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Description

Describing routes on 'The Northern Slabs' is difficult and the best way to stay on course is to look at the topographic map. Note that many of the routes on the northern slabs, like a lot of Booroomba slabs, are poorly protected by modern standards.

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Approach

A lot of the old routes for this area have overgrown following the bush fires. Best way to Northern Slabs is to go via Middle Rocks access. Go to the upper camp site, then the look out. Go left (looking out) along the cliff line and after about 50m there will be a steep gully trending back down and to the right towards the prominent North Buttress.

Follow the track down the gully (its pretty clear). If you follow your nose you will get to the bottom of the Northern Buttress. Follow the track around as it starts to get a bit rough, but soon you will look up and see the rock has turned to slabs. One of the first you come to is Denathor / Counterbalance which is a distinctly black slab with a large boulder to the right. This is the right hand side of Northern Slabs.

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Ethic inherited from Booroomba Rocks

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.

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Routes

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Grade Route
1
14 Denethor Trad 110m

Climbs the slabs and grooves bordering the right-hand end of the northern slabs. Start at a short, steep black slab just left of a damp overhang where the walking track rises after skirting 'The Terrace'.

  1. 30 metres - Up the slab (crux) to a ledge. Pull over the bulge and up the easy slabby corner moving right to a good stance.

  2. 20 metres - Rightwards over slabs and scrubby ledge, then up between blocks to belay beneath a leftwards-curving groove.

  3. 25 metres - Climb the groove, which is awkward near the top, step left and up a short V-corner. Continue up blocks and slabs to a small ledge above a tree.

  4. 30 metres - Up the obvious crack behind the belay, which trends left to a small ledge. Pleasantly up the slab above using a thin seam, to the bushy ledge. A further 60 metres of easy slabs leads to the top of the buttress.

FA: Peter Aitchison, Tony Wood (alt.), 1969

2
14 * Lepton Trad 92m

Some good, easy and exposed climbing. A variation on 'Denethor' which follows a rightwards traverse. Start from the second belay.

  1. 24 metres - Climb the groove and wall above to a stance in the corner on the right.

  2. 10 metres - Climb the lichenous wall on the right, and then traverse right to an airy stance.

  3. 18 metres - Continue right along the obvious ledge past a flake to a vertical band of rock of fine texture.

  4. 20 metres - Delightful, easy climbing up the band of rock. Continue up to a ledge with a corner belay.

  5. 20 metres - Climb up the corner and trend right to easy slabs.

FA: Peter Sands, J. Land, 1973

3
17 In Cold Blood Trad 35m

Start at the corner about three metres right of the second pitch of 'Denethor'. Up the corner, move right and climb another corner. Up then slightly left, and up a shallow groove. At the lichen move right to finish up 'Denethor'.

FA: Matthew Larkin, Glenn Jones, 1985

4
17 Fear of Frogs Trad 45m

Just another contrived slab. Arrange protection as for 'Peregrine'. Start about three metres right of 'Counterbalance'. Straight up to the obvious white streak which is followed to a curving ledge. Continue up right of a bush beneath the overlap then move left to finish up 'Peregrine'.

FA: Matthew Larkin, Patricia Blumstein, Glenn Jones, 1985

5
18 Peregrine Trad 70m

Srart at the first belay on 'Counterbalance'.

  1. 45 metres - up as for 'Counterbalance', keeping to the right till a crack at about 10 metres. Up to a ledge and sling a small spike. Move up to a corner and up to the right end of a ledge. Up to and over a large overlap and climb a short corner to a ledge and tree belay.

  2. 25 metres - Up the slab to a corner (about three metres right of the big flake on the top pitch of 'Balance'). Continue to the top.

FA: Matthew Larkin, Glenn Jones, 1985

6
14 * Counterbalance Trad 110m

A good introduction to the slabs, made 'a little serious' by the scarce protection on the second pitch. Start as for 'Denethor'.

  1. 30 metres - Climb the short, hard slab, bulge and slabby corner above (as for 'Denethor) but instead of veering right, head straight up above a small overlap. Belay at the flake or on the ledge (the old tree belay has succumbed).

  2. 45 metres - Up the juggy brown slab trending left to where the holds banish, make a delicate move left to a break then up and slightly left to a scooped recess. Move left, pulling onto curving breaks trending left, then up to broken ledges. The broken ledges trend right (towards Balance) and there is an obvious wide white smear to the left. The next section is run out; head up and to the left crossing the white smear; the holds start to vanish but then reappear as you make your way up and to the left to the double bolt belay as for Steele Breeze.

  3. 15 metres - Traverse right to follow slabby grooves slightly leftwards to the long overlap. Pull right onto a ledge to belay.

  4. 20 metres - Over blocks at the right-hand end of the ledge then up the easy slabs to a large bushy ledge.

FA: Tony Wood, J. Langford, 1969

7
17 * Solantic Trad 120m

A rising traverse of 'The Northern Slabs' from right to left, with some pleasant slab climbing on the second and third pitches. The second pitch is scarier to follow than to lead.

  1. 10 metres - Start as for 'Denethor'. Up the short black slab to a ledge belay.

  2. 40 metres - Delicately left along the vanishing ledge to the overlap and the only protection. Continue left along a smooth horizontal band, and slightly up to the 'Equilibrium' ledge.

  3. 40 metres - Left along the vanishing ledge as for 'Equilibrium', continue delicately left and up (crux) to a V-shaped ledge then left and up to belay right of an overlap.

  4. 25 metres - Left under the overlap and up to a small ledge, then up and left to a mossy groove. Climb the groove and cross the overlap to join 'Sunstroke'.

FA: Peter Riddy, Peter Cocker, 1974

8
18 * Balance Trad 130m

A harder companion route to 'Counterbalance'. Start three metres left of 'Denethor'.

  1. 10 metres - Hard moves up the short black slab (crux) to belay at the left hand edge of the ledge.

  2. 30 metres - Diagonally left then up for seven metres, step back right then straight up to the bulge and a flake. Traverse right to easier ground then back left up a ramp to a recess above the bulge. Originally a poor peg now replaced by double bolt belay.

  3. 45 metres - Diagonally rightwards up the juggy brown slab to join 'Counterbalance'; a delicate step left to a break and up slightly left to a scooped recess. Good climbing directly above (don't veer right!) passes a curving thin ledge. Ease left up to double bolt belay one Steele Breeze/Counter Balance.

  4. 40 metres - Left around the bushes, back right and over slabby ledges to a short corner. Up this to the prominent large flake, undercling rightwards then up the edge. Trend right up the easy slab to finish.

FA: Bill Wilson, R. Warder, 1974

9

danger

Straight up the slab six metres left of the original (at marked start), to the second belay. The first ascent saw a 12 metre slide. In fact most of this potion of slab has been climbed as variant starts. Unprotected.

FA: Mary Kensington, Peter Morris, 1977

10
20 * Stele Breeze Mixed 100m, 1

"If it's got a runner it's not bold!" Start about 12 metres left of 'Balance' beneath two thin flakes.

  1. 45 metres - Up past the two flakes, then up on scoops to the 'Solantic' overlap. Follow 'Solantic' left to the 'Equilibrium' ledge.

  2. 35 metres - Diagonally right to a small area of broken rock and a bolt runner (placed on lead by Rick McGregor on the second ascent). Straight up left of the white water streak to a double bolt belay on a broken ledge (replaces the original sling over the flake).

  3. 20 metres - Directly up the fine brown slab. Move right at the overlap to the third belay of 'Equilibrium'.

FA: Roark Muhlen, 1977

11
20 * Metal Fatigue Trad 90m

A fine direct version of 'Stele Breeze'.

  1. 45 metres - Up past the flakes, then trend slightly right to the base of a prominent overlap (runners). Exit from the top of this on the left, then over a bulge to a scoop and double bolt belay as for Balance (Originally a poor peg).

  2. 45 metres - Straight up the brown slab behind the belay, then more easily up the slab just right of the obvious water streak. Belay on a broken ledge and finish up 'Stele Breeze'.

FA: John Smart, Ray Lassman (alt.), 1978

12

The best climb on 'The Northern Slabs'. Climb the first pitch of 'Metal Fatigue' and then traverse left to the second pitch of 'Stele Breeze'.

FA: Unknown

13
19 Total Control Trad 45m

danger

Up the unprotected slab between 'Stele Breeze' and 'Rock Lobster', joining 'Solantic', originally soloed to 'allay boredom'!

FA: Mike Law-Smith, John Smart (solo), 1982

14
22 Rock Lobster Trad 90m

The first five metres is the crux. Start under the black slab six metres left of 'Stele Breeze'.

  1. 45 metres - Straight up to join 'Solantic'. Belay on the 'Equilibrium' ledge. Leave your rack with your second.

  2. 45 metres (unprotected?) - Move right for three metres, then straight up the slab just right of the dark brown water stain. The climbing eases off after 30 metres.

FA: Roark Muhlen, Paul Daniel, 1980

15
22 Rounge Lizard Trad 35m

danger

Just another unprotected slab route to fill in the space. Start a few metres left of 'Rock Lobster'. It was inspected on top-rope before the first ascent.

FA: John Smart (solo), 1982

16
22 Tip Stripper Trad 35m

Another gap filler, but with a bolt for a bit of variety. Up the slab from the marked start, with hard moves past the bolt, over the bulge.

FA: Mike Law-Smith, 1982

17
22 Basilisk Trad 35m

danger

An unprotected version of 'Tip Stripper', which starts about five metres to its left. Takes a parallel line with the hard moves at the bulge.

FA: Richard Watts (solo), 1984

18

danger

A hard and better variation, with delicate friction climbing and no protection. Start five metres right and up from the original, on the top of a large flake. Up and slightly right (there was once a poor branch runner here, but the tree has succumbed), then follow the break beneath the bulge left to a brown water mark. Up this to the ledge.

FA: Roark Muhlen et al., 1976

19
17 *** Equilibrium Mixed 150m, 2

Quality climbing and relatively good protection make this one of the more popular routes in the area. The start is marked with a faint "E" and is located approximately 50m left of Denethor. This is around 10m right of Sunstroke.

  1. 50m (15*) A rope stretcher. Climb the left slainting groove for approximately 20m. Traverse right to sloping ledge and long break (cams). Head up the slab above to DBB rap station.
  2. 35m (17**) The money pitch. Traverse left and up to first bolt. Directly up to vertical break and 2nd bolt. Keep padding away to tree belay.
  3. 45m (17) A long traverse right broken up by a crack through the overlap. Keep going right until the corner is reached. This is the 3rd belay on Counterbalance. Scramble off left or;
  4. 25m (10) Over blocks and up low angled slabs to shrubery (as for Counterbalance).

Rebolted 2011.

FA: Peter Aitchison, Peter Cocker, 1969

20
17 Entropy Trad 28m

danger

An unprotected variant of the second pitch of 'Equilibrium', first climbed by mistake and 'protected' with a taped-on sling. Climb the slab directly above the belay, trending slightly left as you go.

FA: Chris Larque, Damien Jones, Peter Mills, 1974

21
19 ** Just in Passing Trad 85m

Named because of the slide past on the bolt on the first attempt. The first pitch is contrived, but the second is a fine direct slab climb. Start beneath a black slab midway between 'Equilibrium' and 'Sunstroke'.

  1. 50 metres - Up the slab to a recess, over a bulge then up the slab and groove above. Step right from just below the top of the groove and move up three metres to a short diagonal crack and runners. Continue diagonally right to climb a vertical break then step left at the top for a semi-hanging belay on nuts (next to the crux of the third pitch of 'Solantic'.)

  2. 35 metres - Straight up the cleaned slab above, passing one bolt. Easy slabs lead to tree belays at the overlap. Finish as for 'Equilibrium'.

FA: Paul Daniel, Mike Law-Smith, John Smart, Geoff Robertson, 1982

22
9 ** Sunstroke Trad 120m

An easy, popular classic. Climbed on a searing summer's day, it was the first climb done on 'The Northern Slabs', taking the line of least resistance. Start at a slanting crack eight metres left of 'Equilibrium'.

  1. 40 metres - Rightwards up the crack to start, then follow the groove leftwards to a sloping ledge. Belay at some wedged blocks.

  2. 20 metres - Doddle leftwards up the groove to a tree belay in the corner.

  3. 25 metres - Through the tree, up the wall on the right, left and up the steepening groove. Continue to a tree and ledge on the right.

  4. 35 metres - Up the twin grooves to a large terrace covered with loose rock.

This is often run together into two pitches (1/2, 3/4) rather than four.

FA: Peter Aitchison, Ian Raine, 1968

23
9 Sunstroke Variant Trad 45m

2b. 20 metres - From the first belay, climb the groove for six metres and traverse right to a parallel crack; climb this and the large blocks to a good stance. 3b. 25 metres - Move left across the slab, back to the main groove and third belay.

FA: Unknown

24
17 Sunday Stroll Trad 50m

Just what Booroomba needs - another route on 'The Northern Slabs'. Takes a fairly direct line between 'Sunstroke' and 'Bird of Prey'.

FA: Harry "Bumperbar" Luxford, Kevin Westren, 1984

25
17 ** Bird of Prey Trad 60m

One of the better slabs of the grade. Start just to the left of a flake resting against the slab 15 metres left of 'Sunstroke'.

  1. 25 metres - a technical start. Delicately up for seven metres, step right to a small ledge, then straight up to belay on 'Sunstroke'.

  2. 35 metres - danger - superb but unprotected. Move right over broken rock, back left up a short ramp then straight up the slab to the overlap. Belay stance on the right. Finish up 'Equilibrium', 'Solantic', or 'Tachyon.'

FA: Paul Daniel, John Carlson, Mike Peck, 1979

26
18 Sleepwalker Trad 110m

Quite good, similar to Solantic. Start at the bottom of the small corner four metres up and left of Bird of Prey.

  1. 25 Metres - Up the corner, step left onto the slab, then trend righwards up this to the first Sunstroke belay.

  2. 35 metres - A rising traverse right along the obvious weakness for 15 metres, then across and slightly down to the Equilibrium ledge.

  3. 30 metres - Crux. Move right and up to the bolt (as for the second pitch of Stele Breeze), then traverse delicately across the white water streak. Move down and right to the second Balance belay (a recess with a peg).

  4. 20 metres - Traverse rightwards straight across the slab to a finish on the Denethor ledge.

FA: Neil and Phil Montgomery (var.), Donna Mrockowski, 1979

27
15 Ephemeros Trad 75m

A pleasant doddle. Start the slab five metres right of Tachyon.

  1. 25 metres - Straight up the slab to a tree belay (second belay on Sunstroke)

  2. 25 metres - Continue up the slab on the right of the tree to a small ledge

  3. 15 metres - Up on the slab and a rib of rock to a good ledge

  4. 10 metres - Climb the wall above the ledge to a bush, then continue to another ledge. Alternatively, and more easily, move a few metres right and climb the short wall above. Traverse right and finish up a crack.

FA: Peter Sands, Tony Wood (var.), 1971

28
14 Tachyon Trad 80m

Wanders all over the place. Take a map and compass. Start at the overlap with a crack on the left edge of the main expanse of slabs.

  1. 25 metres - Layback the pleasant crack to a tree belay (second belay on Sunstroke)

  2. 20 metres - Climb up to the right of the tree, then traverse right and slightly up to a bush. Belay on the ledge above.

  3. 35 metres - Step down and traverse right below a dirty corner. Up this a little and left onto the slab. Climb the right edge of the slab and surmount the overlap to finish up a slab to a good ledge. Finish up the last pitch of Ephemeros.

FA: Peter Sands, Tony Wood (var), 1971

29
16 Eagle Eye Direct Trad 65m

Pleasant, clean slab climbing on the upper pitches. Start three metres left of Tachyon below a prominent flake.

  1. 15 metres - Crux. Up the steep, unprotected slab for six metres, then leftwards up to the vegetated ramp. Belay behind a large flake.

  2. 15 metres - Climb the wall and slab above to a ledge on Sunstroke.

  3. 35 metres - Climb the rbi then slab on the left of the Sunstroke grooves.

FA: Ian Taylor, Tony Wood (#1), 1970

30
9 Eagle Eye Trad 230m

An utterly worthless girdle of this area. Start 12 metres left of Tachyon and wander easily rightwards, up and down for 225 metres or so. See the 1976 guide (if you can!) if you want to do this.

FA: J. Langford, Tony Wood (alt.), 1970

31
8 ** Drunken Delight Trad 80m

Worth the walk if you're not too hung-over, with amazing scoopy rock on the latter pitches. Start as for 'Eagle Eye'.

  1. 20 metres - Climb the left slanting crack and ramp to the left.

  2. 30 metres - Climb the white slabby wall above to a small sloping ledge.

  3. 30 metres - Finish up the slab.

FA: Tony Wood, K. Warner (var.), A. George, 1970

32
11 Prohibition Trad 72m

An easy slab with a surprisingly exposed second pitch. Start as for 'Drunken Delight'.

  1. 12 metres - Climb the slanting crack to the foot of the ramp.

  2. 20 metres - Diagonally right on the slab above the ramp for five metres, to a recess, then straight up to a ledge with a large block.

  3. 40 metres - Diagonally right on a weakness and up the right edge of the slab.

FA: Tony Wood, Ian Taylor, 1970

33
21 Picnic Trad 20m

"For those who like the taste of something smooth, with a few crunchy bits for spice" - Paul Daniel. Start 10 metres left and downhill from 'Drunken Delight', where a large flake has been prised from the slab. Up for five metres, step left and up to the bolt. Tricky moves to get standing on the horizontal band, then delicately straight up to the big ledge on 'Drunken Delight'.

FA: Paul Daniel, Mike Peck, 1985

34
22 Bounty Trad 25m

A serious lead. Start 15 metres left of 'Picnic' at a thin crack in front of a big tree. Climb up to beneath a bulge (#2 RP). Step left and face-climb leftwards up the bulge. Move onto the slab and traverse back right to a scoop and a #4 RP. Easy climbing leads to the top.

FA: Mike Law-Smith, Paul Daniel, Noel Ward, 1986

35
9 Aquanaut Trad 60m

Start 30 metres left of 'Drunken Delight' at a small, rightwards, vegetated ramp.

  1. 30 metres - Up the ramp, then up a slab from a flake. Belay at the left end of a ramp.

  2. 30 metres - Left, then up the slabby wall and right to a small sloping ledge. Finish up the third pitch of 'Drunken Delight'.

FA: Ian Taylor, Tony Wood, 1970

36
8 Melmoth Trad 80m

Yet another easy slab. Start six metres left of 'Aquanaut' at a wide, shallow groove with incipient cracks.

  1. 30 metres - Up the groove to a vegetated ledge.

  2. 20 metres - Leftwards to the top left of a large scoop.

  3. 30 metres - Straight up to a ledge.

FA: J. Hoskins, 1971

37
8 Euripus Trad 75m

Parallel to 'Melmoth', starting four metres to the left.

  1. 30 metres - Follow the crack line to a small tree.

  2. 10 metres - Easily left to a large block.

  3. 25 metres - Directly up the dark water stain.

  4. 10 metres - Climb the short wall on hollow rock.

FA: John Armstrong, 1971

38
11 Staircase Trad 45m

Start 30 metres up the hillside from 'Euripus'.

  1. 12 metres - Climb the slab trending left to finish atop the overlap.

  2. 33 metres - Climb the overhang (crux) on good holds, then straight up a slab.

FA: J. Hoskins, 1971

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