Ikara Head

  • Grades: AU
  • Approach time: 40 mins
  • Photos: 3
  • Ascents: 213


Mega old school trad area that should see more traffic than it does. Has a few of the best moderate cracks in the Mountains.

© (mjw)


A great trad crag that gets sun for almost all of the day and is fairly sheltered from the wind. Perfect for midwinter when the conditions are just too good for your latest sport proj. Has a few classic cracks that are definitely not to be missed. Take note that if you top out any of the routes (Telstar for example) getting off the top can be fairly epic.

© (mjw)

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'. 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.


Take the 'Victoria Falls' road, to the right just after passing 'Browntown' Oval (Soldier's Pinch) between 'Mt Boyce' and Mt 'Victoria' - This is a dirt road and can be a little rough on an old car - for exactly 4km until a minor vehical track is reached on the left (Signposted with a 'Management Track - Walkers Only' sign and with a locked NP gate). This track is about 400m before the 'Asgard Swamp' trail. Leave your car here and walk. Follow the trail for about 3.3km until a small cliff overlooking a creek is reached. Find your way around the small cliff (cairns) and down through some swampy ground, across the creek and up the hill to the cliff line. The gully as you get to the cliff line is one of only 2 ways to the top of the cliffs , other than climbing that is! Head right beneath the overhangs until the climbing area is reached.

Descent: you can abseil. Over Splattergram, first abseil 5 m from bolts on cliff top to bolts over edge. There is currently (9/18) a fixed rope between these two sets of bolts. Second rap 30 m to ledge then 3 rd rap 50 m to ground. Nice U bolts.

© (mjw)

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! 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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Grade Route

Corner to belay under roof. 2). Left under roof, up thin crack, right to corner and up.

Start: Big orange corner opposite the detached block.

FA: S.Moon & M.Law, 1992

  1. 24m (20) Corner to bolt, left to arete.

  2. 35m (24) Arete to chain.

  3. 28m (24) Left edge of cave to roof, right, then the arete to DBB. To rap from here take 'hero' loops. Rap to chain then to ground 50m!!

Start: 30m right of TM. 'Arete'.

FA: M.Law & M.Stacey, 1992

  1. Up to ledge.

  2. Flakes to roof, up, right on loose block and up to chain.

  3. Ramp to arete, to big ledge, up wall, left around roofs then right across wall to rap point. Double Ropes?

Start: 15m right of TS. Cairn & flake.

FA: M.Law & V.Kondos, 1993

Start: Right of S. Up the prow.

FA: S.Moon, 1999

"A surprisingly long climb despite appearances from below. Two fairly good pitches...spoiled somewhat by a scrappy finish."

Start: Clean wide crack leading to a V groove with a bush in it.

FA: M.Colyvan & A.Penney, 1982

  1. 30m (17) Start up PV to the ledge, then up the arete to to the R passing 2 BR.

  2. 40m (16) Continue up PV to ledge (ignoring bolt on wall to L, which is a gr 20 variant), then L to crack. Follow crack through roof, and continue until it is blocked by vegetation. Head up and L across slab past bolt to large ledge (1 bolt + cam belay).

  3. 25m (19) Up face past 2 bolts, then 15 m left along ledge to 2 bolt belay. Good nut to avoid big swing for second.

  4. 20m (15) Carefully up face passing bolt and a couple of cam breaks to 2 bolt belay at top.

FA: Duanne White, Scott Young & Dale Tweedie, 2005

Start 2 m R of PV, up pockets past bolt to ledge. up to next ledge past bolt, then R to shallow R facing corner/flake. L up this past BR to PV pitch 1 ledge & 2 rings.

FA: Dale Tweedie & Duanne White, 2005

Start 4 m right of PV. Up groove to chimney and offwidth squeeze chimney. Belay on slings on ledge.

FA: David Gray, keith bell, Vanessa Wills & sylvie frechette, May 2018

Up corner to slings.

Start: Big orange corner 30m right again.

Probably the first climb done at Ikara. The aid at the start of the second pitch was freed by Joe Friend. Start 33m right at obvious right trending wide yellow crack/corner system. Marked with J.

  1. 30m (18) Stem up featured corner system that funnels into a chimney near the top. Traverse right 4m to semi-hanging belay off rap chains. Lots of long slings useful on this pitch.

  2. 30m (22) Burly, slick and spectacular. The right trending wide crack breaching the upper headwall. Belay at top off trad and pretty awful tree belay. You can rap from here to ground with 50m rope.

  3. 30m Easy grey slab to top.

FFA: Joe Friend 1970s

FA: Bryden Allen 1960s

Sustained and varied climbing up a truly superb finger crack. Marked with AS.

Start: 7m right again at short crack in block.

FA: R.Young, A.Prehn & M.Burton, 1980

...they must have been fighting for it!

Start: 7m right.

FA: G.James, A.McAuley, M.Moore, D.Lawler, R.McKillop & G.Benett, 1995

A continuous, soaring, well-protected crack with minimal crack-climbing required. Some suspect rock. Bring a full rack, and oodles of wires (and a few extra #2/#3/#4 cams for that final traverse)..

Start halfway up the ramp (about 5m left of Blast Off ). Up crack, trending left. 2m below the "shale ledge", traverse left for about 5m along a clean break that eats #4, #3 and #2 camalots, then downclimb to the hidden anchors at the end of Jezebel P1. Rap 30m from here to large block.

FA: E.Garbett & M.Wilson, 1992

FA: Duanne White & Liz Drummond, 2005

An amazing line and excellent climbing.

Starts on top of large detached pillar which is accessed from a slot at the back.

Start: Left facing corner 25m right of A.

FA: K.Bell & his brother., 1979

  1. Poxy crack to ledge

  2. Amazing looking leftwards 'diagonal' finger crack to fixed wires.

Start: From the top of the block, 10m right of BO.

FFA: Steve Monks & R McKillop

FA: M.Wilson, 1994


Start: 43m right of BO. Crack/groove system below a terrifying roof.

  1. 30m (18) Up hand crack bypassing 2 small roofs (stick right) to belay in alcove at start of Bomb-bay chimney

  2. 15m (17) Out bottomless/Bomb-bay chimney to turn lip of roof then up slightly to small stance. Build a semi-hanging belay or continue up pitch 3.

  3. 20m (19) Up crack to belay at tree.

  4. 15m (3) To exit traverse right 2m then up corner and groove to large tree. Up easy slab for 5m to the top.

FA: Keith Bell (pitches 1 & 3) Ian Thomas (pitch 2)

"The climb that Ikara is famous for and the only one that most people have heard of!" - A.Penney 1982 It is definitely Caladan with a C, a reference to Frank Herbert's Dune series. Start: Corner below crack 33m right of T.

FA: Keith Bell & Ian Thomas

Up to L&W, across this right and up wall and flakes.

Start: On right side of arete right of K.

FA: M.Wilson & B.Harrington, 1992

Crack and flake, then left joining K.

Start: 2.5m right of previous route.

FA: A.Mason, C.Bennett & R.Lebreton, 1985

Start: 'Arete' right of CT. Carrots.

FA: G.James & W.Stevens, 1996

"An excellent excursion for a hot day. Some tube runners are useful on the 2nd pitch."

Start: Right facing corner about 30m past K. Scramble to base of corner.

FA: C.Dale & A.Penney, 1983

Crack to offwidth and belay where crack becomes slabby. 2). Up and right around arete, wall and arete, left at last bolt and up to belay. Rap here or continue up crack as for WM.

Start: Right again. Crack and peapod.

FA: S.Wilson & K.Luck, 2001

Around roof and up crack - possible to belay where wall becomes a slab - 'Small' corner, traverse right along obvious break 10m, diagonally right across to corner and up. Take Care!

Start: 90m right of K.

FA: W.Baird & G.Bradbury, 1979

A Varied climb with a bit of everything.

Start: 65m right of of WC. Shale band with roof crack above.

FA: P.Young & A.Prehn, 1982

To block, corner, crack, left to ledge and rap.

Start: 150m right again. Track below steep crack right os small black chimney.

FA: N.Deka & B.Cameron, 1988

Wide crack, blocks, thin crack (aid) to ledge. 2). Zig zag crack then right to belay. 3). Up.

Start: 20m right again.

FA: B.Cameron & N.Deka, 1988

Probably done before, but it's a decent line and worth recording.

Crack, ~ 2m to the right of the R facing corner almost directly below 'Blast Off'. Up the clean hand/off width crack to ledge.

Start: Back on the ground below the block

FA: FRA Duanne White, 2006


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