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Pennsylvania
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Tohickon Valley Park 
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White Rock Acres 

Pennsylvania 


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Location: 40.2774, -76.8741 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: jeremyadams on Jan 28, 2007
Good Page?1 person likes this page. Your opinion:   
The beautiful finger crack 3-star (V1) at Haycock ...

Description 

The Keystone State is home to a variety of cragging, whatever your style. But it's the bouldering on diabase, gritstone and sandstone that are world class. While the diabase areas are well documented (mainly because they are in the eastern part of the state where all the people are) - the gritstone bouldering in western PA is somewhat unknown and OUT OF THIS WORLD! Think Coopers Rock is a good gritstone area? There are at least 3 gritstone areas in PA that beat Coopers in terms of concentration, number of problems and quality of climbs. One area near Johnstown is more concentrated than the Happy Boulders with far better rock. Haven't climbed on gritstone? Well there is a reason it's called "God's own rock." Climb a bunch on gritstone and it will ruin you for all other rock types. Yosemite granite? Piece of crap. The unreal friction for your feet and hands and beautiful classic shapes on gritstone yield the most amazing fun (or frustrating) sequences you will ever climb on rock. PA probably has more gritstone than bloody England. Why doesn't anyone know about it? Well no one lives in west central PA and for the lucky few of us who have discovered this stuff we've been too busy putting up climbs and finding new gems to bother documenting.

For roped climbing, there are many worthwhile local areas tucked into Penn's Woods.

The largest sport crags in eastern Pennsylvania are Birdsboro Quarry and Safe Harbor, both bolted on man-made post-industrial rock cuts. In the western half of the state, the Lost Crag offers the most clip-and-climbs.

Toprope and trad tends to be single pitch, on cliffs eroded on the sides of rivers. Some of the tallest routes in the state are on Mount Minsi in the Delaware Water Gap.

Ice climbing can be found, often on waterfalls, mostly scattered through the northern half of the state. The number and quality of ice climbs is highly dependent on the weather that year. Some predictable ice forms every year at the Narrows and Ricketts Glen (nobody has written up RG ice on Mountain Project yet, but hikebikeclimb offers ice beta).

The rock varies from sticky gritstone and conglomerate, exquisite sandstone, and crisp quartzite, to some overused polished choss and looose machine-cut walls.

When neighborhood crags get old, PA is close enough for weekend road trips to the Gunks, the New and the Red.

As a Mid Atlantic state, Pennsylvania gets hot and muggy summers and somewhat cold winters. Despite the cities' stereotypes, Pennsylvania gets more rain on average than Seattle. Luckily Pennsylvania sees far more sunny days than the Pacific Northwest, so things dry out pretty fast after a downpour.

All the rain grows lush forests and undergrowth, including poison ivy - some of it ridiculously large by late summer. Remember, "leaves or three, let it be."

The only poison snakes are Timber Rattlesnakes, who usually have the good manners to warn before striking, and Copperheads, who don't. Both are common but not frequently seen throughout the state.

Many crags here are on or near State Game Lands. Find out when hunting season is before you go there, and wear orange during deer season (or find another place to climb).

Discuss Pennsylvania climbing, or post partner calls, in the Eastern States forum.

The ongoing discussion of PA crack!


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1,286 Total Routes


['4 Stars',83],['3 Stars',423],['2 Stars',490],['1 Star',182],['Bomb',7]
['<=5.6',143],['5.7',73],['5.8',104],['5.9',119],['5.10',178],['5.11',117],['5.12',56],['5.13',13],['>=5.14',1],['',0],['<=V1',79],['V2-3',186],['V4-5',107],['V6-7',53],['V8-9',30],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',10],['>=V14',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Pennsylvania:
3-Star   V1 5     Boulder, 20'   Haycock Mountain (Nockamixo... : Caves Trail West
Porcelain   V3+ 6A+     Boulder, 15'   Mount Gretna : Upper Matrix
Cobra   V5 6C     Boulder, 12'   Governor Stable : Breadloaf & Immediate Vicin...
Juggernaut   V5 6C     Boulder, 12'   Governor Stable : Moby's and Friends
Little Fluffy Clouds   V5 6C     Boulder, 20'   Haycock Mountain (Nockamixo... : Caves Trail West
Year of the Dragon   V6 7A     Boulder, 8'   Mount Gretna : Upper Matrix
Itching to Climb   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Birdsboro Quarry : a. Main Wall
Orange Sunshine   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport   Birdsboro Quarry : b. Orange Sunshine Wall
Safe Harbor Direct   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Safe Harbor South : b. Electric Co. Sector
Mental As Anything   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   Safe Harbor South : j. Hydroman Sector
El Crackitan   5.9+ 5c 17 VI E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   Bellefonte Quarry
Coleman's Crack   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   Bellefonte Quarry
Autumn Arch   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Super Slab   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Safe Harbor South : e. Super Slab Sector
Hydroman   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch   Safe Harbor South : j. Hydroman Sector
Groovin'   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Birdsboro Quarry : f. Big Wall
Loggia   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 85'   Ohiopyle State Park : Maple Wall
Natural Mystic   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 90'   Ohiopyle State Park : School House Crag
Wonderama   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Safe Harbor South : f. Autumn Arch Sector
Hinterland (second anchors)   5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Birdsboro Quarry : f. Big Wall
Browse More Classics in Pennsylvania

Featured Route For Pennsylvania
Tim leaving Loggia and moving onto Shifticus.

Shifticus 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 5c  PA : Ohiopyle State Park : Maple Wall
Climb the first three bolts of Loggia. Start heading right under the roof to the inside corner. Follow corner through several overlaps to the top. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in PA

Photos of Pennsylvania Slideshow Add Photo
susquehanna
susquehanna
JAG fires the crux throw
JAG fires the crux throw
Brian McCall on The Torch v3 - Stonenation
Brian McCall on The Torch v3 - Stonenation
Breakneck is a SWPA gem that has both sport climbing and bouldering.
Breakneck is a SWPA gem that has both sport climbi...
First Ascent of King Kong V5+
First Ascent of King Kong V5+
Jeremy traversing along Rock Run
Jeremy traversing along Rock Run
The undercling move
The undercling move
Amanda Sonon on Angry Dragon v2 - J-town
Amanda Sonon on Angry Dragon v2 - J-town
Amanda Sonon on the Brain v1 - J-town
Amanda Sonon on the Brain v1 - J-town
JAG sets sail on "The Voyage of the Damned"
JAG sets sail on "The Voyage of the Damned"
Pulling the first roof on Kaya 5.11b Schoolhouse Crag.  Ohiopyle State Park, PA
Pulling the first roof on Kaya 5.11b Schoolhouse C...
Highest part of the wall at Flood Rocks.  Interesting mixed layer rock.  Bottom, reddish sandstone, middle maybe some kind of limestone mix?, top Gritstone. <br />Not sure how high it is would guess 35-40'.
Highest part of the wall at Flood Rocks. Interest...
Top of the "Eye of the Needle" 5-7 Sport Route.
Top of the "Eye of the Needle" 5-7 Sport Route.
Sam Weir on the Standard Bowers Arete V5 - Ghostown
Sam Weir on the Standard Bowers Arete V5 - Ghostow...
Same Gritstone outside of South Fork, better view of some of the features on this rock.  cave underneath rock makes a lot of sitting starts V3ish at minimum.  Enough holds to get choosy, make it as easy or as hard as you want.  V1-V6 at least.   A route that traverses entire rock would be solid and ~20-25'  <br />Amazing mix of holds on this thing.  Could have played all day can't wait to go back
BETA PHOTO: Same Gritstone outside of South Fork, better view ...
White Rocks as seen from the Cumberland Valley
White Rocks as seen from the Cumberland Valley
20' wall i found yesterday near South Fork looks like there should be a few good problems on it.
BETA PHOTO: 20' wall i found yesterday near South Fork looks l...
The Open Face
The Open Face
Classic V3 Arete High Left
Classic V3 Arete High Left
Brian McCall on Two Top v4 - Ghost town
Brian McCall on Two Top v4 - Ghost town
Me on a redpoint attempt of extra stout.
Me on a redpoint attempt of extra stout.
A great quartzite roof in south-central PA.
A great quartzite roof in south-central PA.
Nice 12' footer with a small cave to start in.  South Fork.  I was primarily hiking this day looking for new rocks so i did not send many problems but this one looks like lots of fun starting in the small cave which goes back for ~ 4-5 feet
BETA PHOTO: Nice 12' footer with a small cave to start in. So...
Fairly large Gritstone in the woods out side of South Fork, PA.  Not very high but long
BETA PHOTO: Fairly large Gritstone in the woods out side of So...
Climbers toproping Glen Onoko Lower Falls.
BETA PHOTO: Climbers toproping Glen Onoko Lower Falls.
Place i call Flood Rocks, outside of South Fork, PA. <br />This is one of the higher sections.  Tons of 10-15' high routes that are great for bouldering as well
Place i call Flood Rocks, outside of South Fork, P...
F.E. Walter
F.E. Walter
16 foot slight overhang near South Fork PA
BETA PHOTO: 16 foot slight overhang near South Fork PA
Bad Voodoo
Bad Voodoo
fun little 9' rock, near South Fork, did not get a chance to get on it but estimate it at v3-v4 from sit start
BETA PHOTO: fun little 9' rock, near South Fork, did not get a...
Tanya Chupa climbing Silver Sheet (WI4- Delaware Water Gap)
Tanya Chupa climbing Silver Sheet (WI4- Delaware W...
Fun little 8' problem, after 2 sends i figure v3ish based on first two moves from sit start.
BETA PHOTO: Fun little 8' problem, after 2 sends i figure v3is...
Comments on Pennsylvania Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Aug 9, 2013
By Brian Adzima
From: the Paris of Appalachia
May 19, 2007

Not exactly a destination, but if you find yourself living here there is enough to keep oneself entertained between weekly trips out of state.

By Ladd Raine
Administrator
From: Plymouth, NH
Dec 18, 2007

Check out this Picture posted on that other site for locations of climbing destinations and their access status.

www.rockclimbing.com/images/photos/assets/8/360998-work-PA_R>>>

Here

Photo: Jason

By Chris Duca
Administrator
From: Havertown, PA
Dec 19, 2007

As someone who grew up in the greater Delaware Valley (suburb of Philly), I can attest to the diversity, quality, AND quantity of rock in PA. Granted, the random bridge is bolted to hell(long live the Henry Ave. Bridge!!), but there exists some extremely great rock (Diabase) west of Philadelphia on Haycock Mt. and Mt. Gretna. I'd liken this rock type to gritstone--very grainy and full of friction. Not necessarily a destination, but if you are traveling through the area and have a day to kill, both areas are a must to check out.

By Rob Holzman
Oct 29, 2008

visit paclimbing.com for information and climbing guidebooks for Pennsylvania.

By Doyle
Apr 9, 2009

Western Pennsylvania has numerous excellent areas, although none are well known to outsiders. Breakneck, Lost Crag, McConnell's Mills State Park, and Coll's Cove are but a few.

Coopers Rock State Park is a huge area of excellent rock, just over the state line near Morgantown, West Virginia.

By ClimbPHX.com
From: Mesa AZ
Jul 7, 2009

Is there any climbing in King of Prussia Area ... Im going for a job and wanted to see if there was anything I might want to check out while IM there...
email me at shiloh@winbuyer.com

Thanks guys!

Shiloh
Phoenix, AZ

By Kenny Clark
From: State College, PA
Apr 11, 2011

I'm moving soon to State College. How is this guidebook for PA climbing: bluebiner.com/all-pa-guidebooks.html

By Bradclymber
Sep 19, 2011

Not sure what is meant by the last comment as MP.com has very little info on PA at all. Sure there are a few listed areas for PA on this site but there are hardly any topos and sketchy or no directions for a lot of areas. For example www.mountainproject.com/v/the-pinnacle-area/106957079
I think this site is a great site, don't get me wrong, but it really only has brief descriptions of Pennsylvania's areas.

By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 20, 2011

Hey Brad, the Pinnacle's page isn't the best example, as I just created it to keep on my to do list, and I'm still collecting info to expand it. But many areas in PA (here on MP) are indeed skeletons.

Like you, I like the MP interface, and wish it had more local content (like rockclimbing.com, which has been documenting PA areas for many years). I volunteered to be the PA admin to help organize what's here, but I also contribute content for places I climb that have no access questions. I encourage you, and other local climbers that like MP's usability, to do the same!

I have no problem with guidebooks, and use the few I get my hands on to develop content here - especially for places I haven't climbed yet. I'm also collecting all the history I can, written or verbal. There are bound to be some errors, but as we discuss these things here in the public record, we can correct them.

MP is a guide to climbing areas above all else. If it helps me find a new crag to climb, that's valuable, even if I don't know the name or consensus grade of a route when I'm on it. There's such a thing as too much beta too! But I'm doing my best to flesh out areas in PA with coords and basic directions, even if they have no route specifics yet.

Looking forward to working with PA's contributing climbers!

Justin

By Bradclymber
Sep 20, 2011

Thanks Justin,

Wasn't trying to nock the Pinnacle area it was just what I happened on. Keep up the good work.

By scott m
Jan 5, 2012

Thank you Rob for all your time researching all these areas. This guide is a great way to explore PA. It might not be complete for some but it is great for exploring some of the great crags in our state. This guide makes it easy for many to go explore some new areas beside spending everyday climbing the same old crags. Great job Rob. Buy the book if you want to travel. If your happy only climbing your local crag don't waste your time. Get out there with the guide book and explore. Thank you Rob.

By Nic Lazzareschi
Dec 29, 2012

Anyone know how the ice conditions are?

By Jim Bowers
Dec 30, 2012

Well first off I'd like to respectively disagree that PA is not a "destination" area. The diabase, gritstone and sandstone bouldering areas in PA are definitely world class. While the Diabase areas are well documented (mainly because they are in the eastern part of the state where all the people are) - the gritstone bouldering in Western PA is somewhat unknown and OUT OF THIS WORLD! Think Coopers rock is a good gritstone area? There are at least 3 gritstone areas in PA that beat Coopers in terms of concentration, number of problems and quality of climbs. One area near Johnstown is more concentrated than the Happy boulders with far better rock. Haven't climbed on gritstone? Well there is a reason it's called "God's own rock." Climb a bunch on gritstone and it will ruin you for all other rock types. Yosemite granite? Piece of crap. The unreal friction for your feet and hands and beautiful classic shapes on gritstone yield the most amazing fun (or frustrating) sequences you will ever climb on rock. PA probably has more gritstone than bloody England. Why doesn't anyone know about it? Well no one lives in west central PA and for the lucky few of us who have discovered this stuff we've been too busy putting up climbs and finding new gems to bother documenting.

So my advice for someone contemplating PA climbing? Talk to a local. PA has the best bouldering in the Northeast - by far.

Jim Bowers - who has been climbing in PA for 40 years.

By Adam Pudliner
Jan 3, 2013

I love PA and have been climbing here for a while now. Where are the angry dragon and the brain boulder problems in johnstown? Also, where are the Standard Bowers Arete and Two Top problems? Great posts, I love learning new places to climb in PA.

Adam

By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Feb 4, 2013

Thanks Jim, I included some of your write up in the main description for PA.

By Kevin Martin
May 16, 2013

In the description, a bouldering area near Johnstown is mentioned - which specific area is being referred to??

By Nick Penatzer
May 20, 2013

Yeah, would someone please post how to get to the boulders in Johnstown and also how I can get the area where the "brain" boulder is located because I can't find out where they are at.

By Joe L 82
From: PA
Aug 9, 2013

Just moved back to the Johnstown area from MD and looking for some people to climb with. I am primarily bouldering right now as I don't have much cash to spend on gear and rope.
I try and climb early almost every Saturday morning at some local rocks in my "back yard" PM me if anyone is ever interested in joining me or if you want to just go check out the rocks yourself I can help you out.
Will eventually add them to the areas with photo's ect... when I get time.
Never been to the "Brain" nor do I know where it is, but will do some research, definitely interested in checking it out.