Rhum Dhu Rock climbing38 routes in crag
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Modern climbers should stick to the well-worn adventurous multi-pitch classics Shandy and Dirty Rotten Pig beneath the Boars Head, and not pretend that ancient routes are safe or accessible, even if they could find them. Yet some recent bold new lines like "The Forgotten crack" prove the explorer may yet indulge the new Craft among old Rhum.
This area is currently recovering from the 2014 bush fires. Natural bush regeneration is in progress with council fencing in place to stop public access. On approach to the first rap in point ensure you stick to the Boars Head access trail so as not to interfere with the regrowth. Regeneration of this area will take many years!
For Dirty Rotten Pig and Shandy:
Park at Cahills Lookout on Cliff Drive, Katoomba. Walk 100m south following the road and locate the trail head leading to the top of the first abseil station (chain anchors) opposite Boar’s Head.
Abseil (#1, chain anchors) 20m into gully. Walk 30m down into the gully and out onto right wall (South) above huge chockstone. Traverse solo or on belay from the gully around the ledge (4 ring bolts in place) and through the chimney (3 ring bolts in place) to the 3 anchor abseil station.
Abseil (#2, chain anchors) 20m down slot to boulders and next abseil station.
Green Salad Gully Abseil
Abseil (#3, double ring bolts) 25m to gully floor (1 ring bolt at base). Set up retrievable safety line using single ring bolt or scramble 15m to end of slot and next abseil station.
Link abseils 2 & 3 using double ropes.
Abseil (#4, chain anchors) 25m to ground and follow trail around to the right to locate climbs.
If you encounter a commercial group going down the abseils in the slot, you can abseil down the west face (Shandy side) of the slot if you have double ropes using abseil #3 anchors.
It’s also possible to walk down Devil’s Hole (locate the pole painted with “Devils Hole” in red, opposite 239 Cliff Drive) and along the base of the cliff for 20 minutes, locate the big slot of Green Salad Gully, go left another 140m then scramble up 40m to the base of Shandy or right to the other routes. This requires a bit more luck and walking.
ESCAPE: If you need to escape the crag rap off the fixed double rap rings. Abseil pass the overhang and big ledge to reach the base of the cliff. Follow the cliff line to the right (facing the cliff) for approx 30 minutes. Pass the man made cave shelter, continue along the base of the cliff and head up the gully marked with the sign "Devils Hole" to find Cliff Drive.
For Rhum Dhu:
Drive East along cliff drive past the car park for dirty rotten pig for approx 200m and park next to the national park sign. The Devils hole track heads down for here and gives you access to the base of all the other routes. At the bottom of the walk down go right for Castaway area which is approx 15min walk passing a hermits cave after 10min.
Go left for Narrow Neck.
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!
Frequently a mass of vegetation, red lichen, ironstone plates, choss, and disorder, the heights and depths of these obscure cliffs were plumbed in a brief explosion by the Rhum Dhu between 1958 and 1961, a group formed to disband all forms of organisation, drink (no doubt to excess) and open up new climbing areas. Their number included Peter Hardy, Doug Litchfield, Bob Cunningham, Ken Cooke, Rhonda Adams, Marcia Montague, John Skinner, Eric Paris and Kevin Westren, who also climbed several seminal routes at Sublime Point. A few subsequent routes were put up by John Ewbank, Bryden Allen, Russ Kippax, Les Tatersall and Dave Rootes et. al. in the early 60s, including "Terrier 1", significant as the first Australian climb to use expansion (Terrier) bolts.
The descriptions and quotes below of #Historical and other climbes are taken from Bryden Allen's [BA] 1963 Rock Climbs of NSW, John Ewbank's [JME] 1967 Rockclimbs in The Blue Mountains and George Owens' [Owens] 1995 Rockclimbs in the upper Blue Mountains.
Let the climber, explorer and reader, beware.
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