Three Sisters All Trad climbing50 routes in crag
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How did this cliff get named 'The Three Sisters'?
Apparently someone was talking about the cliff and described it as the cliff that looked like The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains. You need a really wild imagination to see the resemblance. However the name stuck.
Access issues inherited from Western Gara Gorge
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:
The Three Sisters is divided up into four main areas; the First Sister, the Second Sister (a small buttress), the Third Sister or the Main Cliff, and The East Gully.
Whichever way you approach the crag, the first cliff you come to is loosely called 'the First Sister'. You see the buttress jutting out over the gorge, on your left as you walk up towards the cliffs. It is distinguished by a large Fig tree growing out of a wide crack near the top of the wall.
1976: Jill Kelman with Richard (Dick) Curtis and B. Beer were the first climbers to visit the cliff in 1976. They put up the beautiful and ugly 'Golden Age' (15)-beautiful in the first half, but ugly for the rest. Later that same year Bob Killip with Brian (Bobdog) Birchall visited the cliff, picked out and completed one of the hardest and hidden lines, 'Wedding Bells' (19). 1977: Al Stephens returned to climbing in 1977 after several years of canoeing and with Geoff Francis and Joe Friend put up' Down on Creation' (17). Joe Friend, who arrived in 1977 to study at UNE, was eager to put up new routes. He tagged along with other local climbers on their early visits to the cliff. Geoff Francis was about to start climbing a new route near the head of the descent gully when Joe stepped around him and soloed up the climb, much to Geoff's disgust-Theft' (12). Joe then went on to solo 'Carl Marks'(13) and 'Pop Realism' (16) later that same year. No one has ever found 'Carl Marks' to give ii a second ascent. Let me know if you find it. 1978: Brian Birchall made many visits to The Three Sisters during this year. Apart from Joe's solo of 'T.M.P. Excerpts', Brian features on all other new routes, either leading, seconding or just 'tram-lining'. He led 'Creep'(16), a variant and better finish to The Golden Age', 'Punk Rock'(13) , a jam classic at the time, 'Pavlov's Dog'(15),a great climb on the First Sister, and 'Making Ends Meet'(l6), also on the First Sister. He unsuccessfully tried to lead 'Give It to Me'(19) but gave the lead to Gary Blundell who led this horror-show off-width in work boots! Gary stopped after the off-width section as he couldn't jam the far easier next section of the climb. However the most impressive route completed this year was 'Demon Dropout' (22) led alternatively by Kevin Pearl and Joe Friend, it was many years before this climb received a second ascent.
1979: Only two new ones were completed tills year... 'Chock a block' (17) by Brian and Jack Latanzio. This is a desperate little climb near the head of the main descent gully, 'Bloodless Coup' (17) by Brian and Jack is a tricky but pleasant route around near 'Wedding Bells'.
1980: This was the start of two years of hectic activity at 'The Three Sisters'. In March Al Stephens teamed up with Rob Clarke and swung leads on 'Hair of the Dog'(16), adding a variant finish in Sept. the same year. During the same month Brian and Mark Colyvan did 'Spectre' (19MO), a frightening off-width with a change of direction at half-height. Jack Lattanzio led Dulux and Brian up 'Roundabout’ (16) at the left-hand end of the main cliff. In June Brian led Jack up the beautiful 'Dance of the Screamers’ (20M0). On a subsequent ascent by Animal, Mul threw his almost worn out 'Fires' off the top and announced that the climb was fucked! Since then many aspiring climbers have had to walk away from the very hard stat in disgust. Rob and Al went to the second Sister in July and completed the only route there to date, 'Fluorescent Halo' (16) named after the statue in the convent grounds in Barney Street. Many other quality routes were completed in September, mainly by Rob and Al; La Paloma (18), New Boors and Panties (18M1), Blockhead (20), El Duce (20) and La DoIce Vita (18).
1981: This was the year that standards began to improve and a big push was begun to get rid of all the MO grades. El Duce, The Lost World, Blockhead, Spectre, Dance of the Screamers and New Boots and Panties were all 'freed'.
1982: New route development slowed right down. Off The Air (21), a desperate jam crack, was the only new one.
1983: The year of the variant. Off The Air received a first pitch, El Duce was given a variant of pitch 2, and a variant start to Wedding Bells was put up, giving , a long, sustained four pitch route, Get Me To The Church On Time (21MO), later freed at 22.
1984: Richard Curtis was always looking for new areas and new routes. While wandering around the Eastern edge of the Three Sisters he found a steep gully containing many short routes. He, with Brian Birchall, Cal Finlay and Al Stephens, set about doing most of the climbs, the best being Lady Fingers Boudoir Biscuits, originally graded 17, now considered to be about 19, and Clarence Frogman Henry (17).
1993: From '85 to '93 there were no new routes. In Sept '93 Al Stephens with Ben Christian and Toby Waters bolted and completed the first pitch of Fake the Funk (23) on the main cliff. Future development will involve bolted walls and arêtes as virtually all the crack lines have been completed. However the great traverse cracks still await a first ascent!
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