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Description

One of the four prominent spires in the Park. This peak offers some of the most popular routes in the 'Bungles. Despite initial appearances, Crater Bluff is not flat on top-the peak is in fact carved by deep canyons, the deepest and most extensive of which is filled with ferns and is known as the Green Glacier.

Home to the much loved "Cornerstone Rib".

Climbs are described clockwise from Tourist Route.

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.

© (koala)

Approach

Approach from Dagda Saddle. Follow the climber's path down the creek till it joins another creek below the west face. If you walk up diagonally left you arrive below the gully that leads up to leiben, and this is where the descent ends up too, a good place to leave shoes etc. For Cornerstone Rib, head left along the base, to the far north west corner.

The normal descent is down "Green Glacier", a canyon that splits the summit. This can be tricky in the dark or wet; take care and rope up when necessary. The first possible abseil is near the top of the canyon and is an easy down climb if dry. The chains are on the far right of the canyon (looking down). You follow a vague path down about 12m and they are on the right wall just below a small tree. There are other random anchors on the way down if it's wet or dark. The first obligatory rap station is where the canyon abruptly ends at the waterfall. Chains are at knee height on the left wall. Its a 30m rap to the terrace. From here walk down and right (facing out from the cliff) about 20m, and scramble down a short gully, walk left 8m or so, then up onto a block. The rap chains are about 6m away from the wall, slightly over the edge. Hard to see and slightly dodgy to reach without clipping into something or belaying. The final rap is past one good ledge at 20m to a large ledge at 35m where you can walk off easily. If you rap all the way to the ground, 50m or so, it is harder to pull your ropes and they get stuck on the big ledge and then pull rocks on your head.

© (koala)

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
9 * Tourist Route Trad 63m 4

Another of Eric Dark's triumphs. Of the three peaks he climbed in the Warrumbungles (Crater Bluff, Belougery Spire and Tonduron), Crater Bluff proved the most problematic. It took several attempts over a number of years to find the Tourist Route, and when he and Dot Butler eventually reached the summit by this route they lit a fire to signal their success to the rest of their party. Unfortunately, the fire got out of control while they were building a cairn and much of the summit was set ablaze. Butler, barefoot as usual, had little choice but to sit atop the cairn and wait for the ashes to cool before she and Dark could make their descent.

Scramble 45 m up a series of ramps that begin on N side of W Face, leading R, taking the upper line when there is an alternative. Tree belay.

Start 9 m below a small overhang.

  1. 15 m Overhang to pillar above.

  2. 18 m Chimney to ledge and tree.

3-4) 30 m Walk R to Green Glacier, then up with care over muddy rocks.

FA: Dot Butler, Marie Byles & Eric Dark, 1936

2
24 ** Verdun Trad 260m 7

Possibly the hardest multi-pitch in the Bungles. Tackles the major face between 'Crucifixion' and the Tourist Route. This is NOT a sport route - and the rock quality is a bit sub par on pitch 4. Take a double set of cams to fist size, double rack of wires including RPs, at least 15 draws and several long slings. A helmet is also a must.

Starts on right side of east face at section of black steep slabs, aprox 100m left of the rap descent route.

  1. 35m (20) Wall (3 FHs) to left facing orange corner with fiddly small gear. At the top of corner step left onto wall (vital small wires) and then up trending slightly right past 2 FHs and several small wires and cams. Belay on ledge at DBB. 5 bolts.

  2. 30m (14) Up blocky crackline just to the left of the belay to small ledge belay 3m left of major chossy orange corner (Hex Generation).

  3. 25m (22) Straight up tricky wall on trad for 10m to FH, then continue up and right on steep grey wall and arete past a further 4 FHs to final exposed right step across crack into pea-pod belay directly above 'Hex Generation' crackline. 5 bolts.

  4. 40m (24) Pumpy technical climbing on the left wall - keeping left of the bolts makes for harder but better climbing. Stay right and experience chossy terror. When the bolts run out follow the corner crack for 25m to comfy big ledge. 6 bolts.

  5. 48m (24) Move belay to double bolts at far left end of ledge. Up slab and out left across face with couple of tough moves. Finish up epic wall with a section of micro wires supplementing the bolts. Belay on ledge at double rings. This is the last opportunity to rap off. 9 bolts.

  6. 45m (14) Up blocky line above then leftwards up easy angled corner on lovely rock. Belay on trad when you can.

  7. 40m (14) Continue up leftwards leaning easy crack line to summit. Traverse ridge and then down the Green 'Gully'.

FFA: Neil Monteith (lead all pitches) & Mike Law, 2010

3
20 R Hex Generation Trad 20m

The major orange crackline splitting the right side of the east face. Appallingly chossy. There was an old hex jammed in the crack halfway up - most likely a bail-off piece as the crack above held several 'fun' death block surprises for the first ascent team. Start by climbing Verdun for 2 pitches then setup a trad belay 2m right of the bolt belay. Swing right from the belay into corner. Wade and chimney through epic choss (but good gear!) until the crack suddenly narrows and the walls begin to blank. Jam upwards whilst lobbing off bombs onto your cowering belayers to grovel into pea-pod belay. Thank the lord that there is now two bolts here to belay off, and not the man sized pile of rubble that first confronted the first ascent team. A rest was resorted to on the first ascent due to adrenaline overload.

FA: Neil Monteith (2nd refused to follow), 2010

4

Looks good, follows diagonal lines of good holds and breaks. Quite runout by repute. The first pitch has had bolts replaced. Start atop the gully leading up past Lieben

  1. 36m Up diagonally left for 16m to a hard bulge, new bolt, then diagonally right for 16m ( new BR) to new DBB

  2. 24m Diag R for 9m, up 3m to bolt. Up, left nice little ledge and bolt.

  3. 24m Diag R for 11m up ramp to to bolt round a small buttress. Same line to manky bolt. Semi hanging belay.

  4. 27m Up and left towards a scoop, then easier to a good ledge, 2m long and quite wide.

  5. 45m (crux) You are now right to (below? ed) a 30m vertical wall. Left then up wall, right slightly on ramp (old bolt) then a further 13m to a small ledge below a chimney. 6 + 7) 90m etc up chimney and pleasant slabs to top.

FA: John Ewbank & John Worral, 1966

5

Direct start to 'Crucifixion'. Easy start on trad, then techy face past three FHs to runout scary finish on shallow small wires to double bolt anchor at end of 'Crucifixion' pitch 1.

Start: Starts as for 'Crucifixion'.

FA: Neil Monteith, 2010

6
17 R ** Lieben Trad 260m 6

A wild excursion up a huge face and was Australia's hardest climb for many years. An outstanding achievement by Allen. No big gear required, just heaps of small to medium wires and single set of cams. Long runners will help.

Start: In the middle of the west face is a white water streak (about 50m to the right of the large one about 20m from the far LHS).

  1. 25m (1) Original route cheated by scrambling up the vegetated gully on the right un-roped (grade 1). Real climbers should just climb the rambly wall to the left of the vegetated gully to a small ledge right of the bottom of the white streak.

  2. 30m (15) Straight up face to belay on a ledge about 5m up and right of top of white streak.

  3. 25m (16) Keep heading left (fiddly gear) on a roughly 45 degree angle until you reach a corner. Head straight up this and belay after 5m or so.

  4. 45m (17) Crux. Either up the rib on the right of the corner, or up the steep juggy corner. At 20m step right to small edge (manky BR and optional belay) or continue up crack line above. Belay on huge ledge about 2/3 height of entire west face.

  5. 40m (16) Crack tending slightly right then basically straight up to the top.

  6. 35m (10) Keep going up the very easy rocky ridge to the top

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1962

7

Not very direct, probably runout.

  1. 18m Trend up left to base of white streaks.

  2. 30m Right and up from stance. Back left and up onto obvious traverse line. Left and up onto the white streak, up left to roove. Easily up ramp to Lieben stance 1.

FA: Rick White & Paul Caffyn, 1969

8
20 ** Zombie Love Mixed 4

A proper direct start to Lieben or a good pitch on it's own. Easy route finding as it is very direct. Start about 10m left of the white streak below Lieben. Up corner for 10m and then head up wall in the 12.30 direction. Hard past 2 bolts then past good gear in breaks and more bolts to rap station. Lieben leaves the groove above about 10m higher.

FA: Richard Croker, John Croker & anon, 2011

9
17 R * Leavin' Trad 250m 6

Direct line to the final pitches of Leider.

Start: 15m R of the large white streak on the L side of the W face. The climb starts on a small pedestal 7m off ground. Scramble from R, or walk on from L.

  1. 48m (17) Step up R onto face. Pitch drifts R past incipient twin seams to the higher of two narrow sloping ledges. Take many small wires.

  2. 50m (17) Step off L end of ledge. Unlikely, exposed, blind moves up L around blunt arete. Up and trend L around steepening on L side. Up to spacious ledge. Take care with rope drag.

  3. 38m (17) Take slab up past loose blocks to old bolt(!?) at 38m

  4. 25m (-) Up rightwards on imperfect apricot coloured rock to wide crack of Leider. Up to stance

  5. 25m (-) Follow Rib to R side of plant choked gully

  6. 25m (-) Follow Rib to R side of plant choked gully

FA: Mark Wood & Julian Devery, 1998

10
16 * Lieder Trad 260m 6

Supposed to be quite Good. If you want to suss out 'Lieben' before committing to it, this is the way to do it.

Start: About 10m right of 'Cornerstone Rib' at base of rightward leading crack system. An obvious R tending traverse that leads to a black gully.

  1. 33m Easily up right.

  2. 30m Right into gully, then up to an obvious platform to a bolt.

  3. 33m Up, out right, continue up right to grassy ledge.

  4. 34m Right, past moreton bay fig tree then up to ledge.

  5. 24m Up gully, around the nose on left to peg.

  6. 7m (crux) Two bolt runners lead to a piton. Belay up on the left.

  7. 15m Chimney type gully to a large chockstone.

  8. 18m Bridge up then out to tree.

  9. 70m Scramble to top

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1963

11
15 Vintage Rib Trad 160m 7

1-3) 90 m Cornerstone Rib to large ledge.

'4) 21m Traverse right 6m to a ramp type ledge which goes up to the right for 9m into a corner, piton runner. Up corner then traverse /eft to a gully (The original route may have come straight up this gully).

'5) 12m Up gully to old piton. Right slightly to a home made piton at base of some rotten rock.

'6) 21m Left up wall (good rock) which continues to the rib. Up rib to a piton belay on loose rock.

'7) 15m Continue up rib to gully on the left which leads to top of Rib and Gully.

The original route may not have gone into the final gully but continued up on the right. This would most likely give another pitch or two of rib climbing. The climb was not repeated until 1964!

FA: Russ Kippax & Bill Peascod, 1954

12
13 Reluctance Rib Trad 160m 5

1-3) 90 m Cornerstone Rib to base of gully between Rib and Gully and Vintage Rib.

'4) 30m Chimney then up gully (left side harder). Traverse left (crux) under grey slab and onto rib; pleasant stance.

'5) 36m Up above stance, traverse right to base of gully. Cross it and continue on rib to right to trees.

FA: Wes Kilharn & Bill Zemek, 1969

13
13 * Rib and Gully Trad 200m 7
  1. 54m Potter up rib to large gully on the right, walk into the back of the gully.

  2. 36m Up slab on the left of the left gully. 12m to piton runner, up underneath the overhang then right to a piton. Tricky into gully and bush.

  3. 30m Chimney up to huge wedged rock.

  4. 30m The chimney becomes narrow and vertical.

  5. 9m Up wall on left to tree. Scrambling remains.

FA: C.Ivin et al, 1954

14

Obvious corner to right and behind the usual crux pitch of Rib and Gully. Strenuous, good protection.

?. 24m. Right, up overhangs, directly to tree.

FA: Bill Zemek & Wes Kilham, 1969

15
14 *** Cornerstone Rib Trad 190m 8

The most popular climb in the 'Warrumbungles' and justifiably so. One of the most striking lines in Australia. The crux pitches are grade 14, the other gradings are my estimation.

  1. 30m (6) The first 90 metres was originally climbed in three pitches but can be done quite safely in two rope stretching pitches (50m rope), including comfy belays. Follow rib.

  2. 30m (12). Keep following rib.

  3. 30m (12). Keep following rib to large ledge.

  4. 20m (14) Pitches 4 and 5 are the crux and are often linked - Move out around the rib at the little horn and onto the northern face for a approx 5m and then up or stick closer to the arete - just follow your nose for good gear placements.

  5. 20m (14)

  6. 20m (13) Up the rib from here on. The ledges for good belays are pretty obvious and about 20 metres apart.

  7. 20m (12)

  8. 20m (11)

Was originally called 'Cornerstone Rib Direct' but as the direct version is far more popular than the 'original' version, the direct version has taken the name.

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1962

16

Avoids the crux of Cornerstone Rib.

1-3: 90 m Same line as Cornerstone Rib.

4: 13 m Up Rib to steepening, then L and down to platform.

5: 30 m Groove on L.

6: 27 m Up to 'green pocket'.

7-9: 60 m Rib.

FA: Kevin Westren & Trevor Westren, 1962

17
20 *** Buying the Farm Trad 190m 6

Serious. Start as tor Cornerstone Rib. [Sounds like it is a two pitch face climbing variant of the crux arête on Cornerstone Rib, between the arête and the original route].

1-2: 90 m Cornerstone Rib to ledge.

3: 30 m (crux) L round nose, then rising traverse L Cornerstone Rib crux. Up to alcove and semi hanging belay. Poor protection.

4: 30 m Bulge, then up R to main buttress on Cornerstone Rib.

5: 40 m As tor Conerstone Rib.

FA: Frank Moon, Bruce Cameron (all), Will Moon & Bruce Cameron, 1989

18
15 Keystone Grooves Trad 210m 6

Mostly pleasant climbing on good rock with a delicate crux. Takes the obvious line of grooves left of Cornerstone Rib, but fails to gain the obvious summit gullies. Has probably been climbed before. Left of CS is a gully. Between this and the corner where Diagonal Route starts is a big groove that leans leftwards.

  1. 45m Up the groove and gully. Belay where the gully opens out.

  2. 25m (crux) Left and climb the corner, then a delicate 5m traverse left into the next corner.

  3. 45m Up, right behind a big loose block, right again and climb left-slanting grooves to below a slab.

  4. 35m Ascend the beaut slab to a bushy ledge beside Cornerstone Rib (possibly the ‘green pocket’ on Cornerstone Variant - old bent bolt above here, below hard climbing into summit gullies).

  5. 10m Move right onto CR and up to platform.

  6. 45m Continue up the Rib.

The topo is a guess. Please update.

FA: Ian Brown & Peter Blunt, 1978

19
18 Out of Sight Trad 150m 6

Start at R·facing corner 60m L of Cornerstone Rib.

1-6: Corner then corner and ramps, tending R at top. Yellow crack.

The topo line is a guess. May be inaccurate but we had to start somewhere. Please update.

FA: Keith Bell & Lucas Trihey, 1989

20
15 * Diagonal Route Trad 240m 10

Start at a little corner about 60m left of the start of Cornerstone Rib

  1. 12m Easily up corner.

  2. 36m Easily to peg, then slight overhang on left and scramble up.

  3. 135m Back right then up onto the ledge. Scramble along the ramp, via scrub and little chimneys, until it finally flattens off and stops.

  4. 9m Up little wall, traverse left at the top to a small 'crevasse'.

  5. 11m (crux) Up block on the right, then traverse left to bush.

  6. 33m Easily up.

It is hard to work out where the route goes from the vague description. It sounds like it takes the massive ramp system heading left up the north face (as shown on the topo?). Please update the topo if you know.

FA: Peter Hardy & Jeff Field, 1958

21
11 Cross-cut Trad 160m 7

Originally referred to as 'St Andrew's Traverse' by Allen, Cross-cut appears to be the name used by FA party. Start in middle of N Face at obvious weakness.

  1. 30 m Up and R.

  2. 35 m Wall for 3 m, then continue R.

  3. 25 m Up towards 'green pocket' on R.

  4. 9 m Round nose, then wall to 'green pocket'. [This seems to be the name for the vegetated pocket to the left of the main arête on Cornerstone Rib].

  5. 27 m Cross rib, then up.

  6. 15 m Diagonally across wall leading to gully. Belay half·way.

  7. 21 m Up, then to top of gully.

The topo line is a guess. May be inaccurate. Please update.

FA: John Davis & Jack Pettigrew, 1963

22
17 North Face Route Trad 190m 8

Hard for its day. Start as for Cross-cut or Cornerstone Rib. [Sounds like a harder version of Cornerstone Rib Original route that goes higher before cutting back onto Cornerstone Rib...?].

1-4: 120m Up to 'greenpocket'. [This seems to be the name for the vegetated pocket to the left of the main arête on Cornerstone Rib].

5: 6m Up to ledge. Piton belay on L.

6: 9 m (crux) L, then up to layback.

7: 21 m Traverse down and R 4 m, then nose and shallow chimney to fig.

8: 30 m Chimney, then R to rib.

FA: Ted Batty & Ron Malor, 1959

23
18 Outbluffed Trad

Up middle of black wall 60 m L of Cornerstone Rib. Bolted belays.

Try and find a shorter route description per metre than that (assuming it goes the entire height of the cliff...?).

FA: Keith Bell & Lucas Trihey, 1989

24

Between Job and the North Face Route. Not a bad route for a winter's day as its short and in the sun all day. Pitch 2 is scary but the rest of the route offers easy climbing on solid rock with good pro. 30m off the ground on the left side of the north face are two trees separated by a triangular pillar. Start just left and below the right most tree.

  1. 30m (14) Climb the dark red line tending slightly right to gain the ledge just left of tree. Nut belay behind tree.

  2. 30m (18) Walk right across ledge to blank corner, up face right of corner on crimps and growing concern. Right past detached shield, then up 10m then tend left onto buttress and belay on ledge.

  3. 40m (14) Climb left onto buttress then follow buttress up to belay on large ledge.

  4. 20m (18) Straight up face for 5m then traverse left onto ridge and up easily.

FA: Peter Kuczera & Matt Bunn, 2011

25
14 M1 Job Trad 120m 5

Start on NE Face at obvious weakness above 8 m of yellow overhang.

  1. 9 m Line of bolts, then L to tree.

  2. 36 m Scramble along ledge to rock.

  3. 21 m Corner, overhang to bolt belay.

  4. 21 m Up L.

  5. 33 m Gully on L.

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1964

26
12 Eastern Route Trad 90m 3

Start R of major gully on E side.

1-2: 60 m Scramble up R side of gully, then L over top of gully to slim ridge overlooking Green Glacier.

3: 30 m Wall on R to summit ridge.

FA: Peter Hardy & Ron Malor, 1959

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