Shipley Upper Mostly Sport climbing82 routes in crag
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Probably the most popular crag in the whole of the Blue Mountains. It has magnificent views, mostly sport routes, easy access, and great routes from the mid-teens to early 30s. Something for everyone. It faces North-West and gets plenty of sun. Sun hits the crag at 11.30am in summer. In winter you can climb all day with the entire wall getting sun from 8.30am.
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.
Access via 'Centennial Glen' Rd. You can walk down either end of the crag and both take about the same amount of time so it doesn't really matter which way you go. To get to the right (SW) end of the crag (e.g. Sandwiches Buttress and Grey Slab), take the Fire Trail beyond the locked gate (on the left as you enter the carpark), and follow the fire trail for about 300m through low scrub with fantastic views, down a few short rock slabs with chopped steps, then turn right along the base of the crag. To get to the left (NE) end of the crag (Equaliser/Supercal areas), follow the walker's track that heads straight ahead from the carpark downhill into 'Centennial Glen'. After about 250m this takes you down a short cliffline with chopped/built steps, turn left at the base and walk about 200m to the crag, through a small glen with an old stone bath in it (Cleopatra's Bath, the water that fills this bath after rain is thought by some to be good to drink - but flows down from Blackheath so think twice), then along the dusty track under the overhangs and around left to Wall's Ledge. If you turn right at the base of the chopped steps it takes you to Centennial Glen/Porters Pass climbing areas, so it's easy to crag-hop among them all in a single day.© (secretary)
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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