Mount Gretna is a diabase bouldering area located in the Governor Dick Nature Preserve. The boulders at Gretna are very clean, and the trails there are wide and well maintained. The boulders are on a south facing hillside. This makes it warm on a sunny winter day, and it dries out quickly after a rain. The closest climbs are within 5 minutes of the parking lot, but some of the furthest areas are about a 20 minute hike.
What Makes It Great
Mount Gretna is a great place to spend a day bouldering. The trails are good, the landings are usually flat, and the boulders come in all shapes and sizes. The initial areas you will reach from the parking lot are The Coleflesh Area, The 45 Boulder, Smiley, and Shamoo Area. The must do climbs in these areas are: Colflesh (V5), Body Snap (V5), Fabulous (V4), Smiley (V4), and Shamoo (V6).
If you continue further on to the east, You will reach the Highball Boulder. The line that faces you as you walk up is The Original Route (V3). If you are comfortable with the grade, this problem is a great intro to highball climbing. The tricky crux is down low, and as you get higher off the deck, you reach incut holds and an easy topout. Past the Highball Boulder are The Prow area and The Matrix Area. The Islander and The Prow (both V7/8) at The Prow Area have some of the best movement of any climbs in the area. They involve minimal holds and subtle heel hooks on an overhanging arete.
Past The Prow Area, you will find the Matrix Area with the classic friction slab Porcelain (V3) and the crack traverse Breadloaf (V4). If you are looking for difficult steep climbs, checkout the Tower Areas. Kinesthetic Awareness (V11) is a powerful roof climb and Chickenhawk (V9) is a steep climb with big moves on big block features.
Who is Going to Love It
Mount Gretna is a great place for any level climber. The boulder problems here range from V0 to V11. The best areas for a beginner are the Colflesh Area and the Shamoo Area. Some of the moderate classics include Poison Ivy (V0), Talking to Myself (V1) and Overlord (V2). If you want get on some of the area test pieces checkout the 45 Boulder, The Shamoo Area and the Tower Areas for steep climbs, small holds, and big moves. Some of the best quality hard climbs not already mentioned are: The Destroyer Traverse and Exhibit A (both V8) at the 45 Boulder, and The Box (V8) and The Bulge (V10) at The Shamoo Area.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Mount Gretna from Philadelphia, Take 76 West to the Lebanon exit number 266. After paying at the toll booths, take a right onto PA 72. Travel for one mile and take a right onto Cider Press Road. When you reach a stop sign, turn right onto Pinch Road. Follow Pinch Road for about 2 miles and turn right into the Clarence Schock Education Center. The trail to the boulders is located just past the park office.
The park is full of many trails for climbing access, mountain biking and hiking. The best way to navigate to the boulders is with the bouldering guide available to purchase inside the park office. If the office is closed, pick up a copy of the trails map on the side of the building.