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.

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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Is this the arête just left of Jub Jub the Iguana? If so it might be a retrobolt of the bold 6th pitch of Samarkand. - Yes, but that bold pitch was never repeated so ok

FA: Mikaela Thomson, 10 Apr 2009

FA: Mikaela Thomson, 10 Apr 2009

Start: Climbs the grey wall just right of the little cave. (There is now a new climb to the left of it on the arete above the cave.)

Start: Next line of ringbolts to the right, off a higher ledge.

Start: Start up 'Heavy Chaffing' and go right at the top.

FA: Nathan Bolton

Start: Start about 10m further right

FA: Nathan Bolton

Start: Start 6m right around arete, go left at the top and finish as for the ice thing.

FA: Mikaela Thomson

There are 3 main access options, each with their challenges: (1) Rap in from 'Critical Mass' and walk back towards Walls lookout, approx 100m, but dropping low below a choss cliff then bashing back up through a steep and usually very wet swamp. (2) There is a dedicated rap route 40m R of the top of the route, 25m,50m,50m, but sadly now the hardware is in poor shape. The top anchor is just passable but the others are a little less substantial. A 70m rope will reach the last anchor and is enough to improve this option markedly. (3) Rapping the route, steep as it is, is reportedly an option. Rapping p5 is easy. P4 has enough bolts to redirect you most/all of the way to the ledge. P3&2 would get trickier, prob need trad directional pieces to stay in touch.

Double rack of cams, micros to Camalot #3 (optional #4 for P4), a single set of wires, #2 RP up, and 8 bolt plates does the trick. Plus prussics, it's steep.

  1. 15m (23) 1st 5m or so have 'average' rock quality (1BR) then onto the slab with polished hard sandstone and RP seam. TBB below cramped little rooflet, extend them 2m past small swamp to dry(er) foot ledge.

  2. 35m (25) Tricky moves at start to get past 2 FHs, R to rejoin the line and up into chimney. Climb this until it forces you out and onto the face. Punch hard up crack and into the 2nd crack up and left. Belay from good ledge on single carrot and medium cams and wires.

  3. 20m (23) Awkward moves to get established in splitter layback tips crack. Brief excitement leads to a good belay stance (BR, trad).

  4. 35m (22) Punch up open book corner on good gear using crack and face holds. At a carrot at 3/4 height move up right to 2 more carrots on the face. 1st carrot is SUPER hard to put plate over - bring a wire to loop over or, better, place a good #4 Camalot in break below and skip it entirely. Climb to small ledge and then to ledge with short corner above. Tricky moves past 2 carrots lead to big ledge and carrot belay. (4a: 23. 8m up the corner, traverse R to arête, up arête (1BR then a runout), to rejoin the original for it's final 2 bolts. Lots of fragile rock (and exposure) on this pitch. Prussics!).

  5. 25m (22) This would be a good rap-in and climb-out pitch in its own right if you aren't up for the rest. Follow obvious left leaning crack 2m left of belay until it peters out, step right then up scoop to fragile short headwall with 3 carrots. Take care mantling the grass and dirt slope (yum) and on the 10m scramble up to path. Single RB in block, plus cams or a RB from the pitches above.

  6. 20m (22) The arête above the cave on Lunch Ledge. The 2015 guide says this is runout with a key thread at 4m. But the right side of the arête has ringbolts so it either stays left or has been retroed. Many people skip it.

The BEST access for Samarkand. Walk approx. 40m further along Lunch ledge past the Samarkand top out to where there is a block slightly down hill from the track. Carefully scramble down to the block and rig an anchor amongst the various fixed mank on the block. From here abseil 130m (ie tie a 60m and a 70m rope together with plans to bypass the knot) down to the major terrace/ledge from where Samarkand starts. Walk left (facing the cliff) to reach the route's obvious start.

FA: M Wilson & M Law, 2007

Starts behind Mirrorball Pinnacle. 4 pitches. Bolts and gear. Old fashioned 14, may be 17 for sport climbers

  1. 40m (14) Up rad chimney passing four bolts and good cams on both walls (hint, turn around) to bolt belay on the far side of obvious ledge.

  2. 20m (14) Bridge up through minor choss passing one or two bolts to funky overhanging corner. Climb through this and belay at bolts atop the Mirrorball pinnacle.

  3. 35m (10) Easy right-hand traverse passing the odd bolt and bit of gear to belay on two rings.

  4. 15m Up whichever way looks nicest.

FA: Ness, Mikl & Mark Wilson

Four pitch, bolted (carrots), slightly runout climb with epic views across the valley. Take 10 brackets. You can finish the route with an extra pitch by doing the confusingly named Mirrorball (21) pitch above Lunch Ledge.

Start: On outer left (NW) arete of the Mirrorball Pinnacle. Look for the line of bolts (carrots, take brackets).

  1. 25m (19) Up arete to ledge, with DBB.

  2. 30m (18) Up arete and face to chossy cave and high DBB on far lip of cave.

  3. 20m (17) Up face to big ledge.

  4. 45m (18) Up face, to Lunch Ledge, moving right at 2nd ring. Pretty exposed.

FA: Peterson, Wilson & Law., 2000

Long sport pitch above lunch ledge, all fixed. 45m rap from cave at top (don't rap in windy weather, you'll lose a rope, walk 40m north across gully then another 120m north and down rocky gully)

FA: M wilson, V Peterson & M Law, 2000

1 13
2 20
3 16

The obvious chimney & crack that splits the front face of the Mirrorball Pinnacle.

  1. 25m (13) Up the chimney on natural gear (#5 camalot is handy for near the top). Double bolt belay.

  2. 18m (20) Weird undercut wide crack start (large cam is handy again) then up the narrowing crack to the classic finger-crack (crux, well protected with medium-large wires). Double bolt belay.

  3. 20m (16) Bolts (bring lots of brackets) and dinnerplates. Double bolt belay on top of Mirrorball Pinnacle.

  4. As for pitch 4 of 'The West Face of the Mirrorball'.

All bolts are stainless steel glue-in hex heads (bring lots of bolt plates!). A good variation is to do P1 of 'The West Face of the Mirrorball', then step right to do P2 of 'Dirty Dancing', then P3 of either route - the belays are on the same ledge systems.

FA: Peter Monks & Andrew Duckworth (alt), 2001

2 20
3 8
4 21

The classic of the area.. A great mix of styles on great rock. The top 3 pitches above the lunch ledge are not to be missed

Easier 3rd pitch than weaselberger,

Climb the south-facing (downhill) arete of the free-standing pinnacle 40m past Weaselburger, predominantly on gear.

5 carrot bolts and a double rack of cams. Bring more big cams (#3 an #4) if you get scared on trad.

Rap off anchor at the top, 45m straight over the route.

FA: M Law & V Peterson, 2003

1 22 40m
2 25 40m
3 21 30m
4 18 30m
5 23 45m
6 10 10m

Climbs a great wall with an inspiring seam. Two awesome pitches, two nice ones and two easy chossy ones. Take 16 draws. Starts 30m right of Burgermiester, up a gully, below a left facing corner. It is possible to traverse left at belay 3 to escape, but you will need 3 bolt brackets.

  1. 40m (22) Layback corner. 12 ubolts

  2. 40m (25) Follow amazing seam to belay on right (the 2 belay rings are widely spaced due to hollow rock). Crux is at low roof.

  3. 30m (21) Follow seam onto large ledge.

  4. 30m (18) Easy choss, out left and back right to hanging belay.

  5. 45m (23) Up sustained wall trending right. Very crimpy!

  6. 10m (10) Up easy ground past a UB to ledge.

FA: Mike Law, Vanessa Peterson & Monique Foristier, 2007

Mixed climbing up a prominant crack line and around some huge roofs. Rock is of varying quality, but bolts protect the worst of it, and the spectacular under-roof traverse is on mostly good rock. Take a standard rack plus extra big cams and hexes to fist + size, many slings, 10 brackets.

Start: Start below a steep yellow layback corner (pitch 1 of Blue Ruin) 70m right of the Mirrorball pinnacle.

  1. 45m (18) Up corner to second ring, long slings (or come back and unclip the ring) and easy traverse to right arête and carrots, step around and up layback flake to ledge. R to next corner (BR), R along ledge, up then left to U and carrot belay.

  2. 35m (18) Up corner R of the belay, step R and up corner (BR), step R and up corner past 2 bolts, traverse left at top (BR) to carrot and U belay.

  3. 25m (19) Wander out left and up corner past cams and bolts, then back right past 2 more bolts, continue up rightwards to ledge. 3BB.

  4. 35m (20) Up to ledge (2BRs) then a hard move in the corner past bolts and up to roof and bolts. Massive traverse under 18m roof underclinging thin hand to fist crack, clip ring at lip to avoid rope jambing in crack. Pull lip and up ramp for 4m to 2U belay. Easier to lead than to second. Well protected but gripping.

  5. 35m (18) Up easy ramp and follow wide crack to large roof, 2U belay on lip.

  6. 25m (17) Up corner and groove (BR), step left into chimney (BR) and up easily to bolts on ledge on right.

FA: M Law, V Peterson & N Monteith, 2008

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