Gardens of Stone Rock climbing31 routes in crag
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A great rainy day option if you have ticked everything under 25 at Bowens Ck. Sits in the north western rain shadow of the Blueys. If its pouring rain and foggy in Blackheath - its still probably clear out here. It is a bit of a drive, but the road is mostly good and there is only a 5 min walk from car to crag.© (bundybear)
Access issues inherited from Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage listed area. The Grose Valley, the cliffs around Katoomba and much of the Narrow Neck peninsula are part of the Blue Mountains National Park which is managed by the NPWS. The Western Escarpment - where most of the climbing is - is Crown Land managed by the BMCC. While the NPWS Plan of Management nominates several locations in the National Park where rock climbing is deemed appropriate, the majority of the climbing remains unacknowledged. To maintain access our best approach is to 'Respect Native Habitat, Tread Softly and Leave No Trace'. Do not cut flora and keep any tracks and infrastructure as minimal as possible.
Practically all crags are either in National Park or in council reserve: dog owners are reminded that dogs are not allowed in National Parks at any time and fines have been issued, while for crags on council reserve the BMCC leash law requires that dogs be on-leash.
From Mt 'Victoria' - head along the Darling Causeway to Bell, then turn left onto the Bell's Line of Road (towards Lithgow) and continue to Zig Zag Railway turn-off on right.
Reset your odometer at the old railway crossing.
Head out along Newnes Forest Road past Clarence Hardwoods and follow main dirt road for 9kms to T-intersection, and turn right. At 11kms, past camping ground, follow the Glow-worm Tunnel Rd.
At 24.7km you should reach the Galah Mountain Fire Trial and soon after you'll see a Gardens of Stone National Parks sign.
Eventually just past the 27km mark (or 3km from the Gardens of Stone Park sign) you will find an obvious fire-trail on left heading uphill. If you drive past a walking track on your right with a sign to Dean's Siding you've gone about 900m too far. If you get to the tunnel you have definitely gone too far.
Head down the fire-trail for 500m and park here beside an old car width trail heading right (Rock Cairn). Head down this old road for 500m until you see a pile of sticks just before a clearing (Large yellow ant mound). There is a small cairn on the left here heading towards the Rain Cave. Follow footpad until it makes it way down steep gully (Rock Cairns). Follow cliff line left until arriving at the Rain Cave.
If you continue down the main fire trail past the "Rain Cave parking" for another 300m (4WD needed) you can park and make your way to a big Pagoda on the edge of the Wolgan Valley. Head right for the Main Cliff and Judas Wall and left for the Descent Slot area.© (bundybear)
Where to stay
Ethic inherited from Blue Mountains
Although sport climbing is well entrenched as the most popular form of Blueys climbing, mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule over the long term. Please try to use available natural gear where possible, and do not bolt cracks or potential trad climbs.
Because of the softness of Blue Mountains sandstone, bolting should only be done by those with a solid knowledge of glue-in equipping. A recent fatality serves as a reminder that this is not an area to experiment with bolting.
If you do need to top rope, please do it through your own gear as the wear on the anchors is both difficult and expensive to maintain.
It would be appreciated if brushing of holds becomes part of your climbing routine - do it with a soft bristled brush and never a steel brush!
The removal of vegetation - both from the cliff bases and the climbs - is not seen as beneficial to aesthetics of the environment nor to our access to it. However, the fast growing scrub can conceal walking tracks in mere months, so bringing a pair of secaturs and pruning as you walk is a good way of helping out with the constant task of track maintenance. Some appropriately discreet pruning is a far better alternative then track braiding (which causes far more damage). It's also a good warmup for your forearms! However, do so only on Council land and not in the National Park.
Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)
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