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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:


View historical timeline

The history here starts in 1976 when Brian Birchall along with Jill Kelman and Phil Prior did the first routes here in ‘Ataxerxes’ 12 and ‘Darius’ 14. Nothing more was done until 1978 when Joe Friend moved to Armidale and did a few routes here such as the classic ‘Xerxes’ 16 and the flake crack ‘Country Bumpkin’ 14 both with Richard Thomas. Apart from a few routes in 1980, most notably ‘Deceit’ 18 by Paul Bayne and Ed Sharpe, the area really only attracted the occasional visitor to repeat the likes of ‘Xerxes’ and ‘Country Bumpkin’. The lack of hard crack climbs here, which were fashionable at the time meant ‘The Carpets’ were neglected while development of other cliffs further down the gorge took place. 1982 was the beginning of the bolt era in New England and in 1983 Mark Colyvan, looking for good slab routes visited ‘The Carpets’and proclaimed them worthless (a proclamation he would live to regret!). A couple of years later in 1985, over autumn and winter, John (Jack) Lattanzio, Russell Chudleigh (Chunder), Tim Ball (Tadpole) and Greg Pritchard among other itinerants lived at ‘Camp Pog’ (the camp site in the gully between ‘Dome Wall’ and ‘The Pagoda’ and unlike Colyvan they realised the potential for good steep bolt protected slab routes here. The first to go were ‘Moral Decline’ 22 by Lattanzio, Andrew Collins, and Chudleigh, the very bouldery ‘Carrot Power’ 24 by Chudleigh, Al, and Lattanzio and ‘Autofellato’ 21 by Lattanzio, Chudleigh,and Ball, all done in May 1985. The following month Chudleigh was to climb the brilliant two pitch slab ‘Wolf Tracks’ 22 with Tim Ball in tow and Lattanzio was to do a ridiculously smooth steep slab called ‘Lust Bucket’ 23 with Greg Pritchard and a classic long grade 19 called ‘Rogue Roman’ with a cast of thousands. The following year, 1986 Al Stephens did ‘Xenophon’ 20 with R. Thomas and M. Farnworth, and Mark Colyvan did a classic short slab/arete ‘Stop in the Name Of Love’ 16 with Joanna Monaghan and Greg Pritchard. The next period of development was in 1988 and into 1989 after the purchase of a cordless impact drill by Al Stephens and Larry Dixon. A number of classic long slab routes mere done by this pair on both the right-hand end of ‘The Persian Carpets’ and on ‘The Rug’ such as ‘Fleshdance’ 19 and’Nightrnare on Elm Street’ 22 by Stephens and ‘Endlass Vacation’ 20 and ’Reefer Madness’ 16 by Dixon. Dixon also bolted, cleaned, and pre-named ‘The Perfect Crime’ but it was unknowingly stolen by Wade Fairly before Dixon got a chance to lead it. It sent at grade 21. The only blemish on this period was that a few of the earlier routes (‘Skid Ros’ 22, ‘Look Ma No Hands’ 21 and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ 22) had small holds chipped after the unfortunate precident set by Mike Lam at ’Dome Wall’ with his route ‘Fuck Knows’ 25 in 1987. Thankfully this trend has stopped (in New England at least) and in fact one chipped hold (on ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’) has been eliminated and cemented up by its creator.



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Grade Route

Start: An off-width left-hand corner crack.

  1. 15m Up off-width to tree.

  2. 40m Up remotely thin cracks, right then left and out.

FA: J. Friend & R. Thomas, 1978

Start: Overhung crack line opposite ‘Country Bumpkin’.

Up crack trending to offwidth.

FA: Paul Bayne & E. Sharpe, 1980

Start: Some 30m left of ‘Deceit’ on terrace.

  1. 7m Up crack to belay on trees.

  2. 43m Straight up undulating rock to top (probably little or no protection).

FA: Brian Birchall & and beginners, 1983

Start: At the very top of the cliff above the finish of ‘Use Your Face As An Ashtray

Up wall to right of crack to huge flake, around flake to top.

FA: B. Birchall & J. Lattanzio, 1983

Start: on the terrace where the second pitch of ‘Nicomodes’ starts. At a small alcove l0m left of ‘Use Your Face As An Ashtray’.

Up right to large shrubby ledge, left on easy ground and up to some runners. Up trending right, keeping right of slight headwall to trees.

FA: J. Lattanzio & and beginners, 1983

Start: to the right of the small gully just right of ‘Xerxes’.

  1. 15m Up cracked wall, exit out hand crack to big ledge.

  2. 38m Up, leftwards at first then right to belay on easier rock.

  3. 12m Up the moss carpet to top blocks.

FA: R. Thomas & J. Friend (alt leads), 1978

Start: The outstanding thin edged right hand hanging flake, with a perpetual wet streak at it the start.

Up wall to thin part of flake, up flake to trees.

FA: J. Friend & R. Thomas, 1978

Start: On the ledge above 'Xerxes'. Either do 'Xerxes' or a double abseil from the top.

  1. 40m (crux) From the left-hand end of the ‘Xerxes’ ledge, straight up the waves of granite via 6 bolt runners to a belay in a scoop with 2 bolts.

  2. 45m Step left from the belay, then straight up the steep headwall past a bolt runner, then up the slabs past another bolt to the top, Tree belay.

FA: Al Stephens & Larry Dixon, 1988

Start: 12-15m right of ‘Xerxes’, a flake 1m high.

  1. 20m (crux) Up the slab past 2 bolt runners to a ledge/scoop. Up the wall above past 2 more bolts then move right 2m to a bolt then straight up to ledge. Double bolt belay.

  2. 30m Up and slightly right to a small bush via a bolt runner. Right across easy ledges/ramp then up short steep wall past 2 bolt runners to belay. Double bolt belay.

  3. 45m As for the second pitch of ‘Endless Vacation’.

FA: Al Stephens & L. Dixon, 1988

Start: A few metres left of ’Nightmare on Elm Street’.

Up slab past 10 bolts to chains. Rap off or finish up ‘Flesh Dance’.

FA: Wade Fairly & and Party, 1989

Start: About 4m left of ‘The Perfect Crime’.

Up slab going slightly leftwards down low and then back right up higher to steeper ground. Up steep wall then straight up above over easier ground to chain belay of ‘The Perfect Crime’. 5 bolts on route.

Abseil off or continue up ‘The Perfect Crime’.

2m right of ‘Flesh Dance’.

Up to very thin flake (BR), then head right and up to the top of the flake to a second bolt. Continue up the corner (some natural protection is needed for this section) then clip bolt, step left and up steep head wall. Another bolt then easier ground to the chains of ‘The Perfect Crime’. Gear required: 6 bolt plates and quickdraws, #6 rock, & #2 friends.

FA: Gavin Dean & Al Stephens, 1993

Take 7 quick-draws and bolt plates and no other gear for this.

Start: 12m left of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’. A slabby lay away that leads to a steep wall.

  1. 45m (crux) Layaway up slab arête, then up steep wall on big jugs to less steep wall and smaller jugs, then easy slab and right to chains. 6 bolt runners in pitch.

  2. 45m From chains move left 2m then straight up the waves of slabs to double bolt belay. 5 bolts in pitch.

  3. 8m Easily up ledges past one bolt runner to top and tree belay.

FA: Al Stephens & L. Dixon, 1989

Start: 6m right of ‘Darius’, a diagonal crack.

  1. 10m Up diagonal crack, then straight up to ledge to belay (wires and friends).

  2. 20m Out left, up to bolt runner, up then left, then up and back right, then straight up to belay (large tree). Four bolt runners for this pitch.

  3. 30m (crux) Through headwall past 2 bolts, up slab past 2 nre bolts and shaky flake to belay left of bush. Bolt belay.

  4. 20m Up narrow brushed streak past two bolts to top.

FA: John Lattanzio, Tim Ball, Greg Pritchard, Brian Birchall & Graham Stuart, 1996

Start: Towards the middle of the slabs, a rightward trending crack, heavily vegetated.

  1. 15m Up crack, trending right to tree belay.

  2. 25m Follow line right to belay on top of a large loose flake.

  3. 30m Direct to top.

FA: Brian Birchall & Phil Prior (alt leads), 1976

Start: Solo up ‘Darius’ for 4m till the first ledge.

  1. 50m (crux) Up and left to tie off shrubs. Step back down, then up past 6 bolt runners to a poor belay off shrubs on ledge.

  2. 20m Straight up to flake and small roof. Pull on to slab and right to arete arid easy ground to top.

FA: Russell (Chunder) Chudliegh & Tim (Tadpole) Ball, 1985

Start: The brown water streak 2m right of the corner 'Don't Knock the Rock'. Abseil in from a tree marked by a cairn, to the obvious ledge.

  1. 25m Up past 2 bolts, up the flake trending right, then left to belay.

  2. 20m Up the streak past bolt, then continue padding to top.

FA: John Lattanzio, Tim Ball & Russel Chudleigh, 1985

Not the name of a song, a word of advice!

Start: At the base of a crack-chimney about 6m to the left of ‘Darius’.

  1. 30m Up crack trending left to obvious pillar. Up crack in pillar to belay ledge.

  2. 30m Delicately up slabs, trending slightly left to below roof. Move left to belay. Little or no protection in this pitch.

FA: Bob Killip, Astrud Killip & Brian Birchall, 1981

Start: about 3m right of ‘The Last Laugh’ on block.

Step off the block and up right, then back left to first bolt. Up through overlap and second bolt, then trend right past 2 more bolts then up and back left to ledge. Scramble left along ledge to chains atop of ‘The Last Laugh’.

FA: Russell (Chunder) Chudliegh, Tim (Tadpole) Ball & John Lattanzio, 1985

“The last laugh should last forever”.

Start: The steep slab about 5m down right from ‘Moral Decline’. Marked and with a bolt anchor at the start.

Up the slab past 4 bolt runners to chains on the ledge.

FA: M. Colyvan & J. Lattanzio, 1990

Start: 2m right of ‘Moral Decline’.

Up past 3 bolts to hanging block, move left to belay.

FA: John Lattanzio & Greg Pritchard, 1985

Start: 2m right of ‘Post Crypt’ at the left-hand end of ‘The Carpets’. Marked.

Step off the blocks, up the slab past 3 bolts to the alcove at the top. Walk off left.

FA: John Lattanzio, Andrew Collins & Russell Chudleigh, 1985

Start: 1m right of ‘Post Crypt’ corner. The first water streak.

Straight up the water streak past 4 bolts, using a few edges on either side till the last bolt, then padding to the top. (#2 & #3 friends for belay in alcove). Walk off left.

FA: Al Stephens, Richard Thomas & Mike Farnworth, 1986

Not a bad route if you ignore the second pitch and walk off leftwards after the corner.

Start: at the prominent corner at the left-hand end of the slabs.

  1. 22m (crux) Up fine left-hand corner/crack past tree at half height. Up the short slab to roof.

  2. 12m Up cracked roofs and right to obvious triangular overhang (the ‘crypt’). Struggle through this and up lichenous slab to top and tree belay.

FA: Joe Friend & Brian Birchall, 1978

Start: A few metres up and left of ‘Post Crypt’. Marked.

Up the left side of the arete past 4 carrot bolts to a tree belay. Walk off.

FFA: Mark Colyvan, Joanna Monaghan & Greg Pritchard, 1986

Start: A clean black strip up the low angle slabs up and left of ‘Stop In The Name Of Love’ on the Persian Carpets. About 15m right of ‘Ataxerxes’.

Up the black strip of slab with no protection.

FA: Russell Chudleigh, 1985

Start: At the far left of the slabs (broken slabby area). An obvious leaning crack.

  1. 25m Up corner crack to tree belay.

  2. 25m Straight up slab to top (unprotected).

FA: Brian Birchall & Jill Kelman (alt leads), 1976


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