Nubbin Corner

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.99090°N / 77.2486°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing, Toprope, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.2 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 1
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Single-pitch routes typically don't really deserve their own route pages, but this route is not in area guidebooks or on other climbing sites, and so I am trying to put out some information on it.

It's only about 50' and is 5.2 at the very hardest (using the corner proper feels slightly harder than the face just to its right, the climbing route up which is called Nubbin, a 5.1), but it is decent for a few reasons:

  • Beginners

  • Kids

  • Learning and practicing trad

If you toprope it, it should be no problem to climb Nubbin off the same anchor. You might also get away with Rubbin' (a stout 5.6) and Zig-Zag Edge, which are immediately left of the corner, though a fall on one of those two will likely cause a pendulum, whereas placing the anchor more strategically for those two will mean a pendulum if one falls off one of the first two. And because the corner is central to the grouping of the routes, a pendulum likely means crashing into a wall.

Nubbin Corner

Nubbin Corner

Nubbin (5.1)

Nubbin (5.1)

My main purpose in posting this, though, is to point out the trad potential since there is not a lot of it at Great Falls.

It's not a great trad route, or even a good one, mind you. I think I placed four pieces, some of them a bit sketchy, and I wouldn't have felt great about them on something harder with more fall potential.

The start of the route is just a Class 3 scramble. Not until you enter the corner itself does it start to approach Class 5. Then there are some small cracks that can take gear (I climbed with stoppers and hexes) before a huge crack that I could only make an iffy placement of a #11 Hexentric with. This huge crack might be a good place to practice with Big Bros, but the sides aren't that parallel or smooth, and because I haven't yet used Big Bros, I can't really say if they would work well here.
Sketchy Pro

Sketchy Pro

Getting There

From the western part of I-495, a piece of the Capital Beltway, take Exit 44 for Route 193, Georgetown Pike; this is the second exit south of the Maryland border. Drive west for a few miles until you see the well-signed road leading to Great Falls Park. Turn right and follow the road about a mile to the entrance station. There are two large parking lots after the entrance station, but you should make an immediate right instead and go into the "lower lot" popular with climbers and kayakers. Hike to the River Trail, which is the last maintained trail before the river. After passing the Sandbox and Dihedrals access points, the trail drops down some wooden steps, makes a bridged stream crossing, and then climbs a set of wooden steps. At the top of the climb, the trail splits in three, with the River Trail heading right. Follow the River Trail across some wooden planks. Shortly after them, you will come to an eroded area that has a nice view of the upstream end of Seclusion (with the Seclusion route). It’s about 40 more yards to the top of the crag. Relatively easy Class 3/4 descents are possible from either end of the crag. An even easier approach is a bit farther downstream at the downstream end of the Romeo’s Ladder crag. It should take about 15 minutes to hike from the parking area to the top of Seclusion.

Essential Gear

I climbed this with a full set of stoppers and hexes.
Up top, I have set up topropes for adjacent routes with 60' of static line, using trees and boulders as anchors.



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