This area is often incorectly called Hot Rocks, which is a name
that was never given to this area. The aea is called the Cinder
Blocks and always has been. It is a good collection of
conglomerate rock with a good bit of fun problems and very
short lead climbs.
This area can easily be found by approaching the town of Centrailia from I-81. When at the old corners in town make a right onto RD 2004 directly across from Center Street at RT 61. The map above should be more than enough to get you to the rock. Rock is located on both sides of the road and visible from your car. I have never had a problem parking here but it is wise to abide by any local wishes of nearby landowners. What I’ve found about PA coal country is that most areas on reclaimed mine lands are usually pretty low key and climbers seldom have problems.
One of the most unusual bouldering areas in the world. Large conglomerate boulders lie scattered across the woods in a quiet little hollow near the now-abandoned town of Centrailia. This town has an unusual past: in the 1960s, a dump was ignited and the fire burnt into the mines below. Years later, it was determined that the fire had burnt into the Western Middle Field (the largest anthracite coal vein in the world). Attempts were maid to put the fire out after toxic fumes nearly killed a resident in his basement and a child was sucked into a steaming hole in his back yard. The town was torn for many years between who wanted to stay and who wanted to leave. Eventually government assistance was lended and the town was destroyed with the exception of some resedients who refused to leave their homes. It is estimated that the fire will continue to burn for hundreds of years.
The boulders are in an eerie setting: loose, hollow ash coats the landings below the boulders and the ground feels as though it may cave in at any time. Be careful when walking on this hollow ground as mine subsidence’s are very normal in Pennsylvania coal country. The bouldering at this spot is fantastic. Large conglomerate blocks, that rival anything at the Gunks, speckle the ash-ridden hillside. Problems here range from V0- to V9 and there are over one-hundred established problems. Thee are dozens of other areas like this within a twenty-mile radius of this main area. The area is located on reclaimed mine lands and access has never been a problem in the 20+ years that I have known about this spot. Still, be kind to any locals and respect the parking and area–locals have gone through great hardships here, be respectful.
I came across this spot in 1990 and was the first recorded climber to develop problems here. Myself Jess Holzman, Tom Kneiss, and a few climbers from NEPA were active cleaning and establishing dozens of problems and some trad climbing. Other climbers have visited this area over the years. I recommend exploring the nearby hillsides where many FA’s still await the adventurous at heart.