A Crag Guide gives an extensive view of all sub areas and climbs at a point in the index. It shows a snapshot of the index heirachy, up to 300 climbs (or areas) on a single web page. It shows selected comments climbers have made on a recently submitted ascent.

At a minor crag level this should be suitable for printing and taking with you on a climbing trip as an adjunct to your guidebook.

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Table of contents

1. Departures (Upper) 18 routes in Sector

Mostly Sport

Long/Lat: 150.295903, -33.535302

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.


Walk right onto the ledge before the decent rungs. Harness up to traverse alone the ledge, and be careful not to kick rocks onto the climbers bellow.

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!

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 ** Lofty Lungfish

Far end of ropes with triple belay. Up short wall then out the roof cracks to turn the lip and finish up steep prow. Backjump to clean.

FFA: lloyd wishart, 2011

27 Sport 16m, 9
RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
2 The Gift

Steep start then traverse left along the big horizontal then to a hard sequence below the top roof.

FA: Steve Grokivc

Set by Lloyd Wishard

29 Sport 16m, 11
3 * Brixton Jamm

Big move at the start to a good but small hold then steep climbing to a lay down rest. The mid crux is all about some double undercling madness. Steep finish with big moves on big holds. Perhaps add a few grades if you are under 6 foot

Set by Jenga, 2014

Set by Jenga, 2014

FA: @benjenga, 2015

26 Sport 15m, 10
4 *** Radical Departures

One of the best routes at Departures. Another of Bell's classic 30's.

After the tricky and hard start good holds lead to a mid height rest where this little number steps up a notch. A couple thin moves lead to the last jug before the long and sustained top section where good hard moves and poor feet will have you screaming to the top of the wall.

Set by @lloydstar

FFA: Steve Grkovic, 2013

30 Sport 20m, 9
5 For Flake's sake

The obvious flake feature in the middle of the wall. Same start as H.H. Some dubious rock down low then great moves from the mid height rest.

Set by Steve Grkovic

FA: lloyd wishart, 2013

23 Sport 14m
6 * Hokonui Henchman

Start at big flake and head up and right over the project up the steep section to the sit down rest. Continue with trickery up the blank overhanging corner and over the thin final roof.

FFA: lloyd wishart, 2008

28 Sport 18m, 17
7 Project Steve

The long term project of Steve, he's been actively trying the from time to time so you can imagine when it goes it will be the hardest route at Bell…?

Set by Steve Grkovic

Sport Project 22m, 12
8 #Ledge life

Tackle the hard and under-graded start as for Steve's project for 3 bolts, then head right and up. Ponder your position from the bird ledge then slab, yes slab moves up the sidepull flakes and victory jugs. A long draw at the base of the box roof helps the rope run.

Set by @benjenga, 2015

FFA: @benjenga, 2015

24 Sport 18m
9 ** Church Mouse

Mostly easy first half leads to a dyno out the lower roof (requires a long sling or 2), clip a hidden chain, then up the sustained second half with a difficult sequence in the upper roof. Best cleaned by reversing to the first anchor.

FFA: steve grkovic, 2010

31 Sport 25m
RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
10 * Grave Rat

Unusual and absolutely desperate moves through the mid-height roof.

FFA: Steve Grkovic, 2009

29 Sport 25m, 11
11 *** Spent Force

A good route with sustained and varied climbing. If you can find the cleaned holds, its not too scary heading up and then left to the anchor!

FFA: lloyd wishart, 2007

27 Sport 20m
12 ** Gushing Gargoyles

Tricky slab start left of Feisty Phasmid above a small tree. Funky moves linking flakes up wall to a rest then up and out through a roof to steep headwall boulder problem.

FFA: lloyd wishart, 2009

28 Sport 16m, 10
13 Feisty Phasmid

Weird move to get started, hard at top of wall, then the crux in the roof.

FA: lloyd wishart, 2009

25 Sport 15m, 8
14 ** Destined for Grayness

Good climbing, add a grade if you crank past the anchors to jugs on the lip.

FA: lloyd wishart, 2009

23 Sport 12m, 5
15 Impatient Transport

Starts directly up from where the rope railing starts. Has a couple of thin moves and a hard clip.

FFA: lloyd wishart, 2008

24 Sport 12m, 6
16 Freeway

Just left of FL starting at orange flake. Up flake, traverse left across break to stance - then up technical wall above.

FA: Neil Monteith, 2011

23 Sport 16m, 7
17 * Fridge Lifting

Funky orange radness for 3 bolts to rest, then easier pumpy jugs to the top of the cliff.

FA: Jason Lammers, 2014

24 Sport 14m, 7
18 Welcome Alex

The first two bolts of this route have been removed, do FL instead. Or a long stick clip to the third bolt.

FA: Jason Lammers, 2011

23 Top rope 14m, 7

2. Index by grade

Grade Stars Name Style
23 ** Destined for Grayness Sport 12m, 5
For Flake's sake Sport 14m
Freeway Sport 16m, 7
Welcome Alex Top rope 14m, 7
24 #Ledge life Sport 18m
* Fridge Lifting Sport 14m, 7
Impatient Transport Sport 12m, 6
25 Feisty Phasmid Sport 15m, 8
26 * Brixton Jamm Sport 15m, 10
27 ** Lofty Lungfish Sport 16m, 9
*** Spent Force Sport 20m
28 ** Gushing Gargoyles Sport 16m, 10
* Hokonui Henchman Sport 18m, 17
29 * Grave Rat Sport 25m, 11
The Gift Sport 16m, 11
30 *** Radical Departures Sport 20m, 9
31 ** Church Mouse Sport 25m
? Project Steve Sport Project 22m, 12