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The first major feature seen on entering the park. It appears to be a volcanic plug but is in fact a remnant of an ancient lava flow.

Access issues inherited from Kaputar

The road is suitable for 2WD vehicles but is steep, narrow and winding with part of the road gravel.

Caravans are not permitted.


Cars are best left on the roadside immediately below the cliff - about 500m metres from where the bitumen starts or further up the road. There is a faint track that mostly follows the right hand side of the creek. This second option necessitates a slightly longer but less steep walk contouring around the hillside to reach the cliff. Descent is by a 12m abseil down the NE Gully from chains. Routes are listed from left to right starting at the descent gully.

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.



Add route(s) Add topo Reorder Bulk edit
Grade Route

The route takes the obvious crack below the abseil tree at the base of the descent gully.

Up the crack to the tree.

FA: Richard Curtis & Richard Morris, 1981

Up short corner to ledge. Move onto nose on left then up to tree and chains.

Start: Short corner 3m right of 'Excentric'

FA: Ian Brown & Geoff Cahill, 1981

Offwidth 15m right of descent gully.

FA: Mark Colyvan & Greg Croft, 1980

Corner with orange bulge on North face. Fight your way through the Australis Grass being careful to not get poked in the eye. Up through bulge at 12m then up crack.

FA: Tobin Sorenson & John Allen, 1979

A massive rockfall has demolished part of the first pitch. Seems like it hasn't been repeated since.

  1. 30m (-) Up and left along vine, up past bushes, then up corner.

  2. 15m (18) Up to roof, up wide overhanging crack then left up line.

Start: 5m left of 'It Went Like Clockwork'.

FA: Andrew Penney & Bernard Wietlisbach, 1978

Strenuous and sustained climbing straight up the corner to top.

Start: Initialled.

FA: Bernard Wietlisbach & Andrew Penney, 1978

Up slab and bulgy wall to twin crack corner.

Start: The twin crack corner immediately left of 'Machine-gun Etiquette'

FA: Mark Colyvan & Brian Birchall, 1982

  1. 35m (-) Up slab 10m left of 'Saturation Point' to base of corner and grassy ledge. Up until below overhang then step right to ledge.

  2. 15m (18) Step left into corner and up through overhang to top.

FA: Mark Colyvan & Brian Birchall, 1980

A fine line on good rock. Start at the NW corner. A wide crack on the left side of a prominent pillar, 20m left of Seaview.

  1. 25m (-) Climb to the big ledge on the top of the pillar.

  2. 20m (-) Short cracked wall to roof which may be bypassed by an undercling around left or more strenuously up crack to the right.

  3. 15m (17) Into corner and up it (17) or easier exit onto a ramp across right 1m (grade 14 alternate finish)

FA: Richard Curtis, Brian Birchall. alternate finish by Joe Friend & Matthew Zuiderduin, 1977

  1. 10m (-) Up chimney left of big pillar on West corner to large ledge.

  2. 16m (14) Up left crack in corner to small stance at 13m then right to good ledge.

  3. 14m (-) Right into crack, up to terrace. Walk left to base of chimney.

  4. 20m (-) Chimney, then wall on left. An awkward mantelshelf, then up.

FA: Mark Colyvan & Matt Zuiderduin, 1976

  1. 15m (17) Up Chimney, through bulge and up to large ledge.

  2. 25m (-) Up left crack in corner as for 'Seaview' pitch 2, but continue up line to terrace.

  3. (-) Crack-line 3m right of final chimney of 'Seaview'

Start: 15m down from 'Seaview'

FA: Mark Colyvan, Peter Cull & Phil Segal, 1979

Up crackline belaying either above or below two bulges at about half height.

Start: 12m right of 'Ocean Drive'.

FA: Steve Moon, Peter Vanamoise & Tom Williams, 1976

Steeper than it looks. Original initials may still be visible. Start about 15m left of 'Helen of Troy'.

  1. 23m (19) (crux) Straight up crack then trend up left to belay ledge at base of short corner.

  2. 40m (-) Continue trending across left to a ledge at base of large corner. Up corner crack to top.

FA: Richard Curtis & Mark Colyvan, 1980

'An unmemorable lead'

  1. 15m (-) Crack to ledge.

  2. 45m (-) Crack on left, then back right.

Start: 3m left of 'Helen of Troy'.

FA: Joe Friend, 1978

  1. 15m (17) Up chimney and around boulders at 8m then up crack to ledge and bush.

  2. 45m (17) Up crack in corner on right.

Start: Initialled 'T'. 15m left of prominent pillar on South face.

FA: Mark Colyvan & Greg Croft, 1980

  1. 40m (-) Up wide crack in pillar to top of pillar, then slabby stuff to belay below shallow corner crack.

  2. 40m (19) Keep heading up. Take a good selection of cams.

Start: Initialled. 15m right of 'Helen of Troy'.

FA: Andrew Penney & Giles Bradbury, 1983

Start. The next big corner left of 'Overexposed'. An imposing line. Straight up to the Clayton's off-width at the top. Good pro. Good jambs. Good time.

FA: Richard Curtis & Kevin Lindorf, 1982

Start immediately right of vintage 'Carrington' graffiti.

  1. 40m (-) Follow the obvious line to a good belay ledge about 7m below triangular roof.

  2. 25m (21) Crux. Up, keeping right, to just below the roof, delicately traverse left to continuation crack. Tricky move to get established in this and then easily to top.

FA: B. Birchall & R. Curtis (alt) R. Morris, 1981

The finger crack which splits the huge face on the SE wall above "foxe" graffiti. Up right of lip of first overhang then up.

FA: Tobin Sorenson & John Allen, 1979

  1. 25m (-) Up the wall just right of 'Gentle Giant', then veer slightly left into groove and up to ledge.

  2. 30m (-) Traverse left into 'Gentle Giant' and finish up it.

FA: Geoff Weigand & Paul Bayne, 1982

An easy 20.

  1. 30m (-) Up the corner between 'Sleepless Moon' and 'Classical Gas' to ledge.

  2. 20m (20) Directly up past a short but interesting crux.

FA: Paul Bayne & Ian Brown, 1982

Varied climbing up a beautiful line. Start. The crack to the left of Blood Sports.

  1. 45m (18) Climb to the orange corner and up this till it is convenient to step right to a wall crack. Up this and through overhang to large ledge. (The Promenade).

  2. 20m (12) From righthand end of 'The Promenade' climb through overhanging crack to the top.

FA: R. Curtis, B. Birchall & R. Morris, 1981

A committing lead. Start at the crack to the left of The Prow.

  1. 45m (22) (equal crux) Crack and wall climbing to belay ledge on the left at height of small overhang.

  2. 20m (22) (equal crux) Step back right into crack. Follow this to the top with some wall climbing.

FA: R. Curtis, B. Birchall & R. Morris, 1981

Up corner exiting right onto arete at 3/4 height. Up though large bush.

Start: The corner just left of the fence.

FA: Tobin Sorenson & John Allen, 1979

The obvious crack just left of the cave, on the fence line. Bridge your way up negotiating such obstacles as loose rock and fig trees. Be careful when pulling through the exit crack at top right as there is a massive loose block.

FA: John Lattanzio & Brian Birchall, 1980

The crack which splits the arete just right of 'Lonely Escalator', about 10m left of cave. Initialled.

Note - could not locate the initals.

FA: Tobin Sorenson & Jonh Allen, 1979

The crack through the cave roof.

FA: Tobin Sorenson & John Allen, 1979

Up the wall trending right. Two pitons for aid. Start: 2m left of the descent gully.

FA: Mark Colyvan & Steve Lambert, 1974


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