Mountain Project Logo

Areas in Pennsylvania

North Central 7 / 14 / 11 / 41 / 3 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 68
Northeast Ridges and Valleys 57 / 47 / 35 / 26 / 22 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 148
Northwest, The 5 / 1 / 39 / 50 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 90
South Central PA 167 / 228 / 155 / 393 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 856
Southeastern Lowlands 75 / 173 / 57 / 224 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 493
Southwestern Highlands 55 / 104 / 52 / 250 / 1 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 436
Elevation: 1,233 ft
GPS: 40.928, -77.347 Google Map · Climbing Map
Shared By: jeremyadams on Jan 28, 2007
Admins: Justin Johnsen, Kyle Stapp

Description

P-A, 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 loose 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!

Getting There

Via major highways.

2,091 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Pennsylvania Change
Type:  to 
Quality: Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Pennsylvania

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
(9) Eclipse
Sport, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Le Eaglet
Trad, Sport, TR
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
Itching to Climb
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Orange Sunshine
Sport
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Public Service
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Slab Master
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Virgin Suicides
Sport 2 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Mental As Anything
Sport
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Safe Harbor Direct
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Jenga
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Autumn Arch
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Electric Co.
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Jay's
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Super Slab
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Hydroman
Sport
(9) Eclipse Southwestern High… > Breakneck > Main Wall 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport, TR
Le Eaglet S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > j. Hydroman Sector 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, Sport, TR
Itching to Climb Southeastern Lowl… > Birdsboro Quarry > Main Wall 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Sport
Orange Sunshine Southeastern Lowl… > Birdsboro Quarry > Orange Sunshine Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Public Service S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > b. Electric Co. Sector 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Slab Master S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > e. Super Slab Sector 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Virgin Suicides Southeastern Lowl… > Birdsboro Quarry > Sun Wall (Long Slabs) 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport 2 pitches
Mental As Anything S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > j. Hydroman Sector 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Safe Harbor Direct S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > b. Electric Co. Sector 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Jenga Southeastern Lowl… > Birdsboro Quarry > Zorro Wall 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Autumn Arch S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > f. Autumn Arch Sector 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Electric Co. S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > b. Electric Co. Sector 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Jay's Southeastern Lowl… > Birdsboro Quarry > Orange Sunshine Wall 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Super Slab S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > e. Super Slab Sector 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Hydroman S Central PA > … > Safe Harbor South > j. Hydroman Sector 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Pennsylvania »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
Empty
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D

Photos

Gaby Castellanos
Harrisburg,PA
Gaby Castellanos   Harrisburg,PA
Hi! guys im Colombian and I will stay from may to august in Pennsylvania and I love climb so I hope I joint somebody that can go with me and climb a lot! Who is with me ! Feb 20, 2017
akaylor81 Kaylor
Lebanon, PA
akaylor81 Kaylor   Lebanon, PA
I've been interested in learning about climbing and getting involved. Any groups or people in the central PA area near Mt. Gretna willing to lend some advice? Thanks Sep 5, 2015
Justin Johnsen
Nor Cal
Justin Johnsen   Nor Cal  
Thanks Larry, I highlighed the access issue for the whole state until we all learn more. Jan 14, 2015
Larry S
Easton, Pennsylvania
Larry S   Easton, Pennsylvania
Dropping a link to this here because it's important - The PA Game Commission is considering restricting access to state game lands during hunting seasons, potentially shuttering access to many of our climbing areas during the best times of the year. See the thread here mountainproject.com/v/hayco… Jan 14, 2015
Justin Johnsen
Nor Cal
Justin Johnsen   Nor Cal  
I've grouped climbing areas into a few regions here on Mountain Project. I've hardly explored west of Harrisburg, so leave comments if you see better breakdowns than what exists now. It's not exactly an organic division, but based on how much content is documented here on MP, not how much climbing exists in a given part of the state. Sep 17, 2014
Joe L 82   PA
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. Aug 9, 2013
Nick Penatzer
Pittsburgh, PA
Nick Penatzer   Pittsburgh, PA
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. May 20, 2013
In the description, a bouldering area near Johnstown is mentioned - which specific area is being referred to?? May 16, 2013
Justin Johnsen
Nor Cal
Justin Johnsen   Nor Cal  
Thanks Jim, I included some of your write up in the main description for PA. Feb 4, 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 Jan 3, 2013
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. Dec 30, 2012
scott m  
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. Jan 5, 2012
Thanks Justin,

Wasn't trying to nock the Pinnacle area it was just what I happened on. Keep up the good work. Sep 20, 2011
Justin Johnsen
Nor Cal
Justin Johnsen   Nor Cal  
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 Sep 20, 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 mountainproject.com/v/the-p…
I think this site is a great site, don't get me wrong, but it really only has brief descriptions of Pennsylvania's areas. Sep 19, 2011
Kenny Clark
State College, PA
Kenny Clark   State College, PA
I'm moving soon to State College. How is this guidebook for PA climbing: bluebiner.com/all-pa-guideb… Apr 11, 2011
ClimbPHX.com
Mesa AZ
ClimbPHX.com   Mesa AZ
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 Jul 7, 2009
Doyle  
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. Apr 9, 2009
visit paclimbing.com for information and climbing guidebooks for Pennsylvania. Oct 29, 2008
Chris Duca
Havertown, PA
Chris Duca   Havertown, PA
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. Dec 19, 2007
Ladd    
Check out this Picture posted on that other site for locations of climbing destinations and their access status.

rockclimbing.com/images/pho…

Here

Photo: Jason Dec 18, 2007
Brian Adzima
San Francisco
Brian Adzima   San Francisco
Not exactly a destination, but if you find yourself living here there is enough to keep oneself entertained between weekly trips out of state. May 19, 2007

More About Pennsylvania

Printer-Friendly Guide
What's New
Guidebooks (19)

All Photos Within Pennsylvania (2,626)

Most Popular · Newest