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Outer Space Buttress

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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

Access via abseil by walking from the marked sign to Pulpit Rock (at Mt Victoria) and heading left down the trail. At the intersection, take the left track and walk along the clifftop for approx 100m. Outer Space Buttress will come into view on the right (there's an excellent opportunity to view Big Red in its entirety by heading straight down the hill to the cliff edge approx 50m before the buttress itself). Walk out onto the buttress (scrambling down on the left as necessary) to find the rap anchors on a rock platform right at the far end. It's a full 60m abseil to the ground.

Walking access by heading down the "Little Zig Zag" trail (as for Zig Zag crag, or the Fashion Parade Mall), continuing further down the track and taking a vague footpad on the left that cuts beneath Black Gold Buttress, Teenage Angst buttress, and eventually brings you to Outer Space Buttress. This track is almost non-existent the further along you go.

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.

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

Start: The right most butress. Left hand route.

  1. 15m (20) Wall and corner (right of the main vegetated corner). Move left to main corner.

  2. 30m (22) Corner, left to ledge.

  3. 20m (20) Hard start then the seam. Take RP's!

FA: G.Bradbury & R.Miller, 1983

Climbs a beautiful, vibrant red overhanging face in one enormous pitch. Marred by sections of rubbish rock and several chipped pockets.

  1. 51m (27) Runout short corner (optional wires/small cams) 4m left of the arete, and 2m right of IMaMFOS. Up past 23 rings with desperate moves to the anchor.

  2. 9m (18) Step right from the anchors, then a few punchy moves up the slab to the top of the buttress.

FA: M.Law & J.Holbeck, 1992

"Life without meaning".

An old-school outing. Obsessively climbs the arête between Big Red and It Came From Outer Space for the entire length of the buttress, sharing about 20m of climbing with ICFOS.

Can be climbed as anywhere from 1 to 4 pitches, with the First Ascent being climbed as a 15m pitch and a 55m pitch, belayed from the ground the entire time.

  1. 15m (21) - Committing. Start up Big Red for a few moves (wires) until you can clip the carrot out right. Traverse hard right across the face to hanging-arête, then up this trending right (to follow the arête) with committing moves above gear to gain carrot, and eventually 2 x carrot bolt belay. (2 x carrots, Wires, BD #0.4, #3, #4).

  2. 25m (26) - Up the arête with a very hard start past 2 x U-bolts, then intimidating and sustained climbing directly up the arête on carrots and gear to 3 x carrot bolt belay. Be very careful with how the rope runs on this pitch to avoid wear/cutting. (3 x carrots, 2 x U-Bolts, 2 x BD #0.5, #0.3).

  3. 15m (23) - As for It Came From Outer Space: up insecure arête with a rather demanding crux section to 2 x carrot bolt belay. (6 x carrots).

  4. 15m (21) - Directly up the arête with a few tricky moves to top-out and belay chain. 3 x carrots, 1 x U-bolt, BD #1).

FA: Paul Thomson, Will Vidler, Monty Curtis & Glen Thomson, 29 Oct 2019

Amazing, sustained, old-school-demanding mixed climbing up an eye-catching face and arete, with two desperate mantles to make you realise how weak you really are.

Start: 'Small' flake right of undercut arete. 10m right of IMaMfOS.

Recommended rack: 12 bolt plates, small-medium wires, single cams #1 and #2, double cams #0.3, #0.4, #0.5, #0.75, #3.

  1. 35m (25) 'Flake', mantle, then left above the undercut past 2 carrots. Up to below the footledge. Left to arete and bolt. Up via hellish mantle to another bolt, then face and arete past 4 more carrots and gear to hanging belay on carrots. 8 carrot bolts.

  2. 20m (23) Shale ledge to steep arete. To break then left side of arete. Wall and arete to ledge belay. 5 carrot bolts, no supplemental gear.

  3. 15m (19) 'Small' bulge on bad rock and flakes right of the belay. Up past 2 carrots and gear, trending left to arete and topout (1 carrot + bollard). 2 carrot bolts.

FA: G.Bradbury, 1983

This cliff is unlocated

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Activity

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