South-East Face





Dark, somewhat more broken than it appears from a distance, and often vert wet, this wall contains 2 important routes - The Sydney Route (the first route to breach the main cliffline in 1964), and The Chimes of Freedom (a rite of passage for grade 17 leaders and one of the great climbs in the state).

Like most other areas, the potential for new routes is limitless, with 100's of metres of cliffline, and a number of key pillars yet to have a single pitch on it. There is a lot of loose rock, particularly on The Sydney Route, although clean areas (with no routes on them yet) abound.

Access issues inherited from Frenchmans Cap Area

It's a 25km hike from the Lyell Highway.


Follow the access notes to the East Face, continue to traverse around the base. For the Sydney Route Direct, head for the high mound directly beneath the route, around 30m L of the nose that marks the L end of the east face. For other routes, stay lower and follow the cliff around. For Chimes of Freedom, stay lower again, before ascending a dangerous couloir (ensure adequate spacing between members of your group and wear a helmet)

Descent notes

Walk up to the summit, and then down the tourist track to Tahune Hut

Ethic inherited from Frenchmans Cap

Trad, but some bolts exist where trad is not possible.

Frenchmans Cap is in The Franklin - Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and subject to the Tasmanian Wilderness Heritage Area Management Plan. Climbing is addressed on pages 143-14 of the plan. Some of the presceriptions related to climbing are:

• The area will be predominantly maintained as a traditional climbing area. • The establishment or maintenance of routes that are protected primarily or exclusively using fixed anchors (i.e. ‘sport’ climbs) is generally prohibited. • Existing routes in the 2013 minor boundary extension that use fixed anchors may be maintained. New routes may be established in existing locations where fixed anchors are utilised subject to approval by PWS. • Based on historical precedence, the occasional limited installation (or replacement) of permanent anchors at Mt Geryon, The Acropolis, Frenchmans Cap and Mt Anne is permitted. • Written authority must be obtained from the PWS before using power-driven equipment to install or replace any permanent anchor in the TWWHA.



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Grade Route

The route starts just below the South Col. Follow obvious ridge up and once it steepens go straight up to the summit.

FA: R Sykes & M Douglas, 1963

By no means a thorough description. For further information buy a guidebook. No idea about pitch lengths. This route eats hexes. Otherwise single rack from smallest c-3's to #3 , with double #1 and double #2 for pitches 4 and 5. Depart hikers track to summit on faint trail leading to base of walls , head over spur and down across big wall all the way to loose scree chute , up this with care, under detached pinnacle at top , across with care until under right leaning ramp creating left facing corner. Approx 1.5hr approach from Tahune hut. The lines infamous traverse pitch can be spied from here as the peice of rock between two respective crack systems. Either rope up or up gradually unroped through first two pitches of blocks and vegetation veering slightly right through easiest terain onto large terrace then back left to base of corner. Build belay. Rope up. Engaging wet pitch 3 up to big ledge with some bail tat on a block. Pitch 4 - Up crack , cruxy , and over top out of sight on very smooth sloping smears on right. Would need three or more #2s to link into next pitch. Continue next pitch (5) up same crack with better feet , persist with crack , good #3 in very top before an easy scramble up small cleft , belay gear high up in back , chordelette handy. Pitch (6) - Direct up crack or step right up arette with steep pulls on big holds with good gear and huge exposure , onwards up to big ledge. Pitch (7) basically a solo ..lean out left , place small gear and begin traverse. Not much good gear , extend everything. Face climb delicately and keep hanging on. Eventually some good placements at base of corner , use them all and belay on small ledge on left , rather than going up into wet chimney for big gear , as the hanging belay is very uncomfortable and forces your leader straight up hard steep crack rather than easy out right as is described in guide. Pitch (8)- up to corner , then over to unprotected easy climbing a few meters right , then back left again and up to good ledge. Pitch (9) Up steepening crack then left onto small gear belay in back of exposed sloping ledge , for good belay. Pitch (10)- up loosening rock through steep crystaline choss jugs and strenous runout , into crack then up then all the way to top weaving left around steep stuff, extending everything (36m) , a #4 could be useful towards end of pitch however terrain is easy and rock qaulity is superb. This last pitch passes a few opportunities for belays however by now you probably want to topout. Stay roped up and hike 40m up hill to variety of belay options. Walk to summit.

FA: John Ewbank & John Moore, 1968

FFA: C Dewhirst & D Neilson, 1970

  1. 36m (8) - Climb a number of vegetated corners to slanting ledge and bollard belay

  2. 21m (8) - Traverse left for 6m then up to below overhanging wall

  3. 36m (13) - Climb down and left onto wall and up this to belay on top of huge block

  4. 27m (8) - Traverse left for 6m across good ledge then up diagonally to belay below and left of waterfall

  5. 33m (15) - Climb diagonally R and across waterfall to belay on ledge with two pitons and other gear

  6. 24m (14) - Traverse left again for 6m then up to bollard runner and back down again, cross back across the waterfall and belay on good ledge below huge death blocks

  7. 36m (15 M4) - Free climb waterfall for 15m then aid up for 15m followed by 6m of free climbing to small wet ledge

  8. 24m (16 M4) - Three aid pieces to hard and greasy free section to finish on good ledge under roof

  9. 36m (15) - Traverse R for 3m then up another 9m to diagonal traverse right until it leads to just above a crack then up chimney to belay

  10. 27m (11) - Continue up chimney until 9m below big overhang and belay

  11. 30m (14) - Traverse R and up diagonally to ledge and piton belay

  12. 36m (14) - Climb up series of corners and steep walls to belay on good ledge under chimney

  13. 27m (14 M1) - Up chimeny til it narrows then aid up to small ledge and belay

  14. 24m (14 M1) - Up crack with two aid pieces and top out, belay on pile of rubble

FA: C Dewhirst, John Ewbank, J Moore & P Stranger, 1968

To get to the start, walk up main scree couloir below SE Face, from its base scramble up and right to belay on bollard below vegetated crack just left of small buttress

  1. 36m - Straight up crack then up right trending ramp to belay

  2. 36m - Traverse right over vegetation and behind blocks to base of large chimney with gully of loose rocks at base, up this gully and behind flake to belay at top of chimney

  3. 18m - Diagonally up left and across wall to belay on terrace covered in loose rock

  4. 36m - Diagonally up right to small stance and belay at base of detached pinnacle

  5. 24m - Up and slightly left into chimney to ledge at 12m, L along the ledge and up overhanging wall and up left side of slight corner on bad rock to ledge and bollard belay

  6. 30m - Up and right into chimney with massive exposure, up this with delicate moves until its possible to pull onto right side arete, traverse right and up face to belay stance with a piton

  7. 30m - Up to crack in corner to the right, up this past piton and 6m past ledge on L to belay

  8. 30m - Traverse 6-9m L around buttress into next groove, up this, using the face when necessary. Keep climbing til 3m past bug ledge and belay on top of a block

  9. 21m - (Crux) This pitch is known as the Devils Staircase. Diagonally up and left across smooth, vertical wall to belay on small ledge on arete to the left

  10. 33m - Traverse down and left into big chimney and up this to belay

  11. 30m - Continue up chimney and up to belay on right of large boulder

  12. 30m - Keep going up chimeny before exiting out onto a large boulder and belay

  13. 30m - Scranbke up grass and rocks onto summit.

FA: Bryden Allen & Jack Pettigrew, 1965

The preferred start for most parties as it avoids most of the vegetation of the original route.

  1. 27m (13) - Trend up left on the obvious line to chockstone belay on ledge

  2. 33m (14) - Continue up line trending left. Move out onto left wall about halfway up and up this to good ledge then up and right to belay at top of large chimney.

FA: Bryden Allen & Reg Williams, 1972

Variant finish to the Sydney Route. Pitches 1-7 as for The Sydney Route

  1. 22m (14) - Very exposed traverse left to slight groove at 6m, keep going 9m longer to corner, down this around to the left into a small stance and belay

  2. 24m (15) - Diagonally up and left for 5m to tiny flake, traverse left around arete and up wall for 9m to stance on left and up to good belay left

  3. 27m (15) - Up rotten corner on left for 5m to shelf, traverse riht (delicately) to foot of overhanging crack and up this to ledge with moss and loose rock. Up mossy overhang and up to belay in chimney

  4. 36m (13) - Bypass large overhanging chockstone via the right wall, then easy climbing up to belay.

Pitches 12-13 as for The Sydney Route

FA: C Baxter & C Dewhirst, 1968

1 17
3 15
5 18
6 14
10 11
11 14
12 8
  1. 45m 17. Start as for Sydney Route Direct Start but go up L. 2. 35m. As for SR. Scramble over boulders to R, then ramp behind block. 3. 25m 15. Up out of chimney, then vegetated ramp to top. Go up and trend slightly R. Belay on ledge which slopes up R at top. 4. 35m 18. Up from belay to runner - make it a good one, it may be your last. Traverse up R to crack, then up R of detached pillar and belay behind this. (Some old gear may be in evidence here.) 5. 30m 14. Directly across L on good traverse. Up to chimney. Belay above blocks perched in cracks. 6-9. As for SR except start pitch six a little higher. 10. 50m 11. Angle up L of good holds into chimney, then up to "landing pad". 11. 30m 14. Chimney, heading R into other chimneys. Continue to mega-stance. 12. 50m 8. Step out on L wall. After a few moves stand up and run across pasture. Take L gully to top. 13. Wander up gully to summit.

FA: Dayle Gilliatt & Phil Dolan, 1989


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