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Description

As the Blue Mountain's premier BASE jumping launchpad - the routes here are guaranteed hair-raising exposure and excitement. The wall faces south so is almost an all day shade option - however its does receive early morning sun (before 10am) and the left side of Disco Non-Stop Party's arete gets late afternoon sun.

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.

Approach

This is a complex area with a mix of rap-in climb out single pitch and multi-pitch routes accessed from above - as well as a couple of older style do-or-die tradventures starting from the very bottom of the cliff. Park at the lower Pierces Pass carpark for access to all routes.

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.

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Routes

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Old fashioned struggle with some good climbing. The rubbish pitch 1 could be avoided by climbing up an easy wide crack 15m left of the line to reach the first belay. The hard face climbing on pitch 2 could be avoided by simply walking up the two enormous boulders forming the Bridge of Sigh, if you are brave enough and if they are still there (?!). Take gear and lots of brackets for top pitch. Start in gully below yellow corners at right side of Walls Lookdown, about 30m down and left of Long, Strong or Blonde.

  1. 25m Up easy ground and traverse left on shattered rock to ledge and 2BB.

  2. 40m (22) Up and left to break, right to bolt and gently onto huge block. Up offwidth and into chimney. 2BB

  3. 30m (18) Out to lip of roof and up excellent chimney past gear and 5 bolts to tree on ledge.

  4. 10m (20) Up face and crack past 2 bolts. 2 BB.

  5. 40m (22) Traverse left 10m and up past bolts, medium wire and medium cam, then up arete past bolts to scrubby ledge, bolt and cam belay.

  6. 30m Walk right and up scrubby ledge to 2BB, about 15m left of major arete Disco Non Stop Party.

  7. 50m (22) Up wall past many bolts.

  8. 10m Up easy wall.

FA: Michael Law & Vanessa Peterson, 2008

The next two routes are rap-in climb out affairs, starting from the incredible Walls Lookdown tourist lookout (accessed from either upper or lower Pierces Pass carparks). This is a pants pooping location - very overhung and exposed - and thus popular with base jumpers, drone pilots and Instagram models.

Access from the Walls Lookdown lookout.

Walk approximately 20m right (looking out) of the lookout near the cliff-edge, ignoring an in-situ rio bar eyelet. Just before a big bollard (5m left (looking out) of Jimmy Schlimm Schlammer, the vague corner behind the bollard), you will find a Carrot Bolt near the cliff edge, and an old Dynabolt 3m further back. Rap off the carrot and the dynabolt, backing it up off the bollard as best as possible.

Abseil down the line, clipping into a few bolts to remain in contact with the wall, to a semi-hanging belay over the void. Climb out past 10 ringbolts.

Some very loose rock, wear helmets!

Access from Walls Lookdown Lookout.

Walk 5m right (looking out) of the lookout near the cliff edge, looking for the easiest spot to downclimb to a small ledge 3m BELOW the lookout (this is BEFORE the in situ Rio Bar eyelet). Consider roping up for this scramble down. Once on the little ledge, walk back to a position directly below the lookout, locate the 2 rings, and rap 51m (clipping into bolts on the way down to stay in contact with the wall) to a semi-hanging belay over the void.

Quite runout. Consider leaving the abseil rope inplace, and bringing Jumaar's. Seconds should definitely bring Prussiks.

FFA: mikl

From the Walls Lookdown tourist lookout, walk about 50m east down the hill (following the cliffline) towards Lunch Ledge, to another worn lookout spot above the sharp-looking arete that is Disco Non-Stop Party. There a lot of carrots and ringbolt belay bolts here.

Uber arete - probably the most striking, sustained and exposed in the Bluies (and that's saying something!). A recent rebolt and new direct start addition has pushed this back into popularity. Now all rings, no bolt plates necessary.

Fix a rope and rap 40m from cluster of bolts at the top of the arête to a small stance (double ringbolts) on the arête (about 5m below the original belay on the face).

Step around right side of arete off the belay. Up past 4 bolts to break. Truck around left side of the arête, then up past 2 more bolts (original route rejoins from the left here) and up 7 more bolts climbing on both sides of the arête as necessary. Be smart with runner length to minimise rope-drag/wear.

It is still possible to climb the inferior original shorter version of the route by abseiling instead to a higher 2 x carrot belay on the face left of the arête, and starting up the brittle face via old carrots and fixed hangers, to join the arête at the 2nd ring on the lefthand side of the arête.

FA: Rob LeBreton, 1990

Set by Paul Thomson, 8 Oct 2017

FA: Paul Thomson & Will Vidler, 12 Oct 2017

Just a linkup, but it gives you a taste of this stunning wall at a fairly tame grade, via a surprisingly obvious link of the 3 routes.

Abseil access as for Disco Non-Stop Party (via direct start on arete). Up arete past 4 bolts, then rising traverse right into The Obvious Elbow for 3 bolts, continuing rightward (past no-hands stance) to join I Have a Dream. Follow I Have a Dream up past 5 bolts and optional #0.3 cam (recommended) to top-out.

A giant 55m single pitch straight up the face between Disco Non-Stop Party and I Have a Dream on stunning rock. Now with its own (harder) direct finish! 20 bolts, and some well-placed long runners will be crucial to mitigating rope drag.

Can be accessed from the top via Walls Lookdown, or by a bolted traverse in from near Lunch Ledge (meaning your belayer doesn't have to second you) and is equipped for ground-up ascents.

For Top Access, from the Walls Lookdown lookout at Pierces Pass, walk east down the hill (following the cliffline) towards Lunch Ledge, easily spotting the sharp-looking arete that is Disco Non-Stop Party. The rap for this route is 4m left (looking out) of the bolts at the top of the arête). Rap 55m down the route to a cosy ledge.

To access the climb from Lunch Ledge, follow the normal Lunch Ledge access track (criss-crossing the creek) until just before the track takes a turn left and heads away from the little creek. Cross the creek to the right side (looking out) via convenient logs and head towards a short vibrant brown arete. Hug the rock below the arete, continue past 2 rings (anchors for Damascus below) and move through scrub until you arrive at a single ringbolt protecting the Grade 3 traverse in front (can be backed up off old carrots).

Up from the belay via easy corner. Then straight into sustained hard moves for 6 bolts. Deviate left along horizontal break to near arête, then rising traverse back right (the "elbow") to middle of face and small stance. Directly up past more hard moves separated by jugs, following the line of bolts fairly directly (no need to wander around), to a particularly hard finale.

It's still possible to climb the original (easier 26) version of the route, by heading right from the "stance" at half height, and finishing up the top half of I Have a Dream.

FA: Paul Thomson & Glen Thomson, 29 Apr 2015

FA: Paul Thomson & Will Vidler, 28 Jan

Classic guidebook-cover worthy wall climb with a hell of a lot of air below you. The hanging belay makes this a painful proposition to work, some even take a portaledge down to alleviate the hassle - or belay from down on the Thomson Traverse and leave a fixed 7m rope to the hanging belay stance that they jumar up between shots.

Locate 2 rings a few metres further down the hill (south) from the Disco Non Stop Party arete,. Fix a rope to rings and rap 50m down the route, taking the RIGHT fork (facing in, the LEFT fork is for The Obvious Elbow (of Aristocrat Arthur Decanter), bouncing to stay in contact with the wall (and pre-placing a few draws to direct the rope) to a fully-hanging 3 x bolt belay about 7m above small ledge.

10 bolts, with an optional 0.3/0.4 cam in a slot near the top (to mitigate an exciting runout).

04/10/2014 - Replaced 2 manky bash-in carrots (with fixed hangers) with new rings. - P.T.

The following multi-pitch routes climb the wall below I Have a Dream etc. Approach by walking down the gully to start of Lunch Ledge (where the creek cascades over the cliff edge), instead of going left towards Mirrorball, go right and cross the creek to cliffline with prominent bolted arete (top pitch of Damascus). Scramble along narrow vegetated ledge left of the arete (short section of fixed rope) for about 100m to a small cave (above huge drop-off - take care). Crawl through cave and rack up at double rap rings with a smattering of old carrots near them. Fix 70m rope to bolts and rap off into the void (down the Abandoned Giles Project) - kick on the way down to stay in contact with the rock. About 30m down is an old set of FHs - best to clip one of them to stay connected to the rock. Eventually touch down on large ledge with a couple of small banksia trees. This ledge is big enough to walk around on without roping up. Long Strong or Blond starts on the left end of this ledge, whilst the other routes require rapping another 35m down. Refer to topo.

1 22 35m
2 21 45m
3 19 40m

A mutli-pitch route climbing a major corner crack system directly below Disco Non-Stop Party. The topos shown in the Carter print guides are possibly incorrect and show this route starting much lower than it actually does. Bring a double set of wires, a full set of cams and doubles of 0.75" to 3" sizes. Some gear was pre-placed on the first ascent and this is recommended for subsequent repeats.

  1. 35m (22) Friom left end of big ledge climb crack and wall, easy to start then steeper finger crack to hand crack. Around bush and on to stance then awkward stance on arete, then crux pulling over roof (essential #1 Friend and small wire, best pre-placed on rap)

  2. 45m (21). Up and left to crack, follow crack then step right to small ledge with tree, bolt. Steeper wall, big holds and pockets past rings to second ledge. Traverse right 5m to carrot, up on big holds then left before climbing onto ledge. Final steep moves up wall and arete to old carrot belay as for original version of Disco Non Stop Party.

  3. 40m (19) The corner (shared last pitch with Voidophobia)

FA: Mark Wilson & K Luck, 1999

FFA: Mark Wilson & R Cleland, 2000

1 21 17m
2 25 17m
3 22 14m
4 24 32m
5 20 18m
6 25 30m

Very exposed route up a clean overhung wall - with zero vegetation or choss. Lots of bolts and air. Bring 20 draws (some long ones) and a 70m rap rope and 70m (or longer) lead rope. No bolt plates required. Only one belay is fully hanging. Route stays in the shade from 9am until very late afternoon (it's cold!).

Rap in as described above to big ledge. Pitch 3 of this route starts 5m left of the rap touch down point. For the final rap walk to far left end of ledge to double rings - rig 70m lead rope as a double rope rap - and rap 34m down face to small belay ledge just right of major corner and above amazing hanging vertical swamp.

  1. 17m (21) From small belay ledge climb the right trending line across gorgeous waterwashed face to awkward mantle onto shale ledge. Some moves are pretty reachy. Semi-hanging belay. 9 bolts.

  2. 17m (25) Pull on the first two bolts as aid then left leading line that gets harder the higher it goes. Lots of thin moves. Belay on left end of ledge at same anchors you rapped in on. 10 bolts.

  3. 14m (22) Move belay 15m right to middle of big ledge (single low bolt to belay from). Climb short left facing fused corner, then jugs and short baffling corner to small ledge belay (DBB). 5 bolts.

  4. 32m (24) Left off the belay past diving board and up through bulge and then long technical wall to under small overlap. Left under this then continue up short corner and wall above to semi hanging belay at tiny ledge. 15ish bolts.

  5. 18m (20) Left up ramp and then reachy wall trending right to major shale ledge. Traverse 8m right (reversing the Thomson Traverse) to belay at double RB (where you rapped in from).

  6. 30m (25) Little undercut rooflet to start then long grey wall about 10m right of I Have A Dream, finishing at anchors under small overlap. Lower-off back to ledge and walk off home. 12 bolts.

Set by Neil Monteith, Mar 2018

FA: Neil Monteith, Will Vidler & Paul Thomson, 11 Mar

FFA: Neil Monteith & Paul Thomson, 29 Apr

The line of old bash-in rusty carrots on the wall 8m right of Let Freedom Ring, including a hanging belay off FHs. This is probably an abandoned attempt by Giles Bradbury to bolt something down here in 90s -it doesn't look very good and goes nowhere. The rap route access for the lower routes goes down this - marvel at the unfinished vision.

A right to left traverse across a very exposed shale break protected by spaced ringbolts. It begins on the far left end of the vegetated ledge below I Have A Dream. This is the best way to access the bottom belay of Obvious Elbow.

Named in honour of my dad, who somehow managed to take a whipper while leading off it at the end of the day.

FA: Paul Thomson & Glen Thomson

Topical discussion or spiritual epiphany? You be the judge.

A sustained new multipitch on a new section of wall at Pierces Pass, covering some nutty terrain, and with very unique climbing for the Blueys,

ACCESS: Walk down to start of Lunch Ledge, instead of going left towards Mirrorball, go right and cross the creek to cliffline with prominent arete (Pitch 5 of this route!). Scramble along narrow vegetated ledge left of the arete. The first set of rings is the topout of Pitch 4. Can rap the route from here (70m) but it is challenging due to the steepness, recommended to continue left to a small cave (above huge drop-off - take care). Crawl through cave and rack up at double rap rings with a smattering of old carrots near them. Fix 70m rope to bolts and rap off into the void (down the Abandoned Giles Project) - kick on the way down to stay in contact with the rock. About 30m down is an old set of FHs - best to clip one of them to stay connected to the rock. Eventually touch down on large ledge with a couple of small banksia trees. This ledge is big enough to walk around on without roping up.

Walk right along the ledge to a single ring belay, with rap anchors a few metres further right (over the void). A 35m rap from here (bounce in and out past the overhangs) will get you to the belay below P1.

  1. 35m (25) 18 bolts - Easy climbing to first bulge. Slightly left through this to next bulge, and up and over via hard moves, staying on the LEFT-side of the arête. Trend left, then finish via some funky stemming. Consider a few long runners for drag. This pitch has a few bolts mostly for aiding past hard moves, which are not ideal for drag if clipped on link. Move belay 10m left to next set of ringbolts below left-facing corner.

  2. 15m (23) 6 bolts - Extremely bouldery start (very hard if short) to the 2nd bolt above the belay, then pleasant gr21 to the anchor.

  3. 45m (25) 18 bolts - The money pitch! A Spanish-style resistance excursion. Weird climbing for the Blueys. Up via tricky moves, then long rising traverse right with all the hard stuff near the end. Up small corner, then rising traverse back left on techy small-things (and weirdly mega rock) to belay. With 4 strategically placed long-runners rope drag is negligible.

  4. 15m (16) 3 bolts - 6m of tolerable climbing past 3 bolts, then vegetated scramble to belay on ledge (make use of the fixed rope!). Move belay 10m right to single belay bolt on small stance below arete.

  5. 15m (23) 8 bolts - Up left side of arete. Turn the arete, and up steep jugs to loweroff anchors.

Set by Paul Thomson, 20 Dec 2017

FA: Paul Thomson, Neil Monteith & Will Vidler, 25 Apr

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