Cragies and Snackies

Don’t sleep on Pittsburgh. 

The Steel City may not have classic rock-climbing within the city limits, but there is one option that is so fitting that I doubt any other crag in the world aligns itself more succinctly with its home municipality.

In addition to being labeled “The Steel City”, Pittsburgh is also known as “The City of Bridges”. Encompassing the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River forming the Ohio River, Pittsburgh is home to 446 bridges.  An earlier rendition of one of these 446 bridges connecting Schenley Park to South Oakland is now gone, but it’s Pillars remain.  One particular pillar from this 1890 remnant is now known as “The Bridge Pillar”.

The Bridge Pillar is a 25’ bridge pillar consisting of 18 distinct routes ranging from V-easy to 5.11b.  A few traverses add to the total climbing distance on some of the routes.  There are bolts placed along the way, and the approach adds to the excitement.

As described on Mountain Project: “Underneath the Blvd of the Allies. Park at the small playground and then scramble thru broken glass down the hillside. You probably could rap in off the current bridge, but you might meet the boys in blue.”

A perfect Pittsburgh description if ever there was one.

The Bridge Pillar is the cragie, but what about the snackies!

11 minutes away you’ll find one of the greatest menus in one of the coolest restaurants ever known.

The Onion Maiden is a metal themed eatery with a beautiful menu chockfull of delicacies that could satisfy any palette and any mood.  Providing veggie based Asian and American comfort food, I cannot imagine any climber or any person not succumbing to the call of the Onion Maiden!

The list of options at Onion Maiden are filled with clever metal puns including the popular ‘Kale Em All Salad’ and the ‘Fade to Black Cheesecake’

The heavy metal veggie soy dawgs are the delectable epitome of food fusion.  The house made kimchi and Korean mayo on the Kimmy Gibbler veggie dawg has me going through post climb withdrawals for a meal I haven’t even tried.

Onion Maiden is the exact spot where rock and metal collide.  So, whether you are just hitting up some of the classics on The Bridge Pillar or making a day trip out to The Lost Crag Rock, Onion Maiden needs to be the destination to re-fuel after the sends!

Even if you can’t make it to Pittsburgh, you really need to check out their website the menu is a blast and the merch is fantastic!

Onion Maiden is the heart of metal in the city of steel!


From the Owner: We’ve had the pleasure of serving all types of folks at Onion Maiden, but for the climber’s take on it, I asked my friend, former bandmate, avid climber, and all around amazing human Justin what he thought. He said “a vegan diet is great for keeping you light, lean and strong. Plant-heavy diets reduce inflammation which also reduces recovery time so you can get back to climbing faster after a hard session. Rock climbing lives at the intersection of athleticism and nature conservation and a great way to reduce your impact on the natural world is to eat a plant-based diet.” 

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Justin. I knew he was the right person to ask. To add to Justin’s wisdom, Onion Maiden strives to reduce our impact on the planet in an industry that is known for the contrary. All of our takeout containers, cups and utensils are either compostable or recyclable, and we are continuously striving to find better alternatives, too. We compost all of our food waste, and were given “gold” certification by Sustainable Pittsburgh. And on top of that, I think our food is damn tasty, too. 

Location: Pittsburgh, PA. “Benigno Numine”

Crag: The Bridge Pillar 

Restaurant: Onion Maiden

Distance: 11 Miles Away

4 Replies to “Cragies and Snackies”

      1. A stack of 4″ pancakes of varying heights – 20 pancakes is a 5.10 or so. Put a maraschino cherry on top so you can “red point” the stack.

        Liked by 1 person

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