Dargan's Creek Mostly Rock climbing83 routes in crag
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Once the scene of the annual SRC sheep roast and climbing weekend, but it seems that private property access restrictions have put a dampener on the popularity of this crag.
The original access to these crags was across private land from Hartley Vale Rd, and permission to cross the private land is no longer given. However the cliffline on the western side of Dargans Creek is entirely on crown land, and the northern portion of this cliffline is also within the Dargans Creek Reserve. The western cliffline therefore could be accessed by walking from the Dams Cliffs carpark without crossing private property at any time. There is also Crown Land connecting the western cliffline to the eastern (main) cliffline, so the eastern cliffline could also be approached by walking down the west side of the creek from the Dams Cliffs until the Crown Land section then crossing to the eastern side. The established climbing sectors of the eastern (main) cliff appear to be on Crown Land, however it is also clear that other sections of the same cliff are on private property so you would want to have this well mapped (see pages 12 and 26 of the Dargans Creek Reserve plan of management PDF: http://www.crownland.nsw.gov.au/data/assets/pdffile/0003/175359/DarganCreek_Reserve_Plan_of_Management.pdf). Note this approach from the Dams Cliffs is probably legal, but is fairly lengthy, entirely hypothetical, and probably mostly has no track.
The following access info is 20+ years old, from the 2nd ed. 1990s SRC/Harrington guide. Drive down Hartley Vale Rd 2.6km from Darling Causeway to the 1st farm on R. Obtain permission to cross the land. Through farm entrance and 200m to gate. On for 400m to creek. Across & 80m to junction. L for 200m to junction & dam. Straight ahead (pigsty on R) to creek (ignore faint fork L). Cross creek and turn R up steep bank to flat area. 50m & park in the camping area. On E side a stump & cairn mark the track. R then zig zag back L up steep hill to reach cliff at a scrubby corner (Bib). Some of the descriptions are hearsay only.
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!
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