Destination: High Rocks State Park ( Ralph Stover State Park)
Location: 150 Tory Rd, Bucks County Pennsylvinia
Time of the Year: Summer 2014
Summer was the perfect time to move from Indiana to New Jersey and immediately after I had settled down with the routine of my new 9-5 job, I began looking up online to find climbing meetup groups.
New Jersey is not that exciting when it comes to rock climbing; but it’s probably not that bad either. There are climbing areas to the north, at the Gunks and then to the south in Pennsylvania state. After browsing through quite a few meetups based out of New York and Pennsylvania, I ended up on a meetup named ‘Red Rock Climbers’. Founded and kept active by a very enthusiastic mountaineer and rock climber named Arnulf Krualla, this meetup climbs in High Rocks State Park in Pennsylvania every weekend. I had met up with one of the climbers in this group at one of my indoor climbing gym sessions around Princeton and after asking with her a few questions about the group and safety of climbing, I felt assured that it would be alright to go with this group, even though I would hardly know anyone.
“This(High Rocks State Park) area has a long history of climbing activity, its been the mainstay for many climbers for many years and is considered a traditional area since most routes are protected using traditional gear. Winter conditions can be very mild in this sheltered southeast facing valley. Summer can be very hot but there’s always the river for a dip to cool off.” (rockclimbing.com)
About an hour’s drive away from Princeton, my current base, the climbing area in the park is a cliff with routes all across the cliff from west to east. Routes have been well documented in the last few decades, owing to the popularity of the climbing area. There are a lot of top rope routes and out of a total of about 78 routes, sport climbing routes are actually very few. The rock consists of red argillite and shale(rockclimbing.com). Mostly in the grading range of 5.6 and 5.10, I found that these routes are perfect for an intermediate climber like me who wants to keep practicing her skills but at the same time, not get too intimidated by the likes of 5.10s and above.
Some of the popular climbing sections include the Hawk’s nest, The Cramped Face, Far Face, Neolithic Wall, Phone Booth Area, Chain Reaction Buttress and many others. In the last two weekends, I have been able to reach the top of three routes: Hawk’s Nest(5.6), Far Face Direct(5.8) and Triple Overhang(5.7).
I attempted one of the routes on the Cramped Face(5.7/5.8) but failed at the last overhang, just below the top. None of these climbs are extremely simple. In fact, 5.7 here felt more difficult than the similarly graded routes I had done in Shelf Road, Colorado.
Turned into a lot of fun by my fellow climbers and belayers, I have got hooked to these weekend escapades in the cliffs and can’t wait for more to come. A big thank you to Arny, for his active spirit and love for the sport, for his attention to the safety of anchors and his generosity in letting newcomers join the group and use his gear. My climbing journey so far has been filled with such people who love climbing and who want to encourage others who love climbing. Hopefully, I would be able to do the same for other climbers in the coming years! If you are in NJ/PA area, feel free to check out this meetup and join in the climbing fun! CLICK HERE TO SEE RED ROCK CLIMBERS
Enjoy the pictures (courtesy Arnulf Krualla), more will follow soon!
Far Face Direct(5.8)
The Cramped Face(5.7/5.8):