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Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall)

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Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall) Rock Climbing 

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Location: 40.5445, -76.5356 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 8,576
Administrators: Justin Johnsen, The Stoned Master, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Dan Smith on Aug 14, 2008

46° | 33°
Thanksgiving Day

51° | 42°

57° | 41°

47° | 30°

42° | 31°

43° | 35°
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Toprope face climb on the main wall circa 2000 5.9...

Areas on State Game Lands may face full hunting season closure starting in 2015 - please read and respond MORE INFO >>>


A mixed conglomerate area that has about 7 sport routes and many trad leads. Most routes can be toproped. Beware the rock can be loose and pebbles can break off when you least expect.

Getting There 

From the south, east or west: drive (probably via PA 78 or 81) to route 72 north near Swatara township. Follow it through Swatara Gap - crossing the Appalachian Trail - and through Swatara State Park as it becomes route 443 north.

2.1 miles past the 443 north junction, turn left onto Gold Mine Road. Follow it a total of 4.4 miles, over a short, steep mountain pass (Blue Mountain) and a second uphill grade. The pullout will be the largest on your right hand (east) side, with room for several cars to park before the dirt pullout road is blocked by a closed gate.

Park here and walk east past the gates until you reach a burn site - if you're attentive you might see a small wood sign saying "Boxcar Rd" on the left. Continue waling and take the first real trail on the right (southward). This takes you to the back side of the rocks near the "turtles head" (Moby Neil end) on the Main Wall.

The coordinates here are for the Main Wall parking lot.

Directions if driving from the north (I think - please verify, I haven't confirmed this). Heading south on Gold Mine Road, go over the first mountain. Continue down until you pass the rail bed. The pullout is third pullout on the left side.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.9 miles from here

23 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',13],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall):
Birthday Girl    5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 30'   Main Wall
Margies Curves - Left    5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 35'   Main Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall)

Featured Route For Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall)
Rock Climbing Photo: Curt's Crack

Curt's Crack 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  PA : South Central PA : ... : Main Wall
Classic (for the area) splitter that goes from fingers, to thin hands, to hands then is fist and/or offwidth(y) above the horizontal.You can climb the fingers to hands crack to the horizontal then instead of continuing onto the fist/offwidth above, crawl (an average size human can fit) through the passage/tunnel and build an anchor. Just an option....[more]   Browse More Classics in PA

Photos of Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Main wall
BETA PHOTO: Main wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Walking around the Turtle Head next to Moby Neil o...
BETA PHOTO: Walking around the Turtle Head next to Moby Neil o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Working a fun, easy traverse from right to left. Y...
Working a fun, easy traverse from right to left. Y...
Rock Climbing Photo: A short Boulder Problem at Boxcar Rocks.
A short Boulder Problem at Boxcar Rocks.
Rock Climbing Photo: Short easy wall suitable for bouldering.
BETA PHOTO: Short easy wall suitable for bouldering.
Rock Climbing Photo: Boulder problem at Boxcar Rocks. This is also a fu...
Boulder problem at Boxcar Rocks. This is also a fu...
Rock Climbing Photo: Main Wall parking lot. Goldmine Road is 40 feet pa...
BETA PHOTO: Main Wall parking lot. Goldmine Road is 40 feet pa...

Comments on Boxcar Rocks (Chinese Wall) Add Comment
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By Paul Brandstetter
From: Harrisburg PA
Jan 11, 2011
This is navigation from a TomTom you may have to switch the numbers around or use a dash depending on your GPS.
By The Stoned Master
From: Pennsylvania
Sep 17, 2013
Be cautious when setting cams here. To maximize the potential that the cam will do as you want/expect (not walk, move, pop out, hold the fall, etc.) DO NOT place the lobes on the pebbles. When the lobes are placed on the smooth pebbles the cams can sometimes (definitly not always) dislodge the pebbles now making the cam too small or straight up pull the cam out with the pebble. Try and aim for the lobes to sit against the solid stone itself, if possible.

Enjoy this fun place and be mindful that LAW ENFORCEMENT officers do patrol here.

Rock Climbing Photo: Boxcar Rock's typical "pebbley" stone an...
Boxcar Rock's typical "pebbley" stone and cams.

Rock Climbing Photo: Boxcar Rock's typical "pebbley" stone an...
Boxcar Rock's typical "pebbley" stone and cams.
By minquatrails
From: Lancaster PA
Sep 1, 2015
I went here for a day of trad climbing and was not disappointed. The approach is short (<10 minutes) and hauling the large cams (#5,#6) will allow you to sew up the wider cracks. Great crack climbs (especially for PA!). The rock is quite unlike anything I've climbed before. The place gets a good amount of shade so it made climbing in the heat of summer tolerable.

If you go for the trad climbs, be prepared to wander around the top a bit for the bolts. Not all anchors have rap rings.

I didn't try the sport climbing but there seems to be enough for at least a couple of visits and the bolts appeared to be in good shape.

Tired of Safe Harbor's sport & can't get to the Gunks for some EZ/Moderate Trad? Try this place.
By bksell
Nov 8, 2015
Note that I am posting a safety issue: Appears to be a fun place, but nice Sunday weather days during Fall and Winter appear to be crazy. Lots of people running around on top of the wall and lots of yelling and hollering (makes communicating impossible at times). I watched a kid run across the top of the wall, step in a puddle, and then fall very near where I was building an anchor. It would not have taken much more for him to fall off either side of the narrow wall. It was a bit hectic at times and I had to politely ask some folks not to mess around above where we were climbing. We only climbed one route and had someone peering down at us every few minutes from near our top rope anchor. It was too much to safely climb, so we left early. A local climber said weekdays are best; however, these are state game lands where weekday (Mon-Sat) recreation during hunting season is not permitted. I feel that this information is important because I would have spent my State Game Commission Sunday window elsewhere had I known about this situation.
By minquatrails
From: Lancaster PA
4 hours ago
BK -

Sorry you had a bad experience. I had the place to myself on a weekday.

Looks like the closure is seasonal. Maybe if you wear blaze orange you can climb there?

State game lands are public hunting grounds and lawful hunting
and trapping are permitted during open seasons. To enable the
Commission to effectively manage and protect these invaluable
land holdings for this and future generations of hunters, trappers
and wildlife enthusiasts, the following activities are prohibited:

Except on Sundays, to be present on state game lands from Nov. 15
through Dec.15 inclusive when not engaged in lawful hunting or
trapping and fail to wear a minimum of 250 square inches of
fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined,
or, in lieu thereof, a hat of the same colored material. Orange
material must be visible 360 degrees. Persons using shooting ranges
are exempted.

Not sure if those regs only apply to Clinton county or not.

Anyone else have info on this?

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