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Cosmic County

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Description

An area that was popular in the 80's due to its ease of access and quality vertical face climbing. Nowadays, a highly under-rated crag with heaps of moderate classics from 17-25. Many routes are mixed, and a single rack of cams and nuts will suffice. But you probably want a bigger rack if getting on the trad routes.

Cosmic is home to several of the best splitter cracks of the Blue Mountains, highlighted by Interstate 31 and Gentlemans Drag, but don't neglect the rest.

Access issues

The access situation to Cosmic County has changed several times over the years. It is very important that climbers use the access track which stays on the eastern side of the Buddhist Monks' Retreat (9 Donald Rd). (In particular both the road down through the Retreat (now overgrown), and the railway easement (now gated, usually locked), must NOT be used under any circumstances).

Approach

Park at the eastern end of Donald Rd, Clarence.

  1. Once you are parked, there is a path marked with a (cairn-33.48638, 150.23477) headed SSW into the bush: this is on the right as you drive into the carpark.

  2. Follow this track down the hill, there are small cairns and pink tape to mark the track. At the base of the hill cross over the log bridge (DO NOT head right to small road - this is private property and could threaten access if used), continue up to where the trail meets the sealed road at a pole with yellow label "683/2 406" (power pole-33.49012, 150.23385).

  3. Take a right on the paved road and keep walking on this road for 3-4mins until you come to "the big tree" in the middle of the road: this was decimated in the 2019-20 Black Summer fires and is now a charred 15m high stump. (You can also cut the corner 50m before you get to the big tree, by continuing left under the power lines to meet the trail going down hill).

  4. At the big tree, take a left on the dirt fire trail at (-33.490406, 150.23174) - don't take the bitumen rail service road which heads more steeply downhill. Follow the dirt firetrail down hill for 350m. Keep an eye out for a cairn on the left.

  5. Once you find the (cairn-33.493296, 150.23062), take the path along the old overgrown vehicle track heading left. Follow this path (2mins approx) until you come to a clearing that is the old campsite.

  6. At the far downhill side of the campsite find a trail heading right, marked with a cairn (-33.49526, 150.23069). Follow this trail and soon to your left chossy rock walls should appear. About here the Greenhouse Gully descent drops down to the right, as of 2022 this is cairned and fairly well trodden and is not sketchy, awkward or loose like the 39 Steps and Memory Lane descents. Or, stay on the very well trodden clifftop track, keeping an eye out for cairns. You will walk past a log that has step cut into it. And then you will also come across a small creek (can be dry). The view will then open up and beautiful rock walls (of Railway Cliffs and the Freezer) will be to your right.

  7. For Memory Lane area keep walking along the track, staying on top of the cliff line until you come to the first set of chains (at foot level)(now with a fair bit of rust, around the fittings in particular). Use these chains as a handrail to descend and using step cuts into the rock as foot holds. When at the bottom, walk left for 30m and another set of chains will be awaiting for your descent. Descend down the gully and the climb marked 'WW' to your left is Walking Wounded.

  8. For more distant crags, continue walking along the benched track at the top of the cliffs to various other descent gullies.

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

History timeline chart

Andrew Penney lead the charge of early development with the zeal of an explorer, trailing many others in his wake.

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

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Selected Guidebooks more

Author(s): Simon Carter

Date: 2019

ISBN: 9780958079082

The latest comprehensive, latest and greatest Blue Mountains Climbing Guide is here and it has more routes than you can poke a clip stick at! 3421 to be exact. You are not going to get bored.

Author(s): Simon Carter

Date: 2019

ISBN: 9780958079075

Simon Carter's "Best of the Blue" is the latest selected climbing guide book for the Blue Mountains and covers 1000 routes and 19 different climbing areas. For all the sport climbers out there, the travellers, or just anyone who doesn't want to lug around the big guide that's more than 3 times the size - cut out the riff-raff and get to the good stuff! This will pretty much cover everything you need!

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