The home of sport climbing in Australia. This controversial area has been the scene of some very public debates about ethics of all kinds: chipping, bolting, climbers' toileting habits, interactions with bushwalkers, and even the climbing environment itself. Note that chipped holds did occur here, but they have all been filled in years ago. Nowadays chipping is NOT acceptable here (or anywhere else for that matter). The climbing is short, fun and very very sporty.
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'. Do not cut flora and keep any tracks and infrastructure as minimal as possible.
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.
The crag is easily accessed by two methods:
(2) Park in the carpark at the end of 'Centennial Glen' Rd, Blackheath. Take the stepped path straight ahead (not the firetrail through the gate to the left) for about 200m until it winds down a short rock step, then turn right at the bottom. Follow this track into the glen; where it splits, stay right nearer the base of the cliffs (left takes you to the 'Porter's Pass' climbing areas through Centennial Pass).
Option 1 is fastest for the whole Glen if you're walking from Blackheath. Even if you're driving, Option 1 is just as quick as Option 2 if you are going to climb at 'Main Wall', 'White Linen', 'Search and Destroy', 'Wave Wall' or 'Woodpecker Wall'. Option 2 is by far the most popular but is only quicker for 'Junket Pumper' and 'Hip Shake Jerk' sectors ... and the carpark can get ridiculously busy.© (secretary)
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! However, do so only on Council land and not in the National Park.
Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)
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