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Description

Down the Main Pierces Pass track

© (aarond)

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

Down the Main 'Pierces Pass' track.

© (aarond)

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.

Tags

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

Free climb at 25

Start: Nice splitter crack on the big orange wall on the left near the bottom of 'Pierces Pass' track

FA: R Hentschke & J Welch, 2002

FFA: mikl law, 2008

Climbs a rad orange streak in this grey wall next to Grasshopper.

P2 and P3 can be combined for a long, continuous pitch of challenging face-climbing.

Start as for Pitch 1 of grasshopper.

  1. 10m (18) Climb the short crack and flake system on gear to the belay anchors at the obvious ledge.

  2. 15m (23) Start up Grasshopper P2 for a move or two (until you can clip the bolt out right), then step out right and follow the line of bolts up the face, getting progressively harder all the way to the anchors below the small rooflet. This pitch can be combined with the next pitch.

  3. 20m (25) A great technical pitch, but a bit wandery. From the belay, up reinforced flake system, and out left to re-attached hold in bright orange streak (crux). Up this for 2m past a bolt, then back right to other orange streak (and bolt) via hard moves on flakes. Up thin face to horizontal break, then up through a final thin sequence to the anchors.

Top out, or rap back 35m to main belay ledge, and again to ground.

FA: Paul Thomson, 5 Jan 2014

A good long 2nd pitch of sustained technical face climbing. The 1st pitch is essentially a bolted boulder problem to gain the first ledge.

Pitch 1 (12m, 23/24) - Start at ground level in small cave right of the small corner (Grasshoppers' first pitch). Tricky start to gain roof, then around lip of roof (crux) and up easy slab to the anchors. The bolt just around the lip of the roof is hard to clip. Belay off ledge anchors below the start of Grasshopper/Cicada (extend using rope).

Pitch 2 (35m, 23/24) - A hard start. Jump start to okay hold, then tricky moves to gain better holds. Tricky mantle, then malevolent slab sequence to the next bolt. Easier climbing out right, up small corner, then up right side of "groove" system to massive detached block. Past this (easiest to hand traverse right), then thin face climbing all the way to the anchors at the top of the cliff.

Can JUST BARELY lower off to the lower ledge with a 70m rope (tie a knot in the end).

FFA: Paul Thomson, 17 May 2014

CLOSED PROJECT

Set by C Coghill

CLOSED PROJECT

Set by C Coghill

NOTE: *Pitch 2 does NOT finish at the first set of chains, but instead goes up a short corner to the left, then back right under the roof to a set of carrot bolt anchors around the corner.

*After the recent bushfires, rapping off after P3 is no longer feasible (the rap tree is disintegrating), you must top out (P4) to escape this climb safely.

  1. 30m (19) Start up the obvious thin crack with a hard move off the ground. Continue up easier territory to chain belay on ledge.

  2. 45m (19) Up and left into steep finger crack and then left again into easy choss corner with one true guillotine block up high. Up to ledge with bolts and chain, step left into thin corner and head up to the ledge below roof. Walk a ways right and round the corner to a carrot belay. Consider belaying at the first chain before the thin corner if you have not made adequate arrangements to mitigate potentially horrendous rope drag.

  3. 25m (21) Ultra desperate moves for the grade off the belay past two carrots to much easier ground. Up face to slab and then to ledge where you can belay (trad).

  4. 15m Easy (roped) scrambling to top of spire.

Escape: Getting off this route is rather epic and a bit of an adventure in its own right. There are currently (04/18) some in situ slings around a large block that you could rap off at the end of pitch three if need be. Replace them or treat with GREAT caution. Alternatively you can attempt the walk off. Begin this by scrambling off the back of the pinnacle and crossing (with care) the awesome chockstone that bridges the chasm. Scramble down this chockstone on its left hand side to a large tree. Behind this tree is a slot in the rock that is about 2m deep, 50cm high and runs horizontally for approx 15m. Slide into this slot and carefully crawl on your stomach along the ledge trying to ignore the 100m drop to your left. A belay can be set up on the large tree for the leader but there is not much on the other side to protect a second. After exiting the slot wander around left, making upwards progress where it is safest and easiest to do so until you have eventually breached all the major cliff bands and can walk to the summit of Rigby Hill, all the while thinking that the walk off was probably more involved than the route. A classic Bluies trad day.

FA: Bruce Cameron & W Moon, 1995

Two brilliant pitches. On the face around the corner (to the right, looking at the cliff) of The Colours of Spring. Locate the carrot bolt on the arete of P1 before starting up.

Cams BD #0.3 - BD #4, full rack of wires + RPs.

P1 - Up face to ledge stance. Big gear (#4 BD) high in the flake on the right. Traverse to the arete (#2 BD), then up the arete past a carrot bolt and onto the slab.

P2 - Climb the sustained stemming corner to its conclusion past 3 carrot bolts with mixed fiddly gear to keep it sane. Crucial small wire in the flake before the 3rd bolt. At the top, belay off two carrots below Pitch 3 of The Colours of Spring, but consider extending your belay to the edge to avoid dropping rocks on your second.

NOTE: At the moment there are NO rings to rap off from the top of Pitch 2. Be prepared to leave behind a prussic (slinging the carrots) and carabiner to rap 55m to the ground, IN CASE the in situ rap gear is gone.

1 23
2 20
3 21
4 23
5 21
6 22

All on carrots - 17 on the first pitch, including the belay.

Easy to get lost

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