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Pennypack Park

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About Pennypack Park:

Pennypack Park is truly a gem in Philadelphia. Its 1,600 acres is ripe with trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Even on weekends, the park is so vast that it is possible to see ne'er a soul for miles. With the exception of when you a near one of the few road overpasses, you would hardly know that you are in the nation's fifth-largest city. For as old as the park is (it was established in 1905), climbing in Pennypack, at least recorded climbing, is very new. It has barely been explored in this regard, and the potential for new boulders and problems is unknown. The boulders themselves don't present themselves in the traditional sense, like in the Gunks, Haycock or Governor Stables, where the rocks are very obvious. In Philadelphia, rock formations are revealed by erosion, outcroppings in the sides of hills. The same holds true in Pennypack, with the added challenge of dense forest growth most of the year that further obscures bouldering opportunities. Add into the mix that there is not always a clear approach, and you can have yourself a bit of an adventure in trying to find something to climb. Even if your exploration for rock comes up fruitless, it will not be a wasted day. The rocks are very “new” in terms of climbing: the are sharp, dirty, and can be prone to breaking off. On the other hand, there may be plenty of opportunity to bag a few first ascents on new problems, so some chewed up hands may be a small price to pay. Something to keep in mind when climbing at Pennypack: the problems are all new, so the grades haven't been subjected to consensus grading yet. In other words, the grades are probably off, either stiffer or softer than what is currently listed. As of the writing of this guide, problems are graded in a manner similar to the Shawangunks, in that they may be underrated to prevent the embarrassment of having the grades downgraded by future climbers. As more people climb the problems, grades will be better established and will eventually be updated in future guides.
Nearest town or city: Philadelphia
Directions: From points east, south and north: take route 73 west from either I-95 or Route 1 to Algon Avenue and turn right. Take Algon to Krewston and bare left. Parking lot on the left.
Latitude, Longitude:
Access Issues: Pennypack tends to hold on to water when it rains, and while the rocks may be dry enough, the path ways (especially closer to the river) tend to get very muddy and stay that way for 2-3 days. Plan accordingly. There are some guidelines to keep in mind when climbing at Pennypack and preserve the experience of climbing there as much as possible: 1)Use the approaches described in the guide. There may appear to be more direct routes to the boulders by trailblazing through the ground cover and brush, but this leads to the creation of new social trails and inhibits foliage growth. The “secret” approaches are part of the fun. 2)Chipping and “improving” holds is forbidden. Some holds may naturally break during climbs, as many rocks and problems are unclimbed or only climbed a few times. Purposely pulling loose rocks off is strongly upon. 3)Cutting or removing trees is forbidden. Clearing ground cover is also forbidden. Keep the boulders as natural as possible. 4)Cleaning moss, dirt and mud off of holds is acceptable. Lichen should only be removed at the utmost end of need. 5)If using chalk, either use natural-colored chalk so it will blend in, or clean the chalk you leave on the rock. Be sure to clean any tick marks before leaving. 6)Littering is right out. In fact, carry some litter out with you. Remember, it is as a community that we shape the climbing of an area, and all of us can make contributions, for better or worse, on an individual level. The overriding approach here is to walk and climb with respect; respect for the park, the environment, the other climbers, and the other patrons of the park. Don't be the one that ruins the party for everyone else.
Camping:
When to Climb: Autumn Spring Summer
Quantity of Climbs:

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Forum Discussions (2 posts)

  Subject Author Replies Last Post
With Replies Pennypack park pics ricotomo 1 Oct 12 2012, 6:41 PM
With Replies New Bouldering in Philly clmbr121 3 Sep 08 2009, 8:36 AM