Elizabeth Furnace Recreational Area, located in the George Washington National Forest in Shenandoah Valley, VA, is about an hour west of Washington, DC. Elizabeth Furnace has two walls: Buzzard Rock and Talking Headwall. We decided to check out the Talking Headwall.
The trailhead is easy to miss; we had to turn around and circle back even though we were looking carefully.The parking lot is small so get there early. The approach is short but be careful as it’s hard to see cars coming around the bends. The wall is mostly shaded and has plenty of space to lay out your gear. You can walk around the wall and set up a top rope anchor on some routes.
I Love Big Jugs (5.8)- I sport lead this climb which was a confidence booster since I didn’t sport climb all summer. The holds are great (hence the name of the route) and I felt comfortable hanging the quickdraws and clipping in.
Fortis (5.10a/b)- Bryan sport lead and I followed on top rope. This was a fun overhanging route. I had some trouble with the roof but once I figured it out the rest was fine. Stephanie heel hooked over the roof and made the climb look very easy.
Discontinuance (5.9)- I watched Randy sport lead and he had quite a bit of run out, albeit over easy terrain. I followed on top rope and thought it was just OK.
Fat Bastard (5.7)- This was a great warm up sport climb. Finding handholds from the last bolt to the anchor was a bit tricky for me but overall I enjoyed the moves.