Abseil Gully Mostly trad climbing18 routes in cliff
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Generally, this area gets morning shade and arvo sun. More specifically: the Eyrie Wall gets sun from about 11am; Afghan Wall stays shady until about 1pm and the Girl in the Mirror Wall is shady until noon.
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.
Drive N along Station St from Blackheath for about 2km until you get to the signposted "Parking Area No. 2". Park here (having a bit of clearance helps to get into the carpark). Walk downhill on an obvious track for 5 minutes. The sport crag found on your R is Vambrace Wall. Walk another 50m down from here and you're at the top of Abseil Gully.
This is a rap-in and climb-out crag. Best idea is to bring a dedicated abseil rope to fix in place all day. A short rope (25m) is enough for the Abseil Gully abseil, but if you leave a rope here you need to get used to the idea that it will almost certainly get used by everyone else at the crag. If you plan to climb mostly on Afghan Wall or Mean Streak Wall then it's most convenient to fix a 50m abseil rope down your chosen wall. That way you don't have a long barefoot scramble and don't have to carry walking shoes up every climb.
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!
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