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Description

An intoduction by Cameron Fairbairn

For years, the minions of the Maharaji guarded Ivory Rock from the prying interests of passing climbers. This huge unclimbed horseshoe buttress is visible from the road as you travel to Frog. For us it was always the beacon for Mt Flinders. Passed jokingly around the campfire, generations of 'Queensland' climbers have heard stories of secret cults guarding this cool formation. I remember years previously stopping at the "conference" centre to be turned away by security and being told to go to Mt Flinders further up the road if I wanted to climb something; in retrospect I should have listened to them then! In the last year we've been chased down and photographed, abruptly refused entry, and outright ignored by thousands of the Premies cultists when we questioned them about their gatherings. Visit ex-premie.org for the full story of this shady organisation. Anyway, just don't try to talk to them, they get very upset.

Mt Flinders' actual climbing history began very late, it wasn't until 2000 that '80s guru Kim Carrigan started developing a buttress on the summit ridge. Kim established six steep, sport climbs graded from 21 to 26 and a potential grade 29 project. Now, when we say steep we mean 'Queensland' steep; the wall is about forty metres high, ten degrees overhung and is north-east facing, so gets mid-arvo shade. After these routes were revealed in the pages of Rock, more climbers started checking Flinders out and in early 2001 Ross Ferguson started developing another wall on the opposite side of the ridge. Ross established six or so mixed routes of moderate grades, but on one occasion returned to find access to the mountain closed. The access gate locked and signs of indefinite closure due to remote area access surveys. What? So Ross did the final trek in for his gear and decided, disheartened, not to return. The reason for the closure, we believe, was due to an erosion hole forming in the main walking track about two-feet round. The new trail now bypasses this hole which, amazingly, is an erosion point into the back end of our recent major discovery, 'The Secret Cave'.

During Mt Flinders' closure, climbing was mostly forgotten. Then early this year Glen Foley called me to say he'd done a recon up to Kim's wall and had spied some new lines and would I be interested. He also told me about a rumoured cave some friends of his had stumbled upon five years earlier. We went there for Kim's wall, but when we found the cave all else was forgotten. 'The Secret Cave' is sixty metres high, but from twenty to fifty metres overhanging with the main wall being about twenty metres height at 60°- 80°. We had found the steepest terrain in QLD, or I should say rediscovered. We found a line of old 8mm hardware down the right wall of the cave that belonged to Frey Yule. We think he checked out the cave about five years previously but then moved interstate. The cave is SSW facing, so no sun all year round and only a 40min drive from 'Brisbane'. Unfortunately, there is also the 2.5km, 40min uphill walk in as well. The rock is solid volcanic trachyte with formations uncommon in Queensland; it's a mixture of fused blocks, huecos, crystallised slopers and hard crimps - the holds can be quite sharp. Some of the easier routes like 'The Nightmare of Milky Joe' (23) and 'Never Ask the Moon' (22) are super-fun cut-loose jug fests.

Early in the piece, Glen established 'Wet Jigsaw Puzzle' (25) a short pump fest that climbs out of the steepest part of the wall. To add to this he climbed 'King of the Mods' (29), adding to only a handful of 29s in 'Queensland'. Then the numbers rolled, I freed my project after my food was spiked 'Like a Man on Pepperoni' (28), possibly the steepest climb in 'Queensland'. That was until Glen equipped his, an 80° blank arête project, 'A Space Odyssey' 25m ? (all we know is its significantly harder than King of the Mods). At the time of writing this article, all the moves go; Glen is just contemplating the need to clip in on the crux low on the climb.

'The Secret Cave' consists of two developed areas: the steep main wall and a right hand wall which, although not as steep as the main wall, offers some challenging climbing. 'Terminus of Desire' (25) climbs from under the large undeveloped overhang. This route will be used to access the steeper upper wall which has the potential for a couple of super hard routes. With all this new development Ross returned to develop what he hoped would be a nice easy sub-20 warm up. He ended up establishing 'Finger Tips and Mountain Tops' (23), an intricate crimp-fest climbing above the lip of this right-hand buttress. Ross then established 'Song and Dance Man' (27) a steep juggy start into a hard crimper sequence. Glen the power monkey campused his way to glory on Backstroke of the West (26) while another buddy of ours Antoine Moussette battled scorpion-eating spiders on 'The French Connection' (27).

There is still so much more to do. Hard unclimbed projects, the undeveloped upper wall and the central cave section as well as some creative batman starts. 'The Secret Cave' has proved to be a valuable asset to 'Queensland' climbing, not only in the unique steep terrain, but also in the addition of ever increasing harder sport climbs in 'Queensland'.

Getaway Stats

When to go: All day, any day. Providing you can handle the heat on the walk-in.

Routes: Bolted steep sport. 12 routes, 7 projects and grades from 23 - 29

© (nmonteith)

Approach

From the Cunningham 'Highway' take the Ipswich Boonah Road, and then just before Peak Crossing, take Mount Flinders Road. Once at the Mount Flinders car park follow the summit trail for 2.5km about 40 min up hill.

This area is been closed at the moment. Please do not proceed Further. Stay on track as hicking is the only authorized activity at the moment.

© (nmonteith)

Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)

Routes

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Grade Route
1

Lets be honest, you didn't come here to climb 17's. Eaiser to climb as two pitches. Tred carefully at beginning of second pitch has some fragile rock.

  1. 10m (12)

  2. 15m (17)

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

2
22 Never Ask the Moon Sport 25m, 8

This line became the classic introduction to Flinder's rock. The climbing is fun and there's jugs whenever you need them…clean the 4th draw after you climb past it.

FA: Antoine Moussette, 2007

3

Slightly more demanding and steeper than its little brother. Climbs the first three bolts of #4 then straight up! The upper grove is a delight. Will need a long runner on third bolt.

FA: Glen Foley, Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

4
29 * King of the Mods Sport 15m

Ok the walls getting steeper and this was the first test piece established on the crag. Have a good rest at 3rd and power through dynamic moves of the first crux, insubstantial holds see you to the top roof and second crux.

FA: Glen Foley, 2007

5
25 *** Wet Jigsaw Puzzle Sport 15m

This second climb established at the cliff is a demanding steep route, start from the little cave. Avoid doing a double heel hook no hands rest at 3rd and you'll walk away without ruptured abbs like visiting Brit Ben Heason!

FA: Glen Foley, Aden, Nathaniel, 2007

6
27 The Stolen Generation Unknown 15m

FA: Geoff Hall

7

It's a pity this line is a pitch off the ground. Solid rock and fun exposed climbing in an overhanging corner. Best accessed from #3 but #2 will get you there also.

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

8

An unfinished line! Anyone Keen?

9
28 *** Like a Man on Pepperoni Sport 20m, 6

Are you wearing long pants? Do you enjoy knee bars? Take a long runner for 5th bolt then commit to those heel hooks and enjoy the air below you. 2nd pitch is not completely established.

  1. 20m (28) - 6 bolts

  2. 17m (-) 'Open Project' above the anchor. All the way to the lip of the cave.

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

10

Starts 2m to the right of #11. Give your eyes time to adjust. Interesting climbing into the back of the cave.

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

11
25 Short Sighted Unknown 8m

FA: 2008

14
27 *** The French Connection Sport 20m, 9

Tricky move to get establish on the Shield. After a good shake at the knee bar, get under the blank bombe and punch to the Anchor

FA: Antionne

15
25 ** Terminus of Desire Sport 15m

Starts at the small slab. Unique holds and fun climbing see you to and through the corner. The original ending saw you clipping the chains from devious crimpers!

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

16

Stick clip first. Climbs the first 3 bolts of 'The French Connection' then splits right. If you're like Glen you can just campus the crux!

FA: Glen Foley, 2007

17

Stick clip first bolt. Short and sweet straight up!

FA: Gareth Llewellin, 2007

18
27 ** Song and Dance Man Sport 15m

Ross pulled himself out of a slump and sent this in 26 shots, about 4 every weekend for many weekends! Stick clip first bolt. This beautiful right sweeping, ever hardening line is worth singing and dancing about!

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

20

A break from the steep stuff. An intricate crimp fest. Technical climbing around and above the lip of the cave.

FA: Ross Fergason, 2007

21
32 *** A Space Odyssey Sport 25m, 11

The longest, steepest, hardest line on the cliff. For the time being.

22
29 * Entergalactic Ceiling Sport 15m, 7

Start from the small boulder. Powerful over horizontal moves through the ceiling then up the hard steep wall above.

23

Climbs direct into the crux of 'Song and Dance Man' and direct out of it's crux into the small corner on the left.

FA: Equipped Gareth Llewelin, 2000

24
29 Glen's Project Sport 21m, 9

Start as for Adam's project then branch left. This thing is steep and hard like #4

25
* Mega Offwith Sport 16m, 4

Enter mega steep territory. You find yourself above the lip of main roof on virgin territory. Unfinished Project.