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Access issues inherited from Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage listed area. The Grose Valley, the cliffs around Katoomba and much of the Narrow Neck peninsula are part of the Blue Mountains National Park which is managed by the NPWS. The Western Escarpment - where most of the climbing is - is Crown Land managed by the BMCC. While the NPWS Plan of Management nominates several locations in the National Park where rock climbing is deemed appropriate, the majority of the climbing remains unacknowledged. To maintain access our best approach is to 'Respect Native Habitat, Tread Softly and Leave No Trace'. Do not cut flora and keep any tracks and infrastructure as minimal as possible.

Practically all crags are either in National Park or in council reserve: dog owners are reminded that dogs are not allowed in National Parks at any time and fines have been issued, while for crags on council reserve the BMCC leash law requires that dogs be on-leash.


To Escape! If you don't have torch, go back and hide behind Mirrorball pinnacle.

See topo below There are 2 routes out, down the ridge below Old Skule is easy (1 hour down) but you end up at the Grose river,. Walk upstream (right) for 50m or so and find the tourist track back up (1.5 hard hours slog up = 2.5 hours).

Walking around the 'base' of the cliff is hard navigation and scrub/jungle bashing. 50m past Mirrorball is a watercourse below Critical Mass, drop down about 50m here to get below a small cliffline. Continue through a big jungle below Samarkand and another creek, stay about 20-30m below cliffline. Once you are past Walls Lookdown go up to the base of the cliffs and hope to find a good Basejumper's track (about 1 hour so far). 15 minutes along this till you drop down to the Pierces Pass track and 30 minutes up this. Less slog an much more bashing. About 2 hours but easy to get lost and have epics.

Ethic inherited from Blue Mountains

Although sport climbing is well entrenched as the most popular form of Blueys climbing, mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule over the long term. Please try to use available natural gear where possible, and do not bolt cracks or potential trad climbs.

Because of the softness of Blue Mountains sandstone, bolting should only be done by those with a solid knowledge of glue-in equipping. A recent fatality serves as a reminder that this is not an area to experiment with bolting.

If you do need to top rope, please do it through your own gear as the wear on the anchors is both difficult and expensive to maintain.

It would be appreciated if brushing of holds becomes part of your climbing routine - do it with a soft bristled brush and never a steel brush!

The removal of vegetation - both from the cliff bases and the climbs - is not seen as beneficial to aesthetics of the environment nor to our access to it. However, the fast growing scrub can conceal walking tracks in mere months, so bringing a pair of secaturs and pruning as you walk is a good way of helping out with the constant task of track maintenance. Some appropriately discreet pruning is a far better alternative then track braiding (which causes far more damage). It's also a good warmup for your forearms! However, do so only on Council land and not in the National Park.


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


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Use to be a carrot patch for the sports bunnies, with an awesome final wall. Now it has rings all the way. Carrots are still there, so take some brackets if you need to share a belay. Don't go as a party of 3 unless you are experienced, it generally eats too much time. If you have a pack, haul it on the second rope if you're getting tired

People have stupid epics on this all the time. Please read :-

Generally safe, but run-out at times, with a few loose patches of rock. Take helmets as belayers are lashed to small ledges and can’t dodge shrapnel. Take 2 50m ropes (for rapping down, or retreating), 16 draws and a few slings.

To ESCAPE if you've had to retreat- see notes above! Basically walk back to Old Skool and down the ridge to the river, then back up the Pierces Pass track

ACCESS: It’s halfway to Hotel California from Mirrorball. Rap down about 20m R of Mirrorball pinnacle. Set up on Ubolts on wall at head height, 45m almost free rap to small ledge-walk left 6m to next anchor. KNOTS IN THE ROPE ENDS- TAKE PRUSIKS AND KNOW HOW TO USE THEM. Then a 45m free rap to the deck. Walk along the track to the right (facing the cliff). After 30m, drop down around the base of Old Skule (clean arete on next pinnacle) and go 70m horizontally right thru the scrub till you hit an orange buttress. Continue down a bit and about another 70m then (Red rope and BBB sign) scramble up and right to a ledge 15 m above the track, right of a chossy white patch, just right of a short squeeze chimney. Scramble up and walk right on the ledge till you see the bolts at the desperate boulder problem start. If you go down hill to a big fallen boulder, or see a 30m high black then orange corner (Randy Rabbit Ridge), or traverse beneath a choss cave, you've gone too far.


  1. 20m (18) Traverse out right and back left to flake, reachy. Up to ledge, 2RB.

  2. 20m (18) Right and up seam and corner to ledge. Up a move and diagonally R to arete, then R to ledge and 2RB.

  3. 40m (18) Up dirty slab and R across corner, traverse R to nose and up corner and nose to ledge. 2RB on block or walk R 8m to 2BB at base of wall.

  4. 30m (8) A hard hands-free problem, diagonally R past bolts to 2RB on block further up or tree belay at the top of the slab.

  5. 40m (8) Climb across ledges and walls (and a lot of bush...) past bolts to below orange overhang, L to 2RB below corner.

  6. 40m (18) Up choss and head out L staying low under roof. This pitch can give bad drag, either sling the first 3 bolts to reduce drag or (PRO-TIP) bring second up to belay on second bolt and back up with a hanger on a carrot. Head up pumpy wall to big ledge. 2RB.

  7. 40m (18) Up vertical pump and move L to layback move at top. Needs 15 draws. 2RB.

  8. 40m (13) Left across ledge, diagonal L past bolts and across groove. Climb loose left wall to 2RB on top. Lots of rope drag.

TO WALK OUT after finishing the route: 3 options (marked on topo above):

  1. Walk up the L side of the ridge for 100m to join the footpad heading L back to Bell’s line of road.

  2. down top Mirrorball rap to Lunch Ledge. To get to the top of the rap go up the L side of the ridge for a few meters and then go L around the small gully to go back to cliff edge. Go west along the cliff edge to a small cairn above a short gullly, walk down to rap down Mirrorball to your gear at the lunch ledge (not when it's windy tho, easy to lose a rope).

  3. If it's windy walk north near cliff edge for 200m to gully and down to Lunch Ledge

FA: V Peterson & M Law, 2005

A more funky version of BBB, with a bit more variety, but pumpier and more climbing. If you waste time on belays this will take a long time. Start in big black corner leading to orange wall 20m R of BBB, and 10m left of a huge sloping boulder sticking out of the ground near the track.

  1. 25m (19) Loose then up reachy corner. There are a few small chain hangers on the first 2 pitches, people have threaded them.

  2. 20m (19) start on left and up then airy traverse R to belay ledge

  3. 25m (19) up wierd v corner on slab to ledge

  4. 40m (18) Boulder start then up and r to corner, move around arête and up to grassy slope, up 8 m wall to belay at top

  5. 25m (17) up slope and up arête past bolts to belay on top. (second could wander up to the base of the wall after you've clipped the first ring to give you a better belay -less rope stretch- for the hard move out of the cave).

  6. 20m scramble left a move, up corner, then right to belay on tree on right. Can join P5 and P 6 but you'll have drag unless 2nd moves up as above.

  7. 15m (18) up wall on right, clip 3rd bolt (above ledge) with screwgate to limit fall

  8. 30m (19) up L to corner then huge traverse left under roof and up wall. Awesome position

  9. 20m (17) Walk L 5 m (can move belay to here) and up pumpy wall to cave

  10. 30m (18) Up wall and head right. Up slab, pass first belay and go to 2nd set of paired rings (you can link P9, 10, 11 into 2 pitch by belaying at first set of rings)

  11. 30m (19) Up and right to nose. Step R around nose to undercling and up, later unclip that bolt to reduce drag then left to arete to finish. Follow BBB access to escape

Awesome 'finger-pickin' fun. or 23 M0

Start: At pillar beside track before reaching California\'s buttress

The Original, Classic, Epic.

FA: Batty / Allen, 2000

The first three pitches were retrobolted January 2011 entirely on RBs/UBs/FHs, so no brackets are required, although it's wise to take a couple in case you have to share belays. The first three pitches (17, 8, 19) of CC linked into the top of HC makes for a sub-20 outing.

  1. 45m (17) Low angle cracked face then slab just left of arete to ledge and anchors. Sport pitch on ringbolts.

  2. 15m (10) Short vertical crack. This pitch can be linked into pitch 1. Sport pitch on ringbolts.

  3. 40m (19) Thin black face trending slightly right to ledge. Clip high bolt (with difficulty) then crux horrible chinup/mantle onto short face and up to ledge and tree belay. Sport pitch on ringbolts.

  4. 10m Trad corner about 15m left of Hotel Cali's bolted line.

  5. 10m Short thin corner to big shale ledge. Walk 10m left to belay.

  6. 40m (22) Follow the Hotel California traverse on the top head wall for 5 bolts then head straight up the seam crack on good but spaced trad to a poor carrot belay on ledge. (U rap station 8m R and down)

  7. 45m (22) Hard moves over the bulge (two BRs) then straight up the epic trad protected juggy face. Take 8 slings. carrot and U belay. Scramble up hill to cave. Walk right and up short rock step to under chossy upper cliffline. Walk left under this clliffline and up exit gully.

FA: Michael Law, Vanessa Peterson, Mark Wilson & Zac Vertrees, 2006

1 17
2 19
3 18
4 19
5 20
6 18

Lots of fun and still an adventure, top 3 pitches of Hotel California are fabulous! You want to be solid with exposure! Start first 2 two pitches of CC. First pitch to ledge at 40m but don't stop here, go up through bush then up 5m wall to DDR belay(60m). Second pitch 40m to ledge then traverse right along ledge onto last 10m of 3rd pitch of HC. Follow Hotel California from there.

FA: Mike Law & Co.

Pull thru on gear on first pitch and go up escape gully to avoid choss at the end of pitch 8.

10 pitch sport route (all rings, but take a bolt plate in case the belays get too crowded), access via abseil 15m R of Mirrorball (2 x 45m abseils), walk right past pinnacle at 40 m, hit base of cliff at 100m, drop down, then go up to cliff (near start of Bignose). Walk round the base of buttress and drop down a bit, then go up and you can see a 8m pinnacle/flake leaning against the steep face. This is the start. About 350m walk. There is a much easy variant to the first 3 pitches by starting up Contented Cows, all rings at 17, 8 (12m), and 19.

FA: Mikl Law & Ness Peterson Shaz Clarke, 2001


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