Carderock Climber's Log

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Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Feb 2, 2016 10:40 pm

2015 Season

Climbed here so many times spring through winter, so I will list from left to right, first by trad and then TR.


Easy Jam (5.2)-- Easy but big cams are needed to protect this, and cams are considered dangerous on this rock. You're probably not falling on 5.2, but anyone can fall on anything.

Beginner's Crack (5.3)-- I once led this as a new leader and must not have known what I was thinking (and must have forgotten) because except for the start and finish, the only pro that will work is big cams and Big Bros, both of which aren't recommended for this rock. My second lead felt scary even though the climbing was easy.

The Crack (5.3)-- I did the direct start, which many feel is more like 5.8. Anyway, this route eats pro and is probably the best lead at Carderock because a standard rack of passive gear will work and there is no runout.

Easy Layback (5.4)-- Pro is so-so but the climb is easy, especially after you have done it on TR a few times and know where all the holds are.


Easy Jam (5.2)

Herbie's Left (5.6)

Herbie's Horror (5.9)-- a fun climb because it was the first 5.9 in the country and once the hardest climb in the country; plus, Chris Sharma came out and did it!

Left Edge (5.3)-- Stout for a 5.3. No way is this a 5.3 at most crags!

The Flake (5.10b or 5.9)-- Near the left end of Jan's face are three hairline cracks. Climbing between the left and middle ones without using any holds outside is the 10b. Using some big holds on the left makes it a 9. We did it both ways.

Eight Ball (5.11d)-- Getting off the ground is hard, especially for shorter people, and then there is another crux about 2/3 of the way up. The 11d is earned by going between the center and right hairline cracks without using anything outside.

Center Face (5.6-5.8)

Elsie's Other (5.7)-- A classic Carderock 5.7, meaning it would be 8 or 9 most other places. I hated this climb. It ascends diagonally up a slanted block and feels very off-balance. If you fall, you swing.

The Rack (5.8)-- Solo TR. Fun.

Sterling's Crack (5.7)-- Another "Carderock 5.7" that would be an 8 most other places. Great route, and leadable.

Elsie's (5.5-5.8)-- A series of grooves that get harder the farther left one goes. Very much like Elsie's Other. I did the 5.5, and it was bad enough.

The X (5.7)-- A classic Carderock contrived climb in that you are not supposed to use the obvious and best holds, i.e. the cracks forming the X. Still fun.

Barnacle Face (5.3)-- Both TR solo and as a bouldering problem. Easy but fun.

Ronnie's Leap (5.7)

The Bump (5.8)

The Diamond (5.8)-- I like this one and have done it a few times. No using the huge crack to the right or, lower down, the big flake on the left. Fun little overhang to pull.

Beginner's Crack (5.3)

Beginner's Face (5.4)

Kindergarten (5.0)-- So easy I laughed at myself for roping up, but I had always been curious to try it.

Spider Walk (5.7)-- Up with Sterling's Crack, arguably the best 5.7 at Carderock. Fun crack to layback or jam with an easy finish on a slab.

Silver Spot (5.13b)-- The hardest-rated climb at Carderock although Evan's Bolt Ladder (12d) is said to be truly Carderock's hardest climb. Anyway, my son, a friend, and I all battled our way up this 30' monster one afternoon. It wasn't pretty, but we did get it. They did it better than I did.

Green Bucket (5.10b)

Desperation (5.9+)

Golden Staircase (5.7+)-- Actually, we started on this and ended up finishing on Face to Right, our first 5.9. We never did do the actual 7+ finish.

Face to Right (5.9)-- Then we did this one the whole way.

The Crack (5.3)

Nubble Face (5.3-5.5)-- Big face with lots of easy, fun variations. Great intro for Carderock newcomers.

Bulging Crack (5.6)

The Bulge (5.10b)-- Some sources call this a 9+. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but I also had the reach to get the good jugs above the overhang without much trouble. Maybe it's 9+ for taller people, or maybe the people saying it's easier used illegal holds to the left and right.

Friction Layback (5.6)

Walk on By (5.10d)-- I've done this twice now and don't find it harder than Incipient. Maybe I'm somehow doing it wrong.

Incipient (5.9+)-- Area classic. A hard 5.9. Old-timers say you can't use anything more than 6" from the incipient crack. Good luck with that, especially while pulling the overhang.

Crucifixion (5.10d)-- Very tough crux move.

Chris's Goat (5.7)-- Another Carderock 7 to be taken with a grain of salt.

Cripple's Face (5.10a)-- One of our first 10s, and we've only done it once, but I still think the crux near the end is crazy hard.

Yellow Jacket (5.9)

Flutterby (5.10b)

Butterfly (5.9)-- To date, I have not gotten this one clean even though I have gotten its 10b and 10 c/d variations clean, lol.

Merv's Nerve (5.10 c/d)-- Very balancy. Up top, without using the crimp to the left, the finish is really hard, and said to be 5.11 for shorter climbers.

Easy Layback (5.4)

Eliminates (5.7)

Fingernail (5.10b)-- Love this climb. Balancy slab, a little bit of crack, and then an overhang and jugs to the top.

Zig Zag (5.12b)-- An "easy" 5.12 because it is balancy, not steep or strenuous.

Triple A (5.8)-- A great layback flake with awful feet on the face. After that, the rest is easy.

Mad Dog-- 5.11a

Fifi-- 5.10b-- It's hard to distinguish the exact lines of these climbs from the descriptions. We think we did a little of both. The start was awful.

Trudie's Terror (5.8)-- Listed as 5.8 in the PATC guide, which generally should be considered gospel compared to other sources, but I think they got this wrong (unless a non-Carderock-climber did the FA, maybe). Other sources say it's 5.4. It's harder than that. Split the difference and call it 5.6.


silversummit - Sep 11, 2009 7:26 pm

1st place I ever climbed!

Back in the 70s I took climbing classes here with local groups (community college and a school system adult outdoor ed class).

I came back with friends to lead a few climbs in the early 80s. Wasn't very busy back then!

Steve Larson

Steve Larson - Nov 10, 2007 10:45 am

Sandbag = understatement  Sucess!

I climbed here a few times when I traveled to the D.C. area on business. I got the local guidebook from REI, and headed out, thinking I was going to have a fun time on some easy solos. Wrong! Damn that rock is slippery! And yes, I spent a lot of time cleaning my shoes.

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Nov 9, 2007 12:42 pm Date Climbed: Oct 28, 2007

A few "scrambles"  Sucess!

I stopped by after a morning of hiking and scrambling over at Great Falls to check this place out for the first time. I ended up soloing 5.2 Jam Crack, 5.3 Chockstone Chimney, and 5.1 Laundry Chute. I thought Jam Crack felt about right, but except for maybe one part of Chockstone, I thought it was easier than 5.3, and Laundry Chute seemed a little harder than 5.1. I also climbed something unnamed next to Laundry Chute, and that one was a bit harder.

It's a little harder climbing unroped here because the area is compact and it's tricky to stay out of the way of roped groups at times.

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