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This crag is a suntrap with the sun hitting the left end (Nikita wall) by 9am in winter, and is also surprisingly well protected from the wind. Nikita is however shady until 11am in summer, Unforgiven until 10.30.

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Has a great trad classic and several sport routes which, since recent rebolting, are among the best of their grade in the entire mountains! This is also one of the best winter crags in the upper mountains: apart from a paucity of rain protection it rivals Bowens Ck as one of the best winter choices. When its 8C and blowing 50km/h at Shipley Upper, the base here can still be quite ok! In fact you should avoid this crag if temps go over about 14C because it gets too hot!

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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.


Walk in as for Sail Away Wall to the bottom of the chopped steps and hand rails, then head left (SW) along the base of the cliff for a few hundred metres. For the Clockwork Orange area and beyond, it might be a little quicker to abseil in from below Upper Shipley, but unless you only want to do one route the abseil is arguably not worth the admin now that the track from Sail Away is becoming more well trodden.

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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)


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Grade Route

The new rap-in sport route also opens up the prospect of a keen gardener tidying up the stonking enormous orange corner crack into a climbable state befitting it's impressive architecture... hint hint.

The line of shiny new rings 15m L of Unforgiven. DRB 10m off the ground above the hanging swamp, it's a rap-in affair. It's directly below the striking huge white gum tree on the top of Lower Shipley (which is easily seen 30m below Weak as I Am on Upper Shipley). Descending the steep scree to the top of the rap no doubt requires care. Closed Project.

Set by Helen, Vince Day, Helen Day & Vince Day, 2017

28 if you go direct at 5th bolt, 27 if you snake around right the original way (by Mikl). Great rock, especially the lower two-thirds. 70m rope required for lower-off. Careful with drag (e.g. back-clean 3rd), its not enough to bother the leader but stops the belayer from giving a soft catch off the crux. Also best not to leave the gear on, the top of the route has recently been badly scarred by windmilling quickdraws.

FA: Mikl, rebolt & direct variant Steve Grkovic, 2000

Start up the unforgiven till the 4/5 bolt and head right.

FFA: S Grkovic, 2008

Linkup, to avoid the cruxy start of Nikita which makes it even more classic. 1st 4 bolts of Unforgiven, then step R to join Nikita. Soft at the grade for added enjoyment! Has no more drag than Nikita, i.e. its fine if you use a few rollers and extenders before the traverse/ramp.

Pumper, follows obvious right leaning ramp. Now starts on the ground and stops at lower-offs at 35m. Needs 16 draws and 2 more for the anchor, and a 70m rope. The good hold for the hard move down low snapped in June 2013, decide for yourself whether this does anything to the grade.

Up and right along ramp then up.

FA: J.Smoothy

FA: Mike Stacey did it at 25M1 in the age of lycra, Giles freed the start move & same grade (25)., 2000

There's been a line of ringbolts a few metres right of Nikita for several years. Anyone know if this has been sent? Grade?

Set by S Grkovic

Starts approximately 50m R of Nikita, 100m left of Sausages and Lightbulbs, on left side of prominent arete (stay high and traverse along narrow shale ledge beneath undercut just past where the track turns left and climbs down to the lower tier). Gets early morning sun and goes into the shade after lunch.

Batman to the first jug then tip toe and crimp across the ramp and up thin wall to good holds. The climbing now gets easier up the left side long mega arête on bomber orange rock. Doubles of small cams up to .75 and some slings.

Set by Ben JengA., 24 Oct 2013

FFA: Ben Jenga & Paul Thompson, 27 Oct 2013

Starts at arête 8m L of SAL, which is marked. Looks like it joins SAL after the overhang at half height.

FA: Monique Forestier, 2011

  1. 30m Slab with a desperate move, then roof and lovely upper wall. 16 bolts to lower offs.

  2. 20m Up easy slab with a couple more bolts to rap anchor.

FFA: M law, S Johns & S Moon, 1994

Obvious thin face and sexy looking blank corner. A bit glued up, but great climbing. Don't cop out to the arete at the top!

FA: Mikl in his orange spandex days., 1936

Start: 50m LEFT of the waterfall.

  1. 15m (21) Corner and flake to roof. Out to ledge and belay.

  2. 20m (21) 'Flake' to break. Leftwards, then up right to ledge.

  3. 15m (-) Left and out.

FA: T.Williams & J.Smoothy, 1986

Long and varied. Not so great as a warm-up!

FA: Chris Cogsy, 2008

Start: 15m LEFT of the waterfall.

  1. 20m (16) Start near fallen tree. Offwidth. Climb tree to wall above chockstone. Crack and wall to top of flake.

  2. 25m (20) Up ramp and wall to break. Slab to roof. Up.

FA: C.Martin, A.Penney & R.Chick, 1984

Up the tree, right to scoop, right to breaks. Left and up to ledge. Right to slab. up. 2 pitches.

Start: Right of HFF. Near the abseil landing.

FA: T.Williams, 1986

Start: 13m left of 'Clockwork Orange'.

FA: Bennet, Haines, Myers & Danielle, 1988

Start: Orange corner 55m right of the waterfall.

  1. 20m (18) Up corner to break, left to ledge, wall and stance. Small wires needed.

  2. 25m (20) Slab to crack. Corner, around bulge. Crack to ledge. Left along the ledge to groove.

  3. 16m (15) Up the groove.

FA: K.Bell & R.Lassman, 1972

Start: As for CO.

  1. 30m (18) As for CO to ledge.

  2. 25m (18) Slab, diagonally left slab to arete.

  3. 35m (18) Up onto the slab, left of bulge and up.

FA: C.Martin & R.Chick, 1984

3 pitches with a nightmarish mantel at the end of the second pitch. Some of the bolts are dodgy until rebolted.

FFA: G Child & G Bradbury, 1996

Start: Corner 8m right of CO.

  1. 15m (17) Crack to ledge.

  2. 25m (17 M3) Wall to bulge, over this onto ledge and crack. Up to roof, loose (?) flake the ledge below roof. Right to ledge and tree. THIS PITCH MAY HAVE BEEN FREED!

  3. 15m (17) Up wall.

FA: R.Lassman & K.Bell, 1972

Start: As for OM.

  1. 20m (20) Corner to traverse. Across roof. Take care! Onto arete to ledge.

  2. 10m (19) Wall and slab. Rap here. OR traverse right to gully.

FA: R.Lebreton & T.Williams, 1988

Start: 25m right of CO.

  1. 20m (19) Bulge. Left up crack to ledge. Belay in the gully on the right.

  2. 20m (19) Right around arete, up and right up ramp to ledge under roof. Take care! Up to ledge.

  3. 15m (19) Up.

FA: R.Lebreton & T.Williams, 1987

Up. Careful with flake. Up, then left to break. Right to arete. Up. Finish as for R.

Start: Faint corner with black wall below flake.

FA: T.Williams & S.Moon, 1986

Start: 3m LEFT of 'Bowstring'.

  1. 20m (21) Faint crack to slab. Belay as for 'Twinkle Toes'.

  2. 30m (21) Up and left. Travers right at steepness to ledge. Up.

FA: S.Moon & B.Cameron, 1986

Start: 20m LEFT of 'Bowstring'.

  1. 20m (22) Middle of black wall to ledge, slight left to belay. Take wires!

  2. 20m (22) Slab up and right to tree!

FA: T.Williams & S.Moon, 1986

Start: 100m RIGHT of CO. White right facing corner. The crack of the second pitch looks fantastic!

  1. 15m (23) Crack to offwidth roof. Corner to stance on left.

  2. 30m (18) Right into crack to big slab under roof. Right to break at end of the roof.

  3. 10m (18) Bulge and up.

FFA: W.Baird

FA: (Lassman & Bell), 2000

Start: Yellow roofed corner 12m right of B.

  1. 20m (23) Corner, traverse right to footledge, right along break, up to ledge.

  2. 10m (15) Traverse right.

FA: T.Williams & R.Lebreton, 1988

Start: Narrow wall 70m right of PV.

  1. 15m (16) Up left side of wall, step right. Up bulge and wall to ledge.

  2. 25m (17) Wall and arete.

FA: D.Haines & R.Lebreton, 1988

Now, she was a girl...

Start: 10m LEFT of the ESCAPE ROUTE. Corner.

FA: D.Haines & R.Lebreton, 1988

The route to do here if you have to! Take care!

Start: Right of 'Caterpillar Girl'. Below the big red roof. 10m above the track. To freedom.

Start: 2m right of ER corner.

FA: M.Myers, 1988

Start: 80m right of 'Pancho Villa' at wide crack right of roof capped red wall (although THF is marked at the finger crack/seam)

  1. 40m (20) Corner crack 10m, left to centre of wall. Up through breaks to big one below the roof. Left to belay.

  2. 35m (19) Up groove and corner.

FA: S.Moon, G.Moore & C.Martin, 1984

Start: Finger crack right of THF.

Somewhat of a construction exercise. Ahead of its time? Mostly bolted?

FA: Giles Bradbury, 1984

Start: 35m RIGHT of THF. Short steep corner.

  1. 20m (23) Corner to ledge, right and up wall to belay on sloping ledge.

  2. 25m (24) Left, up then traverse to arete. Up.

FA: J.Smoothy & G.Bradbury, 1986

Start: Right of NW. Offwidth.

Start: Middle of 3 high corner cracks.

FA: T.Williams & T.Carroll, 1986

Up TGR. Corner to crack. Right to arete. Up.

Start: As for TGR.

FA: T.Williams & G.Bradbury, 1986

Start: 15m right of 'Sidewinder'.

  1. 35m (23) Stick clip. Follow bolts. Traverse left. Up corner. Take long slings!

  2. 20m (15) Right from belay and up.

FA: J.Smoothy, F.Lumsden & T.Williams, 1986

Crack right of SVDM Up obvious crack through minor choss to DBB then right and around roof. Quite good.

3m left to wall and narrow ledge, crack, up and mantle. Diagonally right and up (poor pro!). Diagonally left up ramp and corner to orange overlap.Traverse around nose, up right side of arete. Take wires!

Start: At SCC anchor 1.

FA: D.Grey, B.Maxwell, R.Taylor & I.Collins, 1985

Start: 5m up SCC. Traverse left and up. Finish as for SVDM or rap.

FA: M.Baker & J.Smoothy, 1989

Start: 10m right of SSC. Grey Wall

  1. 35m (23) Thin crack. Wall to ledge. Traverse left to ledge.

  2. 15m (15) Corner. Take Care!

FA: T.Williams & L.Closs, 1986

Start: Roof crack 30m right.

  1. 20m (20) Up to roof, right 10m, up to break and belay.

  2. 20m (20) Up, left to orange corner/flake. Thin break. Left to arete.

  3. 20m (18) 'Arete' and wall.

FA: T.Williams & T.Carroll, 1986

Start: From QE anchor 1.

  1. 25m (20) As for QE then right to bolt. To arete and up to ledge.

  2. 15m (21) Straight up.

FA: T.Williams & L.Closs, 1986


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