Breakneck Rocks

a climbers guide to
Connellsville, PA

By Tim Anderson
Oct, 2012

Eclipse 5.6 an obvious feature at Breakneck Rocks
Breakneck Rocks is a great crag located just outside of Connellsville PA in a the small community of Breakneck.  Its very convenient in the respect that it involves a very short approach and will have you at the cliff just 10 minutes from the car.  At Breakneck sport climbing is the norm with climbs ranging in height from 25' to 60' in length.  Most everyone will find climbs to suit their ability.  Climbs range in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.13-.    Most routes are technical face climbs that require balance and skill, not power.  Eclipse is a very popular beginner climb and has been a first lead for many newer climbers.  The property the rocks are situated on is privately owned, but climbing is tolerated.  To continue to keep the situation as it is please be courteous to the locals that live nearby.  Please follow the parking instructions below.

Breakneck had seen some activity in the 1980's by Ray Burnsworth and friends.  They top roped the obvious off width line of Eclipse 5.6 but didn't spend much time at this crag since crack climbing was the rage and Breakneck has none.  In 1999 Dave Lynn and Bryce Dillinger unknowingly bolted the off width climbed by Ray Burnsworth and Rob Goodman and gave it the current name of Eclipse.  They also developed the lines of Cannabis 5.6, Touch of Green 5.7, Nemosis 5.8, Bio-fear 5.8, and Mosquito 5.9 before having problems with spinning bolts at which point they sought my help in correcting their "problems" with spinning bolts.  From that point on all other routes were established by myself (Tim Anderson) with the exception of Do You Like Apples 5.12- which was established by Pete Baertsch and Crimpfest 5.11+ put up by an unknown party around 2010-2011. 

Getting There
From the intersection of Route 119 and East End Road north of Connellsville, turn onto East End Road.  Follow to the intersection of East End Road and Breakneck Road.  Cross over Breakneck Road onto East End Road Extension.  Follow East End Road Extension up making a sharp left turn to where the road turns to dirt.  Continue up the dirt road passing a trailer with a wood fence around the yard.  Approximately 100 yards after the trailer on the right will be the small Breakneck rocks parking area (enough for about 3 or 4 cars).  If this area is full please follow the parking directions below.

Keep the road clear of vehicles.  Don't be lazy, If the upper lot is full DO NOT park in the posted areas or in front of peoples property.  There is plenty of parking down at the Intersection of Breakneck and East End Road by the junkyard.  It only adds a few minutes of walking to your approach and will provide a little extra cardio to send your best!

Main Wall
1. Old School 5.9 sport, 4 bolts, shuts -  First ascent was done as trad route.  Now bolted this line starts up on the blocks left of the start for Mosquito.  Follows the arete direct to the top.  FA. Tim Anderson 50'

2. Mosquito Direct Variation 5.10 sport, 5 bolts, ring shuts - Climbs up a usually wet start for 9' to a small ledge. Continue up through from the small ledge through moderate face climbing to the much larger ledge higher up.  From the rest ledge  climb straight up through the overhanging crimps to the ledge and shuts.  FA Tim Anderson 60'

3. Mosquito 5.8 sport - Uses the same start as Mosquito D.V. But instead from the large rest ledge above the fourth bolt, move right up large jugs passing one more bolt to shuts.  Finishes at the shuts above 50/50 or Mosquito direct.  FA Dave Lynn, Bryce Dillinger 60'

The dreggs of the Early  Breakneck days below Mosquito
Bryce Dillinger (Green shirt), Todd Damico (Blue shirt) and Sarah Bell 
4. Fifty/Fifty 5.10 sport,  The second set of shuts from the left will put you in a direct line with this new route. 60'

5. New School 5.10a/b - 4 bolts shuts.  Climb up 10' to the 1' wide ledge.  Follow the line of bolts up through a small bulge to the shuts.  A little run out at the top. 60'

6. Bowling Ball 5.11- sport, 5 bolts, ring shuts  - Easy start up to the ledge at 10' Continue straight up through face climbing to the Bowling Ball crux.  pull through to a rest then another strenuous move or two and easier climbing above to the shuts.  (route is considerably easier if you use the large hold on New School near the 5th bolt.  FA Tim Anderson 60'

Christian Mason pulling through the 2nd crux of Bowling Ball
Photo by Laura Hahn

I would recommend stick clipping the first bolts on the next two routes.  They we're placed high to prevent a ground fall.  Shorter folks may need to stack a few stones to reach the starting holds otherwise the grade should be considered more difficult.

7. Transfusion 5.11 sport, 5 bolts, ring shuts - Starts just right of where the 10' high ledge ends.  

8. Burning Balls 5.11 sport, 5 glue in bolts, ring shuts - A thin, dynamic start leads to thin crimps.   Follow the line up through the bolts avoiding the obvious large blocks to the right of the 3rd bolt. FA Tim Anderson 60' 

The Breakneck crew in early development 2000
9. Diesel 5.13- sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Climb directly up through the first two bolts to a good rest.  From rest continue up and right of the 3rd bolt through the crux to the shuts. FA Tim Anderson 45'

10. Eclipse 5.6, 3 bolts, ring shuts A great warm up and stemming is allowed off of the left wall. FA Ray Burnsworth, Rob Goodman (pre bolts) 35'  Very popular climb at Breakneck.

11. Crimpfest 5.11+ sport, 4 bolts, anchors over top ledge - Climb through a relatively easy beginning on slabby slopers, then commit to a crimpy crux at the top that is unique for breakneck.  Finishes at bolt anchors over lip. (Personally I'm not sure why the shuts are placed this way.  A much better option would be to have them down below lip).  Lower at your own risk! FA. Doug Martin 35'

12. G.Y.B. (Grab your balls) 5.9 sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Follow the line of three bolts up to the shuts.  Crux above the 3rd. bolt FA Todd Damico, Tim Anderson 40'

Dave Lynn early developer of Breakneck ready to climb New School
13. Revisited 5.10 sport, 4 bolts, ring shuts - A reachy crux at the first bolt leads to fun climbing up and right on a blunt slopey arete. FA Tim Anderson 35'

View from the top of Main Wall at Breakneck Rocks
14. Do You Like Apples 5.12- sport, 3 bolts, shuts - Starts at large hole for right hand.  Move up through 2 bolts on crimps, side pulls and underclings to a shared bolt on Revisited at the lip.  Finishes on easier climbing up to the shuts (Also shared with Revisited).  FA Pete Baertsch 30'

Between the routes Do You like Apples and Fools Gold is an area of cliff breakdown where one can gain access to the cliff top for rigging routes on top rope.

Right Wall

15. Fools Gold 5.9+ sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Begins up the easy face, then moves left to a sloping stance which allows you to follow the line of bolts up the arete to the shuts. FA Tim Anderson 30'  Note: moving too far left at the sloping ledge obviously lowers the grade considerably).

16. Nemosis 5.9 sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Climb the line of 3 bolts up the slab to the steeper face and crux near the top. FA Dave Lynn, Bryce Dillinger 30'

Skyler Anderson climbs Nemosis on the Right Wall

17. Bio-Fear 5.8 sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Climb the line of 3 bolts up the face to the shuts. FA Dave Lynn, Bryce Dillinger 30'

18. Resurrection 5.9 trad, top out - Starts around corner down in between the block thats close to the wall right of Bio-Fear.  Climbs up the face to the large overhanging block above.  Move right around the overhang and continue up the face to the top. Protection is PG. FA Tim Anderson 30'

19.  Legends of the Green 5.8 trad, top out - This climb begins on the wall behind you if you're facing towards the Lower Slab routes listed below.  It climbs up the face right of the roof to the obvious 2.5" crack that goes to the top. FA Tim Anderson, Dave Lynn, Bryce Dillinger 30'

Lower Slab
Down below the right wall is another block that has 3 easy sport routes on it.  This is the Lower Slab.

20. Don't P.A.T. the Tree 5.6 sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Left of the 3 routes.  Follows a line of face holds right of the off-limits tree to the shuts. FA Paul Gaurino, Tim Anderson (Paul And Tim) 25'

21. Cannabis 5.6 sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Middle line.  Follow the line of 3 bolts up face holds to the shuts. Crux moves at bottom. FA Dave Lynn, Bryce Dillinger 25'

22. Touch of Green 5.5 sport, 3 bolts, ring shuts - Right route.  Follow the line of 3 bolts up very moderate climbing to the ring shuts.  Easiest route at Breakneck.  FA Dave Lynn, Bryce Dillinger 25'

Tee Pee Block
Located below the Main Wall and boulder. Walk around the block to the left to find the only sport route on this block.

23. Tee Pee Tim 5.9 sport, 3 bolts, lowering chains - Short, but fun.  Climbs the steep overhanging arete on the side of Tee Pee block.  Different than most Breakneck climbs.  This one overhangs and may give you a forearm pump.   Slap and heel hook your way up the climb to the chains. (The chains at the top should form an X over the point at the top for most effective use).  FA Tim Anderson, Laura Hahn 25'

There is some decent bouldering in the boulders below the cliff line.  Some lines are very clean, while other will require some brushing to improve their condition.  Plenty has been done and goes undocumented, but exploration is half the fun.  Get after it!

Breakneck Arete V4 in its current state
Breakneck Arete in the "early days"

Breakneck Arete - V4
On the overhanging boulder below Main Wall.  Climbs the left, steep, overhanging arete.  Gets longer as the years pass. Might be done growing now since most of the dirt below has been washed and is almost all rock now. FA Tim Anderson

Sean Hribal was an active boulderer at Breakneck circa 2001


  1. Pretty cool, Tim. Just a bit of old information - First went there in '82 with Bill Snyder, who lives in the first red brick house as you turn right off of Breakneck Road - was called White Rocks back then. Twice ran in to two older guys from Uniontown who said that they climbed there since the '70's - they also climbed at 'Uncle Joe's' and 'Spruce Hollow' a good bit. Don't recall their names but ran into them a few times at 'The Narrows' (aka - Locust Grove) in Maryland. We climbed probably 4-5 routes on gear - the Open Book dihedral and another at the northern return of the main wall and probably 2 on the easier large downhill boulder. Never messed much with the main wall left of the off-width crack because of all the lichen (which you guys later cleaned and discovered a buried treasure). You'll like this - we even intended to lodge 2-3 large chockstones in the offwidth so we could sling them and lead the thing - even went as far as to pull a selection of rounded river rocks out of the Yough River for that purpose - never got around to it, though (still have one or two of the rocks out back). My next door neighbor, Dave "Snake" Haggerty (old Vietnam vet) said that he climbed frequently with Ed Coll, and that they went to Uncle Joes and Spruce Hollow a good bit - never asked him about Breakneck. Speaking of Spruce Hollow - the main upper wall was a jungle of Rhododendron back then - I spent the good part of an entire day there, alone, gardening the place and sweeping broken glass from most of the horizontal holds - used to be a big party spot (attended a few keg parties there, myself, back in pre-climbing High School days). Also, Haggerty mentioned that they used to climb a lot at the long but short wall parallel to Dunbar-Ohiopyle Road below 'Cow Rock' (just past Stefanos Printing).


  2. I live at the entrance to these rocks..first of all thanks for firmly advising people to respect the parking! second of all.. Ive lived here for 35 years and can confirm that it used to be called white rock. before it became well known and was just the locals going up there, that's what we all called it.

    1. Just want to thank you for being accepting of climbers in the area. I lived in Pittsburgh for a few areas and have extremely fond memories of climbing with my brother at Breakneck (aka White Rock). This place is an absolute treasure of the local climbing community, and just want to thank you again for allowing us to climb here.



  3. Any new info on the sport routes that were put up on either side of Legends of the Green? They look fun but I don't see them on the topo and can't find any rating info on Mountain Project or here. I don't remember them being there last summer but I like the look of them. Thanks!

  4. I've heard about this place called ghost town about a little less than an hour from Youngstown Ohio. Amy idea where in PA this place is?