Elphinstone Mostly Sport climbing55 routes in crag
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High grades. High quality.
This crag will prove to be the citadel of hard climbing in the Mountains. Pitches are generally around 30-35m, uncharacteristically sustained and pumpy, on bullet proof rock.
The main wall, facing broadly south-east, receives sun in the summer till mid morning, and not at all during the winter. Dumbo Love sector faces south-west and catches an hour or so of winter sun in the mid to late afternoon, and up to three hours on summer afternoons. Though in the depth of winter Elphingstone can be untenably cold for skinny sports climbers, it has generally proven to be climbable all year round, even in summer with shaded climbing to be found throughout the day.
Many of the routes have lower offs considerably longer than the route itself as the ground falls away below the starting points. A 70m rope is paramount rather than prudent.
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.
From Blackheath turn right at the Explorers Rd before the 'Explorers Tree'. This is a loop road with two entry points and restrictions on what lanes you can enter from and exit to. Coming from Katoomba you will turn at the Explorer Tree itself, albeit more of a large stump! Turn into Pulpit Hill Rd and park at the end. Walk through the gate for about 10-15min. At a point where you can see into the valley to the left and across to Narrow Neck peninsula, walk up the next hill. At the top where it's flat you will find a cairn against a small pine tree on the left (and across the trail to the R there is some corrugated iron in the scrub). Turn L off the firetrail and walk down this steep muddy slippery track for 5 min until it terminates at the cliff edge. There is a rap chain on a large boulder. You will need a 40m rope to fix and rap in with. Use the rope capture fixtures to stop your rope rubbing. Climb out using the via ferrata (not glued in) and an appropriate device (like a minitraxion). Do not solo the via ferrata!
There are many CLOSED PROJECTS in both sectors. As a matter of respect, stay off them unless you have permission from the person who bolted it or the project becomes listed as open.
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