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Table of contents

1. The Fortress 16 routes in Crag

Summary:
JFMAMJJASOND
seasonality
Unknown and Trad

Long/Lat: 150.347729, -33.643496

Unique Features And Strengths:

Brillinat remote crag with a great walk in (1 hour). Gets a lot of wind and sun. The classics are Tom Thumb and The Wind Cries Mary.

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'.

Ethic: inherited from Blue Mountains

Mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule in the Blueies. 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. Generally it's best to leave all this sort of stuff to the local climbers.

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 * Fortress Crack 21Unknown 200m
2 * Butt Crack

While it's probably best noted as a good escape route from the bottom of the cliff, it's actually not a bad little number in its own right. Some of the climbing might feel a few grades harder than grade 11, but by and large it's possible to find a line that conforms to the grade.

A standard rack of wires and cams (to #3 camalot size) is sufficient, although a #5 camalot is also recommended. Helmets are an absolute must and 60m double ropes are highly recommended as well. Definitely not for the inexperienced.

  1. 20m (4) Up the easy ledges then halfway up the right tending gully. Belay off a small tree.

  2. 35m (11) Move left along the obvious traverse line then up as you will to the large, steeply sloping ledge. The initial moves up are harder than they look and it's much easier to traverse back onto the wall from further left.

  3. 80m (4) Walk up the ledge, trending left initially, then solo up a short 8m wall (might be an idea to belay up this). At the top of this move up and slightly right to the small stand of saplings below the obvious squeeze chimney corner crack (#5 camalot for this belay).

  4. 45m (11) Grunt up the squeeze chimney for a move or two then fondly bid it farewell and venture out onto the right wall. Engaging climbing (suss dinnerplates) to the top of a lovely little exposed pinnacle perched in the middle of outer space. Step back to the main wall and up to a spectacular belay ledge.

  5. 55m (11) Move right and up the obvious chimney (which is often wet at the back). At the top, head left and up a steep dirty gully for about 15m, passing the two dodgy looking banksia trees. Belay off a small gum further up, with the trusty #5 camalot in a block just to the left.

To get off, walk directly away from the cliff for about 250m and you'll hit the Fortress Ridge walking track. Turn right and follow the track back to the Mt Hay Road, taking the left fork at each junction. It's about 45 minutes of flat walking back to the road.

FA: Hayden Brotchie

10Trad 240m
3 Internal Hatred 15Unknown 160m
4 Trouser Snake

FA: Angie Bishop, Hayden Brotchie, 2005

14Unknown 85m
5 Pseudechis Wall

FA: Hayden Brotchie, Angie Bishop, 2005

12Unknown 120m
6 Grand Central Route

FA: B Allen, I Logan

12Unknown 210m
7 The Great Rum Beer Chimney

The filthy vegetated gully/chimney system to the climber's right of Tom Thumb.

8Trad 200m
8 Trogan Horse 14Unknown 200m
9 Old Spiteful

FA: T Batty, B Allen

15Unknown 300m
10 Self Abuse 15Unknown 150m
11 ** The Wind Cries Mary

Mixed carrots and trad route up the grand wall right of Tom Thumb. Refer to Sydney Rockies site for most up to date route info. Be aware that this is a new route and there are some loose holds still. Steep face climbing, good rock and reasonable pro.

Start: rap as for 'Tom Thumb'

  1. 18m (8) Up 'Tom Thumb' P1, onto block at 10m and up right to belay. Then walk R into gully and up 10m

  2. 45m (18) Up block and layback then R up wall past bolts and crack, then R to steep wall and bolts and up slab past cams and hard mantel, left top 3BB in break.

  3. 35m (19) Up and slightly R past bolts and cams, then left into corner (good thin break at top) up steep wall (BRs) and runout up to slab and 3BB below cave.

  4. 30m (18) Up to cave and bush runner. Rightwards 12.30 o'clock past bolts then leftwards up corner (average pro) and easy arête to DBB on big ledge. Walk left 20m to another DBB.

  5. 15m (18) walk R and up 2 waves of rock past 5 BRs. Belay on a high bolt and a Ubolt. There is a 50 year old carrot on the ledge

  6. 30m (19) Up steep wall past 2 BRs and sling, the up left on easy wall, walk 6 m to left end of rock band and 2 BB.

Walk left to hit track.

FA: mikl law, Brian Simonds, 2011

19 to 20Mixed 180m, 25
12 Landing Gear Down 16Trad 140m
13 * Tom Thumb
  1. 18m (8) Up a few metres to bolt (used more to show direction than for protection). Up to vertical crack for pro and up bulbous wall (another bolt on right) to DBB at top of buttress. Walk up and right 8 metres to start of next pitch. DBB on wall.

  2. 40m (12) Left of belay grunt onto wall. Natural pro in crack or horizontal breaks up higher. Clip bolt on left. Then move diagonally right to small friend (#0) in horizontal crack and further rightwards on easy stuff to bolt (clip with sling to reduce drag). Up left clipping two bolts, steep tricky move (easiest if you move left). Easy 10m ramble with two bolts to DBB. Best to give your second a tight rope when they start the pitch.

  3. 16m (9) Bolt on right shows the way, then up crack on left to belay. (Bolt and #½ friend.)

  4. 45m (8) From right of the belay move up a few metres, then traverse left past bolt runner to arête/ridge. Up ridge 30m past 4 bolts. Walk across rightwards to bolt on little buttress. Over this and walk 10m+ (no bolt protection) and scramble through small bushes up easy crack into cave to DBB.

  5. 21m (12) From belay start to the right. Up wall trending left past 4 bolts. Climb onto large blocks at top. They seem OK. And traverse right passing bolt that protects the second to DBB.

  6. 26m (8) Clip bolt on right of belay. Stand on rock thing and up. Follow ridge with a few bolts to top. DBB.

FA: Hayden Brotchie and Jenny Bradford

13Trad 150m
14 Eeyore's Alternate

FA: Hayden Brotchie and Angie Bishop

15Unknown 55m
15 ** Black Snake Moan 22Unknown 200m
16 * Voyteks Corner 24Unknown 150m

2. Index by grade

Grade Stars Name Style
8 The Great Rum Beer Chimney Trad 200m
10 * Butt Crack Trad 240m
12 Grand Central Route Unknown 210m
Pseudechis Wall Unknown 120m
13 * Tom Thumb Trad 150m
14 Trogan Horse Unknown 200m
Trouser Snake Unknown 85m
15 Eeyore's Alternate Unknown 55m
Internal Hatred Unknown 160m
Old Spiteful Unknown 300m
Self Abuse Unknown 150m
16 Landing Gear Down Trad 140m
19 to 20 ** The Wind Cries Mary Mixed 180m, 25
21 * Fortress Crack Unknown 200m
22 ** Black Snake Moan Unknown 200m
24 * Voyteks Corner Unknown 150m