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40 min walk in from the car park with a well cleared trail. Take plenty of water.

Ethic inherited from Kaputar

Endorsed by:
Peter Blunt, Ian Brown, Scott Camps, Richard Curtis, Taib Ezekiel, Angus Farquhar, Adrian Kladnig, Vanessa Wills (some of whom would have preferred a stronger position).

Retro-bolting at Kaputar

Since the first climbs were done in Mount Kaputar National Park in the 1960s, it has been a predominantly trad climbing area. Until about ten years ago, most of the hundreds of established climbs were protected entirely with natural gear. A small number of climbs had one or two bolts, and a few independent, fully bolt-protected climbs had been done. The 80m north face of The Governor has been regarded as one of the premier trad crags in Australia, with more than 80 multi-pitch climbs, many of very high quality, mostly established in ground-up style and with only a few bolts in total (and often at the technical limit of the climbers).

Since about 2005, more bolt-protected climbs have been established, particularly on Euglah and then Mt Lindesay, then The Governor. At first these were independent of established trad climbs and on otherwise unprotectable rock. But over the past few years other climbers have been retro-bolting over the top of existing climbs. This practice began on Mt Lindesay and then extended onto the Governor.

On Lindesay, about 200 bolts were placed, most of which retro-bolt or impact on at least 20 existing climbs. Bolts were very close together and some bolted lines were only one metre apart. Many bolts were placed beside good placements for removable gear. Numerous chains were also installed at the cliff-top, and the climb grades were painted in large letters along the bottom. Some of the bolts were found to be dangerous – either glue-ins on which the glue never cured (and which pulled out by hand) or dangerously short ‘studs’.

These were not assessable without removing them. Some of the retro-bolted Lindesay climbs are on the bold side, while others are very well protected with natural gear.

On The Governor, at least 60 bolts were been placed which either retro-bolt existing climbs, or squeeze up very close to them. Natural lines on The Governor’s columnar structure tend be only a couple of metres apart, so any new bolted climbs will impact on adjacent trad routes. Eight climbs have been impacted, including the popular moderate classic Clandestiny, and it's start that gives access to five other climbs. Additional chain anchors have been installed at the cliff-top. Some of the new Governor bolts have also been found to be dangerous, including a chain anchor with un-cured glue.

The retro-bolting on both Mt Lindesay and The Governor was visually intrusive, using large stainless ring bolts or shiny stainless brackets.

The people who have done this retro-bolting are not known to have consulted with first ascensionists, other Kaputar climbers or NPWS. Some first ascensionists and other climbers are angry.


A number of climbers who love the special qualities of Kaputar climbing became very concerned about this trend and joined together to take action. The objectives are to restore The Governor to a premier trad-only crag (i.e. no sport routes), and to remove impacts on pre-existing routes on Mt Lindesay (retro-bolting etc). Most of the offending new bolts have now been removed and patched on both cliffs and the remainder will be removed shortly. Painted grades have been cleaned off. This has taken lot of work, time and expense by a bunch of people. If any of the bolts removed from these climbs are replaced, they will also be removed. Any new retro-bolting will also be removed.

Why have we taken this action?

Because we believe the following:

  • Existing trad climbs and quality trad crags should be retained in their original condition. That means no retro-bolting and no bolting that impacts on the integrity, or ‘hanging space’, of natural lines. Good trad cliffs, and trad climbs in general, are limited resources which need protection.
  • Retro-bolting on established climbs should be opposed and rectified.
  • National parks exist to protect natural areas. Therefore the environmental impact of climbing should be minimised in national parks. Trad climbing is generally low in impact, consistent with other activities like remote bushwalking. The Plan of Management for Mt Kaputar National Park (2006, section 4.3.9, page 37 – emphasis added) states: The NPWS will provide information and guidance on Service policy to visitors wishing to undertake adventure activities in the park, and will require minimal impact use of the park for these activities.
  • Excessive and unsightly bolting or other climbing impacts in national parks risk attracting the disapproval of other park visitors and park authorities, and may threaten ongoing climber access to these areas.

Trad climbing at Kaputar

Trad climbing at Kaputar requires judgment and skill. Important skills include route-finding, down-climbing (when necessary) and finding and using natural gear placements - which are often small wires or cams/nuts in unexpected places. Kaputar is a good place to learn and apply these skills because it offers trad climbs at a wide range of grades.

Protection is often very good but not always obvious from below. Poor protection is usually mentioned in route descriptions, and/or allowed for in the grading (i.e. increased grade for poor protection). Bold routes on Mt Lindesay can be easily top-roped. Route descriptions on will be amended where necessary to assist safe climbing on climbs that were previously retro-bolted. But climbers should always be wary of attempting trad climbs that are close to the limit of their ability.



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Grade Route

An excellent excursion along the ridge of the amazing Yulludunida dyke formation. More akin to walking along the back of a stegosaurus than climbing, but some parties may want to rope up for some of the more exposed sections.

40 min hike in from car park. As soon as you breach the tree line, head right until you cant head right anymore (sheer cliff), then follow the ridge line.

Walk out is a bit of bush bashing if you follow the ridge to the end and drop down to the crater level to follow bottom tree line. Suspect the NP may put in a trail if popular.

FA: G. Nelson & members of the Narrabri Senior Scouts, 1973

Routes on the inner wall of Yulludunida crater.

Fused basalt rock following a gully/chute with the climb running up right hand side. Nice abseil down with good placements. Take plenty of slings.

  1. 10m (6) Scramble up from floor of crater to first grassy ledge.

  2. 30m (12) Start up right hand side of gully / chute.

  3. 30m (12) Interesting features carved by water. Stay right.

FA: Struggler & Tom WYnne, 15 May 2016

Most of the routes on the outer crater wall of Yulludunida are between the true summit and southern summit. Much of the outer walls is guarded by steep overhangs.

  1. Head diagonally right to to reach cracked rib from slab. Up crack then more easily to block.

  2. Up.

Start: At the tree at the eastern end of the break in the main North face overhang.

FA: Joe Friend & Leon Lerer, 1977

  1. 50m (12) Up 'Dog-eared' to cracked rib then up corners trending right past three bushes to right of orange alcove, 12m above third bush.

  2. 40m (-) Up towards tree on 'The Rocky Horror Show' then right until level wiht tree and 10m right of it. Climb the big, blocky corner to bush just past a tricky bit. Start: As for 'Dog-eared'.

  3. 40m (-) Up wall right of blocks in corner, then blocks above to ridge.

FA: Ian Brown & warwick payten, 1981

  1. 50m (12) As for pitch one of 'Misty Mountain Hop'.

  2. 30m (-) As for 'Misty Mountain Hop' until corner steepens. Belay on slabby section.

  3. 30m (-) Traverse right then up to gain rib. Up rich brown rock on beautiful holds.

  4. 30m (-) Up blocky buttress to ridge.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1981

  1. 25m (-) Awkwardly on to sloping ledge, then right up rising traverse to Piton Belay on yellow sloping ledge just left of a large cracked block.

  2. 50m (18) Delicately right to cracked block, up then left. Surmount several overhangs with sparse protection and up to Gum tree.

  3. 40m (-) Traverse easily right on good rock to stance.

  4. 50m (-) Continue traverse right to stance at the base of huge orange block next to isolated grass tree right of two others.

  5. 30m (-) Rightward rising traverse to base of crack-corner on right side of orange blocks. Up with some difficulty, left and up to stance.

  6. 30m (-) Straight up to crack through roof on right, then up.

FA: Mark Colyvan & Brian Birch, 1980

Even more indirect than The Lorelei. Lots of traversing and a great last pitch.

  1. 26m As for 'The Lorelei' but keep traversing to belay on the gum tree.

  2. 15m Straight up the wall above the tree to a cracker (nut) belay at the blocks at the base of 'the prow'.

  3. 40m A gently rising traverse left past clean corner on pitch 3) of The Lorelei to base of headwall.

  4. 34m Semi-hand-traverse up left along cracked, along and down a little until the headwall relents to a juggy, brown wall. 8m up to small ledge.

  5. 45m Up and right on mosaic wall to very exposed arete. Up arete, corner on right and right wall.

FA: Ian Brown, Justin Gouvernet & Warwick Payten, 1981

FA: Ian Brown & Warwick Payten, 1981

FA: J.lattanzio & G.Pritchard, 1980

Straight up to left of brown streak, through small overhang at about half height and up to left of triple headed Blackboy (and pocket). Continue straight up to top.

Start: 20m left of Perpetual Motion there is a ramp leading steeply leftwards. The climb starts at the top of the ramp (approx 40 left of Perpetual Motion).

FA: R. Robinson & G. Nelson, 1974

Climb juggy wall then follow groove left to triple headed, mutant grass tree, then up.

Start: At the base of a ramp 20m left of 'Perpetual Motion'

FA: Graham Sefton (solo), 1979


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