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South Wall - Phantom Menace Wall

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Description

This is the overhanging wall with some prominent stalactites first up on your right when you enter the gorge walking downstream. There is a big tree'd (Big Greenie) ledge at 30m height. Celestial Mechanics starts from the left end of this ledge. Phantom Menace, Sith Lord and Evil Empire start above and mid way along it. The easiest way onto Big Greenie is via Polenta Pumper (25) - becomes easier with a long stick and some french freeing. Routes are listed from right to left when facing the cliff.

Access issues inherited from Bungonia Gorge

The park is occasionally closed for feral animal control. Check here: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/alert/state-alerts

Approach

Surprisingly, the walk in to here is very reasonable, and takes a little under 30 minutes at a moderate pace. Speedsters without knee problems could probably get here in 20 minutes. Walking back up the hill will probably take twice as long!

Don't loiter where the descent track meets the creek bed. There are lots of goats high on the opposite hillside and they regularly knock rocks loose, which funnel down a gully to land near where the track emerges.

Descent notes

Most routes have bolted lower-off anchors suitable for a single 70m rope.

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

A lovely chunk of very water polished rock at ground level - with a sandy base (that can sometimes be flooded).

Start about 30m upstream of Polenta Pumper. Scramble up easy flowstone to small ledge covered in vines. Sketchy flowstone choss for 6m to reach crack, then up major corner to belay ledge. Not recommended until bolts added to start.

FA: Tony Barten & Mike Peck, 1986

Amazing rock architecture. Also a way to get onto Big Greenie.

Starts in the corner about 20m upstream of Polenta Pumper.

  1. 20m (25) Up the corner past 3 bolts then left and up onto the slab. More slopes past another bolt lead into a groove (friends and wires) then up onto a sloping ledge. A ridiculous move out left past a final bolt then up to a chain belay.

  2. 35m (19) A great pitch on fantastic orange rock with heaps of threads. Up to a bolt on the slab above, then up and left to the base of the orange corner. Up this past 2 bolts. Belay on threads amongst the carcasses.

  3. 10m (22) (18/22) Steep. Climb onto the right wall of the cave and up the bulges above, past many good threads. A cave offers sanctuary on the lip. From here step out right and up to belay chains. 2 raps to the ground.

FA: George Fieg, Mike Peck & John Stone, 1991

Just left of the corner. Water washed rock for a few bolts then left and up to anchors. Has been rebolted - new shiny FHs. Some are already loose and required finger tightening (2016, still true in 2019).

FA: Sarah Fieg & late 90s

Starts half a metre left of Sarah Fieg's Route. Bouldery and direct up little prow. Shares anchor with previous route. There's also a LH finish along the lip of the roof to finish into Polenta Pumper.

FA: George Fieg & late 90s

Very good, very pumpy. The original route on this wall. Start beneath the obvious roof at 15m and follow a line of stainless steel fixed hangers up square cut slopers. If climbing on Phantom Menace Wall you need to continue on easy ground for 10m (two bolts) to Big Greenie ledge and bolt belay. It's 30m from this high anchor to the ground.

FA: Mike Peck, 1987

FFA: Mike Law-Smith, 1988

Just left of PP. Bolted by George Fieg in the 90s, now an open project. Attempted by Lee Cossey - so probably quite hard!

Set by George Fieg

Just left of the open project. The shortest route in the gorge but mega burly.

FA: Andy Richardson, 2011

The very appealing steep left-trending blunt arete just left of Fluidity. Looks great so we'll open the bidding at 2 stars. Higher or lower bids accepted! 30 the way Phil did it, but some better beta was later found.

FA: Phil Sage 2000s

Link Nails into Ben's RHV Project.

The RHV of Ben's project.

Start at ground level a few metres right of Lee's project.

Start at ground level, under the subtle left-facing "flake"-type feature.

This is an unfinished line with 1 or 2 bolts. Start at ground level at the far left end of the steep wall, about 8-10m L of Lee's project. Some more projects were recently added in this vicinity.

The following routes start from Big Greenie, the vegetated ledge above Polenta Pumper. Climb that route to get to this ledge.

Short access pitch to reach Jabba the Slut & Death Starred starting at rap anchors above Polenta Pumper on Big Greenie ledge. Old FH, sling around tufa and new FH through steep bit. An orange fixed line hangs over the lower part and then heads left via the start of The Force.

FFA: Neil Monteith, Matt Shultz & Lee Cujes, 31 Mar 2012

A fully bolted rising traverse with a fixed rope starting as for Wicket for one bolt then heading left along a series of ledges and slabby chimneys. This route is used to access the various belay stances for routes in the centre of Phantom Menace Wall. The rope in the upper half (beyond Attack of the Clones) is old - treat with massive caution!

Right line of bolts off the ledge above Wicket. Flowstone corner and face to luscious ceiling and punchy pocketed finish. There is a single rap ring under the roof to aid cleaning the route.

FA: Neil Monteith, Lee Cujes & Matt, 2012

Jabba the Slut, stopping at the ringbolt under the roof. A good warm up if you get dragged up here on a 5 degree day.

FA: Neil Monteith, 2012

Amazing limestone features. Left line off the ledge climbing the flowstone corner (take care with the stalactite) then climb left onto the prow on mega buckets and then up the steep headwall with spicey finish. Neil managed to drop a large rock on himself whilst bolting this - lucky it hit his body not his head.

FA: Neil Monteith & Matt Shultz, 31 Mar 2012

Belay from double bolt anchor 8m along the Access Traverse route, below the orange left facing chimney. Up chimney for a move (clip first bolt inside chimney with a long sling) then FHs out right and up crozzley grey slab then amazing overhung tufa groove and flowstone wall to final tricky bulge.

FA: Neil Monteith, 31 Mar 2012

Great tufa pulling. Very awkward belay on double bolts on orange slab at right end of fixed rope traverse. Traverse up and right across horizontal break and take the right of the two ring bolted lines. Big tufa feature for most of the way, then tricky orange face to finish. 60m rope WILL NOT reach the belay on lower-off. Its much less uncomfortable to belay 5m lower, as for The Force, if you have a long rope and/or rethread.

FA: Andy Richardson, 2001

Fantastic sustained climbing on tufa blobs and flowstone - reminiscent of Kalymnos. Shares the crappy awkward belay and first couple of bolts with DS, then take the left of the two ringbolted routes. This is a full 30m pitch, with a 60m rope you will only JUST make it to the belay. Its much less uncomfortable to belay 5m lower, as for The Force, if you have a long rope and/or rethread.

*Dodgy clip and go has been removed. There's a string of seized Mallions and an ok looking alloy biner on the anchor. If anyone is heading up to fix it, take WD40,long shifter and screwdriver, stainless mallions and either a short bit of chain or a couple of clip and go's.

More incredible limestone. Start as for the previous two routes for one bolt, then traverse left on FHs to groove - then up wall above. 60m rope will NOT reach belay - lower to fixed biners near cave then lower again.

FA: Andrew Bull, 1999

Really good.

FA: Rob LeBreton, 1999

Fantastic steep gymnastic climbing out of the initial cave then navigates some more tenuous climbing up several shallow tufas to the crux. Starts in the cave at the left end of the fixed rope and finishes as for the final 2 bolts of Sith Lord.

Set by lee cossey, 2001

FFA: lee cossey, 18 Jun 2017

The left most line of bolts is a project, probably about 29.

FA: George Fieg, 2000

Start: Start from the left end of Big Greenie. Takes the corner and arête.

  1. 20m (21) From a stance on a slab cruise up the ramp to a bolt. Some slippery moves past this then up to another bolt. Up to the block and ledge with chains at the base of a corner.

  2. 20m (24 M1) (24M1) Up the corner past a couple of bolts to some thin bridging (crux) and wires. Continue up the steepening corner past bolts to an overhang. Pull around this on finger pockets to a double bolt belay.

  3. 25m (23 M1) (23M1) Up the sharp arête past bolts to a rest. Clip a bolt and then move up (crux) and right to easier climbing. Chain belay. Rap down.

FA: Mike Peck, Pete Mills & John Stone (var), 1990

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