Cooleman Ridge comprises mostly granite rocks, similar to most of Canberra. As such, it's an excellent training ground for getting used to granite climbing tactics, although it won't necessarily prepare you for the long runouts you might find when tackling some of the routes around Canberra.


Cooleman Ridge has a lovely set of boulders set over six semi-distinct areas, spanning VBeginner to V8. Cooleman has a lot more than one might expect at first glance. In fact, it covers the basics of lower grade bouldering, with some steeper and shorter climbs to be found around Niblo and Horse Paddocks, and some taller lines, verging on highballs to be found at Sun Blocks and Pony Boulders. Like most granite, the rock is not hugely featured and many climbs rely more on friction, balance and a bit of nerve to complete than pure strength. The higher grade boulders are exercises in crimping, body tension, and pure willpower. People have been bouldering here since the early 80's so what has been climbed or not is very hard to quantify. It is not the place to be to concerned about grades and lots of variants have been done. There are also boulders that go beyond what this guide covers that have also been climbed on long ago.

Access issues

Please be sensible accessing the Horse Paddock boulders if walking in from the Kambah side and go around the horses rather than straight through the pen. Access from this side is at the end of Hake Street - drive past the pony club and park near the 'Arawang' sign.


Park in Niblo Pl or Darrell Pl (Chapman) and walk up to the ridge. Alternatively if you want to access Pony or Horse Paddock boulders, you can park on the Kambah side at Hake Street and walk across to the walking track and then uphill. The walks are fairly short through grass.


While some of the harder climbs on the ridge were created by chipping, where previously no climb was possible, please leave your chisels at home. There are not so many climbs at the higher grades that they should be brought down to lower levels!


History timeline chart

A detailed history of the geology of cooleman ridge can be found at:

Without the hard work of Chris Warner in putting together topos for all of the areas on Cooleman Ridge, much of the information here would most likely have remained in people's heads. Therefore it should be noted that this guide draws heavily on the expertise and information he freely provided to the Canberra Climbers' Association and for that he has the author's thanks.

Some content has been provided under license from: © Canberra Climbers' Association (CC BY-SA)

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