Perpendicular Rock

  • Grades: AU
  • Approach time: 1 hour
  • Ascents: 13


A big bluff of diorite looming over the Wollondilly river valley, this unique and obscure crag is guaranteed to provide adventure.

All route info sourced from sydney rockies guide.

Access issues

On private property. Permission to climb was apparently granted by the landowners in 1998. The block the crag is located on is completely undeveloped, and you almost certainly will not run into a soul.


Wombeyan Caves Road, then a big slog up the hill through the bush and up the talus.


From the top of the crag, one possible descent is to the north (to the left when looking up at the crag from the base). Walk straight down the slope behind the crag until you reach a fence after a hundred meters or so. Turn left, and follow the fence for another couple of hundred meters. Hopefully you will see a small pile of scree up on a small ridge back to your left. It looks like a good lookout point. Climb this, and you will see you are past the northernmost buttress of the crag. Start descending down very steep scree, gullies, and slippery grass. If at some point you see a huge sprawling fig tree, head towards it and go around it to the right. Approach shoes or Volleys would be very nice to have (although we did it in climbing shoes), and take extreme care if it's wet!

Where to stay

Camping in the Wollondilly valley is described in the guide. If you're driving down from Sydney the night before, the Wollondilly Lookout, on your right a short while after you go through the old sandstone tunnel, is a good but exposed bivy spot.


Purely trad. Not a single bolt here.


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Grade Route

Start: Corner crack immediately L of clump of trees. 1, 2, 3 Follow obvious crack/corner system - cannot remember much more about it.

FA: H.Luxford & R.Miller (alt leads) Feb 82

Two top pitches compensate for the first. Start: In gully hidden behind large clump of trees.

  1. 28m Up left crack to tree, then left.

  2. 38m Corner crack immediately above gully.

  3. 34m Corner crack then as will to top.

FA: R.Miller & H.Luxford (alt leads) Jan 82

Details of route unknown except for diagram in B.Allens guidebook. It is probably that Orchgasm and Orchid Route are the same climb.

FA: M.Swain, N.Webb, Apr 70, T.Batty & B.Montgomery 1961

Follow grade rather than line. Start: Base of Orchid Gully - unmarked.

  1. 35m Up corner 10 metres, traverse right then up. Pass two pitons on right to ledge.

  2. 25m Up wall 7 metres, traverse right to arete and crack, up. Across to ledge.

  3. 20m Up to steep crack, onto slab left of nose.

  4. 20m Up corner, traverse to end of nose. Around corner and up.

FA: D.Feacham, M.Swain, N.Webb & Apr 70

Two interesting pitches -- top traverse induces concentration. Start: Diagonal crack left of Central Buttress.

  1. 35m Right up diagonal crack - belay tricky.

  2. 35m Left up diagonal crack into corner, up to small roof left across wall, around nose and up. RP's and hammer useful on wall.

FA: H.Luxford & R.Harris (alt leads) May 97

Good climbing in a great situation. Start: In fig tree at base of Central Butress

  1. 30m Up to top of tree.

  2. 15m Up crack to bulge, left 3 metres, then diagonally right to crack and ledge.

  3. 25m (crux) Up as you will.

  4. 15m Up short wall then right to small ledge. 5 and 6 40m Up to top.

FA: M.Swain, R.Vining (alt leads) D.Feacham & May 73

Good looking crack, overgrown at present. Start: About 10m left of, and 7m down gully from Hercules.

  1. 30m Steep wall and thin cracks to small ledge.

  2. 30m Up to where cracks become choked. Up on blocks and flakes on wall to ledge.

  3. 30m (crux) Crack behind to top of pinnacle. Crack above is strenuous.

FA: J.Ewbank, A.Campbell, J.Worral & Mar 67

A magnificent line. The only climb J.E. recommended in his keynote talk at Escalade. Start: THE corner in Square Gully.

  1. 40m Up to roof, left to ledge.

  2. 30m Up to overhang, over bulge then flaky rock and chimney to final roofs and corner to top.

FA: J.Ewbank & J.Worral Mar 67

Start: Crack about 10 metres to right of Hercules. Obvious crack/chimney for which I have no description as Keith cannot remember much about it. However, if you cannot find your way up this line you should not be here.

FA: K.Bell & B.Allen (alt leads) 1973

Too dangerous-----not recommended. Start: Middle of rear wall in Square Gully.

  1. 16m Aid up to flake.

  2. 8m Mixed climbing to large block/flake. N.B. This block moves!

  3. 36m Up flake to slab and wall to ledge.

  4. 8m Right to belay point.

FA: J.Pickard & H.Luxford (alt leads) 1967

The first climb on the cliff. Start: On right side of Square Gully.

  1. 20m Dirty gully behind tree, then crack.

  2. 30m Steep ramp.

  3. 60m Chimney to right of steep crack.

  4. 15m Dirty crack.

  5. 25m (crux) Up easy gully to overhang.

FA: C.Ivin & P.Griffiths 1961

Enjoyable wall and slab climbing up front of buttress. Start: Left end of Odyssey Buttress.

  1. 25m (crux) Straight up to ledge, around to large tree.

  2. 8m Back down and into crack to large blocks. 3, 17m Up crack, right onto wall, then up as will.

FA: H. Luxford & B.Cameron (alt leads) Jan 82

Easiest way up second biggest buttress. Two good pitches. Start: Middle of wall on Odyssey Buttress.

  1. 30m (crux) Up wall heading left to tree.

  2. 15m Layback up.

  3. 18m Left of belay, up blocks.

  4. 18m Up corner to ledge.

  5. 18m Up overhang to op.

FA: A.Langworthy, T.Quinn, C.Thompson & Apr 70

Two reasonably good pitches --- recommended. Start: Corner crack on right side of Odyssey Buttress.

  1. 20m (crux) Up crack into corner.

  2. 30m Up corner to large ledge. Climb as will OR abseil down gully to left.

FA: B.Cameron & H.Luxford (alt leads) Jan 82

Highly recommended. Start: On right side of Odyssey Buttress.

  1. 25m (crux) Up steep thin corner.

  2. 25m Up twin hand cracks.

  3. 25m Up right side of pillar.

  4. 25m Up corner.

FA: H.Luxford & B.Cameron (alt leads) Feb 82

Aka "Heart Of Darkness" From the second belay on Odyssey, crawl right and up the ridge and around to the second belay on Command Performance, through horrendous vegetation. Continue up CP.

FA: James Bultitude & Sam May, 18 Aug 2013

First pitch O.K. Start: Corner hidden behind left side of third buttress.

  1. 25m (crux) Straight up corner crack.

  2. 25m Up and right to largish tree.

  3. 30m Up behind tree OR abseil off.

FA: H.Luxford & R.Harris (alt leads) Nov 96

First pitch is quite good. Start: Left side of third buttress.

  1. 25m Up wall and crack.

  2. 25m Past loose rock, then wall and slab. 3 and 4. 40m As for Wanderlust OR abseil off.

FA: W.Moon & B.Cameron Apr 82

Short but interesting. Start: Second crack on third buttress.

  1. 15m Up groove, then right, up wall to small stance.

  2. 20m Up twin crack then as you will.

FA: B.Cameron & H.Luxford (alt leads) Jan 82

Some interest. Start: As for Face Value but move right.

  1. 30m Follow steep crack to ledge, then as for Face Value.

FA: T.Williams, F.Moon & Feb 82

First climb on third buttress.

  1. 30m Up 7m then right to thin crack then right to another crack then right to ledge.

  2. 12m Onto pinnacle then wall left of detached pinnacle.

  3. 15m Short wall.

  4. 25m Tree and wall left of corner, up corner till right move onto wall, up to large block. Slab on left to finish.

FA: D.Bennet & T.Wood Apr 70

Short but pleasant. Start: Crack on right side of third buttress.

  1. 25m Up to roof, then right, up flake then to tree on left.

FA: B.Cameron, R.Miller, H.Luxford & Jan 82

One of the better ways up the third buttress. Start: Corner-crack right of third buttress.

  1. 23m Up corner-crack.

  2. 15m Left into corner-crack, up to tree.

  3. 23m (crux) Obvious corner.

  4. 19m Rightish to crack, up to top.

FA: H.Luxford & B.Cameron (alt leads) Jan 82

A short but pleasant climb. Start: Left side of fourth buttress.

  1. ? Left of two cracks to chimney and tree, then to ledge.

  2. ? (crux) Straight up.

FA: H.Luxford & T.Tierney Apr 70

A pleasant companion route to Striptease. Start: Corner-crack at very top of Striptease Gully.

  1. 30m (crux) Up small overhang and crack. Right to chimney. Up to tree.

  2. 24m Scramble up to small corner, up, then left along crack to ledge.

  3. 24m Up wall keeping to obvious crack.

FA: H.Luxford & C.Peisker Mar 74

Ho-hum. Start: Short crack on left wall of terrace.

FA: H.Luxford, K.Westren, R.Miller & B.Cameron Jan 82

Another ho-hum. Start: Curving crack at rear of terrace.

  1. 15m Up crack then left easily to tree.

FA: B.Cameron, R.Miller & Jan 82

Harder than it looks. Start: Right side of Striptease Gully on Isolated Buttress.

  1. 20m Up blocks to below tree, left then up crack to top.

FA: B.Cameron, H.Luxford & Jan 82

Exactly. Start: Offwidth crack on left side of Isolated Buttress.

  1. 30m Straight up.

FA: W.Moon, B.Cameron & Apr 82

Better than it looks. Start: Front of Isolated Buttress.

  1. 42m Rightish up corner to blocks, up to tree right, then crack to tree to top.

FA: H.Luxford, R.Miller & Dec 81

A bouldery start. Start: 6m right of Hotchpotch.

  1. 10m Up crack and corner.

FA: B.Cameron, H.Luxford & Jan 82

Should be freed. Start: Thin crack on right front of buttress.

  1. 35m Up crack.

FA: H.Luxford & D.Darmanin 1970

A fair corner and crack. Start: Right side of Isolated Buttress.

  1. 21m (crux) Up to tree.

  2. 19m Crack behind tree.

FA: H.Luxford & R.Taylor (alt leads) Dec 81

The finish is tree-ific. Start: Right side of Isolated Buttress.

  1. 30m Up corner, then rightish to tree belay.

FA: B.Cameron, H.Luxford & Feb 82

Another ho-hum. Start: Right side of Isolated Buttress.

  1. 15m Up crack then through tree.

FA: B.Cameron, R.Miller & Jan 82

Always in the shade. Start: Right corner in gully east of Isolated Buttress.

  1. 20m Up corner and right ledge, then up to top veering left.

FA: R.Miller, B.Cameron & Jan 8


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