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Access issues inherited from Upper Gara Gorge

Gara Gorge is located 16km south-east of Armidale’s CBD. To get there, take the Grafton road east out of Armidale then turn right onto Castle Doyle road (just after the 100km speed limit signs) This road goes onto Blue Hole road, turning to dirt straight after the cattle grid, takes you to the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Once at the river follow the road right until it comes to a turning circle/parking area at the beginning of the walking track. This is the focus of most of the bouldering in the area. Access to the second car park referred to in the rest of the guide has been blocked to vehicles. To get there walk up onto the ridge and follow the old car track along until it stops. This is the old ‘Car Park’. From the old car park there are several ways of getting into the gorge. Either follow the well defined track which leads east along the ridge to drop down to the Roadblock area and the Mad Woman’s Breakfast boulder, or veer left (north) from this track at its start and walk straight down towards the Hope Buttress region. To get to the Thick As Thieves / Private Sector area, scramble up past the upstream end of Hope Buttress, then head straight across, past a small gully, then on to the main gully, the main water course. Another way to access the Thick as Thieves and Schoolgirl area is to follow the walking track from the first car park until you are above them, and then drop in via the riverbed (about 500m).


This is the first cliff you see as you approach the gorge (north from the car-park). The buttress is split by two sharp, clean cracks. The following climbs are described from right to left as you face the cliff.

Descent Notes

Walk off to the left (facing the cliff) and down some big steps, right next to where "Fury" starts.


Ethic inherited from Upper Gara Gorge

Basically, the climbers of Armidale are a pretty laid back, free thinking group and as long as you don’t go out of your way to put people’s noses out of joint you’ll be amazed at how helpful they can be. The quickest way to piss people off is by ripping off projects. There are a few devoted locals making an effort and putting up quality new climbs. A lot of time, hard work and even money goes into their endeavours (cracks can be projects too) and there is too much unclimbed rock around to justify destroying someone else’s motivation. Any routes marked as such or not in the guide should be left alone. The simple courtesy of asking first may save you from being stripped naked and being staked out for the crows to pick your eyes out. If putting up new routes is your thing then please feel free. The only request is that you avoid placing hangers or conspicuous bolts around the Gara Boulders as we are already viewed as an environmental menace by the NPWS - bolting in National Parks is actually illegal.

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Add route(s) Add topo Resequence Bulk edit
Grade Route
22 Fury Trad 8m

Start: 4m left of the belay tree for Nirvana On Tap, the sharp crack above a large cave.

Up the fine crack, moving right onto the ledge. Step out right then up and through the roof and step (crux) up onto the top of the block. 2 BR belay.

FA: T. (Tadpole) Ball, party & the fine crack, 1986

FA: T. Gynther, A. Stephens & the roof, 1988

10 Nirvana on Tap Trad 7m

Start: 2m left of Yuppie. A hard start.

Muscle up start, then cruise to horizontal crack, traverse left to ledge. Tree belay.

FA: E. Sharpe & B. Birchall, 1980

17 Yuppie Mixed 18m, 2

Start: 1m left of Reunion. A series of boulder problems and ledges.

Up little wall, step left, up left diagonal then clip BR right past BR to ledge, clip another BR then up (crux) to top.

FA: A. Stephens & M. Colyvan, 1988

14 Reunion Trad 18m

Start: Just left of Anticipation/Hope. Easy slab then an off-width.

Up slab to ledge. Up off-width to ledge; traverse left and easily to top.

FA: B. Birchall & P. Prior, 1976


Start: As for Reunion.

At the top of the off-width step right onto the wall and finish up cracks to top.

FA: P. Bayne & J. Lattanzio, 1982

18 Anticipation Trad 20m

Start: The flared crack left of Hope. Bridge up the corner left of Hope, or do the jam section of Hope. Take a #4 Friend.

Up the corner 1m left of Hope, to the ledge, step up (crux) into the corner and jam to the top.

FA: J. Lattanzio, M. Colyvan & A. Legler, 1980

16 * Hope Trad 25m

Start: The best-looking line on the boulder. A jam crack, then an easy corner. A classic. Left of Expiry Date.

Jam the crack to the large ledge, then up the easy corner.

FA: R. Dixon & B. Birchall, 1975

12 Expiry Date Trad 10m

Start: On the ledge between Charity and Hope.

Straight up the wall to top. No protection.

FA: G. Pritchard, J. Lattanzio & P. Butler, 1982

14 * Charity Trad 20m

Start: The crack on the ledge left of faith.

Hard start, then easier jamming to top.

FA: R. Dixon & B. Birchall, 1975

21 Faith Mixed 20m, 2

Start: The slabby arête at the extreme right hand end of the buttress. #4 Friend and 2 BRs. Belay off 2 bolts.

Scramble up ledges to the base of the slab. Move up the right side of arête, BR, then step to the left side (crux) and up to the top, BR.

FA: A. Stephens & M. Colyvan, 1988