becomes an easy crack climb.
• Indiana Mark vs. The Weather God (5.4)— The start is the hardest as you must work around an overhang to gain the cliff face, which becomes an easy crack climb after that.
• Cub Scout Cracks (5.3)— This spot, just a few yards right of Indiana Mark vs. The Weather God, can be mobbed, so much that you might not want to climb anything here. The wall here features several easy cracks to the top. This spot is popular with large groups and beginners. Note: the huge crack with a tree growing from it is NOT one of the routes here but is an easier option than other things here if you’re interested in something in between an easy scramble and a technical climb.
• The Prow Left (5.7)-- Go up the left side of the face below the roof, and then move left to finish up and right.
• The Prow Right (5.10d)
Time of the Prophets
From I-270 in Maryland, take Exit 22 onto MD 109 and head west. In about three miles, turn right onto Comus Road. In a few minutes, you will reach the entrance to Sugarloaf. Follow the one-way road up the mountain and park in the West View lot. Take the Green trail and hike about ten minutes to the crag.
The mountain is privately owned by the Stronghold Corporation but is open to the public from 8 A.M. until an hour before sunset. No alcohol is allowed, so keep your cold after-climb beers well-hidden. Clean up after yourself and obey posted regulations (let's just ignore what I said about the beer) so this place will continue to be open to the public.
External LinksSugarloaf site
Eric Horst’s Rock Climbing Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland has a useful section on Sugarloaf Mountain.