Kangaroo Point Rock climbing378 routes in crag
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Urban crag par excellence!
'Kangaroo Point', affectionately known to locals as 'KP', is Brisbane's outdoor climbing gym. It is one of the most user-friendly crags around, with gigantic concrete bollards at the top of the 20m high cliff face for setting up anchors. Perfectly flat grass awaits your bouldering falls. Free barbeques lay in ready for your post(and pre?)-climb feast. Night lights allow you to climb into the wee hours of the morning. The river awaits your...hmm...actually, don't worry about the river. Caked-on chalk, climbers on top-ropes galore, a few chipped holds and bolts, bolts, bolts. Get it into ya!
Since almost every square metre of 'KP' rock is utilised, the routes are of widely varying quality. The crag is most popular with top roping beginners who do low quality routes in the 14-17 bracket. Most of the better climbing is found on grade 20+ routes. The rock is Volcanic Tuff (like Smith Rocks in the US). The majority of routes are bolted face climbs. There are a few cracks around, but they are rare and not particularly inspiring. Generally, the rock has a quarried texture and is often sandy.
The main wall of 'KP' is one long continuous face without any easily definable sections, the exception being the creekbed, bridge and vegetation of the waterfall which divides 'Left Main Wall' from 'Right Main Wall'. One quick way of orientating yourself is to use the numbered lightboxes spaced along the base at regular intervals. The climbs have been grouped into sections based on these lightboxes. Climbs in all areas are listed left to right.
Many of the bolts at 'KP' are newer ring bolts (RB in the descriptions). There are also fixed hangers (FH), as well as some carrot bolts (BR) for which bolt plates are required. Most, though not all, of the sports routes have double bolt belays (DBB) for lowering off. Bollards and rings at the top allow for easy top roping, although a large section of the 'Right Main Wall' is inaccessible due to thick vegetation. Of note if you're planning to lead rope solo, there are bolted ground anchors at the base of 'Pass The Bosch', 'Prickles', 'Kiwi', 'Idiot Wind' and 'Pterodactyl' . There's also a bolted belay halfway up 'Kass' for practicing multipitch. The bolts are maintained by the volunteers of Safer Cliffs Queensland, funded entirely by donations from climbers.
The cliffs face northwest and become scorching hot when the summer sun hits them mid morning, so climb early or in the evening under lights. Outside the summer months climbing is pleasant all day. The rock dries quickly after rain due to the direct sun.
It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of safety at 'KP' with such easy access and all its facilities. However, it is still a cliff and falls of (often large) rocks occur not infrequently. Serious injuries have occurred. Treat 'KP' with respect and always wear your helmet.
The cliffs are part of the Brisbane City Council River Terrace Park. While the BCC is generally supportive of climbing, issues regarding access and facilities are ongoing. The Australian Climbing Association (Qld) is the official voice of the climbing community in Queensland and works hard to improve the situation for all climbers. Please consider joining.
The riverside bikepath runs right past the base of the cliffs and there's a CityCycle station too.
The nearest train station is South Bank, about 10 minutes walk south. The nearest bus stop is over on Main St near the River Terrace intersection. The nearest CityCat ferry stops are South Bank 1 & 2 and QUT, both about 15 minutes walk south along the river. The free CityHopper ferry stops at the Maritime Museum (5-10 minutes walk south) and Thornton St (5-10 minutes north). For further public transport information see TransLink.
When it's not busy (during business hours) you can easily park at the base of the cliff. Failing that you can usually find a park up top on River Terrace.
Where to stay
While it's tempting to park a campervan in the bottom carpark and live the ultimate urban dirtbag life, the BCC and the police are strict about no overnight camping here. There's plenty of accommodation options around Brisbane, including backpackers for those on a budget.
Climbing at 'KP' has a long, rich history and the cliffs are used by a huge number of climbers of very varied styles and abilities. For these reasons ethics here are complicated. However here are some undisputed points:
- Avoid lowering off directly through the anchors. All lowering off and top roping should be through quickdraws attached to the anchors. If you are last then rethread and rap off to avoid wearing the anchors.
- Don't ever chip holds.
- Don't paint on any new initials.
- Retrobolting is acceptable only after consensus is reached with a large cross section of the 'KP' climbing community. New bolts that don't meet this criteria are chopped, often within a few days.
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