Frog Buttress Mostly trad climbing

393 routes in crag

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Summary

Crack climbing par excellence. While the cracks aren't pure splitters, they are very, very excellent!

Description

First aid

Should an accident occur, you will note a sign at the base of the descent gully stating "Left" and "Right" sides. This is in the event that you have to ring the SES or other emergency services, and need to indicate the correct side of the crag for the emergency services to attend. As you are walking down, the side to your right is the "Right" side, and the left is the "Left". Mobile phone reception at the cliff is good, but reception in the campground and car park is dodgy to say the least.

In an emergency call: 000 and ask for the relevant emergency service (112 for mobiles). Alternatively, the Boonah Hospital is open 24 hours, and can be found on Leonard St (just off the main street). The phone number is: (07) 5463 3300.

Rock and Rack

The rhyolite at Frog makes for excellent vertical, parallel-sided crack systems. The rock is usually bombproof, although the occasional small flake does tend to peel off. As such, between 1 - 2 racks of cams would be handy. Crack size varies as much as can be imagined. However, a standard rack of cams from fingers up to fist size will cover most routes.

Most of the routes below grade 26 have been led before cams, the protection found from hexes and nuts is nothing short of excellent. (You also get beard stroking points for climbing on hexes only). Bolts can be found on the unprotected faces and arêtes, and some are the older style carrot bolts. As such 3 - 5 bolt brackets will definitely come in handy. Dodgy pitons from eons ago can also be found, clip at your own risk! 4 to 5 screw gates, 8 - 16 draws and a helmet (lots of loose stuff at the top) will complete your rack. A 60m rope comes in handy, but is not a necessity. Two ropes are required to get off the longer routes.

Weather and comfort

The best time to climb at Frog is between April and September. Perfect winter climbing can be enjoyed with long mild days, cool nights and perfect friction. Climbing during summer is possible for the sadomasochistic. However, it is usually restricted to a 5am start, finishing at around 10-11am. Mozzies and rain are also far more prevalent during summer.

Credit for crag description above and most route descriptions: A Cheap and Nasty Guide to Frog Buttress. Andrew Martin

Access issues

Access to Frog was recently restricted due to a phytophthora outbreak.

The rangers have installed a boot scrub station. Please use these and help prevent the spread.of the disease.

For more information, see here: http://queenslandclimbing.yuku.com/topic/7354/Update-on-Frog-Closure

Approach

Mt French can be found 100km South West of Brisbane, situated on the outskirts of the small country town of Boonah.

From Brisbane

The quickest way is to go towards Ipswich on the Ipswich motorway. Just before Ipswich there are two left exits. UPDATE: Don't take either exit. Instead continue straight ahead following signs for Warwick and the Cunningham Hwy. Drive along this for 13km to take the "Boonah" exit. Take this turn and follow the signs.

From the Gold Coast

The quickest way is to go through the townships of Nerang, Canungra, and then Beaudesert.

From the West

The quickest way is to turn East at Warwick onto the Cunningham Highway. Turn off right about 5km past Aratula at a prominent Intersection towards Boonah.

After arriving in Boonah, proceed South through the main street past the famous Flavours Café, until you arrive at the equally famous Dugandan Hotel. Turn right here, and follow the signs to Mount French National Park.

From the carpark

From the car park, walk towards the toilets. Take the path that branches left (marked North Lookout) and follow this for about 100m. Take the obvious dirt track that branches off left, and follow the steep track down to the cliff. The obvious chimney on the left is climb no. 158 Clockwork Orange Corner kk 13.

Credit: A Cheap and Nasty Guide to Frog Buttress. Andrew Martin

Where to stay

The campsites can be found about 150m East of the car park. Go past the toilet block for about 15m, and the path to the campsite will be found to your left. This area has a very limited number of sites available, and it is therefore essential to pre-book if you want to be assured of a campsite. Permits are not valid until full payment has been made, so it is advisable to pay in advance. Bookings can be made by visiting the Qld Parks web site: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/moogerah-peaks/

UPDATE: There are no options for payment at the campground. Fees are $5.60 per person per night, with family discounts available.

Camp fires are strictly prohibited outside of the camping area, and fires may only be lit within the designated fire places that are provided. Firewood collection within the National Park is also strictly prohibited. The use of generators within the campsite is not encouraged. Toilets and running water are located in the toilet blocks adjacent to the campsite.

Alternative (far more expensive) accommodation can be found in Boonah at the hotels, or in the caravan park.

Credit: A Cheap and Nasty Guide to Frog Buttress. Andrew Martin

Ethic

Frog is seen by some as the last bastion of "hard man" ethics in Qld. It features predominantly naturally protected crack climbing of the highest quality.

Therefore it is not Kangaroo Point or Nowra, and anybody expecting to come to Frog on a sport climbing mission should pack up their draws and lycra pants and go back there. Retro bolting is severely frowned upon, and bolts are to be placed only on first ascents if there is no protection of any kind available. (Bolting is technically illegal in national parks, be warned). Failure to follow this simple rule could see the bolts chopped and the offender dragged into the bushes by strange bearded men, and then clubbed to death by No. 8 hexes.

Chipping of holds is strictly forbidden, and budding sculptors should piss off. If you can't do the climb, don't lower it to your standard, instead, raise your standard to the level of the climb! Top roping is frowned upon, more so because setting up top anchors can be quite difficult and even dangerous due to the very loose nature of the top of the cliff.

Large portable stereos also seem to have an unfortunate habit of having rocks land on them! Bury toilet waste well away from the walking track, and please carry all rubbish out with you!

Credit: A Cheap and Nasty Guide to Frog Buttress. Andrew Martin

History

In the beginning...

According to the Joe Lynch Guide Book, the history of Frog was as follows:

> Then God commanded, "Let there be Frog Buttress, to separate pro-weighters from climbers". When the Lord created Frog, there were no climbers. Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for rock to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him". While the rock lay asleep, God took a piece of rhyolite. He formed a climber from this piece and brought it unto the cliff. "Here at last is one of a rare quantity - rock from my cliff". That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with the rock, and they become one. The climber and the rock were naked, but they were not embarrassed. So be it.

> — The Gospel according to Dave Moss

Most historians, however, would agree that on 9 November 1968, Rick White and Chris Meadows decided to go and check out the cliff that looked like "no more than an insignificant scar on the North-Western flanks of the unassuming but picturesque Mt French". (Camps)

What they discovered, however, was the premier climbing location in South-East Queensland and some would argue, in all of Queensland. On that day, White and Meadows put up the Corner of Eden. They named the cliff "Paradise Lost", although the nickname of Frog (from Mt. French) stuck over time. This route was but a small indicator of the potential that the cliff had to offer, and this was made further apparent by the face that, by 1970, a further 50+ routes had been added, and 2 mini-guide books had already been published

The 1970's

The 70's saw a massive influx of climbing talent, and a commensurate jump in both the number and the difficulty of the routes that Frog had to offer. In the early 70's, major routes such as the mighty Odin, Conquistador, Venom and Juggernaut had all appeared, and, even by 1971, the guide by Rick White and Ron Collett had over 100 routes listed!

Over the next 5 years, climbers such as Ted Cais, Rick White and Henry Barber all had enormous impact upon the cliff, with the establishment of routes such as Black Light, Child in Time, Insomnia (the first 23 in Australia), Devil's Dihedral, Deliverance etc. Barber in particular almost single handedly raised the standard of climbing a Frog (and indeed in Australia) with his whirlwind tour of the country. Henry climbed 25 first ascents in 3 days all in impeccable style, including soloing Magical Mystery Tour in the boots that he had walked off the plane in, as a way to get back up to the top camp after a hard day climbing! It took years for the locals to catch up.

By the end of 1978, routes such as Wild One, Paranoia, Old Guard and Impulse were all freed, and the prime movers behind these achievements were that mighty climbing duo of Greg Child and Kim Carrigan. Decade was also climbed on the tenth anniversary of the discovery of Frog Buttress.

1979 was clearly the year of the hard man, with a veritable plethora of quality hard routes going up during that time. Tobin Sorenson and Jon Allen popped over to free the classic routes of Tantrum, Barbed Wire Canoe and Green Plastic Comb. They also made a fine addition to the cliff during that trip in the form of The Guns of Navaronne. Rob Staszewski put up a pile of routes. However the standouts were Lonely Teardrops, No Return and the crack test piece of Carrion Comfort. Kim Carrigan was also back at it, repeating all of Sorenson and Allen's routes, as well as establishing the classic thin face crack of Voices in the Sky. At the end of 1979, the fourth guide to Frog, containing of 200, routes was published by Rick White.

The 1980's

1980 was the year of the controversy. It started with Rob Staszewski patiently cleaning the corner of the aid line Crystal Blue Persuasion in preparation for an attempt at a free ascent, only to have Marty Beare steal it out from under his nose, and re-name it Quietly Superior. Rob is still very touchy about that one!

In 1982 Kim Carrigan came back from Europe, bringing with him a change in ethics at Frog. He used the first piton to be placed in a free climb for many years on his first ascent of the run out and sustained Stand in Line. Things snowballed more when Joe Lynch placed the first bolt at Frog on his route Yodel up the Valley. Rick White was so disgusted by this that he immediately arranged for Carrigan to do the route, and eliminate the bolt. The bolt, however, was not chopped!

1982 saw Chris Shephard claim the excellent line of Life at the Top, as well as freeing the super classic Gone and Forgotten, which had, until then, remained an aid line! There was much controversy when Kim Carrigan came back to the cliff, with his mission being to free the super hard Brown Corduroy Trousers. He succeeded on the third day, however, the controversy centred around the fact that a hold had mysteriously appeared up on the right in the middle of the crux section, and the fact that the hold had certainly not been there the previous year when Warwick Baird was sieging it! The New Zealanders completed their domination of 1982 by putting up the super bold face and arête route of Ockerphillia as a statement against bolting.

1983 saw an increase in bolting, which itself was seen by some as the next logical progression in allowing the crag to reach its full potential. Stuart Camps put up the magnificent arête of Oppenheimer's Monster, Paul Hoskins established the brilliant Plate Tectonics and Mark Moorhead bagged the often attempted arêtes of Hard Nose and Nosey Business. It wasn't all bolting though, with Kevin Lindorff producing one of the most bold and difficult routes on the Trousers Wall; Flange Desire. 1983 also saw Joe lynch put out his thoroughly entertaining sixth guide to Frog Buttress, containing over 300 routes.

1984 was a hectic year in the life of Frog. However, the key event was the first death at the cliff: Jeff lamb. His death had a profound and sobering effect on the climbing community. The same year, however, Kim Carrigan managed to free the immensely challenging The Lord's Prayer, which had understandably remained as an aid route. In the same trip, he also managed to add Self Expression and The Anti-From Direct to the cliff, both of these routes being very bold and technical.

There was a distinct lull in the pace of new routes over the following years. However, in April of 1987 Steve Mayers managed to free the stunning, hard face of Time for Tea!

Over the next few years there was still a smattering of development. The main focus was in the repeating of routes. The big achievement of 1988 was the development of the hardest line at the cliff, Whistling Kite, by Englishman Paul Smith. There was a lot of controversy over the tactics and bolting of the ascent, but it is still the hardest route on the cliff today. Mike Law managed to put up the excellent fridge-hugging arête of Debrilla.

The 2nd ascent of Brown Corduroy Trousers by visiting Japanese hot shot Kishio Takamori also occurred that year. Scott Camps published the seventh guide to Frog Buttress, featuring just over 400 routes, (some that are total rubbish traverses have not been included in this guide). There was also considerable controversy around the alleged plagiarising of large portions of the previous guide, although in his defence, there are only so many ways that you can describe a crack, and I think it is not in Scotts' character to have done this!

The 1990's

The next major action at the cliff occurred in 1992, with visiting super climber Sebastian Schwertner putting up the 2nd and 3rd hardest climbs at the cliff; the much considered line of Pokamoko and the Valley Girls, as well as How Are Your Calluses Today. John Pearson also chipped in with his excellent arête, Inhibition, during this period.

Only a very small amount of new routing activity has occurred over the last 10 years. Matt Hutton lead the charge with his excellent additions to the cliff of Dangerously Sane in 1997, The Elven King in 2001, as well as Hallowed Ground and Boris and Natasha Direct in 2003. Matt has since moved back to NSW.

Whilst there is still the occasional new route, even as recently as 2006, it would be fair to say that the scope for additions to the cliff would be limited to the very highest of grade brackets, or to totally contrived mank. This is not to say, however, that the cliff is in any way climbed out, because every time a hold falls off, it's like a brand new climb!

Frog is more popular now than ever before, and, as we wait with baited breath to watch what the genetically enhanced climbing freaks of tomorrow produce, we must also remember to staunchly pay homage to the efforts and ethics of the founding forefathers of our magnificent cliff. It is our solemn duty to make sure that our cliff remains as undamaged, unmolested and as ethically strong as possible. We should aspire to display the same respect and love for the cliff as was displayed 30 years ago, so that the next generation can enjoy the magnificent moments that Frog has to offer equally as much as we have.

Credit: A Cheap and Nasty Guide to Frog Buttress. Andrew Martin

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