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Table of contents

1. The Colliery 16 routes in Crag

Summary:
JFMAMJJASOND
seasonality
Mostly Trad

Long/Lat: 150.209004, -33.510877

Unique Features And Strengths:

An undeveloped "Mount York", with similar rock and features awaiting bolting and trailblazing, some genuinely good established trad lines as well as a few unclimbed lines awaiting first ascents.

Description:

Best described as an "undeveloped Mount York", with similar rock and features, and clifflines broken up into distinguishable areas separated by access gullies. At present there are 4 genuinely great trad-line that make the trip worthwhile for a trad enthusiast alone. Most of the prominent trad lines have been climbed (though a few remain), but the many clean slabs and faces are awaiting bolting and first-ascents by anyone who sees the area worthy of development, and doesn't mind the extra distance to travel.

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'.

Approach:

Take the Bells Line of Road towards Lithgow.

Drive through Clarence, passing the Zig Zag station on your right.1km after Zig Zag station, the road takes a big sweeping left bend.

At the end of this bend, turn left into an obvious cleared dirt area, marked by a sign saying: "Zig-Zag Tunnels 9/10 Site Office Access". Continue along dirt road (ignoring first locked-gate turn off to the left), and at approx 700m turn left onto dirt-road.

This road gets progressively worse, with 4WD capability needed to reach the very end. Park wherever you become concerned for your cars clearance, and continue on foot. At 1800m ignore adjacent trig point (Uncle Toms car park) and continue straight ahead.

75m before the track comes to a dead end (marked by camprire site and fallen tree), take the faint track on the right marked by a cairn. At about 80m, the track curves around L. 4WDs should park here.

Branch off this into light bushland heading West. You are now aiming for a gully and constriction which is reached within 3 min.

This is the "Access Gully Area" of Colliery Crag.

About 75m down and to the left (South) is the obvious steep crack FIFO Hooker, which marks the start of the South Cliffs Area. This area stretches on for a few hundred metres.

About 80m to the right (North) is the first of the North Cliff climbs: Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology. This area stretches on for about 300m.

Further in the distance, where the cliffline begins to head west, is where the Far Northern Cliffs resides. This can be seen from the base of Climbing Boom. From here you get a great view of Gina Climb-hard in its entirety; it takes 15min extra walking to reach this climb and the others there.

You know you've reached the right area when you pass a large boulder sitting in a gully with a prominent grey "fin" of rock: The Shark's Fin. As you head west, look up to spot Coal Seam Crack.

NOTE: A larger Access Map is included in PHOTOS under this crag.

Ethic: inherited from Blue Mountains

Mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule in the Blueies. 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. Generally it's best to leave all this sort of stuff to the local climbers.

History:

Rediscovered by "No-Chalk" Rob Burton in 2012. Has clearly been investigated previously (a number of cairns were discovered beneath specific lines, a few metres back from the cliff) but no details of ascents has ever been published.

1.1. Access Gully Area 3 routes in Unknown

Summary:
Trad and Sport

Long/Lat: 150.208392, -33.512734

Description:

The narrow gully constriction you pass through when approaching the The Colliery.

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 In The Pits / Rob's Funk Chimney

The obvious chimney/corner on the left as you enter the constricted section of the Access Gully.

Climb the chimney/corner.

Walk off via Access Gully to the left (facing in).

FA: Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012

13Trad 15m
2 Half-Thumb Hero

Start on right at the end of the Access Gully Constriction. Around bulges using flakes and crack to the left as necessary (avoid going off-route to the crack proper for the full tick), move right under roof and up into easy squeeze chimney to top-out. 5 Bolts + Anchors.

FA: P. Thomson, 2012

18Sport 12m
3 Graveyard Shift / Rob's Diagonal Off-Width

As you emerge from the access gully constriction, there is a south facing cliff on the right.

Climb the leftward-leaning off-width (with good face holds) until it thins, then climb the thin crack and headwall above.

Walk off with through scrub via the access gully to the right (facing in).

FA: Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012

16Trad 30m

1.2. North Cliffs 3 routes in Unknown

Summary:
All Trad

Long/Lat: 150.209150, -33.510539

Description:

The cliffs North of the Access Gully to The Colliery. Commencing approximately 80m past the Access Gully Area (to the right/North) with Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology (wafer thin flake to off-width).

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology / Paul's Weird Crack

80m right of Access Gully constriction.

Thin flake to hand crack, past detached block and some choss to bulge, left and out under bulge, then up easy corner to top.

Walk off via Gully to the left (facing in).

May have been climbed previously.

FA: Paul Thomson (L), Rob Burton (S), 2012

16Trad 25m
2 Mine Shaft / Rob's Off-Width

10m up and left of Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology.

Climb obvious off-width/squeeze chimney to ledge, then head up shallow corner on the right to top (avoiding iron-stone plates).

Take big gear.

Walk off via Gully to the left (facing in).

FA: Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012

14Trad 22m
3 * Climbing Boom / Rob and Paul's Funky Multipitch

100m further left from mine shaft

P1 (15) - Up easy hand-crack to belay at back of cave.

P2 (18) - Up slab to arrange protection in roof crack. From there either (a) Downclimb and step around arete, then up delicately; or (b) stay high and traverse under the roof crack. Whatever route you take, it leads to a hard move past flake to footledge. Then traverse right to corner, and up easy corner to top.

Walk off via Gully to the right (facing in).

FA: Paul Thomson (P1), Rob Burton (P2), 2012

18Trad 55m

1.3. South Cliffs 4 routes in Unknown

Summary:
All Trad

Long/Lat: 150.209186, -33.514451

Description:

The cliffs South of the Access Gully to the Colliery. Commencing approximately 75m past the Access Gully Area (to the South/Left) at the obvious steep crack FIFO Hooker, and continuing for a few hundred metres.

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 ** FIFO Hooker / Rob's Supercrack

75m down and left from the access gully constriction.

Long, steep, technical crack.

Small roof crack to leads to technical corner, and steep chimneying into a roof, before finishing with a nice hand/fist headwall.

Walk off the top via the Access Gully to the left (facing in).

FA: Rob Burton (L), Alex Bergmann (S), 2012

19Trad 35m
2 Sooty Shaft / Rob's Pillar and Headwall

10m right of FIFO Hooker. Obvious offwidth corner up a detached pillar. From the top of the pillar continue directly up the headwall to the top.

Rap off tree to the right (facing in), and downclimb a few metres.

Take big gear. (Warning: Pro directly after the pillar is sparse, and big boulder on top of pillar rocks if you stand on it). You can belay on top of the pillar, and walk off the back of it if you wish.

May have been climbed previously.

FA: Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012

16Trad 40m
3 Brave Canary / Rob's Easy Corner

Easy corner ramble on good rock up crack, past bulge, and continuing up corner crack to the top. Walk off via gully to the right (facing in).

FA: Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012

14Trad 20m
4 Pneumoconiosis Aspirations / Paul's Deadly Face Climb

Start 5m right of Brave Canary in front of dead tree. Boulder up to ledge, move slightly left and climb face to break and gear. Then continue up and slightly right to top of main wall. Hand-traverse right to arete rather than climbing detached block above headwall. CAUTION: Falls much above the one good break would be serious. So named because contracting Pneumoconiosis is probably safer than this climb.

FA: Paul Thomson (L), Rob Burton (S), 2012

17Trad 20m

1.4. Far North Cliffs 6 routes in Unknown

Summary:
Mostly Trad

Long/Lat: 150.209186, -33.507972

Description:

The Cliffs at the Northermost end of the crag. Visible from the climbs at the North Cliffs.

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 * COALgate Smile / Rob's Malevolent Roof and Corner

About 500m left from Climbing boom.

Start underneath small roof crack and corner, right of Coal Seam Crack. Crack to stance beneath fingercrack roof. Undercling roof to gain corner, then up corner to the top, with a vegetated topout.

Rap off tree to the right (facing in).

So named because Rob chipped his tooth whilst abseiling through the jungle trees shortly after the ascent.

FA: Rob Burton (L), Alex Bergmann (S), 2012

FFA: Paul Thomson, 2013

20Trad 30m
2 ** Coal Seam Crack / Rob's Mega-Offwidth Roof

20m left of COALgate smile, the obvious R facing corner with a super exposed off-width roof.

(P1) 20m climb corner to stance beneath roof. Some dodgey rock but pro is reasonable.

(P2) 20m Aid through roof and crack above, and free up small offwidth section.

Rap off as for (COALgate smile).

FA: Rob Burton (L), Jonas (S), 2012

19 M2Trad 40m
3 ** Gina Climb-hard / Rob's Mega Fingercrack Roof

20m further L from Coal Seam crack is this prominent line under a huge finger crack roof. A real classic.

P1 15m - Crux. Climb the tight chimney come hand crack to ledge beneath roof (chimney needs a camalot #5).

P2 (17) 30m - Climb steep corner, traverse under roof, and continue up finger-crack headwall to ledge (many finger crack sized cams are needed). To reduce rope drag, you may wish to set up a semi-hanging belay at the end of the roof traverse in Pitch 2.

Stay roped up to traverse right and belay at the top of coal seam crack.

Rap off as for COALgate smile

FA: Rob Burton, Morgan Huxley, (alt leads), 2012

18Trad 45m

1.4.1. The Shark's Fin 3 routes in Feature

Summary:
Trad and Sport
Description:

A prominent free standing fin of rock, right in the corner where the North Cliffs end, and the Far North Cliffs begin. Approximately 35m high at its highest face (and 12m high at its lowest). A fixed rope has been left in-place on the back (lowest) point of the Fin, to allow easy access to the anchors at its summit.

Approach:

Approximately 20min walk from the Access Gully (with gear). Walk as if you were going to the Far North Cliffs, and you will walk right past the Shark's Fin (on your left).

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 ** Dorsal Fin

Climbs the Eastern side of the prominent knife-blade southern arete. Stick clip first bolt from walk-down track, then start the climb at the very base of the arete where it is steep (don't cheat!) using both sides of the arete until the 3rd bolt. At the third bolt move onto the right side of the arete, and climb the line of the bolts to the top. Desperate pure-arete moves until past the second roof, and then tenuous moves up the knife-blade arete to easy-ish top section. Bring up second and rap-off eastern-side of the Shark's Fin.

FA: Paul Thomson, 2013

22Sport 30m
2 Flipper

A short, easy crack on the shortest (north-eastern) side of the Shark's Fin. Originally done as solo-aid to gain access to the summit to install anchors.

FA: P. Thomson, 2013

FFA: R. Burton, 2013

6Trad 12m
3 Fin rot

Starts on North-Western side of The Shark's Fin at obvious clean slabby crack (with an undercut start) on far left-hand end (before vegetated chimney) which gradually steepens before becoming vegetated. Climb the crack to where the crack ends below the roof. Place some bomber pro. Swing left to gain the tree in the chimney, and bring up your second.

Alternatively use the fixed rope and 2 x raps to pull gear from the very top. Rap anchor will be installed within a month.

The extension through the roof has been cleaned, and is an open project (21/22)?

FA: Paul Thomson, 2013

17Trad 12m

2. Index by grade

Grade Stars Name Style Area
6 Flipper Trad 12m 1.4.1. The Shark's Fin
13 In The Pits Trad 15m 1.1. Access Gully Area
14 Mine Shaft Trad 22m 1.2. North Cliffs
Brave Canary Trad 20m 1.3. South Cliffs
16 Graveyard Shift Trad 30m 1.1. Access Gully Area
Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology Trad 25m 1.2. North Cliffs
Sooty Shaft Trad 40m 1.3. South Cliffs
17 Pneumoconiosis Aspirations Trad 20m 1.3. South Cliffs
Fin rot Trad 12m 1.4.1. The Shark's Fin
18 Half-Thumb Hero Sport 12m 1.1. Access Gully Area
* Climbing Boom Trad 55m 1.2. North Cliffs
** Gina Climb-hard Trad 45m 1.4. Far North Cliffs
19 ** FIFO Hooker Trad 35m 1.3. South Cliffs
19 M2 ** Coal Seam Crack Trad 40m 1.4. Far North Cliffs
20 * COALgate Smile Trad 30m 1.4. Far North Cliffs
22 ** Dorsal Fin Sport 30m 1.4.1. The Shark's Fin