Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rock Creek Park Bouldering

*IMPORTANT NOTICE 3/25/12- It has come to my attention that climbing in Rock Creek Park is illegal under regulation 36 CFR §2.1.  This post remains for historical purposes only.  Please do not climb in Rock Creek Park!*

Tuesday, after several failed attempts, Vince and I finally got an opportunity to play on the boulders in Rock Creek Park that I had visited on a walk back in January.  With a riverside setting surrounded by hilly forest, it's really hard to believe that we were bouldering right in the middle of Washington DC!  And not knowing what to expect from the rock quality, I have to say we were pleasantly surprised.  In fact, it was some of the best rock I've seen around here.

To get there, we entered Rock Creek Park from Silver Spring and went south on Beach Drive.  After crossing under Military Road, we turned right on Joyce Road and left on Ross Road to find a small parking lot.  From there we walked about five minutes downstream (still on the West side) to reach the boulders.  I'll update this with an an approach map and GPS coordinates as soon as I get a chance.

We started on the smaller of the two boulders, which according to a comment on my January post has three established problems.  The line on the right made a great warmup, and Vince also made several attempts at the low center start.

Our main objective being the slab on the taller boulder, we decided to move on to that before we lost too much light.  Starting roughly in the center of the face at the "notch", we did two different low starts (see video) into a line that moved up the face to the left of the obvious vertical seam.

We also went up to the right of the seam, which despite being a couple moves shorter was a little harder and certainly scarier.

                                                                                             Photo: Vincent Faires
                                                                                             Photo: Vincent Faires
I'm not sure what the established problems on this boulder are, but I'd love to hear some of the history if anyone's familiar with it.  Whatever the history though, I'd highly recommend this boulder to anyone who likes slab.  Even though I was just there two days ago, I can't wait to go back!

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