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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.

Approach

This is the far left (northern) sector of Piddo. If you want to start your day here (it gets sun a little earlier than the rest of the crag), it is possible to shave almost a kilometre off the usual walk-in by bush bashing in to the top and rapping in down Curtain Call (i.e. by reversing the fairly popular Hocus Pocus exit bush bash). To find the best place to start the bush bash, walk down the firetrail below the locked gate as usual, past the Boronia Point turnoff to the left, and about 80m further to the next small rise. Turn R into the bush here and follow the ridgetop due west for 200m to the clifftop. You may have to head 20m L to descend a small upper cliff; the hand-rope leading down to the Curtain Call rap chains is about 20m walk downhill from this point. If you navigate the bush bash ok it's less than 10 mins from the car to the rap anchor.

Descent notes

Many routes in this area top out. To descend, head to the chains at the top of Curtain Call and rap 28m to the ground. Note that getting to the rap anchor involves an exposed 15-20m downclimb, which is now equipped with a hand-over-hand rope. Any mistake would see you go the 30-40m to the ground; proceed accordingly.

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)

Routes

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Grade Route

Start: As for 'Solomon' for most of 1st pitch. Right to belay on arete. take care! Up the arete joining 'Quits'. Finish up Q.

FA: W.Baird, 1981

There's 1 bolt at the first belay and 4 on the 2nd pitch - so take brackets if you don't know how to use cams.

Start: Approx 28m left of 'Quits' beneath major right-angled corner.

  1. 20m (15) Corner to belay on slab beneath main corner.

  2. 31m (20) Stunning orange corner then left around roof. Chossy easy corner above.

FFA: J.Friend

FA: (J.Ewbank & A.Campbell), 1965

Start: As for 'Solomon', past diagonal crack (Gemini) on left. Step left and up. Slight left and up. About 5m left of the arete.

FA: W.Baird, 1982

The face left of 'Solomon' pitch 2 and right of 'Tipster' with a few old carrots. Why the route description is never put between those routes is anyone's guess.

Start: As for 'Solomon'.

FA: M.Baker, 1989

Nowadays the leader can clean their own gear off pitch 1 by finishing at the anchors of 'Skinless Chicken', on the arete.

Start: As for 'Solomon'.

  1. 25m (19) Up Solomon's corner for 8m then take the left diagonal crack to blocks. DRB rap anchor.

  2. 26m (19) Often not bothered with. Left up the blocks, right to arete. Up.

FA: J.Ewbank & J.Worrall, 1966

The right side of the arete- Flight Line for the masses.

Start: 6m left of S. Left of the arete to arete. Up.

FA: W.Baird, 1982

Start 1m right of 'Genesis'. The climbing looks very good but the original carrot bolts do not.

  1. 25m (24) 8 carrots to ring anchor.

  2. 25m (24) Left and up wall past 3 bolts.

FA: J.Smoothy & M.Law, 1989

Start a few metres L of Flight Line.

  1. Follow the stylish twin cracks up and diagonally left. Take 3 or 4 large (#4-5) cams or else the top is runout. There is a rather sketchy lower off at the top of P1, using a wad of slings & cords around a think-twice bollard.

  2. The original finish headed off right as for Gemini, but the best option is to finish up the second pitch of 'Cardiac Arete' for a real classic.

FA: J.Ewbank & J.Worrall, 1966

Start: Corner directly under CA.

FA: W.Williams & G.Wurth, 1986

Best option is to start up 'Genesis' and finish up this route.

Start: Left of 'Genesis' at short wide crack.

  1. 20m (17) Crack, arete to 'Genesis' belay.

  2. 18m (17) 'Arete' with bolts. Double rings at the top, saves using the mini bush for belay.

FA: D.Fletcher & W.Davenport,

Start: Short chimney and gully to top.

Start: 6m left of KT.

FA: M.Law & J.Smoothy, 1978

Start: As for CnC. Trees, gully etc.

FA: W.Williams & I.Peterson, 1971

Start: Thin corner.

FA: G.Child, 1978

Start: 8m left of AC.

FA: G.Weigand & B.Jenkins, 1980

Start: 2m left of Pkea.

FA: G.Weigand, 1980

Start: 9m left of Z. Scrubby chimney.

FA: W.Kilham & B.Smith, 1964

Start: 11m left of B.

FA: A.Campbell, B.Osbourne & J.Pickard, 1966

Start: Thin chimney in corner left of E. 3 pitches. Take Care!

FA: J.Ewbank & D.Moss, 1966

Start: 5m left again.

FA: J.Ewbank & J.Worrall, 1966

Start: 48m left of Sexton. Scrubby corner.

FA: J.Ewbank & C.Monteath,

Start: 'Small' corner right of 'Encore'.

FA: J.Ewbank, P.Giles & V.Kennedy, 1969

FA: G.Bradbury, 1983

Start: 4m left of 'The Last Act'. Corner.

FA: J.Ewbank & V.Kennedy, 1968

Start: Roofs 10 m before the waterfall. Through low roof with piton and gear to ledge. Up and left into the line and up to chimney then through and right to the top

FFA: One of the Cosseys

FA: J.Ewbank & B.Allen, 1969

FA: Macciza. free with rests., 2006

Orange face/blunt arette 4m right of Space Face. Very thin and dynamic start leads to great climbing. Lower off and traverse (bolted) across to spaceface for exit.

FFA: E. Wells, 2015

Rap in route. From opposite first Piddo carpark walk 5min down Witches Glen trail , turn left at sundeck cave then leave track above second big prow (first prow has highline anchor) Fix a rapline and rap 18m off DRB down line of FH's to semi hanging belay with 2 FH and U-bolt. Clip the odd FH on the way down to stay in. Great exposure and a nice little ledge for rope.

FFA: E . Wells & T . Kluzniac, 17 Oct 2014

This route will take you back to the Hornes Point descent gully!

FA: J Ewbank & J Worrall, 1967

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