Dalpura Head Rock climbing13 routes in crag
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Multi-pitch wall climbing with modern bolts and the amazing summit of the Lost Pillar.
This is a major section of cliff, up to 150m high, that is rarely visited. This is mostly because there isn't a good track to the top of the cliff, be prepared for some navigational challenges. The star attraction of this cliff is the Lost Pillar, a free standing 80m high slender pillar with several trad and sport routes up each side. Although this is a fun summit there are many better quality routes on the walls around it that involve rapping in and climbing out. Much of this cliff faces south west so get shade until quite late in the day. For most of these routes you will need at minimum double ropes, or even better a 100m static rope as well as a lead rope.
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.
Park at large pull out 2.2km west from Mt Wilson turn-off on Bells Line of Road. Cross road to south side and locate well worn foot path. Follow this for 15 minutes (it turns into an old road) until it disappears. Follow yellow coloured tape markers through bush and down ridge to small col. Drop down right side (keep following the tape markers!) and follow cliff edge into gully and back up the other side. Continue along semi-open ground following tape markers for another 15 minutes to arrive at cliff top - see area description for the two separate rap access points. It is highly recommended to take a GPS (Carpark -33.5353, 150.3195 Halfway -33.5436, 150.3140 Lost Pillar -33.5489, 150.3099)
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!
There was a lone piton found on pitch 3 of End of Days, presumably from a previous recce of the wall. Oddly the first recorded route appears to have only been established in 1999, with Mikl and Steve Moon's Crankenstien arete (bizarrely featured as a photo on the back cover of an early sport climbing guide to the Blue Mountains, but not included in the guidebook!). Mike returned a few years later with future wife in tow and did the unrepeated mega arete of Jocation. It doesn't appear that the actual Lost Pillar itself got an ascent until 2003, when Tony Williams, Nora Adam and Josh Dodson did a whole bunch of easy routes up it. These ascents were kept remarkably under lock and key until Neil Monteith wandered in five years later with new route fever on his brain, swung across to the summit and discovered ring bolts! He quickly dispatched several multi-pitch routes on the pillar itself and the walls surrounding it with Jesse Lomas (before he quite climbing shortly after). Since the boom years of 2008/2009 this cliff has returned to forgotten status.
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