If you are looking for Winter Bouldering Areas in Pennsylvania you are in luck. Many areas in the Keystone State offer some excellent opportunities to get out and boulder where there is abundant shelter and excellent problems. Many climbers brave the harsh winter in Pennsylvania, and rightfully so. True, climbing areas in the Northeast are not frequented as much as they are in summer, but there is excellent bouldering and a lot of devout climbers prefer to send in the winter as there is much better friction, especially at diabase areas like Haycock, Gretna, Gov ones Stables, and lots of other areas. We’ve put together a partial list of some really good areas in PA that you can boulder at from late November to late March and we promise you won’t loose any fingers, toes, or other appendages.
1. Haycock Mountian
One of the most popular areas in the state is not surprisingly an excellent area to boulder at in winter. Why? The simple answer is good friction and good shelter. The entirety of Haycock Mountain is protected and well sheltered from winds. Sun also filters through the bare bones of the leafless trees in winter and you can get really lucky and get some warm days. Haycock is also much warmer than Northern Pennsylvania bouldering areas and you can expect about a 10 degree difference at times if you live up north and want to travel down. Expect even warmer differences if you come down form New York to boulder at Haycock.
2. Mount Gretna
Gretna is similar to Haycock in many ways and offers some excellent opportunities to send projects and stay sheltered from wind and cold. There are occasions where you may need to wade through snow and harsh cold but Gretna is far enough south and not very far from the Mason Dixon Line that you can get really good days in winter. The area is located really close to the parking lot at Governor Dick Natural Area so yo don’t need to walk far from you r car to boulder, making it easy to get a quick session in and get warm.
3. Governor Stables
GS is another doppleganger to both Haycock and Gretna and offers the same deal. Shelter from wind; because its in a nice little sheltered basin, and short approach. You need to sign the waiver to climb here and respect seasonal access. This area is a great area to get a lot of bouldering in a very close and concentrated area.
4. Hunter Rocks
Hunter is a descent spot in winter. Approaches are easy, climbing is great, and the rock is friendly to cold hands. Hunter gets colder than some areas in the state but you can get really lucky and get good weather into the 40s during winter; you can also get negative digits too.
5. The Traxx
Don’t let the fact that this bouldering area is adjacent to a ski area sway your decision to climb here in the off-season, you can get some quick access and sheltered boulder problems here with ease. This area is located in Scranton and is literally right off I-81. We made a free guidebook app for the Traxx Here.
6. Bauers Mt and Emmaus
Allentown’s closest areas are also winter friendly spots to send at. These areas have some good problems located right behind close parking and make for a quick hit with ok temps. The areas are located right at the city limits and are user friendly and often void of snow.
7. Francis E Walter Dam
This area is a great spot in winter because sun hits the Atlantis boulders and several other spots that surround this awesome area in the Poconos. This area is a sizable bouldering area with Gunks-like boulders. All the beta you need on The Francis E Walter bouldering areas can be found in the FE Walter guidebook app.
8. City of Boulders
Located at the inlet to the FE Walter in the Poconos this area is a great area to explore and has some unbelievable bouldering. House-size boulders are located for a mile of shoreline and get good sunlight to warm the rocks in winter. This area is also included as a guidebook app.
There are lots of areas to boulder in Pennsylvania and great opportunities to visit areas that are winter friendly. We included a good list of areas that we recommend but there are tons of other areas in the Keystone state that fit the climbing profiles of what is listed above.
Can you think of any areas we should add to our list? Please comment below with any ideas?
The Traxx Bouldering Area is located in Scranton, Pennsylvania in the heart of Northeast PA. Most climbers visit this area because of its 10 minute approach and Gunks-like boulders. Others who visit this area are immediately impressed with the overhangs and giant blocks that litter the sides of an old line of raiload tracks, hence the name tracks–but Traxx just sounds cooler, kinda like Powerlinez (a nearby NY area with similar rock) sounds better I suppose. It was great to get back to the Traxx after a several-year hiatus. I developed a lot of the boulder problems here in the late 90s with Nick Morell, Tom Kneiss, and Ryan Lukas as well as with Jess Holzman. Being away so long I completely forgot two things. One: how much bigger this area is than I remember, I absentmindedly forgot to add about 70 problems in a mini guide I did several years ago to the place which is why I decided to do a free Traxx Guidebook. and Two: how amazing the quality of the rock and problems here is.
My favorite problem, hands down, is Melinium Traverse. It was named that because it was established on New Years day of the year 2000, or the change of the millennium. I like to think it was the first boulder problem established in the new millennium but I realize that is just a delusion of grandeur but at the least its a really cool little thing to be a part of. Other nearby problems into the V9 range exist including some spectacular roofs and tech highballs.
Even more amazing of a bouldering area is the nearby Trenches, a superb area unlike any other bouldering spot in the Northeast. Massive Gunks-like cubes and rectangular blocks the size of double-wide trailers can be found hidden in the nearby hillside. The area is quite tricky to find but once you are there it is easy to get consumed by the literal maze of rock passages you need to navigate to get to problems that are everywhere you walk. This area is like The Library, a sport climbing area in Mocanaqua, but with more walls, passages, and only boulder height problems; although many are 20 feet tall.
Other Traxx Problems
There is about a half mile of boulders back to back at The Traxx. Once you hit the main area just keep walking for 20 minutes and you will hit boulder after boulder. Some of the better problems are the highball cracks and faces as well as the big freestanding boulders. If these boulders were at the Gunks, they would easily be considered some of the best problems there. IF you are checking out this area in fall, winter, or spring the trail is easy to locate; summer gets a bit overgrown but with a little more travel this area will become cleaner and cleaner.
The Trenches and Traxx are awesome areas to check out if you live anywhere in the Mid Atlantic. Honestly, the bouldering in this part of Scranton is more concentrated and larger than all the bouldering at Peterskill; and it’s the same type of rock! IF you are looking for all the beta, descriptions and detailed maps and directions download the Traxx app. It’s free!
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When I started bouldering in Pennsylvania, I thought I would just drive to the guns like everyone else, nothing good to be in PA right? I never thought I would be just as excited to spend all my weekends in PA instead.Bouldering outside Philly is awesome. It turns out that some of the best bouldering in the East is in Pennsylvania. Good old PA bouldering is starting to get attention too. This Climbing magazine article finally vindicated the Keystone state and gave a “shout out” to what really is some of the best bouldering in the country.
At this point everyone and his climbing partner has probably visited or plans to visit the well known areas like Governor Dick, Haycock, and Governor Stable. Hunter Rock has probably been on someones radar too, especially if they went to Penn State. I would like to turn climbers on to some of the lesser-known gems. Areas that have boulders as good as anything on the Carriage Road at the Gunks and of nearly identical rock type.
City of Boulders
A paradise for bouldering ad it’s just up the Turnpike.
This area has been a complete secret for nearly 20 years but not intentionally. The area has been mentioned many times but never officially documented until the release of the digital guidebook app last year. This area is worth a drive from Philly, New Jersey, or New York. Its just a 90 minute drive from either. You can be sending on 20 foot high, massive conglomerate blocks within 15 minutes of your car. It’s also secluded and unlikely anyone else will be out there bouldering with you. Problems range from V0- to V11 with a good mix of everything and some existing projects, especially at the completely undeveloped cliff hidden above in the woods.
You can get more info here [toggle title_open=”Close ” title_closed=”Open ” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]The City of Boulders has just had a guidebook app released for it. It includes all the routes here and many other areas in the Poconos.[/toggle]
2. The Trenches
Gunks-like conglomerate in NEPA
Located right in the heart of Scranton, PA. This area is full of surprises. The bouldering area is an actual maze of conglomerate passages. Some of the best bouldering in NEPA is located here and only a handful of climbers have ever visited this area. The area is located right near Scranton but is secluded and has the feel of being tucked away from everything.
Gallery of Boulders
Northeast Rock Climbing
Climbing in the Northeast is as good of an experience as Colorado, California, or anyplace else with rock. Sure the crags may not be as grand as Yosemite or Eldorado Canyon but Northeast Rock Climbing is amazing in its own right and offers an experience that is unto itself. Cliffs like Cannon Cliff beacon climbers to be challenged on some of the toughest lines in the Northeast whereas The Gunks is stepped in some of the richest history in the climbing world.
If you have been climbing for any amount of time the climbing in New England and the Northeast should be no surprise as to how good it actually is. For those who have never visited, or plan to visit, this article is best served for both climbers new and familiar to the NE. Below is a list of the most popular areas to visit along with a list of some of the best-kept secrets in the Northeast for those of you who have already visited every area and want to find something new and awe inspiring.
1. Cathedral Ledge
Known for its long, classic, granite an multi-pitch moderates, Cathedral Ledge offers something for everyone. From the easy graded Funhouse 5.8 and Upper Refuse, a much easier linkup, and several neighboring climbs, to Cathedral Cave with bold 5.13 and hardman, bold lines. North Conway, home to many granite crags, harbors Cathedral Ledge with a huge amount of climbing for any grade climber.
2. Acadia National Park
Seaside climbing at its finest is what you can expect at Acadia. Not into gorgeous sea cliffs? Not to worry, lots of other cliffs in the near-interior of the park offer everything from bolted/mixed routes, granite slabs, and multi-pitch on The Precipice. There are even several excellent bouldering areas in the park.
Best areas to climb in Acadia, Maine
1. The Precipice
2. Otter Cliffs
3. Canada Cliffs
4. Great Head
3. Whitehorse Ledge
Whitehorse is Cathedral Ledge’s, sister crag. Although it is a close neighbor, it offers climbing that is vastly different from Cathedral Ledge. Where Cathedral boasts looming faces, caves, long, sustained cracks, and vertical nature, Whitehorse is known for the opposite and is mainly a massive slab with good friction and classic arches and slick rock.
4. Cannon Cliff
Cannon is the alpine gem of the Northeast. This massive wall could easily be located in Yosemite and challenge climbers from around the world. Cannon is a huge cliff with a reasonable approach for alpine standards.
Known for its countless sport routes, Rumney is your one-stop shop for granite sport routes; the bouldering is pretty fantastic too. This area is an easy stop for anyone traveling from the lower New England states and is pretty easy to get to from the Mid Atlantic as well.
6. The Gunks
Climbing at The Gunks is one of the best experiences anyone can have. Some of the richest history, mega classics, and largest swaths of rock in the east can be found just outside of New Paltz and 90 minutes from New York City. This area has climbing from 5.0 to 5.13+ and is a trad climbers paradise. Access is easy and you can find hundreds of multi-pitch classics, innumerable topropes, and countless boulder problems. The only downside to this area is crowds. You can get an really good deal for open routes and overlooked classics in the Gunks Climbing App. Tons of classics are located right off the carnage road that runs the base of the Trapps cliff.
10 Must do Classics at the Gunks
- Shockleys Ceiling
- Kens Crack
- High Exposure
- Bonnies Roof
Top New England Climbing Areas Map
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