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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).

Approach

Downstream from Hope Buttress and Y’s Move is a higher, overhanging cliff. This is the Savage Amusement Buttress. The climbs are described in this section from upstream to downstream. One route exists on the back of this buttress. It is Poetic Justice.

Descent Notes

From the top of 'Savage Amusement' walk over the back to an easy descent gully just next to 'Poetic Justice'.

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.

Routes

Add route(s) Add topo Resequence Bulk edit
Grade Route
1
21 Poetic Justice Mixed 10m, 1

The prominent arête on the back of Savage Amusement Buttress. 1 BR, #1 Rock, wires. Step across into the foot-holds (take care with small wire placement) then follow the arête past a BR and wires to the top. BR and tree (right back) for belay.

FFA: M. Colyvan, A. Stephens

2
20 Bootleg Trad 15m

The obvious corner left of Savage Amusement. Start from the same ledge. Up the crack. Belay to avoid rope drag. Wander right across ledge to finish up Savage Amusement.

FA: Colyvan, Sharpe

3
22 ** Savage Amusement Trad 15m

Start: The middle line with the large dog-leg flake. Scramble up onto the ledge. Originally graded 20, but was up-graded to 22 when a loose spike was removed from just below the finger crack crux. From the ledge, step out right, then straight up over the huge flake, move right into the crack- corner, then finger-lock the bulge (crux).

FA: B. Birchall, J. Lattanzio, M. Colyvan, P. Bayne

4
25 Picnic at Hanging Rock Mixed 10m, 3

The route with the big block hanging out of it. 3 BRs, small wires, large stopper, #2 Friend, big muscles. Up an easy slab then some tricky moves to the cave under the roof. Clip the 1st BR then move out and up to the top of the block, clip 2nd BR then step onto the block, clip final BR then swing out an up to slab finish.

FA: G. Stewart

FFA: A. Stephens, M. Colyvan, 1989

5
V2 to V5 Unknown / project? Boulder

Little slopers, could also be a direct start to 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'

6
V5 *** Confined Boulder 2m

At the end of SA Buttress and just before Inertia is a cave made by a boulder stacked on two other boulders. To get to inertia, you must scramble down into the entrance to the little cave these boulders create.

Sit start under the cave on a large slopey pinch and head directly out the cave on sharp crimps to a slopey mantel top out.

FFA: Alan Ezzy, 2012

7
22 ** Inertia Sport 10m

This route used to be an absolute bottler until early ‘99 when an unfortunate victim tore the entire flake out of the roof. The route’s still possible, albeit at a harder grade than the original 22. Here is the original description for history’s sake. start: The roof about 10 m down left of Bootleg. Exciting climbing on big holds. Up crack to roof, then move out left via the crack in the roof, and up the wall (crux) to belay ledge. Walk off.

FA: M. Colyvan, J. Lattanzio