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Description

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.

Access issues inherited from Medlow Bath

Be wary of where you park, ensuring not to block any driveways or leave any rubbish. The crags are located on land owned by The Hydro Majestic, so act appropriately.

Approach

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.

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.

History

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Older route descriptions and "quotes' taken from George Owens (1995) Rockclimbs in the upper Blue Mountains, 2nd Ed. published by the SRC. Beware any mentioned ancient pitons and bolts.

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Routes

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Grade Route

From the base of the upper descent gully, on the approach to The Three Brothers (lower cliff), turn right and walk 40m. Continue past closed project on a steep orange nose (red tag first bolt) to Brothers K, up the centre of a narrow shady wall with an undercut start and a ferny corner to the right.

Stick-clip first bolt for sweet boulder moves through undercut start on good face holds, then pleasant wall climbing on funky features to a thin finish over the bulge. Double U-bolt lower off.

FA: Tom Hepner, Hannah Hepner & Tom ‘T-bor’ Thomson., 2010

Short, steep orange nose with U-bolts, 20m right (south) of Brothers K. Closed Project.

"Take care with pro" (Owens). Start 10m right of the Three Brothers descent gully (83m right of Escapism).

  1. 13m, up to stance 7m left of arete (piton belay).

  2. 17m up to tree.

FA: B. Crouch & G. Owens, 1970

Start as for Easy Oasy.

Right onto arete and up to tree.

FA: G. Owens, 1970

Start at crack 7m right of Easy Oasy.

  1. 20m, crack and arete to tree.

  2. 20m (9) overhang then slightly right and up to tree.

FA: B. Crouch & G. Owens, 1970

Start on big block 3m right of Green Gully Arete.

  1. 8m (15) Traverse right off block on to wall. Right a few metres, easier right, up, back left and up to piton belay.

  2. 15m, 1m right and up over lip to tree belay.

  3. 14m, Step 1m left and up through slight break in overhang.

FA: B. Crouch, G. Owens 1970 & G. Owens

A variant start to The Great Escape, start 5m right of it.

  1. Up 1m, traverse right to break, up and back left to The Great Escape belay 1.

FA: P. Edwards, 1970

Start at corner 10m right of The Great Escape.

  1. 13m, corner, out on to wall and up crack, piton belay.

  2. 20m, up, traverse right and up arete to tree belay.

  3. 17m, crack through overhang then easy wall.

FA: B. Crouch & G. Owens, 1970

A variant start to Red Crack, start 5m right of it on big block at base of chimney.

Traverse left off block and up past bolt runner to block on arete at belay 1 of Red Crack.

FA: B. Crouch & G. Owens, 1970

A variant start to Red Crack. Start at chimney 1m right of White Wall.

  1. 23m, chimney to piton belay in roof.

  2. 13m (12) chimney to Red Crack belay 2.

FA: G. Owens & G. Harrison, 1970

Mixed route: 4 bolts, single set cams (0.3 – 2 Camalot), medium wire or two. Lower-off.

Walk 30m south from descent gully: past the initials ‘RC’ (Red Crack), around to a striking red wall and shady chimney. Starts one metre out from the corner, on the right-hand face at a thin crack, and a few metres left of the white ‘BC’ (Blue Chimney) initials.

Stem for several metres with smaller cams and a medium wire in a strange slot feature, trend right past 2 bolts and small cam, to ledge (no. 2 Camalot) then nice finish up wall and arête past 2 bolts to lower off.

FA: Tom Hepner, 2010

"Take care" (Owens) Start at scrubby corner 10m right of Blue Chimney.

  1. 23m (crux) Aid crack, free to small corner, up and back left into main corner, up to chimney and roof of cave.

  2. 17m, slight chimney and wall left to V chimney, up and out of it. Corner then step right or left and up.

FA: G. Owens & G. Harrison, 1970

From the base of the lower descent gully follow the cliff line along to the right (north) for about 100m past undercut black slabs and eventually a tall yellow wall capped by a roof. At the far end of this wall is the blocky orange buttress of Crankenfurten.

Sport Route: 10 bolts to lower-off. A funky and gymnastic route with a thoughtful crux. Starts at a flared groove in the yellow wall.

Up groove for several metres then onto left wall, up through thoughtful blocky bulges on nose (after clipping 6th bolt, unclip 5th for less rope drag) then aesthetic grey & orange face to lower-off.

FA: Tom Hepner, 2010

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