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 / 227 / 156 / 393 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 857
Southeastern Lowlands 75 / 173 / 57 / 224 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 493
Southwestern Highlands 55 / 104 / 52 / 257 / 1 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 443
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DescriptionP-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!
Classic Climbing Routes at Pennsylvania
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season