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Fire Wall

  • Grade context: AU
  • Ascents: 1
1
AU
26

Seasonality

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Access issues inherited from Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage listed area. The Grose Valley, the cliffs around Katoomba and much of the Narrow Neck peninsula are part of the Blue Mountains National Park which is managed by the NPWS. The Western Escarpment - where most of the climbing is - is Crown Land managed by the BMCC. While the NPWS Plan of Management nominates several locations in the National Park where rock climbing is deemed appropriate, the majority of the climbing remains unacknowledged. 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.

Practically all crags are either in National Park or in council reserve: dog owners are reminded that dogs are not allowed in National Parks at any time and fines have been issued, while for crags on council reserve the BMCC leash law requires that dogs be on-leash.

Approach

Google maps is your friend! Walk in from Bells Line Rd as for Yesterday's Groove area - but continue past this for 500m to top of next bare hillside to the east (-33.582515, 150.351859). Walk down vague ridgeline east then south (it gets more obvious you are on a ridge as you descend) for 150m to edge of cliff (and hopefully a nice lookout towards Banksy). Look for small landslip/dirt ramp to the right (looking out) located under short upper cliffline. Cross this dirt slope and scramble along lowest small ledge for 20m to (hopefully) find short black rope leading to rap bolts. This top belay/rap point is located at -33.582515, 150.351859. It’s a 35 min walk from carpark.

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.

Tags

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

Routes

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Grade Route
1 26
2 25
3 23
4 21
5 24
6 22

A remarkable orange face on the side of a giant semi-detached pillar topped by a vertical wall. Great climbing on every pitch, no shale bands and a good bolts. The cliff faces almost due south and gets no sun at all - maybe a smidge in the late arvo in high summer. However the first ascent was done on a very cold winters day - a day of fire and ice. Save this route for summer or pack a downie! Minimum gear requirements - 18 draws, a few long runners and a single 70m rope + usual belay/self rescue gear. Walking out from the base of this route would be proper epic. The crux sections have closely spaced bolts but the route wanders around and is overhung so a confident second who knows how to use prussics if they fall is important! It's obligatory for the leader to be able to climb grade 24 above bolts. Getting there: Google maps is your friend! Walk in from Bells Line Rd as for Yesterday's Groove area - but continue past this for 500m to top of next bare hillside to the east (-33.582515, 150.351859). Walk down vague ridgeline east then south (it gets more obvious you are on a ridge as you descend) for 150m to edge of cliff (and hopefully a nice lookout towards Banksy). Look for small landslip/dirt ramp to the right (looking out) located under short upper cliffline. Cross this dirt slope and scramble along lowest small ledge for 20m to (hopefully) find short black rope leading to rap bolts. This top belay/rap point is located at -33.582515, 150.351859. It’s a 35 min walk from carpark. Rap down all the way to the ground as shown on the topo. This requires 6 abseils directly down the wall (sometimes not down the route). All raps are under 35m so a doubled 70m rope will suffice. Bring a couple of slings and biners to leave behind to extend some of the rap points for easier rope pulls.

  1. 28m (26) A slap in the face from the very first move. Intense thin face climbing for 20m then traverse right along break for 8m to exposed hanging belay on right edge of wall. Ignore high anchor midway through this pitch - it’s only used for rapping in.

  2. 37m (25) The best pitch. Bouldery arete past the first couple of bolts then long magical journey up heavily featured orange face trending left to semi-hanging belay in small cave. Long runners useful.

  3. 35m (23) The blob pitch. Left from the belay then up the unique blobby ironstone rock that resemble tufas. When the good rock runs out undercling like a fiend and run it out into grey scary jugs. Belay on comfy large vegetated ledge.

  4. 35m (21) Grey face that starts out pretty desperate and eases off in the upper half with a few spicy runouts. Belay on big ledge and walk across vegetated “bridge” to main cliffline. Have a snooze and a snack.

  5. 38m (24) Corner for 18m to small ledge, take a breath, then up left on small holds to semi-hanging belay in alcove. 16 bolts.

  6. 35m (22) Flakes and nigh footholds for a couple of bolts then easier ironstone jugs to the top. Theoretically could be linked with pitch 5 for an uber long 75m pitch if you carried 30 draws or so.

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