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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)

Access issues inherited from Flinders Peak (limited access)

Please respect the local roads and residents, keep gates closed at all times and do not leave any gear or rubbish in the cave. Tread lightly and stick to the trail on the way to and from the crag.



Access via Mt Elliott Rd which is off Undulla Rd. Stay on Mt Elliott Rd til you come to a gate. Go through and close it behind you. You eventually come to 2 gates. The right one is clearly someone's house. Take the left gate, drive to the end (Bumpy dirt road) and park somewhere without blocking the Gate or the road. Follow the fire trail for 5 mins, to an intersection with a yellow SFT marker. Turn left (uphill). Soon you arrive at another yellow SFT marker. Left again onto the faint trail. Follow through the trees to a clearing and Head left immediately. You should be able to follow this now well developed trail all the way to the crag without much trouble. At the small gear cave, scramble up the rock just left where the log leans agàinst the wall.

© (nmonteith)


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


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Grade Route

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

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.

Set by Tristan Baskerville, 2007

FA: Antoine Moussette, 2007


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

FA: Glen Foley & Cameron Fairbairn, 2007


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 "The Nightmare of Milky Joe" but "Never Ask the Moon" will get you there also.

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

27 ** 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 head straight into the first crux, solved with some fancy beta. Take care clipping the 5th, shake out and then punch through the final roof to the anchor.

FA: Glen Foley, 2007

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! (5th bolt issue with rock cutting the dog bone has been fixed, and a fresh draw is on.)

FA: Glen Foley, Aden & Nathaniel, 2007


A relentless line, that will pump you all the way to the chains.

Set by Glen Foley

FA: Geoff Hall

31 to 33 * (Project - Adam Donoghue) Sport 18m, 5

Mega hard line up some seriously steep and blank looking territory.

First section (5 bolts) was bolted by Adam Donoghue back in the day. The next section (5 bolts) have since been placed with the possibility of it extending even further. This thing will be hard!

Set by Adam Donogue & Sam Bowman

27 *** Like a Man on Pepperoni Sport 20m 2, 9

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) - 9 bolts

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

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

28 *** Dr Pepper Sport 25m

Start up 'LAMOP' to 5th bolt then go right 6 more bolts to Space Odyssey's anchor. A long pumpy route.

FFA: Duncan Steel, 2015

FA: Duncan Steel, 2015

30 *** A Space Odyssey Sport 25m, 11

The steepest and hardest line on the cliff. For the time being. Begin off the big cheese Boulder right of LAMOP

Set by Glen Foley, 2006

FFA: Sam Bowman, 2015

28 * Event Horizon Sport 14m, 7

Start as for the first 3 bolts of 'Entergalactic Ceiling' then branches left and up sustained head wall. Finishes at anchors of 'Entergalactic Ceiling'.

Set by Dan Gordon, 2016

FFA: Sam Bowman, 2016

27 *** Entergalactic Ceiling Sport 15m, 7

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

Set by Cameron F

FA: anon, 2015

27 * Galactic Arachnid Sport 25m, 13

The extension to Entergalactic Ceiling. Continues from the chains across the cave to finish on the anchors of Saxicoline. Long and pumpy. Definitely harder than "Entergalactic Ceiling" but probably not by a full grade. Adds a whole lot more fun climbing to an already awesome route.

Set by Johnny Schwartz & Sam Bowman, 2015

FFA: Lucy Stirling, 2016

27 ** One Man Space Race Sport 25m, 14

Climb Entergalactic Ceiling then bust under past the fridge block of doom and head up the runnel. The link from the first bolt to the second of the extension is bold. A fun super pump lactic fest.

To reduce drag perform some trickery at the start of EC; clipping the next, then unclipping the last for bolts 2,3 and 4. Then when safe, the belayer or a friend can unclip the first bolt from the ground. A long sling with a revolver biner on the last bolt of EC helps with drag also. Avoid the temptation of clipping EC's anchor.

Set by Alexander Turnbull & anon, 2016

FFA: Lucy Stirling, 2016

32 Astrobatics Sport 25m, 14

Mega extension of 'Event Horizon'. After the last draw of 'Event Horizon' head right across cheese blocks and then continue right and then up the compact head wall.

Set by Sam Bowman & Johnny Schwartz, 2016

FFA: Sam bowman, 2016


Starts 2m to the right of "Entergalactic Ceiling". Give your eyes time to adjust. Interesting climbing into the back of the cave.

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

25 * Short Sighted Sport 8m, 4

Short roof problem 4 meters R of VA. Finishes as for VA's anchor. Fun.

FFA: Ross Ferguson, 2008

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2008

27 ** Cosmic Caveman Sport 18m, 10

Starts up the back of the cave, 5m right of 'Short Sighted'. Take care to 4th, then super steep inverted madness for 2 bolts. Bust along the hanging wall traverse to a rest, then escape the rooflet and power up the headwall to the anchor.

Set by Tom Reid, 2016

FA: Tom Reid, 2016

FFA: Tom Reid, 2016


Really fun punchy little climb. Starts on the left side of the big hanging down boob/udder at the back right side of the cave. Stick Clip the first bolt as a tumble down the slope will make the walk out very unpleasant.

The Vallecula Groove (Project) Sport Project 8m, 4

In the steep grotto on the right side of the cave. Starts way at the back and traverses left wall to join anchors of TVM. Closed project.

Set by Kenny Walker

28 ** The Valsalva Manoeuvre Sport 8m, 6

In the grotto. Scramble up to ledge belay. Short but very steep out ceiling. One for the boulderers! Bust out a Valsalva manoeuvre to reach to chains before the lip ;-) The extension is still a closed project.

Set by Kenny Walker

FFA: Kenny Walker, 2016


Extends TVM around the lip and up the headwall past another 4 bolts to anchors. Adds a grade and some great resistance climbing on pockets. Closed project.

FA: Kenny Walker

Set by Kenny Walker

24 ** Saxicoline Sport 20m, 10

Super steep and super classic climbing up and through the almost improbable (for grade 24) looking line that finishes at the top of the cave chamber. It overhangs a solid 12 meters but the good holds just keep on coming!

Set by ross ferguson

FFA: ross ferguson, 2015

FA: ross ferguson, 2015

*** To Infinty and Beyond Sport Project 30m, 7

Start "Saxicoline" but break right to get just above the lip following a series pockets to a big hueco. Keep pushing and turn around the lip. Closed, bolting to be completed.

Set by Andrew Lightfoot & radest, 2015

30 * Desperado Sport 32m

Start up Saxicoline then sneak under and around the lip out onto the main face. Traverse out left along seam,then head up the righthand set of bolts through some big powerful moves on the head wall. If you're on heavily grinded holds, you're on route.

Set by Nate Foster & Sebastian l

FFA: Sebastian, 2016

29 old greg variante Sport Project 98

Keep traversing left above the lip on before you get to the teats Then go up compact headwall.

Set by paul

25 ** Terminus of Desire Sport 15m, 8

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

26 *** The French Connection Sport 20m, 9

Tricky move to get established on the shield. After a good shake at the knee bar, get under the blank bombe and punch to the anchor up high. Start from the big belay ledge down hill from Saxicoline. Up for 4 bolts to the shield, hard Boulder problem, then pump your way to the chains. The original finish saw you heading left to the other anchor (slightly harder), but it seems this has become the most popular way to do the route.

Set by Antoine Moussette, 2008

FA: Antoine Moussette, 2008

Radest Sport Project 22m

Do The French Connection and get into the steep shallow corner to the left of FCUK.

Set by radest, 2015

* FCUK Sport Project 31m, 14

Climb "The French Connection" and punch through the upper overhang. Envisioned many years ago but got shot down. Please stay off.

Set by radest, 2015


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

24 * Hilltop Hoods Sport 8m

Finishes at "Talking with the Tax Man" anchors.

Set by ross ferguson, 2015

FFA: ross ferguson, 2015

FA: ross ferguson, 2015


Stick clip first bolt. Short and sweet straight up!

FA: Gareth Llewellin, 2007

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


Climbs direct through the steepness into the crux of 'Song and Dance Man'.

FFA: ross ferguson

FA: Equipped Gareth Llewelin, 2000

27 * Siesta Sport 25m, 13

Bouldery sequences leading into technical crimps, climbing through to Fingertips and Mountain tops anchors. Clipping first bolt of OEUT with 600 sling, third bolt 600 sling and 7th bolt is a touch right using a 600 sling.

Set by Glenn Ferguson, 2016

FFA: Cal, 2016


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

FA: Ross Fergason, 2007

* Mega Offwith Sport 16m, 4

From the ACAQ route register this appears to be a partial project that finished half way up Desparado, on the topo it starts 20m off the ground... climb 13 on http://www.climb.org.au/upload2/1038.jpg


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