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Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks)

Select Area...
a. Descent Trail Area 
b. Practice Face 
c. Neolithic Wall 
d. Tango Wall 
e. Weeping Wall and New Generation Buttress 
f. Cramped Face 
g. The Great Buttress 
h. Open Face 
i. Orangutan Buttress 
j. The Great Zawn 
k. Garden of Eden 
l. Hawk's Nest 
m. Noncensus Area 
n. Joshua Wall 
o. Chain Reaction Buttress 
p. Obnoxious Partner 
q. Phone Booth 
r. Far Face 
s. Grey Rocks 
t. Red Rocks Remote 

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Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks) 


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Location: 40.4409, -75.1007 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 81,176
Administrators: Justin Johnsen, The Stoned Master, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Tim Schafstall on Apr 2, 2008
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Vicky working her way into the overhang section

Description 

Ralph Stover (aka High Rocks) State Park is located in a gorge along Tohickon Creek near New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The rock consists of the red argillite of the Lockatong Formation and dark, friable shales of the Brunswick Formation. The Lockatong is a thick bedded, consolidate argillite with slippery texture. The Brunswick Formation is a very thinly bedded, poorly consolidated shale that crumbles easily when touched. Those unaccustomed to climbing here will find the lack of friction on the argillite a bit unnerving at first. It definitely takes getting accustomed to.

There have been several guidebooks to High Rocks over the decades. Only Paul Nick's 2011 edition is currently in print.

Many folks will warn you against trad leading at Stover, but experienced climbers will have little problem with the sometimes poor gear and slight runouts, especially on the easier climbs. Even if you do not wish to trad lead here, many climbs are easily top roped, there are some bolted routes, and there is plenty of bouldering.

The cliff faces south and because it is in a gorge, it is often sheltered from the wind; therefore, High Rocks is a fine winter destination on a sunny day when the wind is not running parallel to the gorge. Poison ivy, ubiquitous at the main cliff, makes climbing in the summer a bit problematic.

Grades vary from low fifth class to 5.12 and there are several fun climbs in the 5.3 to 5.8 range. Trad must do's include Airy Route (5.3 PG/R), Ivy Leaf (5.4 PG), Dead Tree (5.5 G), Hawk's Nest (5.6 PG), Tango (5.8 PG), Neanderthal (5.8+ PG), and Obnoxious Partner (5.8+ G). Good sport climbs include Dean's List (5.9 or 5.11a), Tales from the Crypt (5.10a), Nameless Arete (5.10c), New Testament (5.11a), The Problem (5.12a), and Man of Science (5.12 c/d). Popular top rope routes include all climbs on the Practice Face, Orvie (5.8+), Phone Booth (5.10a), Stopper Ceiling (5.10d), and Called on Account of Pain (5.11d). Popular boulder problems include Falling (V0+), Up (V1), Ripper Traverse (V2+), The Low Traverse (V5), and Marty Broke It (V7).

The cliff is commonly divided into several different areas. They are, from west to east:

The Descent Trail Area, The Practice Face, Neolithic Wall, Tango Wall, Picnic Rock, Weeping Wall, Cramped Face, The Great Buttress, Open Face, Orangutan Buttress, Hawk's Nest Area, Noncensus Area, Joshua Wall, Chain ReactionButtress, Obnoxious Partner Area, Phone Booth Area, and The Far Face.


Getting There 

The park is just north of Point Pleasant, PA and about 9 m miles from New Hope.

From the north: Take Route 611S to Route 413S (left). Continue approx 0.25 miles to Pipersville, then turn left onto Dark Hollow Road. Follow Dark Hollow Road over Tohickon Creek, then follow it for another mile and turn right onto State Park Road. Follow State Park Road for approx. 0.5 mile and turn left onto Tory Road. Turn into the parking lot a few hundred feet down Tory Road.

From the East: Take Route 202 W across the Delaware River(toll), then make immediate right turn, then a left turn onto Route 32 North (River Road). Follow directions below.

From the South: Follow River Road (Route 32) north to Point Pleasant. Follow River Road sharply right over a stone bridge, ignoring the sign for Ralph Stover State Park. Make a left onto Cafferty Road and continue for 1,8 miles, passing Tohickon Valley PArk and Deerwood Campground on the left. Make the next left after Deerwood CG onto Tory Road. Follow Tory Road for 1 mile, then veer right onto gravel section warning, this may get paved by the time you try these directions) to the parking area on the right.

From the West: Take Route 611 north approx 3 miles north of Doylestown and turn right onto Silo Hill Road (south), which ends shortly at Point Pleasant Pike. Turn left and follow Point Pleasant Pike into the town of Point Pleasant. Turn left over the stone bridge onto River Road (Route 32) north, then follow the direction for "South" above.

Please park only where designated or risk a ticket.

To access the cliffs, enter the woods across the gravel road from the parking lot gate and use the established descent trails. There are 2 descent trails, one located at the western end of the cliff and one located at the eastern end of the cliff, connected by parallel trails at the top and bottom of the cliff face. Please stay on established trails to prevent erosion. Do not descend the gully off trail.


Rock Type 

Gray Lockatong Formation argillite and red Brunswick Formation shale.


Governance 

Ralph Stover State Park .


78 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',9],['2 Stars',25],['1 Star',34],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',30],['5.7',6],['5.8',15],['5.9',5],['5.10',12],['5.11',3],['5.12',2],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',4],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',1],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks):
Oh Promise Me   5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   m. Noncensus Area
Hawk's Nest (P1)   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   l. Hawk's Nest
Dirty Sanchez   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   i. Orangutan Buttress
Triple Overhang   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   b. Practice Face
Tango   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 110'   d. Tango Wall
Far Face Direct   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 45'   r. Far Face
The End Climb (aka Orvie)   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     TR, 1 pitch, 40'   a. Descent Trail Area
Neanderthal   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 105'   c. Neolithic Wall
Obnoxious Partner Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 45'   p. Obnoxious Partner
Phone Booth   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     TR, 1 pitch, 45'   q. Phone Booth
Tales from the Crypt   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R     Trad, Sport, TR, 2 pitches, 120'   g. The Great Buttress
Chain Reaction   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a X     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   o. Chain Reaction Buttress
Beautiful Loser    5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   o. Chain Reaction Buttress
Nameless ArÍte   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   o. Chain Reaction Buttress
Stopper Ceiling   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     TR, 1 pitch, 55'   c. Neolithic Wall
Browse More Classics in Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks)

Featured Route For Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks)
Christian working on the crux of Neanderthal.

Neanderthal 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c  PA : Ralph Stover State Park (Hi... : c. Neolithic Wall
A popular classic.P1 - Climb a crack into the obvious bombay chimney 25 feet up. Step left out of the chimney to a stance below the crux ceiling. Climb the ceiling at the notch up to the large ledge (Neolithic Ledge) to a bolted belay.P2 - Climb the left-facing corner above the belay to the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in PA

Photos of Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks) Slideshow Add Photo
View of Ralph Stover from one of the overlooks. March 2009
View of Ralph Stover from one of the overlooks. Ma...
View from top of Chain Reaction Buttress. With dam release March 21st weekend.
View from top of Chain Reaction Buttress. With dam...
Christian working on the crux of Neanderthal.
Christian working on the crux of Neanderthal.
Dan halfway through the fist crack.
BETA PHOTO: Dan halfway through the fist crack.
All Ralph Stover routes listed on one page.
BETA PHOTO: All Ralph Stover routes listed on one page.
Comments on Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 31, 2012
By Paul Shultz
From: Hudson, Ma
Feb 28, 2009

After my second experience at High Rocks, I don't think I'll be going back. After 50+ years of climbing, everything is super polished. Maybe I'm spoiled with alpine granite and shawangunk conglomerate? I would recommend Allamuchy State Park, Chickie's rock in Lancaster County and Birdsboro Quarry, which is pretty loose, but you have friction so wear a helmet and on belay!

By TylerGates
From: Olympia, WA
Aug 26, 2010

This place is definitely not the best climbing. But there are a few good ones, and having grown up close to it, it was the best place to climb. I live and climb out in AZ now, but as I make trips home, I'm trying to add to the info on this site. Hopefully it'll help someone else get out there.

In the mean time, if you're looking for more info about this place pick up "Rock Climbing: New Jersey" published by A Falcone Guide and written by Paul Nick & Neil J.A. Sloane. Despite being about NJ it covers areas close to Jersey, including High Rocks.

By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 2, 2010

The Falcon guide for New Jersey covers a few walls at Stover well, but leaves many gaps.

The out-of-print Falcon guide for Stover is very helpful.

By BrianRH
From: Jersey City, NJ
Nov 22, 2010

grew up in the area and enjoy returning to Stover, although it is only worth going if you are in the area anyway.

unfortunately, it seems like the Boy Scouts and local rock gyms send out teams that tend to drop loads of TRs on the faces near either end. But lots of fun, pumpy stuff in the middle. Good for a workout. And the gorge is nice.

Downsides are questionable rock for trad (doable, but not ideal), slick rock and sun/poison ivy in the summer.

By TylerGates
From: Olympia, WA
Jan 30, 2011

Justin I totally agree, but like you said, the other one is out of print. I figure the New Jersey one can get you out there, and once you get a feel for the rock and the area you'll figure out the other routes. If you have the other book, post whatever you can on here!

By mbrd
Sep 7, 2011

stover was a great place to learn technical climbing in the early eighties. the grades were fair, and the rock was, well, compressed mud. the holds were polished then (i can only imagine how slickery and well radiused the edges are now), and if you could climb at stover, you could climb at the gunks. when paul nick put out the 1997 chockstone press guide (classic rock climbs no. 12), i grabbed it up, it being to my understanding the first published guide to the crag. it was nice to see the place get the press it deserved (though, as with many first guidebooks, there were several nomenclature, grade, and first ascent attributions which did not delve deeply enough into the history of the area). if you can get your calloused, red mud stained hands on a copy of this meager, thirty three sheets center stapled, folded and chopped clean at the edges guidebook, it would be a fine classic bit of esoterica to grace your shelf/cragpack. well, that, and it's actually also a really great guidebook. i'll take it with me when i go back.

i looked it up on the worlinterwidenetweb just now, and found one new copy available for three hundred ninety five dollars. fortunately, used copies started at a paltry seventy five bucks. basically, this thing needs a new edition. stover, mud as it may be, deserves a dedicated guidebook. this assumes of course that the whole place has not yet been shut down to climbing.

i can't wait to go back and experience the confluence of my atrophy, and stover's polished erosion. it was a great place to climb, because it did not easily yield. it was a great place to learn to lead, because in doing so there, one learned to place marginal pro, and to not fall on it...



By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 7, 2011

MBRD, thanks for giving Stover credit where credit is due. It's alive and well as a local crag, and Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources even runs some guided climbs here. I'll take my "welfare crag," ha ha! Me and some friends are learning trad here this year. Not the easiest placements, but as you say, if we can lead it there, we'll lead anywhere.

By mbrd
Sep 7, 2011

street smarts come from growing up in the ghetto...

"...in the end i blame society; society made me what i am."
"that's bullshit- you're a white suburban punk, just like me."

i really miss that ghetto crag (probably because of some emotional underdevelopment that has left me stuck in my adolescence well into middle age), and can't wait to go back there.

i think the sport weenie years of the late eighties and early nineties, and the subsequent rockgym explosion really traumatized me- i need to crawl back into the often waterlogged, slimy, friable, womb that is stover climbing.

i do not know if i am suffering nostalgia, romanticizing the place, or simply exhibiting memory loss, but many of my fondest climbing experiences came from that venue. i am so stoked to hear that it is still a climbed crag.

you guys are learning trad at stover? AWESOME!

suffering builds character (if you don't fall victim to the sport weenie years and subsequent rockgym explosion, like i did; these sapped me of any character i might have had).

i imagine the place as our own sort of fisher towers- though slightly more solid, of course.

i do apologize for going on about it, and likely wandering from the thread's intent, but i just can't overstate how cool of a place stover can be for the right mindset. mud to mud...

"through the sweat of thy face shalt thou seek placements, till thou reach unto the rim; for seeking it wast thou compelled: for by mud thou climbs, and unto mud thou shall return."

crag to crag, mud to mud.

YOU GUYS ARE LEARNING TRAD AT STOVER?

awesome...

By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Sep 7, 2011

When in Philly, do as the Philistines, I say.

Billy Bob: "What's a Philistine?"
Iggy Pop: "Well, it's just a real dirty person."

If this is where I'm to learn trad, this is where I'm gonna do it.

Way to drop a little vintage '80's cult nostalgia into the right place. Off track? Not at all. This dialog is the essence of Ralph Stover climbing! You do it justice again.

By PosiDave
Dec 16, 2011

Does anyone know who is adding all of the bolt at Stover? They have bolted Trad routes and some of the bolts are horrible in some spots. Why are they turning PG13 /R rated trad climbs PG13/R rated sport climbs? Do gym kids enjoy just retrobolting climbing because they don't want to invest in a rack. If anyone can point me in the direction. I would like to discuss keeping trad routes the way they are without having to chop bolts. This goes with the large groups of climbers I saw the past three times I have made the short trip leave incredible amounts of garbage behind.

By Justin Johnsen
Administrator
From: Sacramento, CA
Dec 16, 2011

I've wondered the same thing, Dave, but haven't found the answer yet. At another crag near Stover, I know a few trad routes were retro-bolted with constraint, but after discussions with some of the original climbers. Consensus is clearly needed here.

By PosiDave
Dec 22, 2011

Justin,
Apparently it is someone from Doylestown Rock Gym or PRG.I don't know who but someone there told me they have been doing the bolting. Are you talking about the edge?

By Realseth
Feb 8, 2012

this place sucks

By 70's climber
Feb 21, 2012

I think guys from DRG have placed the anchor bolts at the top of some of the climbs. Don't know about actual climbs. Someone was talking about adding a bolt to New Generation since the old tree that was tied off as an anchor is gone.

By BrianRH
From: Jersey City, NJ
Mar 21, 2012

Paul Nick's guidebook just arrived. I bought it direct from Lulu publishers for about $16. Looks very good.
Substantial upgrade from the NJ guidebook.

By toeknee
Mar 31, 2012

Just got the updated Paul Nick book in the mail from lulu.com. A good guide and definitely recommend it if you don't already have a dedicated guide to High Rocks.

Updates don't appear to be major (from the dedicated Paul Nick High Rocks book), a few minor new routes and some of the photos are redone. So if you have a guidebook already, there is probably no need to buy this one. Unless you collect guidebooks like me; I have seven different guidebooks to High Rocks and still don't have them all.

www.lulu.com/shop/paul-nick/climb-high-rocks-state-park/pape>>>