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Description

Belougery Spire is the first of many breath-taking rock features encountered en route to the Grand High Tops.

The climbs of Belougery Spire include both short and long routes, varying in grade from easy to more difficult, with the 'Warrumbungles factor' of route-finding adding to the difficulties.

© (jgoding)

Access issues inherited from Warrumbungles

Most of the crags are in Warrumbungle National Park.

Approach

From Camp Pincham, follow the hiking trail to the Grand High Tops. From here, a vague track leads northeast following a ridge to the base of the spire. To get to start of climbs either scramble onto half-way ledge or walk down the left side or right side of the spire. One other, adventurous, option is to approach the spire's climbs from Hurleys Campsite.

Halfway Ledge access: The Halfway Ledge is the large, scrubby terrace half-way up the West Face of Belougery Spire. From the walking track that leads to spire, walk around the east side of Belougery Pinnacle, then scramble up a gully-chimney. Continue walking/scrambling left over easy rock and scrub down to base of water-worn gully. Scramble up the gully. At the top of the gully turn left to reach starts of Vertigo, Endeavour Face and adjacent routes. A right turn at top of water-worn gully leads up a steep, vegetated gully to the base of Dr Dark's Chimney. Routes on the Halfway Ledge are described from right to left (facing cliff).

Access to Belougery Spire W side: From walking track that leads to Belougery Spire from the Grand High Tops, walk round W side of Belougery Pinnacle, then continue down beside W Face. Routes are also described from right to left (facing cliff).

Access to Belougery Spire E side: Access to Belougery Spire E side. From Grand High Tops walking track, walk round E side of Belougery Pinnacle to E Face. Routes are listed from left to right (facing cliff).

Descent from the spire is quite serious. From the summit saddle, at the log-book container, carefully scramble (back-rope recommended) down the track/gully to two bolts between the middle and south summits. Two 50 m ropes reach Half-way ledge from here or you can abseil to a second (midway) anchor with a single 60m rope .

Many of the topo lines have been drawn from poor quality topos or from the descriptions. Please don't rely on them too heavily and update them once you have completed any of these routes, if required

© (jgoding)

Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)

Routes

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Grade Route
1
6 * Dr Dark's Chimney Trad 120m 4

This route was once thought to be Eric Dark's and Osmar White's original route to the summit. This is almost certainly not the case. However, since this route is already well known as Dr Dark's Chimney it is probably less confusing to retain this name as a tribute to Eric Dark's achievements in the Warrumbungles. From the top of the water-worn gully that leads to Half-way Ledge on W face, turn R up steep, vegetated gully. Many parties prefer to avoid this gully by climbing first two pitches of If the Spirit Moveth.

1-2: 60 m Scrubby gully on R, carefully, to large ledge at base of slabs leading up to chimney. Belay off bush.

3: 25 m Diagonally R up slabs to short crack. Crack to ledge below main chimney.

4: 35 m (crux) Chimney to where it opens out. Belay.

Easy scramble to S summit.

FA: unknown

2
10 Abseil Gully Trad 45m 3

At top of water-worn gully go L and up to Half-way Ledge. At R end of Halfway Ledge is corner-gully leading to summit.

  1. 16 m From L end of corner· gully go up to tree on R.

  2. 5 m Crack above. Small tree belay.

  3. 22 m Traverse 5 m L. The little overhang requires some cogitation. Up past tree. Finiish up R side of gully. Belay off descent anchors on L. Scramble to top.

FA: Unknown

3
6 *** Tourist Traverse Trad 140m 4

It now seems certain that this was the route of the original ascent of Belougery Spire by Eric Dark and Osmar White in 1932. A description of the FA in Walkabout 1-4-36, includes'...one pitch is a three· hundred-foot traverse across the face of the mountain on a ledge from a foot to three feet wide, with sheer rock wall above and a drop of a thousand feet below'. This clearly describes pitches two and three of this route.

1: 16m As for pitch one of Abseil Gully.

2-3: 90 m Traverse big ledge; various finishes are possible depending on how soon you leave ledge and go up.

4: 30m At very end of ledge is a fine chimney, which contains the famous 'Anti·Marilyn' squeeze hole. It is not really tight although presumably Marilyn couldn't do it.

FA: Eric Dark & Osmar White, 1932

4
14 ** Endeavour Face Trad 80m 4

Start 3 m L of Abseil Gully, below bulging rock (once initialed).

  1. 22m (crux) Up R over bulge. Up.

  2. 10m Up to belay on Tourist Traverse ledge.

  3. 33 m Up until angle eases. Thread belay.

  4. 15 m Easily to middle peak.

FA: Adrian Cooper, Eric Hinder & Jon Wurth, 1971

5
10 ** Vertigo Trad 78m 4

A classic climb up a steep, exposed wall and slab on good rock. An excellent intro to climbing at the Warrumbungles. Can be climbed in two pitches.

Scramble up to below the red-brown wall in middle of W Face, between prominent buttress and Abseil Gully (6 m L of Endeavour Face).

  1. 33 m Zigzag towards middle of face.

  2. 15 m Up to grass-tree and small overhang.

  3. 21 m Up. superb climbing with good pro. Belay off block.

  4. 9 m Up.

FA: Roger McDonald & Alex Hromas, 1961

6
8 If the Spirit Moveth Trad 150m 5

The following two routes, one a variant of the other have only vague route descriptions. They start at the top of the first gully that leads up to Halfway Ledge on W Face. The upper pitches of both climbs lie R of Doctor Dark's Chimney; the first follows a wall and a rib, the second a gully.

Start where access track reaches SW Arete.

  1. Up gully above. Traverse to nose.

  2. Continue up nose on gully side. Walk to top of pinnacle.

  3. Traverse R under Doctor Dark's Chimney.

  4. Exposure increases dramatically as you traverse R across a difficult nose. Veer up at about 45 degrees to base of rib.

  5. To S summit.

Attributed by Bryden Allen in 63 to Davis and Pettigrew. Description is from an earlier, more detailed record.

FA: Graeme Mitchell, John Drummond & Warren Little, 1959

7

One of many variants on If the Spirit Moveth. Variants are possible up to the foot of Dr Dark's Chimney, and from there on to S Face. A better description might read 'Up SW Arete to foot of Dr Dark's Chimney. Traverse R to face. Up'.

Start above access gully on SW Arete.

  1. 18 m Up corner on R, traverse L. Up to large block, then grassy ledge.

  2. 12 m Mantelshelf, then up to tree belay. Walk to foot of Dr Dark's Chimney.

  3. 24 m Traverse R. Up lo tree belay in gully.

  4. 30 m (crux) Up in gully, then R. Up to R past jug. Thread belay near tea-tree.

  5. 36 m Up to rib. Up rubble, then chimney to bush belay.

  6. 30 m Easily up.

FA: John Pickard & G Rosie, 1966

8
15 No Birthdays on Pluto Trad 90m 3

Shares start of If the Spirit Moveth (same first two pitches), continues to Doctor Dark's Chimney belay ledge, then goes L of Doctor Dark's Chimney and up wall.

Follow track to W Face. Continue along track behind detached pinnacle and scramble up first narrow gully to narrow ledge.

  1. 35 m Up small ramp, then up over small overhang. Meander up to tree belay. Scramble to ledge and follow track L along cliff line. Track dips to a narrow belay stance about 5 m past bottom of dip (near finish of Doctor Dark's Chimney pitch two. Vertigo is round comer to L.)

  2. 40 m Steep slab (adequate pro), tending slightly R, to small overhang. Poor rock. Overhang (crux), then easier climbing for about 20 m to small, vertical crack.

  3. 15 m Scramble to top, with belay tree for Doctor Dark's Chimney visible on R, at end of chimney.

FA: Stuart Pengelly, Gary Caganott & Gary Caganoff, 1992

9

Access to Belougery Spire W side. From walking track that leads lo Belougery Spire from the Grand High Tops, walk round W side of Belougery Pinnacle, then continue down beside W Face. Routes are listed from R to L (facing cliff).

Start 80 m L of Belougery Pinnacle in middle of W Face below Abseil Gully.

  1. 13m Walk L along rotten ledge. Round corner to bolt, then up.

  2. 32 m Up gully on L, finishing on R to Half-way ledge. Finish up route of choice.

FA: Bryden Allen & Wes Kilham, 1964

10

Excellent climbing. Start as for West Face Direct Start. Steeply L up line of steps to old bolt, then R to stance. Wall above to tree belay.

FA: Neale Smith & Bruce Cameron, 1993

11
19 More Than a Pretty Face Trad 120m 4

An appealing line with quality climbing. Start on the lower West Face (below the Halfway Ledge), about 2/3 way down the scree descent towards Pegasus and 60m right of that route.

  1. 25m Hand traverse left onto the brown wall, move up onto block and easily left 5m to crack (runners). Climb wall on right then up groove and right wall to ledge.

  2. 22m (crux) Traverse left over loose rock and up to shallow corner. Up past fig to belay below roof.

  3. 22m Continue up corner to roof and traverse left onto blocky wall. Straight up superb rock to where the cliff lays back.

  4. 50m Easily up the ridge to the halfway Ledge.

[The topo line was estimated from the description, it may be incorrect].

FA: Ian Brown & Greg Croft, 1994

12
15 * Pegasus Unknown 260m 10

This route goes up NW Buttress of spire to Half-way Ledge, then takes a line between upper pitches of Scunge Gully and Vertigo. Start 15 m R of Caucasus Corner.

  1. 21 m Steeply L up ramp below red wall and overhangs.

  2. 27 m Up ramp to corner. Step L, then up L of overhangs. Belay above small bush.

  3. 33 m Up R wall of corner. Step R round overhangs, then up past fixed ballrace to R-tending groove. Belay where possible.

  4. 30 m Up groove, then up R over bulges. Up and R to detached block.

  5. 27 m L to groove. Up easily. Tree belay.

  6. 21 m Up steep slabs behind tree to Half-way Ledge.

  7. 36 m Steeply R up fault line midway between Vertigo and Scunge Gully. Over loose rock, then L and up.

8-10) 60 m Up to cross Tourist Traverse, continue up.

The topo line may be incorrect.

FA: David Witham & J Willis, 1967

13
17 *** Caucasus Corner Trad 330m 12

Start 15 m L of Pegasus.

  1. 45 m Up L-leading ramp for 9 m, then diagonally L with increasing exposure to base of R· sloping corner. Piton belay.

  2. 21 m Up corner to bush.

  3. 36 m L to rib. Up easily to base of buttress.

  4. 28 m Traverse 5 m R, then steep wall to R of groove to belay just above small layback.

  5. 21 m Up corner and loose blocks to Half-way Ledge (FA party camped here!).

  6. 33 m Traverse delicately L and down to base of huge comer.

  7. 24 m Corner.

  8. 18 m Move R to avoid loose blocks, then wall to stance below overhang.

  9. 24 m traverse L across corner, than diagonally L to belay ledge on extreme edge. Loose.

  10. 21 m Round corner to L and past first groove. Second groove to ledge.

  11. 21 m Up R to small corner, Then nose on L to groove and overhangs. Belay on shelf.

  12. 33 m R and up through overhangs. Work L and up to summit.

Note photo-topo route does not show pitch 1 . Consider linking pitch 1 and 2. When time to traverse across to base of main corner resist temptation to go high , although it looks easier and more pro you will be dissappointed in both departments. Drop down a little passing initial corner (#1 cam) using low feet and that blank desperate wall offers lots of nice hidden protection and good incut holds. The peg belay stated on R of corner is inadequate and probably best to find one on left of corner (after heading right under rotten bridge) Once out and around the arete fantastic rock and great protection lead to a good stance also indicated by a rusty piton (unnecessary). When at top there is a 10m abseil into gully, can ignore fixed mank and use boulder , then one more pitch to true top. Probably wise to rope up for it. Take care scrambling to descent rap anchor. Typical 'bungles rack , lots of small stuff and slings.

FA: John Lawrence & David Witham, 1965

14
17 Stegosaurus Trad 150m 5

Start midway between Scunge Gully and Caucasus Corner, below buttress.

  1. 40 m Up to slab at 15 m. Traverse R below steepening, men up to Caucasus Corner first belay.

  2. 25 m (crux) From below belay, move L to lip of undercut buttress, then up to base of orange crack. Now L, then steep wall. A glorious pitch.

  3. 35 m Buttress to Caucasus Corner third belay.

  4. 15 m Shattered groove to tree and ledge on L of prow.

  5. 30 m Wall on L of prow starting near arete, the middle of face. Poor pro. Take small cams.

FA: Ian Brown & Greg Croft, 1993

15
15 Scunge Gully Trad 320m 15

Start at fig 15 m L of Caucasus Corner.

  1. 12 m Scrubby gully to large figs.

  2. 33 m Delicate start, then scrub.

  3. 15 m R towards rib, belay in corner.

  4. 24 m Up to platform on rib.

  5. 9 m Up L to piton belay.

6-10) 117 m Up, reaching prominent chimney.

'11) 24 m Up to good chockstone belay.

'12) 15 m Chimney (13), or dangerously up outside (15), then rotten rock lo Half-way Ledge.

13-15) 72 m Up.

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1963

16
16 Napawi Trad 270m 8

Pleasant and varied.

  1. 50 m Start up Scunge Gully for 20 m, than buttress on L.

  2. 40 m Buttress and chimney-gully on R.

  3. 25 m (crux) Chimney to orange alcove. Take L-most line to buttress, then up to small ledge.

  4. 30 m Buttress and loose crack to base of orange headwall.

  5. 20 m Traverse 6 m L, then up orange groove to bottom of chimney. Loose.

  6. 28 m Chimney.

  7. 40 m Move R to buttress. Cracks to piton.

  8. 40 m As for Caucasus Corner.

FA: Ian Brown & Greg Croft, 1993

17
16 The Mudgee Mai Trad 300m 7

Rattles around a bit but eventually gets there. Starts as for SG and finishes on Out and Beyond.

  1. 35m Up to scunge then leftwards up buttress as for Napawi. Belay at sprawling fig.

  2. 50m Continue up buttress for about 15m then leftwards on a rising traverse across brown wall. The objective is to get past the overhanging orange headwall above. The last 10m go straight up and straight left to SHB in crack (this is the top of the huge orange gash left of SG, with white bird marks just below the belay).

  3. 40m Traverse left into chimney. When it closes down, traverse left into another chimney. Up to top, step left and up to bushy ledge.

  4. 50m Move up small buttress on left then back right above overhang. Climb bushy groove or cleaner buttress to big scrubby ledge. Straight up behind ledge to belay on brown blocky wall.

  5. 40m Up left to short chimney. Up to top then up trending left to two old pitons (6th belay of Out and Beyond).

6-7) 80m As for Out and Beyond. Rising traverse up right towards wide corner, back left to pitons on ledge below left end of overhang, traverse left below overhang into groove and up.

FA: Greg Croft & Ian Brown, 1994

18
10 East Face Route Trad 260m 9

To access Belougery Spire E side from Grand High Tops walking track, walk round E side of Belougery Pinnacle to E Face. Routes are listed from L to R lacing cliff.

  1. 30 m chimney at SE corner of E face for 12 m. R to overhang, then back L to chimney.

  2. 18 m Scramble L to base of small comer.

  3. 27 m Up to ledge, then rotten rock to overhang. Traverse L round nose. Up to tree trunks.

  4. 30 m Scramble round up R into gully veering R.

  5. 27 m Buttress on R to tree.

  6. 36 m Traverse 3 m L into gully. Up 15 m. Traverse R to large slab, then up on R to L-sloping gully.

  7. 33 m Gully, then R to belay.

  8. 27 m Up L, then back R to tree.

  9. 27 m Up.

FA: C lvin, B Montgomery & P Griffiths, 1958

19

One of endless variants. Start 10 m R of East Face Route.

Dark, mossy corner tending L; poor pro. Up to pocket, then up R. Now back L to join East Face Route at tree

FA: Malcolm Haskins, Vaughan Andrews & Mark Janson, 1991

20
12 (Unnamed) Trad 300m

As for East Face Route for 20 m, then rising traverse L across If The Spirit Moveth and finally across Doctor Dark's Chimney up high

FA: Paul Har & Derick Maeneke, 1991

21
15 ** Out and Beyond Trad 250m 9

Magnificent. Start R or East Face Route, under prominent pinnacle.

  1. 24 m Up short wall to 'bridge' between pinnacle and face. Scrub.

  2. 36 m Bridge up, then traverse R delicately to loose block. Poor pro.

  3. 30 m Up.

  4. 30 m Climb rib on L.

  5. 30 m Scrub-bash, or rock to L.

  6. 30 m Wall to R of corners.

  7. 9 m Traverse R and up to stance

  8. 30 m Traverse R, then back L to belay beneath overhang.

  9. 30 m Traverse L above corner, avoiding overhang. Up.

[The topo was taken from one on Bryden Allens website but it seems very similar to the topo for Caucasus Corner (above).]

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1962

22

The corner system on Out and Beyond, pitch six.

6a) 27 m Crack-corner.

7a) 48 m The line.

FA: Paul Caffyn & Rick White, 1969

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