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From Armidale take the Grafton/Dorrigo Road for approx. 79km to the turn-off to the park. Follow the dirt road for 7km. to the Barokee Rest Area. Park here then follow the walking track for approx. 2km. to the walls of Cathedral Rock. All climbs, except 'Morlock', are on the sunny 'North side'.
The best time to climb here is autumn, late spring or on a still, sunny winter’s day. Take out all your rubbish and no fires please.
Due to the popularity of other crags in the Armidale/New England area, Cathedral Rock hasn’t produced many new routes since its discovery as a climbing area in 1979. The history of this crag spans only two years. In the first of those two years, 1979, access to the cliff was more reminiscent of a minor bush-walk. For the second part of this history, 1984, access was greatly improved with a picnic/camping area and a pleasant track leading to the crag.
In 1979 Ed Sharp convinced Al Stephens that there was a huge amount of rock to climb at Cathedral Rock. In those days there was a locked gate at the aqueduct. Bushwalkers parked here and walked several kilometres down the road, then cross-country to the rock. Ed and Al, being very cunning, phoned the D.C.A.(who administer the Radar on Round Mountain) and convinced them to leave the gate open for them. They drove to the bottom of the hill (the site of the current gate) then walked across to the rock. After some exploring they found and completed 'Morlock' (14), a climb that goes from one side of the rock to the other. They realised the great potential of the place but didn’t return until several years later.
1984 was quite a huge year for Cathedral Rock. Stephens convinced Larry Dixon of the possibility of new routes waiting in the warm winter sun. Stephens led 'Soft Touch' (17), in May and they returned in June for Dixon to lead 'Day Dream' (12), while Stephens did the big chimney 'We Won’t Get Fooled Again' (16). Stephens returned the same month with Richard Curtis to put up two climbs on the isolated pillar to the left of the walk-in track. Curtis glided up 'Tontons Macoutes' (22) while from the same start Stephens went up, did a backward somersault off, then up again, 'Street Café' (21). In August Stephens led Brian Birchall up the chimney 'Instrument Of Revenge' (17). Paul (Animal) Colyvan got wind of the possibility of new routes and in December, with Birchall and Simon Gay put up the very scary and dangerous 'Cheap Regrets' (22). The same month Colyvan returned with Stephens and Dixon to do 'Bangin’ Beava' (24).
Well that’s it for now. There are still some cracks left but the best routes will be the walls and faces littered with chicken heads. Protection will require the use of modern technology. It’s all there waiting for you!
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