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The high north facing cliff, clearly visible from the Threlfal loop track which has a lookout opposite on top of 'The Fortress'.


Access issues inherited from Upper Gara Gorge

Gara gorge is part of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and access is open:

Ethic inherited from Upper Gara Gorge

Basically, the climbers of Armidale are a pretty laid back, free thinking group and as long as you don’t go out of your way to put people’s noses out of joint you’ll be amazed at how helpful they can be. The quickest way to piss people off is by ripping off projects. There are a few devoted locals making an effort and putting up quality new climbs. A lot of time, hard work and even money goes into their endeavours (cracks can be projects too) and there is too much unclimbed rock around to justify destroying someone else’s motivation. Any routes marked as such or not in the guide should be left alone. The simple courtesy of asking first may save you from being stripped naked and being staked out for the crows to pick your eyes out. If putting up new routes is your thing then please feel free. The only request is that you avoid placing hangers or conspicuous bolts around the Gara Boulders as we are already viewed as an environmental menace by the NPWS - bolting in National Parks is actually illegal.

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Grade Route

Most of the routes start from the "Sundeck" which is a large ledge system which can be accessed from the right side of the cliff (facing the cliff).

Start: at the right-hand end of the Sundeck, just left of the large chimney / gully. Take five brackets and a range of wires.

Wires to the first BR and between first and second bolt, then bolts to top. Bridging and wall climbing with a chimney to finish off. 2 bolt belay next to tree.

FA: Al Stephens, Paul Bayne & 2 rests, 1992

FFA: Al Stephens & Mark Colyvan, 1992

Start: The scalloped wall 8m left of “The Jaws of Life”.

Use short shallow corner to get established on the wall. Up past three bolts to friends in horizontal break, then two more bolts to bolt belay on ledge and a chain just above your head, around the roof.

FA: Paul Bayne & Al Stephens, 1992

About 30 - 40m left of Deep Thought is a buttress with a prominent lean headwall that starts about 15m up from the ledge. There are two obvious lines on this - a thin crack, which is Chicks Dig Scars (27), and a thin bolted face - this is No Frills (29).

Excellent finger crack, with chains at the top. Mostly finger-sized gear, but some big cams (#4+) are essential to protect the first hard moves.

FA: Kyle Dunsire, 2001

Start: The arête at the left end of the Buttress, before the big chimney corner. Start up the arête, trending right past the hangers to the horizontal break (big friend). Step up and power up the yellow streak past more hangers to lower-off under the block.

FA: Andreas Audetat, 1996

A more direct finish to the original route. The chimney left of No Frills.

From the top of Geronimo pitch 3. go directly up the off-width squeeze chimney, to some mank, then up crack on right to bulge. Through bulge and on to top.

As for the direct.

From the mank, before the route goes right up the crack, go diagonally left and up to belay at trees on top.

Start: 8m right of the scary step-around (which is where the original last pitch of Geronimo goes up over the blocks) on the Sundeck, left of the Geronimo direct chimney. A flake crack.

Easily up little flake crack, then short easy wall with horizontal breaks to ledge below hanging flake / spike. Clip first B. R. then layback spike past another B.R. before stepping onto easy slab. Up easy slabby to overhanging corner crack, a couple of metres left of the alternate finish to Geronimo. Jamb this to the top.

FA: Al Stephens & Matt Rizzuto, 1998

It can also be accessed from river level by scrambling directly up underneath it, starting behind the man made cave, and with a very easy 10m pitch to get you onto the Innocence ledge.

An absolute classic, best of its grade in New England!

Start: About 30m down left along the narrow ledge from "C'mon everybody" on he obvious water streak that cuts a curving crack/flake at 2/3 height. Alternatively climb an easy short pitch directly under it.

Take five brackets and a rack of friends. Straight up blocks to water streak. Up this, through overlap and up the easy finish. Belay off two carrot anchors - take an extra two brackets (7 total).

FFA: E. Sharpe & B. Birchall, 1991

FA: Al Stephens, E. Sharpe, L.Dixon, P.Horne & J.Deckin, 1991

These routes are accessed by abseiling in from the Sundeck.

Start: On the ledge on the right-hand side of the giant block. Abseil in off the trees about 20m left of Deep Thought. Take a #4 friend and six brackets.

Up the strenuous layback, around the roof to the top of the block, then up the slabby wall and belay right back on trees.

FA: Al Stephens & P. Lenders, 1992

Start: In the descent gully aprox. 10m right of Geronimo and directly below the tree and ledge where the original route starts. Abseil or walk in.

Up the short poorly protected wall, going slightly leftwards then back right to the ledge and tree. Up as for original route.

FA: M. Colyvan & Bas Van Fraassen, 1993

Start: Below the left side of the giant flake / block.

  1. 20m. Diagonally right up crack and pull onto ledge.

  2. 16m. Easily right across ledge and up jamb-crack.

  3. 13m. Up crack on left then up scalloped wall to large ledge with trees (the Sundeck).

  4. 30m. Left along ledge over blocks, to offwidth and into flaring roof (crux) then up to trees at top.

FA: Richard Curtis, Brian Birchall & J. Friend (alt leads), 1978


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