Left Watchtower Face


Emergency Location: Mount Arapiles, The Watchtower Faces Area

Access issues inherited from Arapiles

Bird Nesting September-December Raptors usually nest on the following climbs in Spring : Cassandra, Eurydice, Harlequin Cracks, Revelations. Nesting usually finishes mid-December. There may or may not be signs in place at these times. Please keep 50m clear of these climbs if there appears to be nesting activity.

State Park

Descent notes

There is a abseil line (for now) over Siren, Argonauts and Hot Flap.

The first abseil is quite long, I only just made it on 50m ropes with stretch. Knot the ends. There is a plethora of stuff for the ropes to get hung up on so it's probably best to have the knot on the RIGHT side of anchor (facing in towards the cliff) so you are pulling out away from the corner system of Siren.

Second abseil is down and a long way LEFT (facing in towards the cliff) to the 2nd belay of Hot Flap. It may be possible to get directly to the ground on 60m ropes, but I haven't tried. 50m ropes do not reach.

Third abseil is straightforward.

Ethic inherited from Arapiles

Mount Arapiles is first and foremost a trad climbing area. The few sport climbs tend to be in the higher grades where no natural pro is available.

Bolting, particularly retro-bolting, is discouraged and should only be undertaken after extensive consultation with the local climbers, first ascensionists, etc. Inappropriately placed bolts have been chopped.

Do not chip the rock.

Look after the park.

  • Stick to the paths.

  • Don't disturb the wildlife.

  • Routes near peregrine falcon nesting sites are closed in the spring.

  • Minimise the impact of your camping (fuel stoves not fires, take your rubbish with you, etc).


Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)


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Grade Route

Not really a climb, just an escape route. The diagonal ramp leading right from the base of the 'Siren' corner.

FA: Steve & Bob Craddock, 1963

Nice pitch high on the face.

FA: Steve Williams & Keith Lockwood, 1986

Good 2nd pitch with bold and committing crux well out from gear. (A couple of grades have been added to allow for this.) 'Hot Flap Direct Start' might be a better start than the current first pitch. Take doubles of all cams to #2 1/2 and three #2 TCUs or equivalent.

Start as for 'Hot Flap', below the flake marking the left edge of the 'Left Watchtower Face'.

  1. 23m (-) Up to the base of the flake and step L. Follow thin cracks up the face and over a steepening. Follow easy ground up and move R to belay on L edge of the 'Left Watchtower Face' (1st belay of Hot Flap).

  2. 35m (18) Move out R a few metres as for 'Hot Flap' and go up to a flake (if you get to a bolt you are about 3m too far R). Go up 5-7m R of the large chimney until the face steepens after about 20m. Get some wires in a flake then move L and boldly up (crux). Above the steepening, traverse 2m R below a thin overlap and then go back L and pull over the overlap. Easier ground leads up dirty groove to ledge on the 'Siren' traverse.

  3. 20m (-) Up the corner above then directly up to a good ledge below the recessed wall L of 'Siren' Buttress.

  4. 28m (-) An unpleasant crack marks the L side of the recessed wall. From below this crack move out L to an arete. Follow the easy but delightful arete to the top.

FA: Kieran Loughran, Meg Sleeman & Keith Lockwood, 1997

Protection is generally reasonable but pitch 2 is sparsely protected.

Start below the right-leaning flake that leads into the chimney marking the left edge of the 'Left Watchtower Face'.

  1. 24m (8) Up and over right-leaning crack at 5 metres and continue to juggy ground. Belay on right arete.

  2. 30m (13) Step right onto main face and climb diagonally right on clean rock past 2 bolts and belay at third bolt.

  3. 32m (14) Traverse right and go up to big ledge below Siren's corner.

  4. 50m (13) Go up Siren's corner for about 25 metres then traverse right along weakness to bolt, or climb diagonally right to the same point. Either belay at the bolt (bad idea) or climb over horizontal breaks then up right to good ledge. Note that originally this pitch traversed from the bolt over to what is now 'Antigone'.

  5. 35m (12) Go right along ledge to left-leading diagonal crack that leads up through the summit roof.

FA: John Fahey & Bob Bull, 1965

A logical but not very appealing start.

FA: Chris Baxter & Mike Stone, 1978

This obvious start to 'Hot Flap' is well protected at the hardest point but then has a long runout on mossy rock. Still worth a star though.

FA: Phillip Stranger & Rob Taylor, 1967

An interesting exploration that is superseded by other climbs.

FA: Ed Neve & Nick Reeves, 1978

Marginal protection on first pitch. Both this pitch and the its next-door neighbour 'Puppet' On A String are very good pitches but possibly the most serious of their grades at 'Arapiles'. Still not sure if they deserve the skull-and-crossbones (have taken them off this climb) but they are very serious.

Peter Watling accidentally climbed this pitch in the 70's thinking it was 'Hot Flap' Direct Start!

  1. 50m (18) Climb up midway between the black moss streaks to join 'Hot Flap'. Belay when rope runs out.

  2. 35m (-) Up to Siren's corner and climb right wall to stance just below Hot Flap's fourth pitch traverse.

  3. 35m (17) Up over traverse line then delicately up on black rock to two horizontal cracks. Step right to runners then back left and up impressive headwall to terrace.

  4. 10m (-) Groove in final wall.

FA: Malcolm Matheson & Keith Lockwood, 1983

Another pitch in a similar vein to 'Sang Froid', possibly the scarier of the two. 'Argonauts' makes a good finish.

FA: Dennis Kemp, Stephen Hamilton & Dave Mudie, 1987

  1. 50m (17)

  2. 50m (18)

  3. 10m

A good climb all of the way. Finishing up Tales Of Brave Ulysses makes it even better.

Start on a platform below a seam about 30 metres right of the left edge of the face and 20 metres left of a deep line (Driftwood).

  1. 50m (17) Hard start into crack. When crack peters out step up to thread in flake at 10 metres (this bit is shared with 'Oedipus' Rex). Delicate climbing to left-leading diagonal flake line. Follow these, then straight up to join 'Hot Flap'. Belay on small ledge when the rope runs out.

  2. 50m (16) Up to the 'Siren' buttress and take the left-hand line up the front of this (right-hand line is Tales Of Brave Ulysses). This pitch can easily be split into two as on the first ascent.

FA: Hugh Foxcroft, Peter Watling & Nick Reeves (alt), 1979

Start as for C/OR but continue straight up mossy wall where they go left and right. We continued straight up and then through Hot Flap. Could do with a clean up.

FA: Gareth Llewellin & Rob Saunders, 1 Sep 2012

Good long climb but the middle section is nothing special.

Start on a platform below a seam about 30 metres right of the left edge of the face and 20 metres left of a deep line (Driftwood).

  1. 30m (17) Hard start into crack. When crack peters out step up to thread in flake at 10 metres (this bit is shared with Creon). Get some runners, don't rely only on the fragile-looking thread, then traverse right under bulge, veer up right for 4 metres then straight up to belay at old bolt. Not a lot of good protection after the thread.

  2. 45m (13) Up broken area to big ledge and on up to 'Rotten Row'.

  3. 42m (14) Climb black bulge then smooth wall to bolt. On up face to left end of sloping ledge and up left to bigger ledge.

  4. 30m (16) Step right and up small, left-facing corner to the roof. Take flake through ceiling with hard move at lip. Easily up. Original finish took steep flake directly above belay (17) and then up through overhangs.

FA: Peter McKeand, Gordon Talbett & Clive Parker, 1968

Not a bad start. Reasonable, if fiddly gear.

FA: Kieran Loughran, Norm Booth & Ray Lassman, 1994

Good climbing with only a short section of nondescript ground at the start of the second pitch.

There are some dangerous detached blocks/flakes on both first and final pitches and the final pitch is quite has some committing runouts. Tiny cams are essential on the last pitch.

Start: Start at the deep chimney line (Driftwood) that is the major feature of the 'Left Watchtower Face'.

  1. 45m (15) Up the chimney (Driftwood) for 12 metres and step left to ledge on arete with large block. Step left again and up to right end of large, bushy ledge. Up clean crack above and then continue up line of flakes around 3 metres left of 'Driftwood, taking care with a fragile section,' to small ledge.

  2. 28m (14) Pretty much straight up to large ledge. Traverse 2-3 metres right to orange streak (Antigone) and climb this to 'Rotten Row'.

  3. 38m (14) Continue up, delicately at first to large diagonal ledge below Hot Flap's final pitch.

  4. 25m (16) From the top of the step halfway along the ledge, climb the wall, moving left at first, to a large detached flake. Step back right and staright up wall and slab to crack in roof and up to join 'Hot Flap'.

FA: Kieran Loughran, Felicity Rousseaux & Meg Sleeman, 1989

A strange, unbalanced climb. Few people will do the climb as a whole, using the initial chimney as the start of another climb or doing the final, evil chimney after starting up something else.

Start: Start at the deep chimney line that is the major feature of the 'Left Watchtower Face'.

  1. 60m (13) Up the deep line to large ledge. Either a 60 metres rope or a semi-hanging belay at some point is required.

  2. 16m (18) Walk 30 metres right into the chimney and belay. Climb the glass-smooth chimney (big cam).

FA: Ian Speedie, Mike Stone & Garry Kerkin.

FA: Peter Jackson & John Fahey climbed pitch 3 in earlyby traversing in from Siren., 1964

FA: Speedie, Stone, Kerkin / Caffin & Wilcox

A very nice climb at the grade.

Start: Start at the deep chimney line (Driftwood) that is the major feature of the 'Left Watchtower Face'.

  1. 60m (13) Up chimney to large ledge (as for Driftwood). If you don't have a 60 metre rope there is a comfortable belay niche at 20m [as used on the first ascent] which allows 2 reasonable length pitches.

  2. 48m (14) Up orange streak to ledge then left and up wall to big ledge on left.

  3. 16m (12) Walk 10 metres left and up flake.

FA: Roger Caffin & Sue Wilcox, 1966

Very enjoyable. The fourth pitch is runout but can be avoided.

  1. 42m (12) Bridge the crack (Driftwood) until it narrows at 35 metres. Traverse right to first belay of Wall Of The Afternoon Sun (carrot bolt.)

  2. 22m (15) Clean steep wall and seam directly above to big ledge on left.

  3. 30m (13) Step right and up orange streak to 'Rotten Row'. Move 10 metres right to flake belay under tree.

  4. 48m (14) As for final pitch of Wall Of The Afternoon Sun. Alternatively, escape up 'Rotten Row'.

FA: Keith Bell & Keith Lockwood, 1976

Start as for 'Wall of the Afternoon Sun'. Where 'Wall of the Afternoon Sun' traverses right, continue straight up. Belay on ledge between 'Antigone' and 'Sundance'. Either rappel from bolt anchors or continue up one of the other climbs off this ledge.

FA: Stuart Hollaway & Dale Thistlethwaite, 5 Nov 2012

FA: Glenn Tempest & Karen Tempest, Sep 2015

FFA: Sep 2015

FFA: Glenn Tempest & Karen Tempest, Sep 2015

A neat route featuring a classy and thought-provoking first pitch.

Start: Start just right of the chimney splitting this face (sundance).

  1. 40m (19) Up the slab to the crack and good gear and a funky mantle to bolt. Step right (pocket, small profile cam or tricam) and slabby moves lead to more good climbing and another bolt and on to ledge and belay bolt.

  2. 27m (17) Move right to the prominent nose, bridge past its left side and up to ledge. Move 6 metres right to belay below tiny, right-facing corner.

  3. 22m (17) Up the little corner until it fades and continue boldly up wall. Technical bulge leads to 'Rotten Row'.

  4. 48m (14) Up easy flake behind conifer then steeply up to horizontal break at 20 metres. Short left-leading corner then veer left and up.

FFA: Peter McKeand

FA: Keith Lockwood & Norm Booth, 1969

Up short seam 5 metres right of Wall Of The Afternoon Sun. Hard moves lead past a peg runner (if it's still there). Traverse left 2 metres and over bulge to flake. Up then left to first belay of WOTAS.

Start: Not a bad line but doesn't see much traffic.

FA: Chris Shepherd & Cathy Blamey.., 1982

Great climbing up the clean streak starting 15 metres left of 'Watchtower Chimney'.

  1. 45m (20) Straight up the clean streak passing small bulge to tiny stance level with base of chimney on 'Watchtower Chimney'. There's an unprotected move of about grade 16-17 at 7 metres.

  2. 40m (19) Up short crack then slab to ledge. Straight up left-hand streak then step right to tricky last move to 'Rotten Row'. Alternatively, from the ledge take the right-hand streak (21) to 'Rotten Row' (WOTAS is just to the right). Graham Sanders, Steve Howden 10-10-1982.

  3. 48m (17) From the tree, move left a little then follow the clean streak to the top, crossing Wall Of The Afternoon Sun at the horizontal break.

FA: Robin Miller (solo).., 1982

Botanical line behind large dead tree at right end of 'Rotten Row'.

FA: Bruno Zeller & Anne McKenzie, 1969

Crack 5 metres right of 'Tschumpel', 1 metre left of 'Bindi'.

FA: Bruno Zeller & Anne McKenzie, 1969

Chimney line 6 metres right of 'Tschumpel'

FA: Chris Baxter & Derek Lord, 1967

Good finish but the crack is awful.

Start: At the end of the first pitch of 'Watchtower Chimney'.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Jim Bright, 1973

Thoughtful and aesthetic climbing with good protection on brilliant rock. Harder and perhaps a bit more committing than 'Take Five' but without the runout at the start (although you want to concentrate for the start of pitch 3). The line is obvious in the photo on p273 of the current Tempest/Mentz guide.

Start up 'Watchtower Chimney Direct Start', the bottomless crack 3m R of Take Five.

  1. 45m (21)Take 'Watchtower Chimney Direct Start' to the base of the corner, step left and head up the water-smooth slab (21) between the corner of 'Watchtower Chimney' and the obvious streak of 'Take Five'. At one point high on the pitch you can reach right to place a runner in the corner but continue climbing directly up the slab to belay on the small ledge as for 'Watchtower Chimney'.

  2. 20m (19) Head up left across the 'Pantouflage' crack. Either climb seams up the blunt arete - excellent protection but hard with a slopey finish (24? not lead cleanly on 1st ascent), traverse further left to follow 'Take Five' (19) or step back into the crack (the crux is the forestry required to exit back left onto the slab) to reach the ledge.

  3. 25m (18) Move the belay into the bottom of the 'Driftwood' chimney. From the base of the chimney, initially move up left towards 'Wall Of The Afternoon Sun' with poor pro for 5-6m, then step back right to head directly up the streak (18) to the hanging R facing corner leading onto Rotten Row'.

Follow 'Rotten Row', continue up the wall above or rappel from the rings about 8m R of the corner. There is a single U-bolt overhead at the base of the 'Driftwood' chimney; a 60m abseil from this reaches the ground.

Description taken from Stuart's post on Chockstone

FA: Stuart Hollaway, Peter Arch & Alice Arch, 4 Apr 2012

Crack 3 metres right of 'Take Five' and 6 metres left of 'Watchtower Chimney'. When it fades continue boldly up to join 'Watchtower Chimney'.

FA: Neil Barr & Peter Watling.., 1980

A climb which gets the heart going no matter if you're on lead or seconding, with the first pitch, by itself, being a great line!

Start: There are two deep cracks at the base of the Watchtower. Start at the left-hand crack.

  1. 45m (12) Up the fading crack to a ledge, traverse left past an old carrot bolt and climb the corner to small ledge.

  2. 17m (8) Up the rest of the corner to base of chimney

  3. 31m (12) Up the chimney without taking the detour. Belay just above

  4. 18m (8) A bouldery start leads to an easier finish.

FA: Michael Stone, Ian Speedie & Garry Kerkin, 1965

The express route to Mr. Chicken!

  1. 40m (12). Start as for Watchtower Chimney, but veer right and up on surprising jugs at the start of the slab (close to the end of the first pitch; this is particularly great for rainy days when the slab is wet). Belay from giant ledge.

  2. 20m (8). Traverse slightly right, then follow the juggy staircase until you reach a roof.

  3. 15m (10). This is the money pitch. Traverse around the roof and climb the blocks on the right hand side until you reach Mr. Chicken. There is good gear in the cracks.

Runout, though avoidable, start.

Start at the base of 'Watchtower Chimney'.

  1. 15m (20) Swing out left and climb nose direct to slab above and belay at old bolt on Watchtower Chimney's traverse.

  2. 30m (-) Go straight up above bolt. Move left on narrow ledge then go up line right of arete to terrace.

  3. 50m (-) Finish how you wish.

FA: Maureen Gallagher, Chris Baxter (alt) & David Gallagher, 1987

Start: At foot of Chimney on 'Watchtower Chimney'.

  1. 27m (18) Climb past left side of horizontal overlap. Up wall then veer right. Up wall and over horizontal flake near arete. Traverse right to below orange corner.

  2. 28m (18) Up wall on left of corner, over bulge, then up.

Or... start up Watchtower Chimney and on the traverse left, go up the seam over bulge, and lower off at 30m.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Steve Williams, 1985

No idea where this is supposed to be


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