Whiskey Springs is a small but well-established bouldering area in south-central Pennsylvania, near Carlisle. People have been climbing in this spot since the 1970s. The area is located directly on the Appalachian Trail, less than 5 miles from its overall midpoint. Whiskey hosts a variety of problems from 5.7 highballs to a V12 roof. The climbing is largely characterized by sharp crimps, good jugs, slippery slopers, and the occasional pocket. Both overhangs and slabs exist in abundance. The rock is a rough quartzite, sometimes with large quartz stripes and crystals in it. It is very solid and generally quite clean, though less-traveled lines occasionally have lichen on them.
The area consists of a series of quartzite outcroppings and freestanding boulders on the crest of a narrow ridge. The main area is about an eighth of a mile long, though scattered outcroppings pop up on the ridge for several miles in each direction. These smaller areas are slowly being developed.
Whiskey Springs is popular with local boulderers, and it is not uncommon to see other climbers there in almost any time of the year. However, it is never crowded and a large portion of the people one tends to see there are hikers passing through on the AT. As it is located on a ridge, it tends to be cooler than the surrounding valley, though in the summer and fall temperatures can get unbearably hot and the rock slick.
A guidebook exists for the area, though much of the history is unknown. It is available for sale at the Climbnasium in nearby Mechanicsburg, PA, and covers other local areas as well.
Carlisle, the nearest major town, is near the junction of Interstates 76 and 81. From either of these, exit onto Rte. 11 south towards Carlisle. After passing through the town center, continue on the same road (becomes Rte. 34) towards Mt. Holly Springs. At 5.5 miles from downtown Carlisle, you will be in Mt. Holly. Take a left at the Sheetz, following Mill St. towards Boiling Springs. After 2.3 miles, take a right onto Petersburg Rd. There is a sign for a drag race track. Drive 2.8 miles on this road, passing the race track on the right, going through a stop sign, and winding up through the woods. At 2.8 miles, park on the right at a pullout by a spring.
To approach, walk up the right side of the road and enter the woods at the white AT blazes. Follow the trail steeply up the ridge until you reach the first outcrops. The hike is almost exactly 1/4 mile.
This difficult testpiece ascends the left side of a wavy, overhanging prow. Many climbers work this, few send. However, any time spend trying it is a reward, as it is a very smooth, challenging line.Sit start on low edges. Move up a small bulge at the base of the prow using sidepull crimps and the arete. Once good feet are established, slap up the arete. Move the right hand out to a sidepull pinch. Slap left again and shift feet up until it is possible to bring the left hand way up to a crimp on...[more]Browse More Classics in PA
New South Mountain Bouldering guide is finished and available for purchase at Climbnasium in Mechanicsburg for $15.00. Includes Whiskey Springs, Tumbling Run, Purgatory, and Walnut Bottom. Full color photos, route descriptions, etc etc. Stop in and check it out.
Whiskey Springs is on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and it can be a great place to link climbing with hiking (multiple climb spots on AT). One example is the White Rock Acre to Whiskey Springs Endurance Traverse. Its roughly 10 miles and has several water sources (bring a filter or all water and go super light) along the way.
It offers lots of endurance and technique training without the gear or partner(s). More information (specifics) on the White Rock Acres page here on Mountainproject.com under the Main Wall area.
A great way to train for larger objectives (like the Gunks, Seneca, Yosemite, etc) while being here in Central, PA.