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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.

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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Grade Route

FA: Ewbank/Pickard, 2000

A classic katoomba cliffs trad route with great position and climbing. Most of the rock on this route is of descent quality with the exception of the shale band on pitch 3. Good gear (doubles BD 0.3 - 3, 1 x 4, Wires and Hexes), and only one move at grade 22 (most of the climbing is in the 19-20 range) make this a good introduction to Dogface free-climbing.

Access via Furber steps (or Golden Staircase) to landslide. Find Gorgon wall (next wall right of the landslide main wall, with huge stepped roof half-way up) then bush-bash up loose scree and vegetation until you are below Gorgon Wall.

  1. Start up clean, wide crack with a small roof 6m up. Up crack with a hard start and tricky moves past the roof, then pleasantly up the corner crack to the ledge. 2RB belay.

  2. Walk 20m right along the ledge, and belay off 2 glue-in carrots (back up with bomber wire if necessary).

  3. Up flake (being careful on bad rock) to shale band. Carefully mantle to old bash-in carrot, then crux on bad rock, moving right to gain corner-crack and better rock. Continue up corner to semi-hanging belay 5m below roof. Okay gear can be found in the shale band on this pitch.

  4. Stem corner to roof (bomber wire), then traverse right under roof (clip what pitons you can reach (3 possible), and supplement with gear after the 2nd piton). Continue under roof around prow for 2-3m, then up and back left to large belay ledge directly above the previous belay.

  5. Delicately Up loose flakes to cramped belay in large horizontal slot.

  6. Strenuously off the belay on dubious rock past bolt and gear to an awkward stance. Crux past 2 old carrots, then easily and pleasantly to the top of the cliff. Belay off bollards 8m back from cliff edge.

To escape, head up the hill to the cliffline. Traverse right under the cliffline to cliff edge at gully. Scramble up carefully, then back left under cliffline for 100m until you reach a short gully. Scramble up this, and continue up the hill to the main walking track. Head left on the track back to Landslide lookout, and then up the track to the road.

FFA: Wilson/Williams

FA: Ewbank/Davis, 2000

FA: Ewbank/Kennedy, 2000

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