The Watchtower




Emergency Location: Mount Arapiles, The Watchtower Faces 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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Worthless one move wonder. May be easier for tall people. Start as for Arachnus, but take thin, left-leaning crack over crux bulge.

FA: Chris Baxter & Andrew Bowman, 1972

Slither like a ferret behind the giant Watchtower flake, starting from Watchtower Crack (top pitch start) and ending up in the 'Watchtower Chimney'.

Getting properly stuck in this is a very serious situation. As it says in "Life On A Line" : "We die if we stand still for too long." Don't go alone.

FA: Davey Jones, 1996

Start as arachnus until the second pitch. Instead of veering right, just continue straight on nice chicken heads to join Watchtower Chimney's last pitch. Not a new route. Pitch two is one of many existing variants to Arachnus. Route will be left as-is for now until TheCrag works out a way of conveniently handling variants (could be some time)

You could join pitch two and three for a nice ~50 metre one. That's actually what I did by accident.

1 8 40m
2 8 21m
3 9 14m
4 8 30m

A truly great climb up the middle of the Watchtower. Many variants are possible in the middle section and many parties do the Minerva variant (described separately).

Start up the right-hand of the two deep cracks at the base of The Watchtower. This is just left of the undercut section, and 9 metres right of the start of The 'Watchtower Chimney'.

  1. (40m, 8) Up deep crack until it ends. Traverse 4 metres right, up over disconcerting bulge and follow crack to large ledge. (The first ascent traversed all the way to the right arete before climbing bulge).

  2. (21m, 8) Either climb up left of the belay or climb just right of the crack until below bulge and then step left over the crack. Belay on narrow ledge below overhang on left side of The Watchtower.

  3. (14m, 9) Either climb straight up veering slightly right, or traverse right on smooth rock past ancient piton before moving right. Belay in a good cave on the right side of the buttress.

  4. (30m, 8) Move left out of cave and up exhilarating wall to top. Prearrange your signals as communication is likely to be impossible from the top.

FA: Ian Speedie & Rob McQuilkin, 1964

A very popular variant on 'Arachnus', but more serious because of the poorly protected section on pitch three.

Start: Start as for 'Arachnus'.

  1. 40m (8) Up deep crack until it ends. Traverse 4 metres right, up over disconcerting bulge and follow crack to large ledge.

  2. 12m (8) Up smooth wall just right of crack, traverse right, then up to small ledge below juggy crack through overhang.

  3. 23m (9) Up crack, then balance carefully right (poor protection) for 4 metres. More easily up to cave belay.

  4. 30m (8) Move left out of cave and up exhilirating wall to top. Prearrange your signals as communication is likely to be impossible from the top.

FA: Ivan Dainis & Gwenn Ward, 1965

FA: Ivan Dainis & Gwenn Ward, 1965

The right arete of 'Arachnus'. Quite fun and there are numerous possible variations.

Might be a tad undergraded...

Start: Approach up any one of Watchtower Crack, 'Stumpy Tail' or 'Arachnus', or rap in from the top.

FA: Ingvar Lidman

Ascends the appealing 8m-wide wall which is left of Watchtower Crack and at right angles to the main slabs. Pitches 2 and 3 are both good, but the start of pitch 4 detracts. If you want a tougher outing, and/or a line which stays entirely on this slim face, start up 'Pumping' and finish up 'Xenomorph' for pitches of 24, 20, 23 and 26.

Start: Start as for Watchtower Crack.

  1. 33m (12) Take Watchtower Crack (or 'Pumping', or Flamingo) to large ledge.

  2. 20m (20) L up orange face past FH. Join diagonal crack to small ledge, then follow ramp to pedestal. Step up L onto short delicate face, then L to good belay cave on arete.

  3. 10m (23) Up flake then over the L end of the roof. Traverse R past FH to big undercling move, then some steep moves to another good belay ledge on arete.

  4. 50m (18) Step up R onto higher ledge, then the reachy lichenous face 3-4m L of Watchtower Crack, adequately protected by small-med cams. Slab easily up L until forced around the arete onto the 'Arachnus' face for the last 20m.

FA: Will Monks & Kevin Lindorff, 2005

The thin undercut seam above the cave left of the start of Watchtower Crack gets a star despite the fiddly gear to start and the pathetic rap sling. The very bold second pitch is rarely done and is written up separately (Pumping Part II), in the 'Right Watchtower Face' section.

FA: Kim Carrigan & Mark Moorhead, 1979

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