The weather this weekend was as close to perfect as you get in Pennsylvania in August. Sunny, breezy, no humidity, high 70′s etc. We decided to take the kids to Governor’s Stable, a bouldering area in Central PA that is right near Elizabethtown College and Three Mile Island.
Access to Governor’s Stable
For those that haven’t been to GS before, access to this area has been obtained through the hard work of the Friends of Governor’s Stable organization. Information can be found on their website. Memberships are available (we happen to be charter members with a 3 year pass) but day passes can also be purchased online. The kiosk at the entrance is looking great and the instructions make it quite clear that payment, a waiver, and sign in is required to access the area.
The Approach at Governor’s Stable
This trip was a lot easier than earlier trips as the kids walked the entire way. The hike in is as much of an adventure as the climbing, as there are tree stumps to protect the trail (it’s a muddy/swampy area after rain). It was quite the adventure, as C & R jumped from tree stump to tree stump the entire way in. From the park parking lot to the first boulder is well under a mile, with a bridge crossing, plank walking, and the aforementioned stump jumping along the way. The first portion of the hike is along the road (less than 400 meters) and there isn’t much of a shoulder, but there isn’t much traffic either.
Warning: Watch out for poison ivy and know what it looks like, as there is a good bit of it around. They’ve done a great job of clearing it off the trail area and away from the immediate climbing boulders, but it is out there and should be avoided.
Climbing at Governor’s Stable
While we usually stop at the warm up boulders on the way in (there’s a great area for the kids to play), we’ve gotten stuck there for hours in the past as the kids love the big flat boulder that they can play on and jump off. We skipped it this trip and went straight for some of the climbs we don’t get on very often. We went to the area known as Moby’s and friends to start. The kids love climbing the slab that is the top portion of the Moby’s Dick problem an they managed to smear up that for a bit before hanging out at the top of the boulder (picture above).
While they snacked, I climbed the v3 ish Minky Mantle (I started to the right) which went pretty quickly after a few warm up tries. We also messed around on Moby’s Dick, but didn’t give it a real try, as that is where the kids were climbing.
After an hour or so of lunch, climbing, and hanging out on top of the Moby’s Dick boulder, we packed up and hiked over to the Bread Loaf arete. I love this climb but can’t seem to top it out – it’s a head game for me, as the crux (for me) is quite high and I’m disinterested in turning an ankle (let it be known that the landing is flat, so I’m just being a bit whiner). The Bread Loaf Arete (v4ish) climb lost a hold in January but it is apparently not any harder (just headier. . . ).
After another kid climb on the backside of the Breadloaf Arete, we decided to call it a day. On the hike out, C ran theentire way, trying to beat her dad and brother. It was amazing. I could barely keep up (with the crash pad).
All in all, a successful day at GS with not too much climbing, but a lot of family adventure fun!