Harlequin Cracks Area




Emergency Location: Mount Arapiles, Harlequin Cracks Area

Access issues inherited from Arapiles

Bird Nesting September-December Raptors usually nest on the following climbs in Spring : Cassandra, Eurydice, Harlequin Cracks, Revelations. Nesting usually finishes mid-December. There may or may not be signs in place at these times. Please keep 50m clear of these climbs if there appears to be nesting activity.

State Park

Ethic inherited from Arapiles

Mount Arapiles is first and foremost a trad climbing area. The few sport climbs tend to be in the higher grades where no natural pro is available.

Bolting, particularly retro-bolting, is discouraged and should only be undertaken after extensive consultation with the local climbers, first ascensionists, etc. Inappropriately placed bolts have been chopped.

Do not chip the rock.

Look after the park.

  • Stick to the paths.

  • Don't disturb the wildlife.

  • Routes near peregrine falcon nesting sites are closed in the spring.

  • Minimise the impact of your camping (fuel stoves not fires, take your rubbish with you, etc).


Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)


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Grade Route

This pleasant, easy crack midway between The Clown and 'Court Jester' was probably first soloed by Louise to get access to the top of School For Scandal during her massive cleaning exercise.

Wanders up the left side of the buttresses. A bit scrappy but worth a look.

Start some distance uphill of 'Beau Geste', just left of a deep horizontal break.

  1. 24m (10) An undercut start leads into a wide crack. At top, step right and up to ledge.

  2. 10m (-) The crack above.

  3. 18m (10) Pull up steep wall and continue upo crack and jug-strewn wall.

  4. 20m (10) 'Layback' crack on steep wall up left to terrace.

  5. 30m (12) Pull up on flat holds just right of undercut arete and then up to top. This is just left of Beau Geste's final pitch.

FA: John Moore, Chris Dewhirst, Chris Baxter & Laurie Beesley, 1965

Not a bad pitch. Could be used as a start for 'Artificial Insemination'.

Crack about 10 metres left of Beau Geste, avoiding top overhang to right (dirty)

FA: Kieran Loughran, Jopie Bodegraven & Robert Knox, 1980

Another long ramble, about half of which are bits of existing climbs.

  1. 40m Climb A Whale of a Time until level with the big terrace on the right. Step left and belay on the shoulder of the ridge.

  2. 25m Diagonally left to the base of the left-leaning line (the right-hand line is Court Jester – steep and loose).

  3. 25m Up left-leaning line, to finish steeply up right wall – highlighted by a classic mantelshelf and incut jugs.

  4. 20m Easily up ridge to terrace.

  5. 30m As for 5th pitch of Beau Geste.

FA: Stev Findlay & Keith Lockwood, 15 Aug 2016

Another pleasant ramble.

Start: At toe of buttress just left of "Beau Geste"

  1. 35m (-) Follow prominent line until it fizzles out. Step right and up to good ledge. This pitch has also been climbed slightly to the left.

  2. 25m (-) Up front right side of buttress, over overhang and nice wall then up next wall past ironstone jugs to spacious upper ledge. The first two pitches have been climbed as one but rope-drag is a problem.

  3. 25m (14) Climb prominent crack, curving right to arete. Climb arete and continue easily. Belay near top of major left-leading diagonal.

  4. 20m (-) Broken corner to big ledge.

  5. 30m (-) Top pitch of "Beau Geste"

FA: Keith & Tim Lockwood, 2010

A good pitch but a bit out of place with only easy options for approach and finish.

Start at second belay; this is also the second belay of "Beau Geste", at the top of the neat little corner.

Climb orange wall up and right to arete and continue up arete until it joins the original line (crack curving in from left) and eases. Continue easily to belay.

FA: Tim Lockwood, Keith Lockwood, Kieran Loughran & Norm Booth, 2010

This great little pitch is not really more direct but it is a good finish to this route, especially if done with the Grade 17 variant, or to "Artificial Insemination". Tiny cams are essential.

Start: Start around left of the top pitch of "Beau Geste" at a prominent right curving corner. Climb the arete and face left of the corner.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Norm Booth, 2010

A great adventure.

Start below major chimney on left side of cliff.

Note that numerous variants are possible, and have been done, from the middle of pitch 3 to the terrace at the end of pitch 4.

  1. 50m (9) Up wall then chimney to terrace.

  2. 13m (9) Just to the right is a short, right-facing corner. Up this and step right to belay.

  3. 18m (9) Up righthand V-corner to roof. Move left under roof then step right and up to ledge.

  4. 25m (9) 'Diagonal' up right (as for Tale Of Woe) to huge terrace.

  5. 30m (7) Pull onto wall right of undercut arete, traverse right and go up on horizontal breaks approximately 6 metres right of arete. At ledge, move left and up. The fingery wall just right of the arete is Court Jester's finish.

A fairly good direct line with a few nice sections and an exciting finish around the overhang at the top of the face. Big cams needed on first 2 pitches.

Even better if finished via Noddy's face around left of last pitch of 'Beau Geste'.

Start: Start from the terrace, at the base of Beau Geste's second pitch corner.

  1. 20m (13) Follow right-leading ramp, then wide crack to ledge. There other belay options higher, including a tiny stance just below the roof but this is probably the most convenient spot.

  2. 25m (18) Continue up the line to the roof with a difficult section not far below the roof. Exposed moves out to and around the lip of the major roof-crack.

  3. 30m (7) Final ptich of 'Beau Geste'.

FA: Roger Webb, Phillip Armstrong. Phillip had climbed the crux overhang with Eddie Ozols & Mark Shelton two months earlier., 1977

Pleasant access route to the big terrace.

Blunt, slabby arete staring 10 metres right of Beau Geste.

FA: Heather Phillips & Bill Andrews, 1983

Follow 2 corners to easy ground, aiming for large left-facing flake. Pass this on left and up.

Start: Start at short corner 2 metres right of 'BA Mosquito'.

FA: Bill Andrews & GIT course member, 1981

A wonderful excursion all the way. Takes steep wall between Tale of Woe and Bung.

  1. 45m BA Mosquito to terrace.

  2. 50m Bridge up block then wall to Tale of Woe, which is followed for a few metres to a vertical line. Swing up this until you can trend a bit left to the next steep line. This leads direct to the terrace.

  3. 30m As for the last pitch of Beau Geste.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Ray Lassman, 9 Jun 2015

A popular outing following the prominent diagonal line. Not really sure that it warrants a star though.

  1. 30m (8) Follow the major left-leading diagonal from the terrace until it ends. Belay on ledge past first little cave.

  2. 25m (9) Diagonally right, passing large roofs on the right, finishing over a little bulge.

  3. 30m (7) As for the final pitch of 'Beau Geste'.

FA: Mike Stone & Chris Baxter, 1973

Looks great but is just OK.

Begin up Tale Of Woe then step right and follow sinuous line up and slightly left on wall.

FA: Keith Lockwood, Doug & Beryl Palmen, 1977

Similar to Bung.

Start as for Bung but after stepping right continue straight up the wall rather than following line.

FA: Allan Hope & Bill Andrews, 1983

Climb Harlequin Cracks until it’s easy to move out onto the left wall. Follow arête, finishing up line past the left edge of the Harlequin Cracks roof.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Ray Lassman, 28 May 2016

The long corner of the first pitch is lovely. BIRD TAKING UP RESIDENCE 9 sept 2018, stay off until nesting over

  1. 36m (10) Up line to ledge taking care with some loose blocks just before the belay.

  2. 12m (8) Avoid the bottomless chimney (grade 12) by climbing the face out right up to the terrace.

  3. 32m (10) The best line is to continue up the left-facing corner directly above. Alternatively, traverse 3 metres right to a shallow corner. Up this, loose blocks to ledge, traverse 5 metres right to another corner and up to top.

FA: Ted Batty, Bob Bull, Peter Jackson. Pitch 3 corner : Rob Taylor & Daryl Carr., 1966

Start: Start as for "Harlequin Cracks

  1. 15m (18) Take short orange corner just right of main line. Step right at roof and up to peregrine ledge. Seam to right of corner is also grade 18 but mossy)

  2. 33m (-) Pull over into line above and follow all way, with slight step left half-way up, on orange rock.

FA: Norm Booth & Keith Lockwood, 2010

Very good, but beware the runout halfway up the 1st pitch. Some say that the poor protection is not a problem given the straightforward nature of the climbing. However there is also the case of a leader who backed off this and went on to 'Orestes' for his next,successful, climb.

Start: Start 4m L of 'Salami'.

  1. 25m (17) Not well protected through half height, although technically not too hard. Crack to ledge at 3m. Take fading crack then face, and traverse 2m R to flake. Up it to ledge then up wall.

  2. 15m (17) Easy crack then R to slabby splitter crack. At the top traverse R over blocks to belay at the top of Salami's chimney.

  3. 15m (-) The crack up the middle of the buttress between 'Salami' and 'Salami' DF, with a fun roof.

FA: Kieran Loughran & Bill Andrews (alt), 1982

  1. 36m (11) Monster left-facing corner to ledge on right.

  2. 15m (9) Move left under overhangs to a sharp, undercut flake. Up the flake to ledge.

  3. 30m (10) Either scramble up to the right or, from left side of large,scrubby ledge and undercut start leads to shallow, right-facing corner.

FA: Peter Jackson & Chris Baxter, 1965

A good finish for 'Salami', starting from the first belay.

Climb steep cracks and corner above the first belay.

FA: Daryl Carr & Jerry Grandage, 1965

This monster corner-chimney is not only good fun, but benefits from coming into shade early in the day, but last pitch is in full sun. Great 1st and last pitches with some scrap in the middle.

  1. 36m (11) Monster left-facing corner to ledge on right.

  2. 11m (5) traverse, through crack to the right to belay.

  3. 10m (1-2) scramble up to small boulder next belay.

  4. 15m (6) up small face to the right, follow up and around left to overhang and ledge.

  5. 25m (12) from end (rightmost) overhang, crux first move out over the overhang for an awesome finish.

Walk off the back to finish and down trail to left.

Set by Geoff, 4 Apr 2013

FFA: 4 Apr 2013

FA: Geoff, Alicia, Jason & Holly, 4 Apr 2013

From 'Salami', move right onto wall at horizontal break. Up past bolt then up and left to crescent-shaped ledge. Up this to second bolt then hard moves up right. Rap rings. Rebolted.

FA: Steve Monks & Jane Wilkinson, 1988

As for IM, then take extended leftward finish up the mighty headwall. 30 metre rappel.

Start: Start as for 'Industrial Muscle'.

FA: Ingvar Lidman, 2003

From conifer below 'Salami' climb face on right for 2 metres. Traverse right to weakness in bulge, then straight up.

FA: Chris, Sue Baxter, Dave Gairns & Keith Lockwood, 1983

Prominent broken diagonal right of 'Salami'.

Start at short red corner some metres right of 'Salami'.

  1. 30m (12) Follow red corner then taverse right across mossy slabs to base of diagonal. Belay a few metres higher.

  2. 23m (12) Take the diagonal, ignoring branch on right wall to big ledge.

  3. 15m (12) Follow either of 2 short corners to next ledge.

  4. 23m (12) The diagonal continues to tricky exit above 'Salami' Corner.

FA: Peter Watling & Anita Lundberg (alt), 1984

The final three climbs are high on the cliff, starting at the same level, and just right of Salami's first belay. They can be approached by traversing aound from Salami, by a dicey scrable in from near Mysteries Gully or by abseil.

Takes the prominent roof.

Up clean flake and over roof.

FA: Dave Mudie & Dennis Kemp, 1989

Climb middle of face right of 'Goonkachoong'.

FA: Dennis Kemp & Dave Mudie, 1989

Good corner.

V-corner a few metres right of Goonkachoong.

FA: Peter Watling & Anita Lundberg, 1984

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