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.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Whiskey Springs:
This proud line climbs the right arete of the Cranking boulder. Starting low, move through crimps and pinches to a long move to a poor crimp just right of the arete. Make several more very difficult moves on crimps to gain a jug right under the lip. A great line put up by a great local climber....[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.