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Ralph Stover State Park (High Rocks)

Pennsylvania > Southeastern Lowlands


Ralph Stover (aka High Rocks) State Park is located in a gorge along Tohickon Creek near New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The rock consists of the red argillite of the Lockatong Formation and dark, friable shales of the Brunswick Formation. The Lockatong is a thick bedded, consolidate argillite with slippery texture. The Brunswick Formation is a very thinly bedded, poorly consolidated shale that crumbles easily when touched. Those unaccustomed to climbing here will find the lack of friction on the argillite a bit unnerving at first. It definitely takes getting accustomed to.

There have been several guidebooks to High Rocks over the decades. Only Paul Nick's 2011 edition is currently in print.

Many folks will warn you against trad leading at Stover, but experienced climbers will have little problem with the sometimes poor gear and slight runouts, especially on the easier climbs. Even if you do not wish to trad lead here, many climbs are easily top roped, there are some bolted routes, and there is plenty of bouldering.

The cliff faces south and because it is in a gorge, it is often sheltered from the wind; therefore, High Rocks is a fine winter destination on a sunny day when the wind is not running parallel to the gorge. Poison ivy, ubiquitous at the main cliff, makes climbing in the summer a bit problematic.

Grades vary from low fifth class to 5.12 and there are several fun climbs in the 5.3 to 5.8 range. Trad must do's include Airy Route (5.3 PG/R), Ivy Leaf (5.4 PG), Dead Tree (5.5 G), Hawk's Nest (5.6 PG), Tango (5.8 PG), Neanderthal (5.8+ PG), and Obnoxious Partner (5.8+ G). Good sport climbs include Dean's List (5.9 or 5.11a), Tales from the Crypt (5.10a), Nameless Arete (5.10c), New Testament (5.11a), The Problem (5.12a), and Man of Science (5.12 c/d). Popular top rope routes include all climbs on the Practice Face, Orvie (5.8+), Phone Booth (5.10a), Stopper Ceiling (5.10d), and Called on Account of Pain (5.11d). Popular boulder problems include Falling (V0+), Up (V1), Ripper Traverse (V2+), The Low Traverse (V5), and Marty Broke It (V7).

The cliff is commonly divided into several different areas. They are, from west to east:

The Descent Trail Area, The Practice Face, Neolithic Wall, Tango Wall, Picnic Rock, Weeping Wall, Cramped Face, The Great Buttress, Open Face, Orangutan Buttress, Hawk's Nest Area, Noncensus Area, Joshua Wall, Chain ReactionButtress, Obnoxious Partner Area, Phone Booth Area, the Far Face, Grey Rocks, and Red Rocks Remote.

For current information online, see the Ralph Stover State Park website , and the High Rocks Climbers Coalition Facebook group.

Getting There

The park is just north of Point Pleasant, PA and about 9 m miles from New Hope.

From the north: Take Route 611S to Route 413S (left). Continue approx 0.25 miles to Pipersville, then turn left onto Dark Hollow Road. Follow Dark Hollow Road over Tohickon Creek, then follow it for another mile and turn right onto State Park Road. Follow State Park Road for approx. 0.5 mile and turn left onto Tory Road. Turn into the parking lot a few hundred feet down Tory Road.

From the East: Take Route 202 W across the Delaware River(toll), then make immediate right turn, then a left turn onto Route 32 North (River Road). Follow directions below.

From the South: Follow River Road (Route 32) north to Point Pleasant. Follow River Road sharply right over a stone bridge, ignoring the sign for Ralph Stover State Park. Make a left onto Cafferty Road and continue for 1,8 miles, passing Tohickon Valley PArk and Deerwood Campground on the left. Make the next left after Deerwood CG onto Tory Road. Follow Tory Road for 1 mile, then veer right onto gravel section warning, this may get paved by the time you try these directions) to the parking area on the right.

From the West: Take Route 611 north approx 3 miles north of Doylestown and turn right onto Silo Hill Road (south), which ends shortly at Point Pleasant Pike. Turn left and follow Point Pleasant Pike into the town of Point Pleasant. Turn left over the stone bridge onto River Road (Route 32) north, then follow the direction for "South" above.

Please park only where designated or risk a ticket.

To access the cliffs, enter the woods across the gravel road from the parking lot gate and use the established descent trails. There are 2 descent trails, one located at the western end of the cliff and one located at the eastern end of the cliff, connected by parallel trails at the top and bottom of the cliff face. Please stay on established trails to prevent erosion. Do not descend the gully off trail.


The local Access Fund affiliate is the High Rocks Climbers Coalition - a FB link.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The Open Face
[Hide Photo] The Open Face
All Ralph Stover routes listed on one page.
[Hide Photo] All Ralph Stover routes listed on one page.
A picture from above of me climbing this beast. I would honestly rate it harder for short people like myself because some of those holds i was lunging across the rock to.
[Hide Photo] A picture from above of me climbing this beast. I would honestly rate it harder for short people like myself because some of those holds i was lunging across the rock to.
Vicky working her way into the overhang section
[Hide Photo] Vicky working her way into the overhang section
Christian working on the crux of Neanderthal.
[Hide Photo] Christian working on the crux of Neanderthal.
Dan halfway through the fist crack.
[Hide Photo] Dan halfway through the fist crack.
View from top of Chain Reaction Buttress. With dam release March 21st weekend.
[Hide Photo] View from top of Chain Reaction Buttress. With dam release March 21st weekend.
View of Ralph Stover from one of the overlooks. March 2009
[Hide Photo] View of Ralph Stover from one of the overlooks. March 2009

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Paul Shultz
Hudson, Ma
[Hide Comment] After my second experience at High Rocks, I don't think I'll be going back. After 50+ years of climbing, everything is super polished. Maybe I'm spoiled with alpine granite and shawangunk conglomerate? I would recommend Allamuchy State Park, Chickie's rock in Lancaster County and Birdsboro Quarry, which is pretty loose, but you have friction so wear a helmet and on belay! Feb 28, 2009
Olympia, WA
[Hide Comment] This place is definitely not the best climbing. But there are a few good ones, and having grown up close to it, it was the best place to climb. I live and climb out in AZ now, but as I make trips home, I'm trying to add to the info on this site. Hopefully it'll help someone else get out there.

In the mean time, if you're looking for more info about this place pick up "Rock Climbing: New Jersey" published by A Falcone Guide and written by Paul Nick & Neil J.A. Sloane. Despite being about NJ it covers areas close to Jersey, including High Rocks. Aug 26, 2010
Jersey City, NJ
[Hide Comment] grew up in the area and enjoy returning to Stover, although it is only worth going if you are in the area anyway.

unfortunately, it seems like the Boy Scouts and local rock gyms send out teams that tend to drop loads of TRs on the faces near either end. But lots of fun, pumpy stuff in the middle. Good for a workout. And the gorge is nice.

Downsides are questionable rock for trad (doable, but not ideal), slick rock and sun/poison ivy in the summer. Nov 22, 2010
Olympia, WA
[Hide Comment] Justin I totally agree, but like you said, the other one is out of print. I figure the New Jersey one can get you out there, and once you get a feel for the rock and the area you'll figure out the other routes. If you have the other book, post whatever you can on here! Jan 30, 2011
[Hide Comment] stover was a great place to learn technical climbing in the early eighties. the grades were fair, and the rock was, well, compressed mud. the holds were polished then (i can only imagine how slickery and well radiused the edges are now), and if you could climb at stover, you could climb at the gunks. when paul nick put out the 1997 chockstone press guide (classic rock climbs no. 12), i grabbed it up, it being to my understanding the first published guide to the crag. it was nice to see the place get the press it deserved (though, as with many first guidebooks, there were several nomenclature, grade, and first ascent attributions which did not delve deeply enough into the history of the area). if you can get your calloused, red mud stained hands on a copy of this meager, thirty three sheets center stapled, folded and chopped clean at the edges guidebook, it would be a fine classic bit of esoterica to grace your shelf/cragpack. well, that, and it's actually also a really great guidebook. i'll take it with me when i go back.

i looked it up on the worlinterwidenetweb just now, and found one new copy available for three hundred ninety five dollars. fortunately, used copies started at a paltry seventy five bucks. basically, this thing needs a new edition. stover, mud as it may be, deserves a dedicated guidebook. this assumes of course that the whole place has not yet been shut down to climbing.

i can't wait to go back and experience the confluence of my atrophy, and stover's polished erosion. it was a great place to climb, because it did not easily yield. it was a great place to learn to lead, because in doing so there, one learned to place marginal pro, and to not fall on it...

Sep 7, 2011
Justin Johnsen
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] MBRD, thanks for giving Stover credit where credit is due. It's alive and well as a local crag, and Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources even runs some guided climbs here. I'll take my "welfare crag," ha ha! Me and some friends are learning trad here this year. Not the easiest placements, but as you say, if we can lead it there, we'll lead anywhere. Sep 7, 2011
[Hide Comment] street smarts come from growing up in the ghetto...

" the end i blame society; society made me what i am."
"that's bullshit- you're a white suburban punk, just like me."

i really miss that ghetto crag (probably because of some emotional underdevelopment that has left me stuck in my adolescence well into middle age), and can't wait to go back there.

i think the sport weenie years of the late eighties and early nineties, and the subsequent rockgym explosion really traumatized me- i need to crawl back into the often waterlogged, slimy, friable, womb that is stover climbing.

i do not know if i am suffering nostalgia, romanticizing the place, or simply exhibiting memory loss, but many of my fondest climbing experiences came from that venue. i am so stoked to hear that it is still a climbed crag.

you guys are learning trad at stover? AWESOME!

suffering builds character (if you don't fall victim to the sport weenie years and subsequent rockgym explosion, like i did; these sapped me of any character i might have had).

i imagine the place as our own sort of fisher towers- though slightly more solid, of course.

i do apologize for going on about it, and likely wandering from the thread's intent, but i just can't overstate how cool of a place stover can be for the right mindset. mud to mud...

"through the sweat of thy face shalt thou seek placements, till thou reach unto the rim; for seeking it wast thou compelled: for by mud thou climbs, and unto mud thou shall return."

crag to crag, mud to mud.


awesome... Sep 7, 2011
[Hide Comment] Does anyone know who is adding all of the bolt at Stover? They have bolted Trad routes and some of the bolts are horrible in some spots. Why are they turning PG13 /R rated trad climbs PG13/R rated sport climbs? Do gym kids enjoy just retrobolting climbing because they don't want to invest in a rack. If anyone can point me in the direction. I would like to discuss keeping trad routes the way they are without having to chop bolts. This goes with the large groups of climbers I saw the past three times I have made the short trip leave incredible amounts of garbage behind. Dec 16, 2011
Justin Johnsen
Sacramento, CA
[Hide Comment] I've wondered the same thing, Dave, but haven't found the answer yet. At another crag near Stover, I know a few trad routes were retro-bolted with constraint, but after discussions with some of the original climbers. Consensus is clearly needed here. Dec 16, 2011
[Hide Comment] Justin,
Apparently it is someone from Doylestown Rock Gym or PRG.I don't know who but someone there told me they have been doing the bolting. Are you talking about the edge? Dec 22, 2011
[Hide Comment] I think guys from DRG have placed the anchor bolts at the top of some of the climbs. Don't know about actual climbs. Someone was talking about adding a bolt to New Generation since the old tree that was tied off as an anchor is gone. Feb 21, 2012
Jersey City, NJ
[Hide Comment] Paul Nick's guidebook just arrived. I bought it direct from Lulu publishers for about $16. Looks very good.
Substantial upgrade from the NJ guidebook. Mar 21, 2012
[Hide Comment] Just got the updated Paul Nick book in the mail from A good guide and definitely recommend it if you don't already have a dedicated guide to High Rocks.

Updates don't appear to be major (from the dedicated Paul Nick High Rocks book), a few minor new routes and some of the photos are redone. So if you have a guidebook already, there is probably no need to buy this one. Unless you collect guidebooks like me; I have seven different guidebooks to High Rocks and still don't have them all.… Mar 31, 2012
honesdale pa
[Hide Comment] Not sure why people hate this place so much. I drove two hours to get there and its definitely worth it. Though its completely different from moc, which im used to, its tons of fun to climb. You'll get dirty, rocks will fall, and walking from the bottom to the top is a huge pain. But this place is still a real gem, considering the options we have around here. Oct 4, 2014
[Hide Comment] Is there a marked trail along the top of the cliff to access the anchors for top roping? Oct 16, 2015
[Hide Comment] There is a trail along the top of the cliff but it won't be immediately obvious where the top rope anchors are or which face you're nearest. Some of the anchors like those for Open Face are in obvious spots and are easy to spot, others require a little more hunting such as the anchors for Neolithic Wall Sep 23, 2016
Eric Johns
Philadelphia, PA
[Hide Comment] I am interested in projecting the problem .12a this summer. its in a gully, doesn't get much direct sun, so it will be decent to climb even on warmer days. I've rapped it once so far and can see it hasn't gotten much love lately, needs a thorough cleaning first. If anyone is interested in this undertaking, PM me. Jun 10, 2018
[Hide Comment] Hello Mountaineers, do you know if anybody provides rock climbing basics classes at Ralph Stover High Rocks ?
Thank you May 16, 2019
[Hide Comment] "Wheezing Geezer": took lessons at the Stover Practice Face with Ray Dobkin [sp?] years ago; a very good teacher; hope he's well. Top-roped & free-climbed there for a while, had a kid & a busy career; drifted. Looking to do some minor bouldering at High Rocks, & talus-running ["running" in quotes] at Ringing Rocks & local boulder-covered stream beds, for practice & balance. Mostly day-hiking these days, but still like going steep a bit. Hello to anyone who remembers. Jun 4, 2019