Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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PA, 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. 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 (hikebikeclimb offers Penn ice beta).
The rock varies from sticky gritstone and conglomerate, exquisite sandstone, and crisp quartzite, to some overused polished choss and loose machine-cut walls.
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).
The ongoing discussion of PA crack!
Bat Conservation | How You Can Help
See a Bat on a Route, Give Us a Shout!
Hey PA climbers, Ken Hull here from South Central PA Climbers. I’m working with Rob Schorr, a researcher at Colorado State University, to help him spread the word on his bat research. Here’s a message from him about this important work and how we, as climbers, can help.
“Climbers for Bat Conservation is working with climbers to understand bat ecology and why bats choose certain cracks and flakes. We’re a collaboration between climbers, bat biologists, and land managers to understand where bats roost and where large populations may reside. We are interested in finding bats because of a new disease called white-nose syndrome (whitenosesyndrome.org) which has killed millions of bats in North America. This collaboration has identified bat roosts throughout the U.S., and as far away as Norway and Bulgaria. CBC was developed by biologists who climb and they are advocates for climbing access and bat conservation.
So, if you see bats while climbing, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com, or visiting our website to learn more. climbersforbats.colostate.edu.”
Zoologist, Colorado Natural Heritage Program (warnercnr.colostate.edu/rschorr/)
Director, Climbers for Bat Conservation
Classic Climbing Routes at Pennsylvania
Days w Precip