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Serendipitous Walls

Access: Bushfire related crag closures

May 2020 - some climbing crags in the Blue Mountains are officially closed due to extensive damage from bushfires and floods over Xmas period 2019/20. All campgrounds are closed during Covid-19 restrictions and some are also damaged from bushfires and will be closed in the medium term.

Refer to this spreadsheet for current crag access status. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RiHEop3gOTQ2J3PZwtx1GlRpw4aklJzzROrFnL3aDpw/edit?fbclid=IwAR2RDLi5u2NZn4nS80JarQSUVI3FT-FWw_bJuZNbPjv5Yi94HMzcg8gfnjE#gid=0

Areas that have been burnt and will not reopen for many months include Mt York, Bardens, Bellbird Wall and most of Narrow Neck including Diamond Falls.

See warning details and discuss

Created 4 months ago - Edited 2 days ago
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Description

Adventurous climbing on the lower walls beneath Weld Party , surrounding first two pitches of Serendipitous Cracks and east until gully. As this is a rap in/climb out area that faces north , consider going somewhere else if the temperatures are above late teens (unless there is no sun) It can be uncomfortably warm and is at its best when the temps are freezing. Strong westerlies and northerlies effect the wall , particularily Weld Party on the upper tier.

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

Approach as for Bald Head until in saddle (30min). At saddles lowest point just before walking uphill break track north at a few cairns and pick up faint trail (post 2019 fire and flood trail almost indistinguishable) contouring under rockshelves staying high-left of gully. This faint trail gradually descends and after 10 minutes passes above prominent isolated boulder and in another 150 meters you will see the valleys edge and Peirces Pass across the other side. Head down and left a few meters beside small wall where fixed lines are placed for 20 meters to aid a loose section of track. Harness up and clip into them, one person per section.(ropes ok post fire) Keep following the base of the cliff for 5 minutes or so to reach the obvious line of bolts for Weld Party, to climb weld party or rap in down Serendipitous Arête just past Weld Party though on the lower tier. This also enables walking access to the rap point for the routes described in this section , and avoids the loose creek-bed approach that was used to access Serendipitous Cracks. Allow an hour for approach though if familiar this can be lessened. Although you will walk past the top of a few routes , owing to loose rock and steep approach none are suitable for abseil access and it is advised to walk to the very end of this large ledge for the very comfortable abseil down Serendipitous Arette.

There is a rap point beneath the multi pitch 'Weld Party' (described in long routes section). From the tier beneath Weld Party carefully make your way across to left side of lower wall (looking out). A few meters before cliff edge there is a small step down ledge on left, take this to find DUB rap point. This is the top of Serendipitous Arette. It is 55 meters to the ground or rethread at DUB half way.

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. If you do the bolts may be removed.

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.

If you have benefited from climbing infrastructure in NSW, please consider making a donation towards maintenance costs. The Sydney Rockclimbing Club Rebolting Fund finances the replacement of old bolts on existing climbs and the maintenance of other hardware such as fixed ropes and anchors. The SRC purchases hardware, such as bolts and glue, and distributes them to volunteer rebolters across the state of New South Wales. For more information, including donation details, visit https://sydneyrockies.org.au/rebolting/

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, making remote and less popular crags slightly more difficult and fun to navigate to. Some appropriately discreet pruning is a far better alternative then track braiding (which causes far more damage).

However, do so only on Council land and definitely not in the National Park. Remember, 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 or risk possible closures.

Tags

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 14
2 22
3 15

A much better mixed outing than its near neighbour , with a decent amount of well protected exposure. Rap either 50m from CTL anchor (down chain) or 60m from DUB higher near tree on ledge. Bring 15 draws including a few long ones , a very small rack of wires , and single cams between 0.3 and 3. All bolts glue in SS , no bolt plates neccesary. Starts beneath Ubolt 5m left of CTL.

P.1-gr14. Traverse above bolt into corner. Up to hand traverse beneath large block. Stay low for 4m easy runout before stepping up to large ledge. Step down at FH to ledge and single u-bolt belay. 18 meters.

P.2- gr21. Up veering left through steep horizontal breaks suplemented with bolts. Pass mantle then be sure to place cam in pocket a few moves above next ubolt. Continue up through orange rock to good horizontal for #3 cam then steeply passing a few more bolts , up to spectacular spacious DUBB on prow of arette. 32 meters P.3 -gr14. walk directly right and into stemming corner (previously climbed?) , up this then right onto face at chockstone/tree , up to ledge and single ubolt anchor backed up with med/large cam 3 meters behind. 15 meters.

FA: 14 Oct 2016

Scramble along ledge directly beneath redbelly belay. Continue at this level for 50mtrs passing Electric Universe. Route is a long single pitch of Ubolts. Very chossy delicate first halve to a fun thuggy wall. The jug at lip off roof has been thoroughly reinforced. Belay at DUB then clip chain to walk off up spur. Inspiration for climb was a faster way to the top! 23 standard quickdraws including dub anchor at top.

A mixed route with bolted belays. All bolts are glue in FH's , ringbolts or Ubolts. No boltplates neccessary.

Bring standard single rack including micro cams and DOUBLE #4 AND #5 CAMALOTS!!

First pitch is concealed by left arette of redbelly wall. Although the climb is 15m left of redbelly , the small shute between them is loose. Approach by walking along small undercut ledge behind the detached block that forms the base of redbelly. This brings you to base of wide corner and ringbolt. Stickclip the bolt as getting of the ground is tough.

P.1-25m, grade 18- Up awkwardly for a few meters then up passing three RBs to a DRB. A few #5 cams are handy both at the start and end of this route.

P2. 15m, grade 18- ooze up, plug a #5 in and head out to arrete passing a few bolts and a hidden hold. Tentatively place a few cams in break and carry on up arette jugs past a few more bolts to an arrete slapping move. Belay on large comfortable ledge.

P3, grade 20, 20mtrs- Re-establish belay at bolts 5m left under face. Up past small cam and wire then a few bolts. Pop a med cam in break then head right to a good handjam reach. Clip ubolt then froth on the crux of the whole route. Carry on over top and up to base of next obvious corner.

P4, 20m grade 16- plug in a big cam then up the corner. Stem left below first FH and continue through steep corner. Extend your last peice in crack and possibly place tiny cam on face on left before stepping left 2m on face to avoid dirty loose finish. 2xFH belay on edge above nice pedestal.

Stay roped up for loose edge and belay from cam, tree, or threads above on track.

Long pitch snaking its way up the middle of red wall to first DUB.

Set 29 Mar 2016

The awesome continuation of Red Bellied. Take a breather in the cave then get pumped for what essentially boils down to three punchy moves up the blackrock. Could be soft (and static) for tall folks.

Steep super 40m long mega-pitch. If you thought the '4 on the mainwall was a soft touch get on this! Nail the big dyno down low , then keep your shit together. Qaulity movement up the spacey arette and plenty of sneaky rests. 20 bolts. An 80m rope gets you down otherwise rethread. Note there are still some very loose blocks at the fixed line scramble leading to base. Dont touch them and go one at a time.

Set 27 Feb 2016

1 20
2 22

After rapping down Serendipitous Arette (55m) walk east past that wall and down another 50 meters to line of fixed hangers leading to prominent arete.

  1. 40m (21). Heave ho up through laybacks, fistjams and meaty underclings onto long arching line , leaving the potential for the direct trad line if anyone dared clean it. No long draws required but you need 17. Double U bolt anchor on ledge.

  2. 35m (21) Fantastic position. Up corner for a move then out and up. Some technical arete climbing interspersed with good rests. Belay from a single Ubolt on edge backed up by a glue in stainless 'carrot' 6m back on large boulder. A prussic or sling will suffice if you dont have a boltplate. (The Casuarina died in 2019 fire)

FFA: 29 Feb 2016

1 2
2 17
3 17

The only easy way to the top. Requires bolt plates. From main wall walk down towards P.A and scramble 2mtrs up first slot with the aid of a tree route to a ledge with one B.R. Belay first pitc.h here.

This route is equipt with glue-in stainless machine bolts and requires 14 bolt-plates.

Pitch 1 - 15mtrs , Grade 5. Walk up loose gully passing bolt , clip next bolt to keep rope high (ignore a few draws hanging above) then walk left on ledge 5mtrs, then grovel up small corner a few meters past bolt and left some more to large ledge and single U-Bolt belay. Almost hiking.

Pitch 2 - 25mtrs , Grade 17. Straight up face and into a ferny crux section to a 3BB.

Pitch 3 - 25mtrs , Grade 17. Up. One belay bolt is 2m behind the first you will see. The Belay ledge at top is nice but take great care getting up to track as hill is deceptively loose.

FFA: 1 Mar 2016

The major featured corner crack with a large tree at the base, in the middle of this orange wall is Serendipitous Crack. It is listed in the Balls Head - Longer Routes section on level up.

Long scoopy feature starting 2m right of Serendipitous Crack. Finishes through a couple of roofs up high.

FA: Neil Monteith, Will Vidler & Harry Kadi, 12 Aug 2018

Start 5m right of Serendipitous Cracks at small cairn (cairn has now collapsed , build another if you are short) , fantastic climbing on soft features , through small overlap. A rope stretcher but a 60m will just get you to the ground.

FFA: 7 Jan 2016

Sensational ladder of scoops to infinity. Starts in middle of highest little platform at base of cliff. Joins up with top third of Four Seasons and its climactic arete finish. Use an 80m rope, or re-thread part way down. If you lower from the last bolt on a 70m you JUST make it down.

FA: Neil Monteith, Will Vidler & Harry Kadi, 12 Aug 2018

Epic long sport climb. Named after the many and varied weather patterns that passed during second ascent efforts. Grunt your way through a steep start with a long span left from a pocket earning its grade then ooze up forever to a spectacular finale up hanging prow to lower-offs. 20 quickdraws!! An 80 meter rope gets you to the ground with stretch if you let the end pop through device otherwise rethread.

FFA: 7 Jan 2016

Another stunning climb , was to be named "The Lithgow Grip" but the hold is not necessary. see if you can find it! Starts at large U-bolt and heads straight up.

FFA: 7 Jan 2016

Climb to large first bolt of Pocket Rock It, head further right to next, then unclip first. Shuffle a double kneebar through average rock then straight into the business. Nothing too hard for grade, just a few long moves here and there. A 60 meter rope easily gets you to the ground. Would benefit from an extension to the top. It is possible to link into top few meters of Serendipitous Arette's pitch 1 thus avoiding crux's on both climbs and giving access to easy pitch 2 as means of topping out (about grade 22).

FFA: 19 Mar 2016

1 26 30m
2 17 25m
  1. 30m (26) Steep arete. This pitch is excellent. Stick clip first bolt, jug on up to brilliant crux section and veer left to maintain quality climbing and gain comfortable belay/lower off. May lose a grade with chalk and draws on? Unexpected first shot at end of long day.

  2. 25m (17) Heave Ho left then long line on ironstone to top and crag rap in anchors.

FFA: 7 Jan 2016

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