Ikara Head Mostly Trad climbing29 routes in crag
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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. 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.
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