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Description

The first sector on the major imposing buttress seen to your right from the lookout. Home to Booroomba's classic multipitch wall climbs.

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Approach

From the lookout walk left (facing out) for 30m then drop down a gully that goes back right under the lookout. Follow the track until you're about level with the start of Hermes, where the track splits. A track on the contour takes you to the base of Hermes through to Determinant. For Fiasco and all routes left, continue on the left / downhill track and skirt round under the buttress.

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Descent notes

For most climbs it is easiest to walk off, but a few rap anchors are handy if you want to try a few pitches on a particular tier.

There is a rap anchor at the top of Hermes (60m to ground).

There is a line of rap anchors down Yellow Brick Road and The Prow - 35m, 35m, 25m, 25m. From the top anchor it is also possible to rap 60m down and left to the base of 'Take It All' / 'Wicked Witch of the West'.

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Ethic inherited from Booroomba Rocks

The ethic at Booroomba is generally staunchly traditional. Most climbing goes either entirely on gear or gear with bolts for those walls where there is insufficient gear to protect climbs. Climbs are occasionally rebolted, but retro-bolting would be considered vandalism of the lowest order.

Tags

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Routes

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Grade Route

Traverses the 'North Buttress' from right to left at a fairly even standard, if you don't get lost... (see various topos). Start below the prominent chimney of 'Roderick' ('Cave wall' lower tier).

  1. 30 metres - Scramble up to the base of the chimney, move left to the prominent ledge and walk left 20 metres to the three (second 'Hermes' belay).

  2. 15 metres - Step down and move left past a tree and exposed rib to an alcove (third 'Indecision' belay).

  3. 18 metres - Reverse the third pitch of 'Indecision'; traverse left under the overhang to a cramped ledge.

  4. 18 metres - Continue leftwards into a corner and step up onto 'The Prow', belaying at the left end.

  5. 24 metres - Leftwards along a ledge and over a water streak to more ledges.

  6. 34 metres - Traverse easily leftwards on ledges, tending slightly down, to a large block.

  7. 36 metres - More descending traversing until you cross the crack below 'Linear Crack'. Climb the left side of this crack and move left to a broken ledge.

  8. 18 metres - Across the slab and move down and around the corner to below the chimney on the second pitch of 'Vent Crack'.

  9. 34 metres - Up to the base of the chimney and traverse horizontally over a gap and and around a rib. Descend slightly and continue left to good ledges.

  10. 36 metres - From the edge of the ledge, climb a wall for five metres and traverse left and finally up to a good ledge.

  11. 35 metres - Along the ledge and diagonally up to below a downwards pointing flake. Left and across a slab to a small ledge and poor belay.

  12. 22 metres - The top of the fifth pitch of 'Denethor'; up the easy slab to a large, bushy shelf.

FA: Peter Aitchison & Tony Wood (Var.), 1969

The longest route in the ACT, and one of the longest in Australia. Probably just less than 500 metres, but potential over that if you get lost along the way.

The description for this is basically as per "The Girdle Traverse", but add a lot more climbing to the end to make the route traverse the Northern Buttress in its entirety.

Traverses the 'North Buttress' from right to left at a fairly even standard, if you don't get lost... (see various topos). Start below the prominent chimney of 'Roderick' ('Cave wall' lower tier).

When the Original traverse gets to "Denethor" continue traversing left across the Northern Slabs past the second rap station of "Counterbalance" ", the second last belay of "Equilibrium", the last belay of "Hands Free", then traverse an unknown line left under an overlap to join "Sunstroke" halfway through its last pitch, continue left and finish up the last pitch of "Drunken Delight".

This was done in a bunch of mostly rope stretching 50+ metre pitches, in 10 pitches in total. It could be done in many other pitch combinations so just follow your nose and belay wherever seems appropriate for you.

It may be a girdle link up, BUT this makes for a stellar day out on a great wall and is the closest thing to a big wall free route that you could hope for in the ACT. Well worth a long, fun day out!

FA: Duncan Brown & Ray Spencer, 23 Apr 2017

Not worth the effort. Start at a wide crack uphill (right) from 'Little Hermes'.

  1. 15 metres - Bridge past the off-width and follow the crack up left. Walk right to belay.

  2. 25 metres - Up the wide V-groove (horrible) then step left and up the corner as for 'Little Hermes Left Hand Variant'.

FA: John Stone, John 'Chaz' Wood & Theo Hooy, 1979

Popular. Start in a small recess just right of a large pillar directly below the roof pitch of 'Hermes'.

  1. 32 metres - Climb the slabs and ledges to a tree, then up the crack and wall to a good ledge. Up the slab using the leftwards slanting crack to a grassy ledge and tree belay ('Hermes' second belay).

  2. 18 metres - Pleasant. Start from a belay at big blocks 15 metres to the right of the tree, climb a short wall, pull through the hanging flakes and the corner above, then up a rib on the left of a gully. Tree belay.

FA: Tony Wood & I. Raine, 1968

An alternative and slightly harder variation from the ledge on the second pitch. Instead of the rib, climb the leftwards slanting groove to the left.

FA: Tony Wood & G. Still, 1969

Not as poxy as it sounds. Start at a flake four metres right of the final layback/roof pitch of 'Hermes'. Up the flake and make a committing move to reach the bolt. Hardish face moves past this to a thin crack leading to the top.

FA: Mike Law-Smith & Karel Seeuwen, 1982

A contrived line that detracts from 'Hermes'. Up the second pitch of 'Hermes' for three metres then move right onto the face and up past two bolts.

FA: Gordon Poultney & Kieran Lawton, 1986

A classic. The intimidating roof section is easier than it look. Start at the left-hand side of the pillar four metres left of 'Little Hermes'.

  1. 24 metres - Climb the chimney and corner crack to the top, step right and climb a short wall to a good ledge. Climb the slab, using a thin crack, to a tree belay (originally done in two pitches).

  2. 26 metres - Up the magnificent corner crack (#5 protects potential ledge fall) and out right under the overhang. Belay on the ledge above or eight metres right.

FA: Peter Aitchison & Tony Wood (alt.), 1968

This is generally the way Fearon is climbed. Climb the first pitch of Hermes to the start of Fearon.

Excellent. Start at the top belay of Hermes below a shallow corner. Climb the wall past two bolts, moving slightly right at the second. Belay at the rap station if you're coming back down, otherwise continue scrambling and belay on gear at the top. When rapping keep right and have a long arm ready to reach the belay.

FA: Rob Topfer & Richard Watts, 1984

An obstinate old aid climb that repulsed a number of attempts to free it over the years. Tobin Sorensen took a big plummet off it, ripping out an old aid bolt, and it was left to local lad Crushed to finally free it. In a good position, but the climbing is nothing special. Start from the top belay of 'Hermes'. Traverse left then up the leftwards curving crack, passing two bolts. Belay and rap as for Alicia. A hanging belay was used on the first free ascent but is not recommended.

FA: Norm Booth & N. Baxter, 1971

FFA: Mike Law-Smith & Paul Daniel, 1982

From the top belay of 'Hermes', traverse left (passing under 'Scimitar') then up a nice hand crack to join 'Fearon Variant Finish'. Once the climbing eases off, it is possible to head right up a ramp and blocks to the rap anchor above Alicia.

FA: Chris Larque & Damien Jones, 1974

A circular exercise out of 'Hermes' roof to join 'Thor'. Move left from under the roof, around the lip and up a groove then back right to the belay.

FA: Tobin Sorensen, 1979

Instead of climbing the chimney, exit by a crack on the right.

FA: Peter Aitchison, 1968

Takes the open-book ramp left of the 'Hermes' roof, originally climbed with a peg for aid. Start beneath the second pitch of 'Hermes'.

  1. 30 metres - Climb the blocky wall behind the tree, then a groove and short wall on the left to a stance. Up the steepening ramp and exit awkwardly to a small niche on the left. A short groove on the right then step left to belay at the entrance to a deep fissure.

  2. 35 metres - Chimney easily to the top of the huge block then step back onto the main face. Climb cracks and grooves up more broken rock to finish up a short rib on the right.

FA: Peter Aitchison, 1968

Avoids the wide bits - recommended. Start below blocks leaning against the face four metres left of 'Hermes'.

  1. 25 metres - Up the blocks, then an awkward move to gain a crack. Continue up a ramp to a ledge. Scary climbing up the slab above; leftwards at first then up and right to belay on the large ledge as for 'Hermes'.

  2. 30 metres - From the left side of the ledge climb diagonally up the blocky wall then leftish to stance at base of chimney. Against your better judgement follow the flake into exposed thin crack on the arete (shared with Incisor). At the top of this step right and up short V-corner to belay on large ledge.

  3. 35 metres - Climb to the top of a huge triangular leaning flake with some trepidation, then step onto the face and continue up scoops to the top of the Fearon block. Finish as for 'Fearon'.

FA: Peter Riddy, Bryden Allen & and modern interlopers, 1973

A good climb - interesting and varied. Start below blocks leaning against the face four metres left of 'Hermes'.

  1. 25 metres - A bit harder now the top block has gone. Up the blocks, then an awkward move to gain a crack. Continue up a ramp to a ledge. Scary climbing up the slab above; leftwards at first then straight up to belay in the chimney.

  2. 30 metres - Up the chimney past some dubious rock and a large wedged flake to a niche on the left. A short V-corner leads to a large ledge.

  3. 35 metres - Climb to the top of a huge triangular leaning flake with some trepidation, then step onto the face and continue up scoops to the top of the Fearon block. Finish as for 'Fearon'.

FA: Peter Riddy & Bryden Allen, 1973

Outstanding climbing up a powerful line. Start below the obvious fang on the left wall of the chimney six metres left of Big Boris. Originally pitch two was split, and climbed further to the left, but the route as described was done shortly after and is better.

  1. 20 metres - Up (with trepidation!) the crumbly wall to the fang, undercling left and around the lip, then follow the crack upwards to belay two metres right of the 'Indecision' corner.

  2. 35 metres - Up the crack through the overlap, moving right at the horizontal break to the arete. Up knobs then up and left to a large ledge, move up and back right onto the arete and climb a short V-groove swinging right at the top into the short corner at the top of pitch two of 'Big Boris'. Up to belay.

  3. 35 metres - Finish as for 'Big Boris' Pitch 3 - Climb to the top of a huge leaning flake with some trepidation, then step onto the face and continue up scoops to the top of the Fearon Block. Finish as for 'Fearon' Pitch 2, climbing cracks and grooves up more broken rock to finish up a short rib on the right.

FA: John Fantini & Chris Larque (alt.), 1978

Start 5m left and down from the start of Incisor just right of the arete. Climb up through two horizontal breaks then up left around the arete to finish more easily up a groove to the belay for Incisor/Indecision. It is well protected with natural gear.

FA: Nick Herald & Oliver Story, 2005

Direct but contrived. The crux is awkward to protect; the first free attempt saw six falls taken with one protagonist knocked out! Three pegs were used for aid on the first pitch on the first ascent. Start from the first belay on 'Determinant'.

  1. 20 metres - Climb the steep crack (crux) at the right-hand end of the wall, and then the groove to exit left onto the ledge.

  2. 25 metres - Climb the wall left of the belay, and the crack through the overhang and up the right crack to a ledge.

  3. 15 metres - Climb the right-hand of the two cracks above the ledge and over broken ground to a spike.

  4. 30 metres - Up the imposing crack on the left of the 'Fearon' block, moving right at the horizontal crack and then up the nose to the top of the block. Finish as for 'Fearon'.

FA: Jeff Morgan & Bryden Allen (alt.), 1972

Climbs to the top of the 'Fearon' block via the crack between the left of the block and the wall. Finish as for 'Fearon' by stepping onto the face.

FA: Bryden Allen & Peter Riddy, 1973

Indirect but sustained at the grade. Start at a v-cleft at the base of the cliff, shared with Fiasco. Alternatively, skip the modern addition of the first pitch and go straight to the original route, which starts below a steep ramp above the first belay on 'Determinant'.

  1. 40m (18) Up the easy leftwards crack / ramp for 10m as for Fiasco. Up and right across the slab passing three bolts. Up the corner for 10m. Clip the last bolt on the short headwall, and make a last tricky move past this (or take the rightwards 'pike-out' easier finish) onto the large bushy ledge.

  2. 20m (18) Delicately leftwards along the ramp and up a crack to a cramped belay beneath the overhang. A good pitch.

  3. 18m (12) Traverse right to below a steep corner crack.

  4. 18m (18) Climb the narrowing corner crack past a horizontal break to a ledge. Some aid was used on this pitch during the first ascent.

  5. Finish up 'Big Boris'.

FA: Peter Aitchison & Tony Wood (var)., 1969

FFA: Jeff Morgan & Greg Mortimer, 1972

An alternative pitch 2m left of 'Indecision' P3 and right of 'The Stringer' P2. Up the shallow left-hand corner, around the lip and up the crack.

FA: Phil Cullen & Lincoln Hall, 1979

A wandering climb with a good exposed slab and a classic crack finish ('Terminant Corner'). Start where the track first touches the 'nose' of the cliff, at a short steep-looking crack.

  1. 20m (15) Up the short crack to a ledge. More easily to the base of a slab split by a thin crack. Step left into a left-facing layback crack. Up this to belay on the large bushy ledge.

  2. 20m (15) Climb the short corner behind the tree. Up the slab with gear in horizontal breaks out right, then a bolt up high, to gain another large ledge (the top of the original route's first pitch).

  3. 30m - From the left side of the ledge move left across the slab (crux), then up and left to a short corner crack to 'The Prow'. Belay on gear or the rap station at the left side of 'The Prow'.

  4. 55m (12) Climb the right-hand side of the block above the rap station, then traverse right along the break and up a narrow slab. Continue easily up the bushy ramp to tree belay below the prominent corner.

  5. 35m (15) Up the corner crack. Head left to avoid the lichen-filled wide crack, step up a level then back right to finish with a step across the void.

FA: Pitches 1, 2 Damian Javanovic, Pitches 3-4 Tony Wood, Peter Aitchison 1968, Pitch 5 Peter Aitchison, C Aichison & G Hodges 1968.

A wandering climb with a good, exposed slab on the second pitch. Start 25 metres left and down from 'Hermes' at the biggest tree around. 'Terminant Corner' is now the accepted way to finish.

  1. 20m (15) Climb the easy slab, keeping to the right, to a large bushy ledge (or just walk up the manky ramp on the right to the belay!)

  2. 30m (15) From the left side of the ledge move left across the slab (crux), then up and left to a short corner crack to 'The Prow'. Belay on gear or the rap station at the left side of 'The Prow'.

  3. 20m (12) Climb the right-hand side of the block above the rap station, then traverse right along the break and up a narrow slab to a tree belay.

  4. 26m Walk on up the slab and chossy ledge.

  5. 28m (15) Ascend a wide groove down and left from the imposing corner crack ('Terminant Corner'). Move left across a small slab and pull up onto a ledge.

  6. 20m (15) Up and step onto the rib on the left. Cruise to the top.

FA: Tony Wood & Peter Aitchison, 1968

This wall was bolted and climbed by Crushed and Dave Sargent, but they aided it (19M1) and didn't bother naming it. Start as for 'Terminant Corner'. Climb up the corner and out onto the wall. Hard moves past three bolts lead to the arete and a crack. At the ledge, go up the crack to a good finish which hand traverses left.

FA: Mike Law-Smith & Dave Sargent

FFA: Joe Lynch & Mike Peck, 1986

The corner crack above the fourth belay of Determinant. Can be done as one pitch if you take care of rope drag.

  1. 25 metres - Climb the corner to a ledge.

  2. 10 metres - Move left and exit (loose) back right.

FA: Peter Aitchison, C. Achison & G. Hodges, 1968

An alternative final two pitches, harder and more direct than the original.

  1. 25 metres - Up the weakness a little, but then up a crack on the right to a ramp.

  2. 20 metres - From the top of the ramp climb the corner right of a flake and finish left of the overhang.

FA: Peter Aitchison & Neil Anderson, 1968

Small, steep and perverse. The crack above the right-hand end of the 'Determinant' slab (the one used for runners for the slab). (original name changed)

FA: Mike Law-Smith & John Smart, 1982

Obscure. The crack and roof to the left of the crux on 'Danielle' (the third pitch). Can be approached up 'Indecision' P1, or by traversing right from the top of The Prow. Grunt through the overhang on sharp awkward jams. Step left and mantle up. Step back right and follow the right-leaning hand crack up the slab. At the overlap head left, then easily up fist-sized knobs to finish on the Determinant bushy ramp.

FA: Lincoln Hall & Ken McMahon, 1979

Start below two water streaks on a boulder above the big bushy ledge on 'Determinant'. Up the right-hand streak past some wires and two bolts (one of which replaces a fixed #0 RP from the first ascent). Move right and up to a bush and cam belay. Finish up 'Determinant'.

FA: Tony Barten, Mike Peck & Gordon Poultney, 1987

A rather desperate slab; double ropes are handy. Start as for 'Private Wound'. Put a side runner in the corner, then climb the left-hand streak past a #5 RP to the first bolt. Continue up the slab with crux moves at the third bolt. From the fourth bolt head diagonally left, joining 'Yellow Brick Road' at a large flake, and up to belay.

FA: Tony Barten & Mike Peck, 1987

A good climb in an exposed position. Start eight metres up the scrubby ramp of the fourth pitch of 'Determinant' at the stepped crack.

  1. 20 metres - Climb the crack to the top of the pinnacle (bolt belay). (Climbed later as a finish to 'Danielle'. The original route went up the left side of the pinnacle, now renamed 'Wicked Witch of the West'.)

  2. 40 metres - Climb the steep wall past the first bolt (crux), up to the second, then out right to a large flake. Up, then left to a crack and up to a good ledge. Move left then up to the top.

FA: Keith Nell & John Fantini, 1974

Contrived, but nevertheless more interesting than any alternative. Start on the Prow, four metres right of the big block. Straight up the steep slab and face past three bolts. DBB on top of the 'Yellow Brick Road' pinnacle. Finish up 'Yellow Brick Road'.

FA: Gordon Brysland & Dave McGregor, 1987

Start from the top of the block on the third pitch of 'Determinant'. Good climbing up the cracked nose in the centre of the 'Yellow Brick Road' pillar. Finish up 'Yellow Brick Road'.

FA: Gordon Brysland & Dave McGregor, 1987

Start on the block above the third pitch of Determinant, or at DBB level with the start of the crack.

  1. 20m (18) Up the left crack on the left side of the buttress to DBB as for Yellow Brick Road. (Once upon a time, this was YBR).

  2. 40m (20) Initially as for Yellow Brick Road to second bolt, then go left to a third bolt. Straight up from here.

FA: 1974, Keith Neil, John Fantini, Jamie Valdivia, Oliver Story & 1974-, 2015

One of the best early climbs. It ascends the right side of the Prow and then follows a groove on the right-hand side of 'The Central Slabs'. Start at a corner 30 metres below and left from 'Determinant'.

  1. 8 metres - Easily up the crack to a ledge.

  2. 12 metres - Climb the wall on its left, using the incipient crack - probably the crux.

  3. 15 metres - Climb a short wall on the left and then the groove to a spacious ledge on the left.

  4. 30 metres - A steep pitch which has dealt out its fair share of screamers. Climb past a tree stump (which is now a mature eucalypt) then continue up the corner crack, which cuts diagonally right, to the Prow. Walk left for 10 metres to some large rounded blocks.

  5. 50 metres - Climb the right-hand side of the blocks, left up a short wall, then easily up the groove system to a tree belay beneath a chimney.

  6. 38 metres - The chimney and crack above, using the curving slab on the left. Up into a recess and exit using a series of corners on the left.

FA: Peter Aitchison, Tony Wood (var.) & John Armstrong, 1968

Originally misnamed 'Prow Direct'. Start at the base of the 'Fiasco' groove. Move up and left onto the steep slab, then follow the cleaned line diagonally left to the huge ledge below 'The Prow'.

FA: Lucas Trihey & Pat Butler, 1981

Sustained and strenuous climbing up the left side of 'The Prow'. Start eight metres left of 'Fiasco'.

  1. 25 metres - climb the gap between the two flakes to a large ledge, then up the left side of a flake and delicately right to a ledge.

  2. 15 metres - The third pitch of 'Fiasco'. Climb the wall, then the groove to a spacious ledge in the left. Walk left to the leftmost crack.

  3. 30 metres - Strenuously up the leftwards curving crack then a series of ledges to the left end of the prow.

  4. 15 metres - Climb the wide crack past a tree to join 'Fiasco'.

FA: Peter Aitchison & Peter Cocker (alt.), 1968

A pleasant pitch that takes a direct line to the base of the 'Prow'. Start three metres right of 'Danielle', on the right side of the obvious flake. Easily to the top of the flake, step right to some wires then go straight up past three bolts.

FA: Neil Montgomery, Adam Blizzard & Simo Carter, 1986

This is a popular combination of routes that offers sustained climbing up 'The Prow'. From 'Moth' (or 'Place Without a Postcard') continue up 'Madrigal', followed by 'High at Kites' or 'Jett Arete' and finish up the second pitch of 'Yellow Brick Road'.

FA: Unknown

Indirect. Scramble up to a large ledge below a prominent triangular flake to the left of 'Jetts Sett'.

  1. 30 metres - Climb the crack on the left to the top of the flake. Traverse right and up to a ledge. Climb a short wall and groove as for the third pitch of 'Fiasco', to a spacious ledge.

  2. 35 metres - Up the corner crack to the tree and follow a groove right to exit onto the 'Determinant' slab. Traverse right above the slab to an overhanging flake and up this to the overlap. Traverse right to belay under the overhang (second belay on 'Indecision').

  3. 30 metres - Traverse back left to a crack breaking the overlap. Climb this (crux) and the wall above to a vegetated ledge. Then finish up 'Yellow Brick Road'.

FA: Keith Bell & Ray Lassman (alt.), 1974

A nice cracky start with a sustained slab finish. Start below the left edge of a prominent triangular flake, at a diagonal crack. Up the flake, then left and up the brushed slab past two bolts to DBB on the ledge.

FA: Gordon Poultney, Mike Peck & Sean Sullivan, 1987

Start as for 'Rubbishman. Up this for four metres then up the ramp to a short corner. Step right and up to a bolt. Continue up the slab past another bolt to a ledge.

FA: Mike Peck & Craig Kentwell, 1987

Start as for Rocketman up the thin crack. Climb diagonally up and right across the face, passing a bolt. Finish up the flake/crack on the upper face.

A true 'Prow Direct'! Start at the prominent orange flake crack in the centre of the 'Prow'. Up, then diagonally left to a balancy stance. Up the curved wall above past two bolts.

FA: Roark Muhlen & Adrian Wing, 1980

A sustained and exhilarating pitch up the left side of the 'Prow'. Start at the tree two metres right of the third pitch of 'Jetts Sett'. Up the steep wall to a sentry box. Exit left and follow the crack spiralling leftwards to finish on the side of the 'Prow'.

FA: Chris Larque, Nick Clark & John Stone, 1978

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