Pennsylvania Climbing Organizations

Here’s the complete list of access organizations for rock climbers in Pennsylvania as of 2024

Rock Climbing Access in Pennsylvania: Organizations Making a Difference

By: Anthony Revez

Pennsylvania offers a wealth of rock climbing, from the boulders of Governor Stable to the red-colored sandstone crags of Ralph Stover State Park. However, maintaining access to these areas requires ongoing effort and collaboration between climbers, landowners, and government agencies. Several organizations play a crucial role in preserving and expanding climbing access in the Keystone State.

Photo: Antolly Gelb


The Access Fund, a national non-profit, works with local groups to protect climbing areas across Pennsylvania. They provide legal and organizational support, as well as grants for conservation and access projects.

All About PA Access

Eastern PA

Eastern PA has one of the largest concentrations of both climbing and bouldering in the state and also the most populous regions. As such many access concerns and closures are present.

Western PA

Western Pennsylvnaia has an absolutley massive amount of rock climbing and bouldering. Many of the crags in Western PA are located on public gamelands. There have been several closures on these land parcels and limits to climbing in recent years.

Central PA

Central Pennsylvania is home to dozens of rock climbing areas on pubic lands. The South Central Pennsylvnia Climbers cooalition manages multiple parcels of public land that allow climbing.

Northern PA

The northern part of Pennsylvania along the NY border is home to deeply forested and off-the-radar climbing and bouldering areas. Much of the land is managed by state government and is open to climbing and bouldering.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Climbers Coalition (SWPACC):


Southwestern Pennsylvania Climbers Coalition (SWPACC): Focuses on areas around Pittsburgh and southwestern PA.

Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers (EPAC)


Eastern Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers (EPAC): Covers the eastern part of the state, including popular areas like Ralph Stover.

Birdsboro Climbing Org


Birdsboro Climbing : Advocates for access and hosts cleanups, maintenance, and rebolting/crag improvements at the Birdsboro Crag near Reading, Pennsylvania.

South Central Pennsylvania Climbers:


Started in 2015, the group is dedicated to preserving climbing areas in South Central PA. They also help with Hunter and Donation Rocks in Central PA.

PA Climbers


PA Climbing: Volunteer organization that started in 2001. This long-standing volunteer group provides information about crags around Pennsylvania and does grass-roots outreach to landowners of more off-the-radar climbing areas all over PA. Visit, PA Climbing Facebook or Pennsylvania Climbing and Bouldering Facebook Group for more information.

Older Organizations in Pennsylvania that have now moved on:

Pennsylvania Alliance of Climbers (PAC): Served as a unified voice for the climbing community. PAC worked to maintain positive relationships Governor Stable and started the original dialogues with landowners to allow a leased climbing plan. They hosted the original comps at GS.

Central Pennsylvania Climbers Association: Advocates for access in the central region, including areas like Donation Rocks and Hunter Rocks.

These organizations rely on volunteer efforts and donations from the climbing community to continue their important work. By supporting these groups, climbers can help ensure continued access to Pennsylvania’s diverse climbing resources.

The Access Fun in Pennsylvania.

The Access Fund is a national non-profit organization dedicated to protecting America’s climbing areas and preserving access for current and future generations of climbers. Founded in 1991, it has become the leading advocacy group for the climbing community in the United States.

Key activities of the Access Fund include:

  1. Land acquisition and protection: The organization purchases threatened climbing areas or works to transfer them to climber-friendly ownership.

  1. Policy and advocacy: Access Fund engages with lawmakers and land managers to promote climbing-friendly policies and regulations.

  1. Stewardship and conservation: They organize and support volunteer efforts to maintain climbing areas and minimize environmental impact.

  1. Education: The organization promotes responsible climbing practices and Leave No Trace principles.

  1. Grants program: Access Fund provides financial support to local climbing organizations for various projects related to access and conservation.

  1. Legal support: They offer assistance in navigating complex land use issues and defending climbing access in court when necessary.

The Access Fund works closely with a network of local climbing organizations across the country, providing resources, guidance, and national-level support for local issues. Their efforts have been crucial in keeping numerous climbing areas open and addressing challenges such as private property concerns, environmental protection, and cultural resource preservation.

Through membership dues, donations, and corporate partnerships, the Access Fund continues to be a vital force in ensuring that rock climbing remains a viable and responsibly practiced outdoor activity in the United States.

The Access Fund has had a presence since the 1990s in Pennsylvania.  Bob Perna and Bob Value were the first regional coordinators for the state followed by Rob Holzman in 2001. Bob Perna worked extensively on access to areas like Birdsboro, Safe Harbor, and Bob Value worked on access at The Mills and other Western PA crags. The organization layed the original groundwork for access in PA.

In the early 2000s, Rob Holzman created the original dialogues and placed MOUs in the early to mid 2000s for areas like Mocanaqua, Scranton crags, Haycock Mountain, Governor Dick, Hunter Rocks, Allegheny National Forest, Delaware Water Gap, original plans for all State Game Lands climbing areas in PA and many other of the original memorandums of understanding with land owners and early climbing policy to allow climbing on state, federal, and local and private lands.

So where can you legally climb in Pennsylvania?

There are literally hundreds of climbing and bouldering areas in Pennsylvania –some day we will have them all in the Next Ascent App with all the climbs and topos; fingers crossed.

Pennsylvania offers numerous legal rock climbing opportunities across the state. Here’s an overview of some of the most popular and accessible areas:

State Parks:

  1. Ralph Stover State Park: Known for its High Rocks area, offering minor sport and lots of trad climbing.
  2. McConnells Mill State Park: Features bouldering and some roped climbing.
  3. Ohiopyle State Park: Home to various bouldering areas.

State Game Lands:

There are numerous Game Land in Pennsylvania. State Game Lands 170: Contains Haycock Mountain, known for bouldering but there are dozens of Game Lands that have either bouldering or rock climbing. Boxcar Rocks is another  good example.

Other Public Lands:

  1. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: Offers various climbing opportunities along the cliffs.
  2. Coopers Rock State Forest: While primarily in West Virginia, a portion extends into PA, offering bouldering and roped climbing.

Private Areas with Established Access:

  1. Governor Stable: A premier bouldering destination, requires a permit from the Climbing Club.
  2. Birdsboro Quarry: Sport climbing area managed by a local climbers organization.
  3. Safe Harbor: Sport climbing area along the Susquehanna River.

Important Notes:

– Always check current access status and any specific regulations before climbing.

– Some areas may require permits or have seasonal closures.

– Respect private property and adhere to all posted signs and rules.

– Practice Leave No Trace principles to help maintain access.

This list is not exhaustive, and there are other legal climbing areas in Pennsylvania. It’s always best to consult with local climbing organizations or guidebooks for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on legal climbing areas in the state.

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