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description

An excellent excursion along the ridge of the amazing Yulludunida dyke formation. More akin to walking along the back of a stegosaurus than climbing, but some parties may want to rope up for some of the more exposed sections.

40 min hike in from the car park. As soon as you breach the tree line, head right until you can’t head right anymore (sheer cliff), then follow the ridge line. Alternatively you can join the ridge earlier if you want some steeper climbing (more akin to a grade 5-6). As you ascend the walking trail head directly for the ridge as soon as you can see the rock outcropping. This is shortly after the path hits a ledge with a good lookout. You may need to do a little bush bashing.

You can avoid some of the more bouldery sections but try to keep to the highest point of the ridge to get the most out of the climb. There is a sling at the hardest down climb about ⅔ into the climb. A short 10m rope may be useful here to assist in the descent.

The walk out involves a bit of bush bashing if you follow the ridge to the end. The higher you stay in the crater the less vegetation you will encounter. Aim to zig zag along the bare rocky areas for ease of travel. Aim for 3-4 hours return at a leisurely pace.

Route history

1973First ascent: G. Nelson & members of the Narrabri Senior Scouts

Warnings

Location

Lat/Lon: -30.29137, 150.08080

Grade citation

3 Assigned grade
3 Pocket RockGUIDE: Kaputar

ethic

Endorsed by:
Peter Blunt, Ian Brown, Scott Camps, Richard Curtis, Taib Ezekiel, Angus Farquhar, Adrian Kladnig, Vanessa Wills (some of whom would have preferred a stronger position).

Retro-bolting at Kaputar

Since the first climbs were done in Mount Kaputar National Park in the 1960s, it has been a predominantly trad climbing area. Until about ten years ago, most of the hundreds of established climbs were protected entirely with natural gear. A small number of climbs had one or two bolts, and a few independent, fully bolt-protected climbs had been done. The 80m north face of The Governor has been regarded as one of the premier trad crags in Australia, with more than 80 multi-pitch climbs, many of very high quality, mostly established in ground-up style and with only a few bolts in total (and often at the technical limit of the climbers).

Since about 2005, more bolt-protected climbs have been established, particularly on Euglah and then Mt Lindesay, then The Governor. At first these were independent of established trad climbs and on otherwise unprotectable rock. But over the past few years other climbers have been retro-bolting over the top of existing climbs. This practice began on Mt Lindesay and then extended onto the Governor.

On Lindesay, about 200 bolts were placed, most of which retro-bolt or impact on at least 20 existing climbs. Bolts were very close together and some bolted lines were only one metre apart. Many bolts were placed beside good placements for removable gear. Numerous chains were also installed at the cliff-top, and the climb grades were painted in large letters along the bottom. Some of the bolts were found to be dangerous – either glue-ins on which the glue never cured (and which pulled out by hand) or dangerously short ‘studs’.

These were not assessable without removing them. Some of the retro-bolted Lindesay climbs are on the bold side, while others are very well protected with natural gear.

On The Governor, at least 60 bolts were been placed which either retro-bolt existing climbs, or squeeze up very close to them. Natural lines on The Governor’s columnar structure tend be only a couple of metres apart, so any new bolted climbs will impact on adjacent trad routes. Eight climbs have been impacted, including the popular moderate classic Clandestiny, and it's start that gives access to five other climbs. Additional chain anchors have been installed at the cliff-top. Some of the new Governor bolts have also been found to be dangerous, including a chain anchor with un-cured glue.

The retro-bolting on both Mt Lindesay and The Governor was visually intrusive, using large stainless ring bolts or shiny stainless brackets.

The people who have done this retro-bolting are not known to have consulted with first ascensionists, other Kaputar climbers or NPWS. Some first ascensionists and other climbers are angry.

Action

A number of climbers who love the special qualities of Kaputar climbing became very concerned about this trend and joined together to take action. The objectives are to restore The Governor to a premier trad-only crag (i.e. no sport routes), and to remove impacts on pre-existing routes on Mt Lindesay (retro-bolting etc). Most of the offending new bolts have now been removed and patched on both cliffs and the remainder will be removed shortly. Painted grades have been cleaned off. This has taken lot of work, time and expense by a bunch of people. If any of the bolts removed from these climbs are replaced, they will also be removed. Any new retro-bolting will also be removed.

Why have we taken this action?

Because we believe the following:

  • Existing trad climbs and quality trad crags should be retained in their original condition. That means no retro-bolting and no bolting that impacts on the integrity, or ‘hanging space’, of natural lines. Good trad cliffs, and trad climbs in general, are limited resources which need protection.
  • Retro-bolting on established climbs should be opposed and rectified.
  • National parks exist to protect natural areas. Therefore the environmental impact of climbing should be minimised in national parks. Trad climbing is generally low in impact, consistent with other activities like remote bushwalking. The Plan of Management for Mt Kaputar National Park (2006, section 4.3.9, page 37 – emphasis added) states: The NPWS will provide information and guidance on Service policy to visitors wishing to undertake adventure activities in the park, and will require minimal impact use of the park for these activities.
  • Excessive and unsightly bolting or other climbing impacts in national parks risk attracting the disapproval of other park visitors and park authorities, and may threaten ongoing climber access to these areas.

Trad climbing at Kaputar

Trad climbing at Kaputar requires judgment and skill. Important skills include route-finding, down-climbing (when necessary) and finding and using natural gear placements - which are often small wires or cams/nuts in unexpected places. Kaputar is a good place to learn and apply these skills because it offers trad climbs at a wide range of grades.

Protection is often very good but not always obvious from below. Poor protection is usually mentioned in route descriptions, and/or allowed for in the grading (i.e. increased grade for poor protection). Bold routes on Mt Lindesay can be easily top-roped. Route descriptions on thecrag.com will be amended where necessary to assist safe climbing on climbs that were previously retro-bolted. But climbers should always be wary of attempting trad climbs that are close to the limit of their ability.

inherited from Kaputar

Seasonality

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Quality

Mega Classic
Classic
Very Good
Good
Average
Don't Bother
Crap

Overall quality 91 from 53 ratings.

Tick Types

Solo 21
Flash 1
Onsight 9
Tick 27
Attempt 2
Target 4

Comment keywords

solid difficult crux hard unprotected dangerous exposed intimidating committing highball tricky dry traverse short rest epic interesting easy steep crazy nice amazing incredible super pleasant classic lovely great fantastic awesome cool fun good beautiful

Activity

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