Hat Hill Crag Mostly Sport climbing9 routes in cliff
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Quite a spectacular looking orange wall, clearly visible way downstream from Atlantis. Doesn't quite live up to first impressions due to limited starts and grainy rock. The wall gets sun after midday - and is nicely wind protected from winter westerlies. The lovely canyon below the cliff offers great swimming in summer.
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.
This crag shares the same carpark and start walking track with the Atlantis crag. Turn off the Great Western Highway on to Hat Hill Rd at Blackheath. Drive along Hat Hill Road to where it turns sharply right after 3.1km, and after a further 500m, turn left in to Godson Ave (unsealed). Drive 350m and turn right at the intersection and park in the first pull in bay on the left (GPS -33.613, 150.315).
About 10m past this, walk down a fire trail on the left. Ignore a foot track to the left at a cairn after 150m - this leads to the climbing area of Atlantis. Continue down the fire trail until it peters out at a burnt out car, and then keep walking down the ridge on well worn canyoners track until it ends at creek. The crag is clearly visible as a large orange wall 50m up on the right side of the canyon. Bush bash up to the right side of the wall - and then walk left along cliff base to cave and first bolted route. Its about a 15 min walk-in and 20 min walk back up again.
Rap anchors on 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.
Neil and co weren't the first visitors this to cliff. They found one old FH and dynabolt and some ringbolt notches on the left wall - circa 2000s?
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