Tucked away on the eastern edge of Ohio in the little village of Lisbon, is a small rock climbing crag by the name of Logtown. This once active rock quarry is now home to one of the only places to lead climb in the entire state. With routes ranging in grade from 5.3 to 5.12d, as well as a mix of bouldering, sport climbing, and trad climbing, there is a little something for everyone.
There has been rock climbing going on in Logtown since the mid 1970s. Many of the cliffs and climbing features were created when this area was quarried for the underlying rock. The visible history makes for a very unique climbing experience. Side pulling against old drill marks and manteling up on to chest-high ledges are extremely common climbing movements at this crag. The clips are close together and perfect for newer outdoor sport climbers.
This area is bolted and taken care of by the Ohio Climbers Coalition (OCC). On any given weekend with decent weather, this place can be packed with local Ohio and Pennsylvania climbers of various levels of experience. From old school trad climbers, to young top ropers, and every level in between. Since it is the only place to lead climb in the area, the popular routes can fill up pretty quickly. The routes are not extremely tall, which can be a plus for some climbers. Even so, since it is the only place for this kind of climbing within about 4 hours of here, Logtown makes for an awesome day trip.
On a dark March day, some of the Kendall Cliffs staff made the hour drive to Lisbon Ohio to check out Logtown for ourselves. With climbing gear on our backs and hand warmers in our chalk bags, we made the very short less than five-minute approach to the main climbing area. We used the rock climbing app Mountain Project to help orient ourselves to which climbs we were standing by. Once you identify one climb, the rest are easy to find. Most guidebooks and climbing apps are set up to display routes from left to right. So, once you find one climb, you can easily count bolt lines to get to the route of your choice. Just make sure to account for trad routes when you are counting over.
The bolt lines were so close together that it felt almost like an outdoor climbing gym! We started on the far-left side and worked our way to the right, not really knowing the grades of any climb. Although, we did know that nothing in that area was rated higher than a 5.10. Many of these routes involve scrambling up the first ten feet to a ledge, using a mantel to push yourself up on to the ledge, and then climbing up about ten more feet to clip into the anchors. A set of 6 quickdraws, a 30-meter rope, and your personal climbing gear (shoes, harness, belay device) should be all the gear you need to tackle all of these routes!
Once we finished about ten sport climbs, we turned our attention to the crack systems to try a little bit of traditional climbing. Traditional climbing, also known as trad, involves placing your own protection as you go. This requires lots of gear, knowledge and practice before attempting, and should not be done without prior training. All rock climbing is inherently dangerous, but special care should always be taken with traditional climbing. That being said, this kind of climbing can be extremely fun and rewarding. If this is something that you are interested in pursuing, I highly recommend going into your local gym to see if they offer a class to help you transition into outdoor climbing.
Logtown holds a handful of very easy trad routes that are great for practicing the placing of gear. We started on a very 5.4 and then went to another easy 5.6. Although these climbing grades are well below our normal levels, we wanted to go very slow and easy so we could focus on gear placements and using as little energy as possible when selecting gear. We practiced a few ‘takes’ on our pieces and inspected each other’s placements of cams. Climbs like these are essential when it comes to learning to trust your gear and placements as well as your climbing partner.
On the day that we went to Logtown, the temperature dropped a whole 25 degrees during the time we were climbing. When we were finished, the sun had set and our hands were numb, but we were satisfied with the work we had done that day. I plan on taking a number of day trips back to the crag at Logtown during this upcoming climbing season and would love to take others with me on these trips. I feel that this is a great place to introduce people to the sport of outdoor rock climbing and leave them with a fun and memorable experience.
Rock climbing, especially if it’s a sport you are not familiar and comfortable with, should always be done with extreme caution. If you would like to learn more about climbing outside and the gear involved with it, come into the gym, Kendall Cliffs, or the store, Appalachian Outfitters, and we would be happy to walk you through everything you might need when taking your climbing outside.