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Access issues inherited from Western Gara Gorge

Access to Dome Wall or Persian Carpets involves driving through private property to reach the Gara Gorge. Contact must be made with the landowners prior to heading out there:

Mike Coffey (Kenwood Park): 02 6775 3766

Pete and Susanne or Jeff Moore: 02 6775 3727

It is important to let the Coffeys know you’re coming (as access is very close to their house), and ask the Moores for permission to cross their land (providing the most efficient access to Dome Wall or Persian Carpets).

Good relations with these landowners are essential for New England climbers, and all visitors in the future, to access these excellent crags, so please treat them with respect. Leave all gates as you find them, cross fences at the strongest strainer post, etc etc. Access is likely to be refused if tenants are in the Moores’ ‘holiday’ house, so please be patient or better still ask about staying there yourself.

This is a link to a file you can use in Google Earth to see a map to The Dome Wall Parking area:


You must go with a local who knows the correct procedure for crossing the farmers' private property to get to the gorge rim. Failure to do this will result in total closure of the current easy access. Alternatively, walk in from the Blue Hole along the gorge rim. It's a long way!

Please drive slowly across the paddocks and leave each gate as you find it. When crossing fences always cross at the largest strainer post to avoid damage.

Drive to the usual Dome Wall car park. Start walking due East down the gully for approx. two hundred metres then veer to the right hand side of the gully and head for the large blocks on the edge of the escarpment. Sidle around right till you come to the top of the main cliff. It's a bit difficult to describe but you'll get there eventually.

Most routes are in or around the main gully. 'The Great Escape' is further downstream, around the corner from 'Purgative'. Finally remember that these cliffs are part of Oxley-Wild Rivers National Park.

Avoid damage to fauna and flora, and no fires please.


View historical timeline

Sweethearts was popular for only a very short time. At that time cracks were very popular..........even off-widths! Apart from the freeing of rests, an occasional alternate start, and the completion of unfinished projects, Sweethearts became a very unpopular crag.

Its fall from grace is thoroughly justified. Apart from 'Purgative' and The Great Escape', all other routes arc overgrown and dirty. However, if you are prepared to clean up the chosen route by abseil, before climbing it, you will find the routes challenging and enjoyable.

John Lattanzio and Brian Birchall were the first climbers at the cliff, naming it after a popular Cold Chisel album. Virtually every climber in Armidale visited the area within the next few months, hungry for new routes. All the cracks, well almost all the cracks, have now been climbed. Walls and arÍtes have, at the time of writing, not yet been climbed, but the potential is there. See you for breakfast at Sweethearts.



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A refined Cold Chisel album. A pleasant enough climb. Start: A corner in orange rock, 6tn. right of S.C. and right of overhangs.

Up corner, a little loose, through some bulges, and off-width to top.

FA: J. Lattanzio & B. Birchall, 1980

Further down the gully, on the main part of the cliff, the climbs are from Right to Left....

Start: Start in the base of a chimney near the head of the gully.

Follow the crack up the left wall of the chimney.

FA: M. Colyvan & J. J. Lattanzio, 1980

Some nice climbing, apart from the dirty start and the dirtier finish. Clean it first and you'll really enjoy this one. Start: The classy looking crack, or the filthy brothel, take your pick.

25m Across, or up, to the grassy Ledge, then move left and up through roof then back right to wide crack and up to the final roof/overlap. Straight up this to top. Bush belay. (Alternatively finish by moving left before the final crack, easier.)

FFA: B. Birchall & J. Lattanzio, 1980

Start: 2m. left of A.T.O.C.

Traverse diagonally left up slab, step left, continue up slab, then right to base of chimney/off-width. Up this and exit right to ledge.

FA: A. Legler & Paul Bayne, 1980

FFA: R. Clark & Al Stephens, 1980

Start: 1m. left of G.F.

Alternate Start. Just looking al this line will give you nightmares for weeks. An off-width! Bob Kiliip was sick for some time after seconding this... and he was an off-width expert!

Up off-width chimney to top.

FA: M. Colyvan & B. Killip, 1981

Start: 12m. Left of N.A.V. The outstanding jagged off-width that splits the wall. If you ever weaken and feel the need to do an off-width, then this is the one to do. Beautiful! (You'll need big gear.)

  1. 25m (Crux) Up the crack for 5m, move left to the start of the off-width. Up the off-width sections and belay on the first reasonable ledge.

  2. 25m Up the cracks then in behind the fig tree, a tricky exit then easy climbing to top.

FA: Al Stephens & R. Clark, 1980

FFA: R. Clark & M. Colyvan, 1981

Opposite these climbs, just out of the main gully are two more climbs, cracks, on small walls facing out towards the gorge. (See map.)

Start: The first line on the left-hand end of the wall, a crack. Enjoyable (so we are told) but harder than it looks. You decide.

Up crack under small roof, then up thin crack onto blocks and through small tree.

FA: Paul Bayne & E. Sharp, 1980

On a buttress below The Door is an easier, longer line...

Start: A squeeze chimney on the right-hand end of the buttress.

  1. 20m Up chimney, then off-width to small terrace.

  2. 25m (Crux) Directly up wall to small tree, then up off-width to top.

FA: Paul Bayne & E. Sharp, 1980

Now, at the bottom of the main gully, past Purgative, walk around the corner and keep going to the left-hand end (downstream) of the buttress. Above you is a big roof. This is The Great Escape.

Start: Below the obvious 7m, roof, a layback crack leads up right. Without doubt, the hardest roof in New England, on sharp, clean granite. The whole party yo-yoed the crux pitch during its first ascent. Strenuous and sustained.

  1. 20m. Up layback crack, then traverse left and up, then back right and up lo belay on block immediately below roof.

  2. 25m. (Crux) Up off-width crack to roof, then follow the crack out and around the roof. Belay just above the lip to avoid rope drag.

  3. 10m. Up open corner trending left, to tree on top.

FFA: Paul Bayne, J. Lattanzio & M. Colyvan, 1980

FA: M. Colyvan, J. Lattanzio & Paul Bayne, 1980

At the bottom of the main gully continue down until you can turn upstream.

Go along till you come to an obvious crack line. This is a solo effort by Richard Curtis who became bored while watching Jack and Ed at Reality Wall and decided lo find something a little more exciting. The climb faces out towards Colony Wall.

Start: The obvious (?) crack. Richard got a little hot and sweaty while attempting this.

Up the crack through some vines to top.

FA: Richard Curtis (solo), 1992


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