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Table of contents

1. Mount Banks 14 routes in Crag

Unknown, Sport and Trad

Epic big wall routes up to 500m in height, but quite broken by large ledges everywhere except around Groseness. Clearly visible from the other side of the valley at Perry's 'Lookout'. It is a one hour walk, or a fairly viperous 20minute mountain bike ride.

For a more complete online guide, see http://routes.sydneyrockies.org.au:8080/confluence/display/nswrock/Mount+Banks

Access Issues: inherited from Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage listed area. The Grose Valley, the cliffs around Katoomba and much of the Narrow Neck peninsula are part of the Blue Mountains National Park which is managed by the NPWS. The Western Escarpment - where most of the climbing is - is Crown Land managed by the BMCC. While the NPWS Plan of Management nominates several locations in the National Park where rock climbing is deemed appropriate, the majority of the climbing remains unacknowledged. To maintain access our best approach is to 'Respect Native Habitat, Tread Softly and Leave No Trace'. Practically all crags are either in National Park or in council reserve: dog owners are reminded that dogs are not allowed in National Parks at any time and fines have been issued, while for crags on council reserve the BMCC leash law requires that dogs be on-leash.

Ethic: inherited from Blue Mountains

Although sport climbing is well entrenched as the most popular form of Blueys climbing, mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule over the long term. Please try to use available natural gear where possible, and do not bolt cracks or potential trad climbs.

Because of the softness of Blue Mountains sandstone, bolting should only be done by those with a solid knowledge of glue-in equipping. A recent fatality serves as a reminder that this is not an area to experiment with bolting.

If you do need to top rope, please do it through your own gear as the wear on the anchors is both difficult and expensive to maintain.

It would be appreciated if brushing of holds becomes part of your climbing routine - do it with a soft bristled brush and never a steel brush!

The removal of vegetation - both from the cliff bases and the climbs - is not seen as beneficial to aesthetics of the environment nor to our access to it. However, the fast growing scrub can conceal walking tracks in mere months, so bringing a pair of secaturs and pruning as you walk is a good way of helping out with the constant task of track maintenance. Some appropriately discreet pruning is a far better alternative then track braiding (which causes far more damage). It's also a good warmup for your forearms!

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 *** Original Route

FA: Russ Kippax,Dave Roots,Enn Trupold,Owen Llewellyn; Russ Kippax,Enn Truupold,Owen Llewellyn

13 Trad 350m
2 Original Route - Alternate Finish 14 Unknown
3 Taghairn 14 Unknown 300m
4 The Assassination Unknown 300m
5 Coronation Crack 13 Unknown 200m
6 ** Pestosterone

Five pitches of sustained wall climbing, mostly on hanging belays. Bring 19 bolts plates (!!) and a comfortable harness. This is a fully bolted route. Helmets advised - you are a LONG way from a rescue (unless you can yell loud enough to get the attention of the tourists on the other side of the valley). Named in memory of a young and very motivated Graham Fairbairn, many years ago. Now he's matured into a statesman of rap.

Start: Rap into this route with double 50m ropes. You will need to rap each pitch (ie 5 abseils). Either down Groseness (15m, 25m, 40m, 50m, 25m, 25m) or down 'Pestosterone' (45m, 45, 45, 15, 45, but a bit harder to get the rope over the edge on the top rap).

  1. 45m (21) Dirty corner to start, that slowly steepens and gets more technical to hanging stance. Use long runners to avoid rope drag.

  2. 18m (20) Traverse right to rotting flake, up this with caution to gain better quality steep wall. 'Grovel' onto Oasis Ledge.

  3. 43m (23) Up thin wall to start, rightwards through small roof then up endless edges to hanging belay.

  4. 47m (23) Epic. Up thin corner, bouldery wall, roof, crimpers, edges, orange groove and final crimpy crux! Hanging belay on tiny ledge.

  5. 35m (22) A steep conclusion through the tiered roofs and pumpy end wall. 'Bush bash' up vegetation and surmount final easy wall to belay anchors.

FA: Neil Monteith,Mike Law, 2008

23 R Sport 190m 5
7 *** DIE DIE DIE!

im a little cocnut

FA: @mikl,Vanessa Peterson, 2000

24 Sport 210m
8 *** Groseness

Excellent and very vertical climbing, the runout sections are easier than they look. This goes up the only section of Mt Banks that doesn’t have huge vegetated ledges on it. Access and descent: There’s a cairn on the edge of the cave, about 5 m south (left facing out) of the point of the triangle roof. Scramble down on the left (facing out) then back right to trees 5m below this and rap straight down 10m to a rap station (belay # 5) on the edge of the cliff, 1m south of a little conifer. Abseil down the route. There are a selection of rings and chains on the belays, some of the glue was dodgy so use all the anchors, leave some water on “The Oasis” too. The rings are a bit tight so if you leave a biner clipped into the rings, it may (has often) jamb the abseil rope. Scramble up 10m to a ledge about 8 m south (right) of the corner (Pestosterone) to a short crack. Inspection of the climbing helps as you rap in. The climbing takes about 4-6 hours. Take slings, 12+ brackets and a single set of cams in the finger to hand size (Camalot 0.5 - 2).

  1. 35m (20) Thin crack and slab to ledge.

  2. 35m (20) Up and left into corner line, up to tree and big ledge.

  3. 45m (24) Sustained up to small ledge (“The Oasis”). 11 bolts.

  4. 45m (23) Thin start just left of belay then right and up, runout up and right (medium cam if you’re scared) then back left to anchor.

  5. 35m (22) Up to edge of cliff. Rock quality deteriorates in top half of this pitch.

  6. 10m (15) Up easy choss to ledge 5m below cave. This pitch can easily be linked with pitch 5.

FA: Mikl Law, Vanessa Peterson, 2000

24 Sport 210m 6
9 Tricycle

A nice big crack for 3 pitches then 7 pitches of bush bashing crap. Bring a full trad rack, crampons and 10 bolt plates.

Start: You need to rap in to access this route. First ascent team went straight down the route off manky trees and bolts, not recommended. Best to rap down Grossness and walk about 200m right to below left facing big wide corner and roof.

  1. 30m (16) Scramble up choss, up easy chimney past scary chockstone, then finally layback up nice orange offwidth past 4 carrots to belay on big ledge at double BRs.

  2. 15m (22) Mega offwidth undercling under huge roof. Belay around in corner at 4 bolt belay. Pumpy!

  3. 35m (15) Continue up wide crack with spaced trad gear in horizontals. Big cams and slings useful. Belay on loose slope on multiple suss trees.

  4. 50m (1) Scramble up and right through spiky bush to little cave.

  5. 30m (6) Up dirty corner and chimney to tree belay below big orange wall.

  6. 17m (18) Climb tree to gain undercut corner at far right end of roofs on right edge of orange wall. Up corner for 7m then traverse hard left across black wall to belay in scoop at double BR belay (up high in scoop).

  7. 25m (17) Step left into corner crack. Up this (good cams) to final tricky bulge to gain bushy gully. Belay on double BRs on left side of bottom of gully.

  8. 40m (3) Classic. Bushbash straight up guts of vegetated canyon/gully until an easy traverse left solves the overhang. Belay on trad on ledge.

  9. 45m (6) Walk to left end of ledge, then up on rock (shock horror!) to topout.

  10. 30m (1) Walk right along ledge to gully and scramble up.

FA: Mike Law & Neil Monteith, 2008

22 Mixed 280m 10, 10
10 Solstice 21 Unknown 110m
11 Zireon 14 Unknown 260m
12 Black Hole 21 Unknown 90m
13 Gordon-Smith Chimney Unknown
14 Serrata

FA: Mike Patterson, Hayden Brotchie, 2005

14 Unknown 250m

2. Index by grade

Grade Stars Name Style
13 Coronation Crack Unknown 200m
*** Original Route Trad 350m
14 Original Route - Alternate Finish Unknown
Serrata Unknown 250m
Taghairn Unknown 300m
Zireon Unknown 260m
21 Black Hole Unknown 90m
Solstice Unknown 110m
22 Tricycle Mixed 280m 10, 10
23 R ** Pestosterone Sport 190m 5
24 *** DIE DIE DIE! Sport 210m
*** Groseness Sport 210m 6
? Gordon-Smith Chimney Unknown
The Assassination Unknown 300m