Booroomba Rocks Mostly trad climbing356 routes in crag
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Like much of Canberra, Booroomba showcases the qualities of granite.
Booroomba Rocks is one of the classic traditional areas of Canberra, and often considered one of the gems of Australian climbing, ranking behind Arapiles, but not by far. A large, proud cliff that can be seen from Canberra, it is home to the tallest climbs in Canberra, though often the final metres of the taller climbs are more a walk-off than any kind of climbing. Expect adventure and come prepared with your rack and a strong lead head.
Drive to Tharwa and continue south on the Naas road for about 10 kilometres, then turn right onto Apollo Road towards the site of the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station (Apollo Road is the turnoff to the right at the top of the hill above Naas). Follow Apollo Road for 8.9 kilometres, turning right about 400 metres before the old Tracking Station site. Follow this track for about 2.5 kilometres until you reach the carpark. The road is usually passable in two wheel drive vehicles, noting that there is one steep section that will require a bit of grunt or a run up. Booroomba Rocks is signposted - take the well trodden path that starts on the northern side, grunt uphill for about twenty minutes to a fireplace and campsite. 50m straight ahead is the lookout above Middle Rocks; to the left is the track down to the South Buttress and Cocker's Gully; and to the right is a track to the Cave Wall area and the top of the North Buttress. 50m to the left (looking out) of the Middle Rocks lookout is a track that doubles back under the lookout, down through Middle Rocks to the base of the North Buttress, Central Slabs, Snickers Wall and the Northern Slabs.
Where to stay
The most pleasant camping is at Honeysuckle campground (the site of the old tracking station), with grassy sites, toilets, tank water and a plethora of boulders to play on. Camping is OK at the top fireplace, but you have to lug all your water up the hill.
The ethic at Booroomba is generally staunchly traditional. Most climbing goes either entirely on gear or gear with bolts for those walls where there is insufficient gear to protect climbs. Climbs are occasionally rebolted, but retro-bolting would be considered vandalism of the lowest order.
The first climbs at Booroomba Rocks were put up around 1966, and from then it saw consistent development from a number of strong crankers. Bolts started appearing over the years on a number of climbs, though never very many and only to accompany natural gear where possible. Since then a handful of climbs have been added that go purely on bolts, simply due to the lack of opportunities for natural protection. However, the prevailing style here is placing gear and adventurous climbing.