Ikara Head





Mega old school trad area that should see more traffic than it does. Has a few of the best moderate cracks in the Mountains.

© (mjw)


A great trad crag. Routes R of Telstar get shade until 10:30ish, while The Mooing, Splattergram and Tuxedo Mask get shade after 12 or 1. The main face gets sun for almost all of the day. The crag is fairly exposed to the wind. Perfect for midwinter when the conditions are just too good for your latest sport proj. Has a few classic cracks that are definitely not to be missed.

© (mjw)

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.


(-33.5678060, 150.2814949)

Driving west on the highway from Blackheath, just after passing Browntown Oval, shortly before Mount Victoria, turn right (careful in heavy traffic) onto the Victoria Falls dirt road for 3.9km until you reach a small parking bay and an old road with a locked gate. This track is about 400m before the Asgard Swamp trail.

Walk following the old road along a fairly level ridgeline for about 20 mins (2.2km), then left and down on a well-defined foot track toward a swampy creek, cross the creek via a log (-33.5493091, 150.2830389). Head right beneath small overhangs until you reach the main cliff. The total walk from the car to the first route is 3.0km, 35-40 mins.

Alternatively you can walk about 200m back up the road to an obvious cairned track that travels along Ikara Head Ridgeline. Follow this for 35 mins to the cliff edge and then utilise one of the rap in options. If doing this it is probably best to haul a long static line (100m) out there to fix in place and pull up at the end of the day. Doing the walk this way is very pleasant and flat.

Walking off
Walk to the highest point of the Head (directly away from cliff line) and locate well defined single track along the Ikara Head ridgeline. Follow this for 3km back to road. See pictures for map.

There's also a descent gully emerging near the log crossing. (Log crossing: -33.5493091, 150.2830389)

Abseil Options

  1. Down Splattergram (-33.5444951, 150.2833839) first abseil 5m from new U bolts on cliff top to bolts just below ancient rusty chain. There is currently (June 2021) an old black fixed rope between these two anchors. Second rap 30m to ledge (chains), then 3rd rap 50m to ground.

  2. Down Snakes and Ladders; With a 100m rope you can easily rap from the obvious bolts atop SaL all the way to the ground. Consider bringing rope pro. You may also be able to get down this way by doing three raps on a single rope as there are two sets of bolts you could rebelay from. This is probably ill advised though as the lengths are untested.

  3. Down Blast Off; there are chains beneath a rooflet just over the cliff edge quite close to where the walking track spits you out. You need a length of rope (approx. 30m) that you can anchor to trees (dubious since 2019 fires) or a large thread/sling around some rock features to get you to this belay. From this chain it is 70m to the ground and can be rapped as 50m to DRB, then 20m. A 100m rope will get you from the initial rock/tree anchor, over the cliff and down rap 1 but probably not to the ground. You can rap this last section on your lead rope though.

© (mjw)

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

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)


Add route(s) Add topo Reorder Bulk edit Convert grades
Grade Route
1 24
2 23

Big orange corner opposite the detached block. Marked as a sport route but surely it needs some trad?

  1. (24) Corner to belay under roof.

  2. (23) Left under roof, up thin crack, right to corner and up.

FA: S.Moon & M.Law, 1992

Start 30m right of TM under the obvious soaring square arete.

  1. 24m (20) Corner to bolt, left to DBB on arete. 4 carrots, #3 cam.

  2. 35m (24) Arete to chain. 9 carrots, 2 FHs.

  3. 28m (24) Left edge of cave to roof, right, then the arete to DBB. 5 carrots. To rap from here take hero loops (or maybe something more permanent). Rap 30m to chain, then 50m to ground.

FA: M.Law & M.Stacey, 1992

Start 15m right of TS. Cairn & flake.

  1. Up to ledge. Ignore the carrots, that's a hard variant start.

  2. Flakes to roof, up, right on loose block and up to chain. 7 bolts.

  3. Ramp to arete, to big ledge, up wall, left around roofs then right across wall to rap point (30m to chain then 50m to ground). Double ropes.

FA: M.Law & V.Kondos, 1993

Start: Right of S. Up the prow.

FA: S.Moon, 1999

There's a few newish-looking bolts up the middle of the wall between Tuxedo Mask and Power Vacuum with DRB at the top.

"A surprisingly long climb despite appearances from below. Two fairly good pitches...spoiled somewhat by a scrappy finish." The first route climbed at Ikara in 1974 by discoverers, K. Bell and I. Thomas. Was previously named Casserole Corner by them in memory of the prevailing cuisine of the time.

Start 20m R of TM at the clean wide crack leading to a V groove with a bush in it.

  1. 40m 17. Offwidth, chimney, bush, squeeze to ledge.

  2. 35m 17. Steep corner to ledge then small corner to small ledge. Abandon the corner and head L across wall to nose, L across slab to ledge/bush.

  3. 45m. Up and R via scrub, terraces and corners.

FA: M.Colyvan & A.Penney, 1982

  1. 30m (17) Start up PV to the ledge, then up the arete to to the R passing 2 BR.

  2. 40m (16) Continue up PV to ledge (ignoring bolt on wall to L, which is a gr 20 variant), then L to crack. Follow crack through roof, and continue until it is blocked by vegetation. Head up and L across slab past bolt to large ledge (1 bolt + cam belay).

  3. 25m (19) Up face past 2 bolts, then 15 m left along ledge to 2 bolt belay. Good nut to avoid big swing for second.

  4. 20m (15) Carefully up face passing bolt and a couple of cam breaks to 2 bolt belay at top.

FA: Duanne White, Scott Young & Dale Tweedie, 2005

Start 2 m R of PV, up pockets past bolt to ledge. up to next ledge past bolt, then R to shallow R facing corner/flake. L up this past BR to PV pitch 1 ledge & 2 rings.

FA: Dale Tweedie & Duanne White, 2005

On the same wall as Club Mac. Starts in vague scoop to the left of Octonauts, 3m R of PV. Lots of cams.

  1. 27m Leftwards up through scoop onto wall and up to bolt with fixed hanger. Move left then up groove above to top.

FA: K. Bell & C. Blunsden, 1980

Start 4 m right of PV. Up groove to chimney and offwidth squeeze chimney. Belay on slings on ledge.

FA: David Gray, keith bell, Vanessa Wills & sylvie frechette, May 2018

This seems likely to be a repeat of Jezebel p1 because that’s the only big corner matching this info.

"Big orange corner 30m right again. Up corner to slings."

The aid (originally a few bolts) at the start of the second pitch was freed by Joe Friend. Start 33m right of PV at obvious right trending wide yellow crack/corner system. Marked with J.

  1. 30m (18) Stem up featured corner system that funnels into a chimney near the top. Traverse right 4m to semi-hanging belay off rap chains. Lots of long slings useful on this pitch.

  2. 30m (22) Burly, slick and spectacular. The right trending wide crack breaching the upper headwall. Belay at top off trad and pretty awful tree belay.

Reportedly you can rap from here to ground with 50m rope, however as of oct 2021, tree did not appear suitable for abseil.

  1. 30m Easy grey slab to top.

FFA: Joe Friend 1970s

FA: K. Bell & G. Mortimer, 1975

Sustained and varied climbing up a truly superb finger crack. Marked with AS. Start 7m right of J at short crack in block and finish at the rap chains shared with Jezebel (in great nick as at 2021). Easy for the grade. 65m rope to lower off to the ground; 60m should certainly get you down to the pedestal.

FA: R.Young, A.Prehn & M.Burton, 1980

...they must have been fighting for it!

Start 7m right of A. 11 old-ish carrots up the good looking face to the new chains of Jezebel. Would be easily TRed off these chains if you don't like the look of the old carrots.

FA: G.James, A.McAuley, M.Moore, D.Lawler, R.McKillop & G.Benett, 1995

A continuous, soaring, well-protected crack with minimal crack-climbing required. Generally excellent rock, with brief suspect rock near top. Takes a wide mixture of gear, and consider saving a #4 cam and a #3/#2 cam for that final traverse).

Start most of the way up the ramp/slot (about 5m left of Blast Off ). Up obvious crack, trending left. 2m below the shale ledge, traverse left for about 10m along a clean break, then step down to the Jezebel chains.

Rap 30m from here to large block. 70m rope is ample to lower off if the leader would rather belay on the ground.

FA: E.Garbett & M.Wilson, 1992

FA: Duanne White & Liz Drummond, 2005

Probably done before, but it's a decent line and worth recording. Crack, ~ 2m to the right of the R facing corner almost directly below Blast Off. Up the clean hand/off width crack to ledge.

FA: FRA Duanne White, 2006

An amazing line and excellent climbing. Starts on top of large detached pillar, 25m up and R of A, which is accessed from a slot at the back which starts 10m R of A.

  1. 20m (18) Fingercrack to ledge and DRB.

  2. 50m (22) To infinity, and beyond!

Rap down from chains under small overhang just below the summit in two pitches (~50m, 20m) or walk off.

FA: Keith Bell & Kevin Bell, 1979

This is written up in the 1990s SRC guidebook as being a separate route to Snakes and Ladders. "Start at ledge 5m R of BO. Corner (old BRs) to 3BB". It appears to have been conflated with S&L p1 in more recent times, which seems unlikely to be correct. The 3BB is visible in the big R-facing corner/flake, well below the main shale ledge, which does not match S&L p1 being a 35m crack which goes to the shale ledge, whereas the chosstastic splitters 5m R of the big flake/corner do match up with S&L. Please improve on this info if you know more.

Starts from the top of a block, 10m right of BO.

  1. 35m 19. Poxy crack to ledge.

  2. (25. Originally 20M2). Amazing looking leftwards diagonal finger crack to fixed wires.

  3. Deathy unprotected grovel to top. DRB over the top.

FFA: Steve Monks & R McKillop

FA: M.Wilson, 1994

1 18 30m
2 17 15m
3 19 20m
4 3 15m


Start 43m right of BO. Crack/groove system below a terrifying roof.

  1. 30m (18) Up hand crack bypassing 2 small roofs (stick right) to belay in alcove at start of bomb-bay chimney.

  2. 15m (17) Out bottomless/bomb-bay chimney to turn lip of roof then up slightly to small stance. Build a semi-hanging belay or continue up pitch 3.

  3. 20m (19) Up crack to belay at tree.

  4. 15m (8) To exit traverse right 2m then up corner and groove to large tree. Up easy slab for 5m to the top.

FA: Keith Bell (pitches 1 & 3) Ian Thomas (pitch 2)

Clean and varied corner, 30 meters right of Telstar.

Start at small finger crack then up slabby corner to rings. Anchor replaced 2022. Any information about name and FFA history please update.

"The climb that Ikara is famous for and the only one that most people have heard of!" - A.Penney 1982. The painted initial is mistakenly a ‘K’, but it is definitely Caladan with a C, a reference to Frank Herbert's Dune series.

Start at major corner below crack 33m right of T. Anchors replaced 2022. A 60m rope will just reach, tie a knot in the end!

FA: Keith Bell & Ian Thomas, 1974

Start on right side of arete 4m right of C. 10 very rusty old carrots. Up to ledge shared with L&W, then right and up wall and flakes to the Caladan rap anchor.

FA: M.Wilson & B.Harrington, 1992

The nice clean corner crack 3m R of CT.

Direct lower-offs added 2022 (rings), which means you no longer have to link it into Caladan or rap off dodgy pin and carrot.

FA: A.Mason, C.Bennett & R.Lebreton, 1985

Arete 30m right of CT. Carrots & FHs to TBB.

FA: G.James & W.Stevens, 1996

"An excellent excursion for a hot day. Some tube runners are useful on the 2nd pitch." Right facing corner about 30m R of C. Scramble 10m R up from SM to base of corner.

  1. 25m 17: Climb trees up corner to belay cave some large cams and shrub runners. Sling boulder to belay.

  2. 30m 14R: Climb center of the chimney past a small nut. Then no gear except for a blue big bro to the top.

FA: C.Dale & A.Penney, 1983

20m R of WM.

  1. Crack to offwidth and belay where crack becomes slabby.

  2. Up and right around arete, wall and arete, left at last bolt and up to belay. Rap here or continue up crack.

FA: S.Wilson & K.Luck, 2001

Start 90m right of C. Around roof and up crack - possible to belay where wall becomes a slab - small corner, traverse right along obvious break 10m, diagonally right across to corner and up. Take care with pro after the crack fizzles.

FA: W.Baird & G.Bradbury, 1979

A varied climb with a bit of everything. Start 65m right of of WC. Shale band with roof crack above.

  1. 20m 22. Choss (2 BRs, PR) to roof, then up crack.

  2. 15m. Thin R wall, wires, big ledge.

  3. 15m. Walk L, up corner.

FA: P.Young & A.Prehn, 1982

To block, corner, crack, left to ledge and rap. Start 150m right of PU. Track below steep crack right of small black chimney.

FA: N.Deka & B.Cameron, 1988

180m R of Pin Ups. Has apparently been done and finishes at rap slings (BYO). Please improve on this info if you know more.

Start 20m right of big orange corner. Sounds like it needs to be freed.

  1. Wide crack, blocks, thin crack (aid) to ledge.

  2. Zig zag crack then right to belay.

  3. Up.

FA: B.Cameron & N.Deka, 1988


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Selected Guidebooks more Hide

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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