Delaware Water Gap is Philadelphia’s closest multipitch trad climbing area. The Gap has two climbing areas on either side of the Delaware River: Mount Minisi is on the Pennsylvania side and Mount Tammany is in New Jersey. The rock is a mixture of sandstone, quartzite, and conglomerate similar to the rock at the Gunks in New York. The Mount Minis Crags are about 200 feet tall and face East, catching morning sun. The Mount Tammany Crags reach up to 280 feet tall and face southwest, catching afternoon and winter sun. The rock here can be loose so wear a helmet.
What Makes It Great
If you are a Philadelphia climber that likes to trad climb, your best options are The Delaware Water Gap and The Gunks. The Gunks are the more popular option, but The Gap is half the distance, has no fees, and is much less crowded. Mount Minisi and Mount Tammany have over 100 routes each.
The Delaware water Gap is known for its roofs. Some of Mount Minisi’s steepest walls are the Intimidation Wall, Land of the Giants and Screaming Eagle Area. The steepest wall at Mount Tammany are The Great Arch. The best routes at Mount Tammany include Double Overhang (5.8), Black Wall (5.7 PG-13), and Triumvirate (5.4 PG-13). Across the River at Mount Minisi, some of the recommended routes are: Osprey (5.6 PG-13), Voyage of the Damned (5.11a PG-13), and Surprise (5.4 PG-13). There are also some ice climbing opportunities on the PA side of The Gap at Dingmans Falls when it is frozen.
Who is Going to Love It
The Delaware Water Gap is the place to go for adventure climbing around Philadelphia. Almost all of the climbing requires trad gear. The area was pioneered with a ground-up ethic, so there are very few bolted routes on the PA side and none on the NJ side. The route difficulty at The Gap ranges from 5.0 to 5.12d. If you want to climb on cleaner rock try some of the more popular routes at Mount Tammany, if you want to do some adventure climbing checkout Mount Minisi or some of the less popular routes at Mount Tammany.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The two mountains that form the Delaware Water Gap are one either side of the Delaware River, south of the town of Delaware Water Gap. For Mount Tammany on the New Jersey side of the river, take I-80 into New Jersey and get off the exit for Delaware Water Gap. Park in the Dunnfield Creek parking lot, hike the Red Dot Trail to the top of the cliff and rappel down. For Mount Minisi on the PA side, exit I-80 in the town of Delaware Water Gap and follow route 611 south. Park at the second pull off after the Point of Gap Overlook. Follow the blue trail to the right of Cold Air Cave to reach the Practice Wall.
If you would like a guidebook, there is an out of print Delaware Water Gap climbing guide, but a general climbing guide to PA or NJ may have more up to date information.