When you think of great sport climbing areas around the states, I’m sure places like the Red River Gorge of Kentucky, The Red Rocks of Nevada, or the Crags in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. But what about the Birdsboro Quarry? Never heard of it, well me neither until last summer. The quarry is home to the 158 sport routes, ranging from cruiser 5.2 to a heinous 5.14, and fun slabs to some pretty gnarly multi-pitch stuff. Never would I have guessed you could find epic sport routes in south eastern Pennsylvania, so close to Philadelphia. Not to mention it is my girlfriend’s hometown. And on a Sunday in June of 2017, I made a stop there to tackle a few routes before heading back home to New England.
The climbing area is about 1 mile from where you park your car, and one approach requires two creek crossings via cable bridge. But once you’re there, it seems like you’ve entered Narnia. Since this is an old quarry, and not a crag in the middle of the woods like the rest of the east coast climbing, its a whole new experience. There are 12 different walls that utilize the perimeter of the exposed quarry rock.
Limited on time, we stuck to the Zorro wall and a route called Face is Great – Choss is off. A fun little 5.8 with three bolts to the chain anchors on top. Being that it was a quarry, you get a ton of variation in the route styles. Some are flat sheets of vertical rock, while others have you stemming into corners or pulling smaller roof sections. And since some of the lines are not obvious, you can easily turn 5.6 moves into 5.10 moves. The variety of moves are truly limitless. Unfortunately the rock quality isn’t the best since the walls were machine cut and it is mainly diabase, similar to volcanic basalt.
I obviously can’t comment or rate every single route that is located in the quarry, but I just wanted to spread the word of this incredible climbing area. There aren’t that many bolted routes on the east coast, as compared to the west, so when a place like this comes along, I can’t recommend it enough. A 60m rope will get you on any route. And I think the longest climb is 12 quickdraws, but most require only 4-5 draws. So for those looking to push their skills on lead, without having to invest in all the trad gear, this place is the spot to go. So what are you waiting for? If you’re in the Philadelphia/Virginia/Maryland/New Jersey areas, get in your car and get climbing!
P.S. This place is manged and maintained by a small group of climbers, so if you can, try to donate a few bucks on the way in.
How To Get There:
The climbing area is in Birdsboro, PA which is about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, PA. The easiest way to get to the climbing areas, though you may disagree, is to drive to the Rustic Park Entrance, 1314 Haycreek Rd, Birdsboro, PA 19508.
From the parking lot, you’ll need to cross the Hay Creek via the cables or getting your feet wet since the bridge has been washed away. Follow the abandoned portion of the old PA-82 or about a mile, past the Birdsboro Materials facility on your left until you reach another creek crossing. Use the cables or get your feet wet again until you reach the other side. Like any other stream/river crossing, unbuckle your pack’s chest strap before crossing in case you fall in and need to swim.
Walk up the path on the other side of the creek, past the abandon building, then take the trail on the left towards the climbing area. You’ll see a info board with a donation box for bolt replacement. If you take the trail to the left, you’ll end up at the reservoir and will have to take the long way around to reach the climbing area. There are 12 different walls to choose from. So follow the map, pick your route, and find yourself an adventure!
Since this climbing area is owned by the township, the access and recreational use is a privilege. Here are the guidelines posted on the birdsboroclimbing.com website:
- Routes should be lead climbed ground to the top.
- Top rope manners: Use quickdraws in top anchors.
- Do not rappel or set top ropes above climbs off webbing anchors.
- Do not remove fixed protection on climbs.
- Do not tamper with or modify existing routes.
- Ask the local climbers before establishing new routes.
- Top Roping routes should be done using quickdraws, not running
- directly through anchors.
- Lead climbers have the “right of way” when top rope lines are used for groups.
- Please respect each other and allow them to “play through” “on lead”.
- Pets: Dogs are welcome provided they don’t bark obsessively,
- don’t growl/bark at climbers or other dogs.
- Music: respect other climbers – ask before you blast.
- Trash: Please carry it all out – organic waste, cigarette butts.
- Camping is allowed for events and by request at other times.
- Please contact us for more information and permissions about camping.
- No Fire Rings are allowed. This is a Wilderness Area restriction.
- Swimming and fishing is prohibited in the reservoirs.
- Remember, Climbers are Guests Here! If the Police or Birdsboro employees come out to use the shooting range we must vacate areas 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13 until they are done.
- Be safe and have fun!
**Photo Credit goes to all photographers who uploaded their images onto mountainproject.com. I do not own these images. Thank you for letting me use these images. I didn’t have my camera with me when I went climbing that day. Cheers.**