The Lost Pillar Mostly Trad climbing7 routes in crag
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An spectacular 80m high tower that sits about 7m out from the south face of 'Dalpura Head'. The Blue Mountain's answer to Yosemite's 'Lost Arrow' Spire. Surprisingly this appears to have been unclimbed until 2003, when Tony "Mad Taffy" Williams dragged himself away from the bar to bolt several routes. 'Surely' some old mountaineer managed to get up this in the dim dark past?© (nmonteith)
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.
Park at large pull out 2.2km west from Mt Wilson turn-off on Bells Line of Road. Cross road to south side and locate well worn foot path. Follow this for 15 minutes (it turns into an old road) until it disappears. Follow yellow coloured tape markers through bush and down ridge to small col. Drop down right side (keep folowing the tape markers!) and follow cliff edge into gully and back up the other side. Continue along semi-open ground following tape markers for another 15 minutes. Navigation is quite hard as you don't have any points to aim for. It is highly recommended to take a GPS (Carpark -33.5353, 150.3195 Halfway -33.5436, 150.3140 Lost Pillar -33.5489, 150.3099).
Locate 2 x Ringbolts on top of cliff above the Lost Pillar (peer over edge to locate this!). It's 120m abseil straight down the wall (joining ropes is an option), or you can do 2 x 50m abseils by swinging left (looking in) and re-belaying at an interim set of rap anchors (at almost the same height as the summit of the Pillar). Rap straight down the notch between the pillar and the Main Wall and scramble down the gully in an easterly direction to find the start of the route.
To exit you either need to Jumar up the fixed ropes, or climb something on the main wall to get back to the top - the easiest is 'Welsh Dragon' (19 A1) which climbs the wall opposite the pillar. For descriptions of these routes go one level up and click on 'Dalpura Wall'.© (nmonteith)
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.
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