Three Brothers Rock climbing13 routes in cliff
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The Three Brothers and Flying Fox crags are long-forgotten trad crags with routes detailed (vaguely) in the 1997 Sydney Rockies Guidebook. Now there is also some modern bolt protected sport and mixed routes. Funky features and good rock make for charismatic climbing, though the older lines are pretty dirty. Access is relatively quick and straightforward, and the shorter walls here have a friendly feel with great views and a variety of aspects. The newer Pole 28 area has mainly sport climbs and has grown along two sections of cliff above and below each other. ‘Lower’ Pole 28 is technically part of the old Flying Fox crag.
From the highway turn onto Bellevue Cres, 100m south of the service station at Medlow Bath. Pass Delmonte Ave then before the right hand bend turn left down a rough dirt road, park on Bellevue if your car has low clearance. Follow the dirt road downhill over numerous water-bars, a dry creek crossing filled with river rocks, and note powerlines crossing overhead with a green power-pole on left – you are aiming for the second pole (visible ahead) accessed by steep left-hand turn a little further on with parking under the powerlines. The access road is not great for cars with particularly low clearance, but an average 2WD should manage with careful driving and a few minor scrapes. You can always discreetly park on Bellevue and walk 10 min extra.
Left of the closest power-pole in this parking spot is the start of a very obvious and well manicured track. Walk 150m or less to a fork, then turn left and head downhill 30m or so to a slabby step-down with the Three Brothers pagodas in front of you. The track swings sharp right here another 30m, then just before a sharp left- hand bend take a discreet track with a cairn on the right. After 10 or 15 metres of flat ground a series of switchbacks descend down short ledges (look for cairns) into a broad gully. The track hairpins hard left at a tall white gum and down a tighter gully between two short walls, before opening onto the half-way terrace between the upper and lower cliff-lines. This is the base of the upper descent gully – 5 mins from car.
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'.
Ethic inherited from Blue Mountains
Mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule in the Blueies. 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. Generally it's best to leave all this sort of stuff to the local climbers.