Elevation: 78 ft
GPS: 39.769, -75.558 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Justin Johnsen on Oct 13, 2010
Access Issue: Permit required for roped climbing. Details


There is only one crag where climbing is legal in Alapocas Run State Park, and a permit is required to use it.

The Alapocas crag is a former quarry, south-facing and sunny. There are fine views from the top of the park, river, and a derelict 19th century textile mill. Use is light compared to many crags in major city parks. Rock is Wilmington Blue Rock, a gneiss; its quality is just okay.

The established routes have a pair of eyebolts for setting toprope anchors, and there are a couple of short sport routes. Development of new routes is ongoing.

Park rock climbing page: destateparks.com/activities…

FYI I've only written up routes I remember. Feel free to add your own route write ups of the ones I haven't done!

Getting There

On your first visit, you must start at Blue Ball Barn to get a climbing permit. No climbing is allowed until you do this, and you must carry the permit with you any time you climb at Alapocas.

Once permitted, you should drive to the parking lot at the end of Bancroft Mill Road, across the Brandywine River from the park.

From the lot, walk across the pedestrian bridge across the river. On the park side of the bridge, turn right and follow the paved trail past a couple of prohibited cliffs on your left, and past a waterfall on your right. Past the waterfall, you will see the rock climbing sign and the open cliff to your left , with a large lawn and picnic tables in front of it.


This is a list of established routes on the main wall at Alapocas, from left to right.

Far left ground level:
Hungry for Me 5.5 TR

Middle ground level:
(under Dichotomy) ~5.3 to 5.6
(under Old School) ~5.6 or 5.7

Middle ledge:
Junior Slab (or Very Sticky Babysteps Up From Pullin' Plastic) 5.3 TR
Dichotomy 5.8 TR
Dichotomy Corner 5.6 TR
Bend Over and Take It TR
Scar Face (or Self Domination) 5.9 TR
Old School 5.7 TR
Old Grandmom 5.2 TR
Old Granddad (or Bob's Slab) 5.2 TR

Right middle ledge:
Chipper ~5.10? TR
Spanky ~5.10? TR

Right ground level:
"Warm up traverse" V0+?
Arena Arete 5.9 TR / V0
Rambo 5.12a TR or sport
Grey Streak 5.10b TR or sport / V0+
Temptation ~5.10? TR
Chossy's Corner 5.6 TR

These routes are from Michael Hartman's excellent guide, available free online from mhartman.net/climbing/ . To quote Michael: "Area names, route names, and grades have been preserved when known. Names and grades have been made up when not known. Let me know if you are aware of different area names, route names, or grades."

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Classic Climbing Routes at Alapocas Run State Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Old School
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Old School
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c TR
More Classic Climbs in Alapocas Run State Park »

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The most fun climbing here is definitely the steeper face over to the far right where there are two routes labeled as "Chipper" and "Spanky" in the guide. The route to the left is crimpy at the bottom, but very doable. To the right, there is a drill scar which is usefull as a side-pull, but traversing left once you get to the top requires lots of balance. I had fun playing around with this part of the wall on TR. Jun 20, 2015
Ammon Perkes
Philadelphia, PA
Ammon Perkes   Philadelphia, PA
I agree with Ryan, Chipper and/or Spanky (not sure which I did) are some really fun climbing, and the best on the wall. Is there any reason they're not actually listed on Mountain Project? How am I supposed to feel good about myself if I can't check off every single climb I do?

In any case, this place is a gem, particularly brilliant to people out on their first time. FYI, the office is closed on Saturdays, and the phone number they give on their answering machine is to a trucker in Nebraska. So you'll probably want to get permits in advance (maybe someone has a better solution). Dec 13, 2015
Can you lead here or is it only TR? Feb 2, 2016
Josh Gates
Wilmington, DE
Josh Gates   Wilmington, DE
FYI: for the next couple of years, construction happening on the Bancroft Mills site means that there's no parking and no bridge access over there. Coming from the other side of the park is doable via bike, but long and a bit hilly.

Easiest access is to park in the neighborhood behind, and walk by the maintenance yard Aug 26, 2017