Hiking Old Rag this weekend?
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rubyski
February 15, 2007
Member since 01/14/2007 🔗
3 posts
Girlfriend is out of town this weekend and I thought I'd head down to Old Rag and try to conquer it for the first time. Am I crazy to do this with the temperature and the recent snow/sleet/ice? Any advice would be helpful!
kwillg6
February 15, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
Uh, crazy? You bet. Especially if attempting the front. Lots of rock and ice. It would be dangerous especially with the ice/sleet that the area received yesterday. I live about 10 miles from the rag, and everything is frozen solid with ice.
rubyski
February 15, 2007
Member since 01/14/2007 🔗
3 posts
darn - not the answer I was hoping for but I do appreciate the honest response! Hopefully this spring I can get up there before the crowds get too bad.
tromano
February 15, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Rag is scary during a summer thunderstorm so it must be sick right now. Actually Rag would be pretty awesome right now for the Gnar factor alone. However only attempt it if you are experience in winter mountaineering and seriously prepared.

Rag is a great winter hike when its 50F during the January thaw / Indian sumer. Rag would be really technical right now. It is one of the most exposed hikes in this region. Rag involves lots of narrow exposed trails and in places rock scrambles / climbing with serious consequences. Bring some crampons, snow shoes, and an ice axe dude. Other hikes like white oak canyon will probably be much less dangerous right now.
comprex
February 20, 2007
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts

White Oak has some really nice ice climbing right now.
kwillg6
February 20, 2007
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,021 posts
I was gonna say, White Oak can be much the same. It gets very little sunlite and I have hiked/slid up to the bottom falls as early as November to only turn back. Going beyond and up would raise the Gnar factor up as well.
Scott - DCSki Editor
February 20, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
I forgot to reply to this earlier, but I attempted to hike Whiteoak one winter a few years ago when it warmed up to the 60's in January. There was no snow on top of Skyline Drive and it was quite balmy, but as I discovered, there was still packed snow and ice covering the trail. I ended up in quite a rough spot about 2/3 of the way to the first fall; the trail was narrow, dropped off steeply to the left, and was covered with slick ice. I didn't have any ice climbing gear, and ended up stuck on a patch of ice. I was also hiking by myself, which isn't the smartest idea in the winter. I had to gather pine needles sitting on the ice and use them to create friction in order to climb back up the trail. It was a little scary for awhile (as I almost slid down into the gully, where there would be little chance of getting back up and out), but I managed to get out and of course it made the hike that much more adventurous and memorable. But, I gained a new appreciation for those trails in the winter -- even when 70-degree temperatures in Baltimore might make you think it's a perfect day for a hike. The section of Whiteoak I was on is normally not at all intimidating during the summer (it doesn't seem that steep), but it became treacherous during the winter. There were several times when I thought I should turn back, but I really wanted to get some photographs of the icy falls. After being stuck for an hour on the ice I knew it was time to turn back. Didn't get any good photos the entire trip, either!
tromano
February 20, 2007
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Thats interesting. I hiked little Devil Stairs (which is very similar to WOC) in january with the boy scouts at night about 10 years ago. It was pretty gnar but not too bad. We just had hiking boots and walking sticks. Of course it wasn't really very snowy or any thing and the water was low.
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