Rough Trade Wall

  • Grade context: AU
  • Ascents: 7




This is the area on the other side of the waterfall, past Sail Away Wall. Lots of rock, but not much of it really works ... with one stonking exception. Nikita Wall used to be included here, but this was a duplicate of the same info in the Lower Shipley section. Rough Trade Wall should probably be considered to extend from the waterfall for about 150m further right, until about 50m left of Unforgiven.

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.


Walk down as per Sail Away Wall, but instead of traversing onto the ledge, turn left along the base of the crag, 6m below the Sail Away routes. The track along here is well trodden these days. Follow it for 50m until you pass the waterfall and there 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

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)


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Grade Route

Rap in and climb the wall below the left end of upper shipley, start from the hanging belay above the lip of the roof. Exposed. Don't bother.

FA: D.Whitehouse, 1991

Obvious thin seam visible from 'Chook Lotto' area

Start: Right side of cave just before 'Rough Trade'. Bolt at start.

  1. -m (- M7) Aid through concave roof on RURPs.Good cams when you finally reach the lip then up to bolt and piton belay. Potential groundfall territory for both leader and seconder. Be very careful.

  2. -m (- M6) Left then up fractured seam past bolt then rurps, peckers etc to belay.

  3. -m (- M6) Up twin cracks, rurps/peckers then thru roof on good pins to easy headwall (Unless it's raining) to ledge and small cave. Gear belay.

  4. -m (-) Easy scramble to top finishing at 'Shipley Upper' track where it reaches the cliff.

FA: Julian Bell / Macciza, 2000

Classic test piece. Giles never really believed he could climb so hard. Start about 50m to the right after the waterfall. Still has some fragile rock; best to stick clip 1st bolt. Can be done only on the bolts, but a few cams are prudent (#1, 0.5/0.3, 3), as are rollers and extenders. 60m rope minimum.

FA: G.Bradbury, 1987

FFA: lee cossey, 2004

Another 150m further right is Nikita Wall - this is described under "Shipley Lower".


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