Bakers Creek Rock climbing44 routes in crag
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A strange mix of old-school trad routes on the walls around the falls and modern bouldering in the creek bed. Fine grained granite, large boulders
Deep gorge not far from Armidale, off Waterfall Way. Old neglected trad climbs with bouldering at their base. Perhaps 20 boulder problems established so far, with scope for more, and potential for bolted and naturally protected climbs as well. Access is steep and difficult, straight off the lookout.
From Armidale head east on the waterfall way for 20kms, then right at the sign post, onto dirt for a couple kms.
From the lookout, jump the fence on the right and follow a faint track down to the right. Caution must be taken walking in as the decent is very steep. As you approach there is a promising looking boulder that you soon realize is the size of a house. Most established boulder problems are downstream of this (problem 'High times and down beats' is upstream of the giant block and 'One too many' sits against it), but future problems exist right through the gorge from the waterfall downstream.
Bob Harden and Doug McLean formed a climbing group called the Delta Club, a breakaway group from the University Of New England Mountaineering Club (UNEMC). Starts of climbs were marked with a Delta instead of the usual square. Some of these markings were still visible at Bakers Creek in the early seventies but have since been worn away. Two climbs were put up in 1964 by Harden and McLean. They are Bakercide (6) and Nitrocide(8).1967 produced only two new ones, Hardicide (14) by Thomas and the tricky Speleocide (12) by B.Douglas. Mills pioneered two new ones in 1969, the best being Klettercide (12). 1971 produced five, the best being Pissed Psychedelic Peanut (15) by A.Suters and Cornelius Corners (15) by Rob Dixon. In 1980, Austin Legler with Greg (Dulux) Pritchard did Basilisk (16). 1981 saw Al Stephens climb White Man’s Burden (20) with Clark and in 1985, Stephens made another brief visit to establish Cheesy Gland (20), a variant finish to Cornelius Corners. In 1986 Stephens with Larry Dixon eliminated all aid on ADP, now 21.
This history was documented in 'Waterfalls-A Rock climbers guide to the waterfalls of New England' by Al Stephens (1996).
After years of neglect, the area received a second wind after Artie Schultz heard from Rick Curtis that a few trad lines had been done there but no record of them existed (oh yes they did and now they are in this guide...). The new generation was after quality bouldering and it seems they found some.
The climbs are described in an anti-clockwise direction when facing the falls.
Start: A crack on a wall in the watercourse below the pool. 15m. Up the crack
FA: R.Dixon & D.Gallimore, 1961
Start: The right-hand side of the large pool. A short face.
20m. Up and slightly left to the top of the short face.
FA: D.Mills & D.Jones, 1969
Start: Just left of Klettercide (?) , the middle of the wall.
20m. Up fine line in wall to top and then right to tree belay.
FA: A.Legler & G.Pritchard, 1980
Start: On the ledge. Step out and around right then up.
20m. A slightly overhanging and diagonal crack. Strenuous layaways lead to a slight rest at half height. More layaways and delicate moves lead to easier ground and a tree belay.
FA: A.Stephens & R.Clark, 1981
Start: As for W.M.B. The major crack on the right-hand side of the falls.
45m. Up the crack and traverse left across the slabs.
15m. Up the upper falls chimney, (crux) then out onto the face to the top.
FA: J.Davis & B.Harden, 1965
Start: Upper falls, on the right of the water. 10m. Climb up underneath overhanging tree, then aid up and over the right-hand end of the overhang, and continue up the crack, the right hand one.
FA: B.Harden & M.Thomas, 1965
Start: A classic. Nice moves on beautiful rock. Excellent.
- Follow the slightly diagonal groove, then up over a short wall and delicately up a smooth thin crack to the left of the smooth slabs, to a large ledge
FA: A.Suters, S.Ashton & R.Dixon, 1971
Start: On the platform above water level, 2m to the right of the main water chute.
25m. Up and slightly left to a ledge, traverse left, then up slabs.
FA: I.Logan & D.McLean, 1965
Start: 1m. right of the main water course. The smooth slabs.
30m. Straight up the smooth slabs.
FA: D.Mills & J.Street, 1969
Start: Possible only during drought. At the base of the main water chute.
30m. Straight up the water chute.
10m. On the upper falls, the finish goes directly up the face slightly to the right of the water chute.
FA: B.Harden & M.Thomas, 1965
Start: About 6m. right of the corner,at the left end of the waterfall face.
30m. Climb up to the ledge, walk right, across to the water chute, then up to top.
FA: B.Harden & D.McLean, 1964
Start: About 6m right of the corner, as for Bakercide.
45m.Up to a large block, over this and up a ramp to the bottom of the wall.
15m. Up the wall and the obvious crack (crux).
FA: D.Mills & D.McLean, 1966
Start: In the corner/gully to the left of the falls. 40m. Up the right wall and wander up below Nitrocide to just below a smooth slab. Up the crack to the left to finish as for Nitrocide.
FA: B.Douglas & E.Cantrill, 1967
Start: As for Hydrocide.
40m. Straight up the orner/gully.
FA: B.Harden, G.Hindmarsh & D.McLean, 1964
Start: At the slightly overhanging wall at the Right-hand end of the major rock platform. A real mystery climb.
- Up the corner to a triangular ledge. From here traverse right, through a "cave" to a ramp, and then a groove to the top.
FA: B.Douglas & party, 1967
Start: As for Speleocide. An excellent steep start.
- Up the corner (crux) to the large triangular ledge. Step left around bulge and up to grassy ledge.
30m. Straight up then slightly right to overhang. Step up slabs on the left and straight to top. Tree belay.
FA: M.Thomas, E.Cantrill & A.Gallagher, 1967
Start: Just left of Hardicide is a harder crack start
FA: B.Douglas, 1968
Start: A corner just around from Hardicide. At one time it was disputed whether this was 'The Great White Father' (12), by D.Gallimore, C.Hansen, C.Cowled, Mar. 71. One seems to be a slight variant of the other.
40m. Directly up to crack, hand traverse right and mantle to belay. Up the V-groove, or the wall beside and continue to top
FA: B.Killip & N.Hughes, 1971
Start: 15m. left of G.D. The line of triangular corners. A nice climb, a little loose in parts.
25m. Up the line of triangular corners directly to belay ledge.
15m. Move right and up to top.
FA: R.Dixon & N.Hughes, 1971
Start: As for C.C. pitch 1, then move out left and straight up the steep buttress.
30m. Cornelius Corners to the belay.
20m. (crux) Continue straight up to the overlap, move out left (poor pro) and clip BR, then pull over the overlap and up open corner/wall past 2nd BR to top. (#4 Rock very useful).
FA: A.Stephens & party, 1985
Start: At the left-hand end of the buttress, left of Cornelius Corners opposite the falls. Variant starts and finishes have been done.
25m. Up the slab in the corner, then up right in a crack to a fig-tree ledge.
15m. Up into “cave”, traverse right to finish up corner.
FA: M.Thomas, E.Cantrill & D.Fisher, 1966
Start: On the slabs 30m. Downstream of Sunnicide.
15m. Up slabs to tree belay.
12m. Continue up slabs to top.
FA: P.Prior & party, 1974
Start: From Sunnicide, down the creek for about 50m. to a small face on the left side. The climb is a corner at the right-hand end of this face. Rarely climbed, it may be very dirty.
20m. Up the corner.
FA: C.Cowled & M.Davies, 1971
Easy fun traverse
Great move over a little creek
FA: Brendan Heywood, 2010
Start on jug under roof, move out and left and up