The Fortress Mostly Trad climbing14 routes in cliff
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The Fortress is the obvious large buttress that you come to and can walk out onto as you walk along the track on the gorge rim. The face that you can see on the other side of the gorge is 'The Bastille'.
Access issues inherited from Upper Gara Gorge
Gara gorge is part of Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and access is open:
If you walk along the gorge rim for about 2.2km along the Threlfall track you will come to a side track with a national parks info sign about the flume. You can follow this side track south for around 100m and end up on top of the fortress with great views south to 'The Bastille', and you are almost directly above the 'The Sea cliff' and 'The kitchen'.
Access to the climbs is from either the upstream or downstream descent gully, or for some routes rapping in. The upstream gully is best, and is also a good way to get down to the Kitchen and Sea cliff. The downstream gully is not great and is actually where the old flume descended down to the hydro plant.
Routes are described from left to right as you face the cliff at the upstream end.
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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