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Bell Supercrag

Access: Bell is located inside of the Blue Mountains National Park. Dogs are strictly prohibited!

Do not, under any circumstance, bring dogs into the Bell climbing area - this includes the carpark and approach track. Smoking and campfires are also prohibited within this area all year.

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Created 7 months ago - Edited 4 days ago

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Summary

A very popular sport crag offering a wide variety of grades, closely spaced bolts and all day shade and rain protection. This is a National Park - respect the rules (no dogs, fires & smoking).

Description

See http://bmtopos.com/ for the original online guide to this area. Thanks to Lloyd, Steve and Megan!

Access issues

Any rescues at this area are going to be problematic due to the steep access via rungs. Make an effort to stick clip first bolts and watch for loose rock and skulls. The popularity of this area means we all must do our best to reduce our environmental impact. Stick to established tracks, don't leave rock cairns or other track markings (it's already obvious!). Shit at home or at the servo on the way to the crag - not in the canyon. This is a National Park so absolutely no dogs, no smoking and no camp fires. Even if it's winter. NO FIRES. NO DOGS. Our ongoing access to this area is not guaranteed and depends on us looking after the place.

Approach

From Bell, at the intersection of the Darling Causeway and Bell’s Line of Rd, head 1.5km towards Richmond/Sydney. Slow down as you approach the start of the first passing lane, so that you don’t miss the fire trail on the right, directly opposite the ‘Keep Left When Overtaking’ sign. Drive down the rough fire trail for 350m to a parking area, or park on the verge if you have a low clearance vehicle. If approaching from Richmond, it is safer to continue 400 m past the fire trail and turn around in a pullout on the left, immediately before the ‘60 Ahead’ sign at Bell.

A well-defined walking track begins beside the power pole in the carpark, initially along the flat ridge, then gently downhill. After 20 min, a flat area is reached just after you break out of the last trees onto a broad heath-covered ridge (with a good view of Ikara Head). From the flat area, the track heads down more steeply to the left (east), leading you into the descent gully. The bottom of the descent gully is equipped with fixed ropes and fixed rungs (not suitable for kiddies).

You'll emerge at the right end of Departures and Arrivals, for a total walking time of 25 min (30 min on the way out). The other crags require between 5 and 20 min more walking.

Ethic inherited from Blue Mountains

Although sport climbing is well entrenched as the most popular form of Blueys climbing, mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule over the long term. Please try to use available natural gear where possible, and do not bolt cracks or potential trad climbs. If you do the bolts may be removed.

Because of the softness of Blue Mountains sandstone, bolting should only be done by those with a solid knowledge of glue-in equipping. A recent fatality serves as a reminder that this is not an area to experiment with bolting.

If you do need to top rope, please do it through your own gear as the wear on the anchors is both difficult and expensive to maintain.

If you have benefited from climbing infrastructure in NSW, please consider making a donation towards maintenance costs. The Sydney Rockclimbing Club Rebolting Fund finances the replacement of old bolts on existing climbs and the maintenance of other hardware such as fixed ropes and anchors. The SRC purchases hardware, such as bolts and glue, and distributes them to volunteer rebolters across the state of New South Wales. For more information, including donation details, visit https://sydneyrockies.org.au/rebolting/

It would be appreciated if brushing of holds becomes part of your climbing routine - do it with a soft bristled brush and never a steel brush!

The removal of vegetation - both from the cliff bases and the climbs - is not seen as beneficial to aesthetics of the environment nor to our access to it.

However, the fast growing scrub can conceal walking tracks in mere months, making remote and less popular crags slightly more difficult and fun to navigate to. Some appropriately discreet pruning is a far better alternative then track braiding (which causes far more damage).

However, do so only on Council land and definitely not in the National Park. Remember, to maintain access our best approach is to 'Respect Native Habitat, Tread Softly and Leave No Trace'. Do not cut flora and keep any tracks and infrastructure as minimal as possible or risk possible closures.

History

View historical timeline

Seen by many over the years, it wasn’t until Lloyd Wishart stumbled his way down Jungaburra Brook in August 2006 that climbing at Bell started with the bolting of Wet Paint at Arrivals. Megan Turnbull and Steve Grkovic agreed to pitch in, after forcing Lloyd to try the current more user-friendly approach, first negotiated in the gathering gloom of an August evening without torches. Lloyd stamped his authority by quickly drilling his way to double figures at Arrivals and Departures, before the devastating bush fires in October 2006 put a stop to proceedings. The fires left behind an alien black landscape, burnt hammers, ropes and other equipment, with jumars and biners reduced to small mounds of melted metal.

In 2009, after several winters spent climbing at Arrivals and Departures, while belayers gazed longingly at the sun-drenched crags on the opposite side, the development of The Devils Circus, Treble Clef and Sunnyside was tackled. Martin Pircher flew back from Austria to kick things off with Seamstress, Megan had some epic struggles bolting the longer routes Searching for the Light and The Dreaming Void and Steve established some great steep climbing in at the Devils Circus. The Outpost, Duck Wall and Blowhole followed over the years.

Since 2011, Neil Monteith, Ben Jenga, Jason Lammers, Paul Thomson, Thom Samuels and Jay Trent have joined the fray to push the number of lines well over the 150 mark.

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Activity

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