Overview: Pawtuckaway State Park, New Hampshire
Pawtuckaway is an idyllic state park in southeast New Hampshire, littered with ponds, streams, and beautiful orange granite boulders. The forest boasts a high concentration of high quality boulder problems that encompass all grades, sizes, and styles. The 20-minute walk from the Devil’s Den to the Round Pond bouldering areas passes within sight of well over a hundred quality lines! Despite the quality and popularity of the area, I’ve spent many beautiful fall days in the park wondering where everyone else is. In the event that there are crowds at the higher concentration areas, a 10-minute walk off the beaten path will likely take you to a quality unoccupied area. I have no doubt that further exploration will take you to some uncleaned and potentially unclimbed 4-star hard lines deeper in the forest. All in all, the setting is magical and the climbing is exceptional; what more could a climber want?
Specific description of climbing style
There is some trad climbing on the short cliff bands of P-way, but most people climbing there nowadays are there for the boulders. The granite tends to be coarse and sharp. Luckily, most of the rock at P-way is on the fine line between blank and friable, and is featured enough so that even the steepest faces can be climbed. The bouldering really does encompass all styles of climbing, including techy slabs, crimpy face climbs, and powerful steep lines to round out the ever-present New England lip traverses. There are lowballs and highballs at all grades, many of which have nice flat landings.
The season at P-way can be brutal. Vicious mosquitoes and the occasional black fly swarm keep a majority of climbers away for most of spring and early summer. As in the rest of New England, autumn is the best season. If you can get to the boulders and withstand the cold, winter temps will provide awesome friction.
Climbing grade range
Best local spot
Not a whole lot around unless you drive to Manchester or Boston. Soak up the beauty of the surroundings instead!
Top climbs in area
- Cream (V0) – tall
- The Whip (V2) – tall
- Hobbit Hole (V3)
- Overlooked (v4)
- Fido Sit (v5)
- Ride the Lightning (V6)
- Up in Smoke (V7)
- Dopeman (V8)
- Chuckie’s Torture (V9)
- Halcyon (V11)
All of the above climbs are between Devil’s Den and Round Pond, the most frequented area. There are entire other regions of the park left off the list.
How stiff is the grading?
The grading feels perfectly fair; however, these are the boulder problems I use as a standard for other areas…
Where to stay?
No camping in the park outside of the official campsite, which costs a bit. Crash on a couch in Manchester or Boston instead!
Now to you
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