The Secret Cave




An intoduction by Cameron Fairbairn

For years, the minions of the Maharaji guarded Ivory Rock from the prying interests of passing climbers. This huge unclimbed horseshoe buttress is visible from the road as you travel to Frog. For us it was always the beacon for Mt Flinders. Passed jokingly around the campfire, generations of 'Queensland' climbers have heard stories of secret cults guarding this cool formation. I remember years previously stopping at the "conference" centre to be turned away by security and being told to go to Mt Flinders further up the road if I wanted to climb something; in retrospect I should have listened to them then! In the last year we've been chased down and photographed, abruptly refused entry, and outright ignored by thousands of the Premies cultists when we questioned them about their gatherings. Visit for the full story of this shady organisation. Anyway, just don't try to talk to them, they get very upset.

Mt Flinders' actual climbing history began very late, it wasn't until 2000 that '80s guru Kim Carrigan started developing a buttress on the summit ridge. Kim established six steep, sport climbs graded from 21 to 26 and a potential grade 29 project. Now, when we say steep we mean 'Queensland' steep; the wall is about forty metres high, ten degrees overhung and is north-east facing, so gets mid-arvo shade. After these routes were revealed in the pages of Rock, more climbers started checking Flinders out and in early 2001 Ross Ferguson started developing another wall on the opposite side of the ridge. Ross established six or so mixed routes of moderate grades, but on one occasion returned to find access to the mountain closed. The access gate locked and signs of indefinite closure due to remote area access surveys. What? So Ross did the final trek in for his gear and decided, disheartened, not to return. The reason for the closure, we believe, was due to an erosion hole forming in the main walking track about two-feet round. The new trail now bypasses this hole which, amazingly, is an erosion point into the back end of our recent major discovery, 'The Secret Cave'.

During Mt Flinders' closure, climbing was mostly forgotten. Then early this year Glen Foley called me to say he'd done a recon up to Kim's wall and had spied some new lines and would I be interested. He also told me about a rumoured cave some friends of his had stumbled upon five years earlier. We went there for Kim's wall, but when we found the cave all else was forgotten. 'The Secret Cave' is sixty metres high, but from twenty to fifty metres overhanging with the main wall being about twenty metres height at 60°- 80°. We had found the steepest terrain in QLD, or I should say rediscovered. We found a line of old 8mm hardware down the right wall of the cave that belonged to Frey Yule. We think he checked out the cave about five years previously but then moved interstate. The cave is SSW facing, so no sun all year round and only a 40min drive from 'Brisbane'. Unfortunately, there is also the 2.5km, 40min uphill walk in as well. The rock is solid volcanic trachyte with formations uncommon in Queensland; it's a mixture of fused blocks, huecos, crystallised slopers and hard crimps - the holds can be quite sharp. Some of the easier routes like 'The Nightmare of Milky Joe' (23) and 'Never Ask the Moon' (22) are super-fun cut-loose jug fests.

Early in the piece, Glen established 'Wet Jigsaw Puzzle' (25) a short pump fest that climbs out of the steepest part of the wall. To add to this he climbed 'King of the Mods' (29), adding to only a handful of 29s in 'Queensland'. Then the numbers rolled, I freed my project after my food was spiked 'Like a Man on Pepperoni' (28), possibly the steepest climb in 'Queensland'. That was until Glen equipped his, an 80° blank arête project, 'A Space Odyssey' 25m ? (all we know is its significantly harder than King of the Mods). At the time of writing this article, all the moves go; Glen is just contemplating the need to clip in on the crux low on the climb.

'The Secret Cave' consists of two developed areas: the steep main wall and a right hand wall which, although not as steep as the main wall, offers some challenging climbing. 'Terminus of Desire' (25) climbs from under the large undeveloped overhang. This route will be used to access the steeper upper wall which has the potential for a couple of super hard routes. With all this new development Ross returned to develop what he hoped would be a nice easy sub-20 warm up. He ended up establishing 'Finger Tips and Mountain Tops' (23), an intricate crimp-fest climbing above the lip of this right-hand buttress. Ross then established 'Song and Dance Man' (27) a steep juggy start into a hard crimper sequence. Glen the power monkey campused his way to glory on Backstroke of the West (26) while another buddy of ours Antoine Moussette battled scorpion-eating spiders on 'The French Connection' (27).

There is still so much more to do. Hard unclimbed projects, the undeveloped upper wall and the central cave section as well as some creative batman starts. 'The Secret Cave' has proved to be a valuable asset to 'Queensland' climbing, not only in the unique steep terrain, but also in the addition of ever increasing harder sport climbs in 'Queensland'.

Getaway Stats

When to go: All day, any day. Providing you can handle the heat on the walk-in.

Routes: Bolted steep sport. 12 routes, 7 projects and grades from 23 - 29

© (nmonteith)

Access issues inherited from Flinders Peak (limited access)

Please respect the local roads and residents, leave gates as you find them and do not leave any gear or rubbish in the cave. Tread lightly and stick to the trail on the way to and from the crag.



Drive: From Brisbane head out on the Centenary Highway, turn south at Ripley Rd. After about 10km this turns into Undulla Rd. After a further 7km turn right onto Mount Elliott Rd. On Mount Elliot Rd you eventually come to 2 sets of gates. Go through the gate and close them behind you. At the second set of gates, the right one is clearly someone's house, take the left gate. Drive to the end (bumpy dirt road) and park somewhere without blocking the final locked gate or the road.

Walk in: Follow the fire trail for 5 mins, to an intersection with a yellow SFT marker. Turn left (uphill). Soon you arrive at another yellow SFT marker. Go left again onto the faint trail. Follow through the trees to a clearing and Head left immediately. You should be able to follow this now well developed trail all the way to the crag without much trouble. At the small gear cave, scramble up the rock just left where the log leans against the wall.

© (nmonteith)


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 12 12m
2 17 16m

Lets be honest, you didn't come here to climb 17's. Easier to climb as two pitches. Tread carefully as beginning of second pitch has some fragile rock.

  1. 10m (12)

  2. 15m (17)

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

Same start as NATM, left hand line leading to NATM anchors. Bouldery crux with great climbing either side. Bomber rock.

FFA: cal

Set: cal, 2016

A good warm up and introduction to Flinder's rock. The climbing is fun and there's jugs whenever you need them…clean the 4th draw after you climb past it.

Set: Tristan Baskerville, 2007

FA: Antoine Moussette, 2007

Slightly more demanding and steeper than its little brother. Climbs the first three bolts of "King of the Mods" then straight up! The upper grove is a delight. Will need a long runner on third bolt.

FA: Glen Foley & Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

It's a pity this line is a pitch off the ground. Solid rock and fun exposed climbing in an overhanging corner. Best accessed from "The Nightmare of Milky Joe" but "Never Ask the Moon" will get you there also.

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

Ok the walls getting steeper and this was the first test piece established on the crag. Have a good rest at 3rd and head straight into the first crux, solved with some fancy beta. Take care clipping the 5th, shake out and then punch through the final horizontal roof to a shared anchor with W.J.P.

FA: Glen Foley, 2007

This second climb established at the cliff is a demanding steep route, start from the little cave. Avoid doing a double heel hook no hands rest at the 3rd and you'll walk away without ruptured abbs like visiting Brit Ben Heason!

FA: Glen Foley, Aden & Nathaniel, 2007

Climb the funky pumpy first 6 draws of Stolen Generation up to the blunt arete( long draw for the win). Then bust left into the top 2 fixed draws of Wet Jigsaw puzzle and freestyle to the anchors to finish the puzzle.

FA: Rob Saunders, 19 Aug 2018

A relentless line, that will pump you all the way to the chains.

Set: Glen Foley

FA: Geoff Hall

Climb KOTM to the 6th bolt knee (long draw here)- then traverse right along into WJP. Clip WJP’s last bolt, then get your pump on across the funky corner of TSG to its anchor.

FA: Jsbc, Apr 2022

Mega hard line up some seriously steep and blank looking territory.

First section (5 bolts) was bolted by Adam Donoghue back in the day. The next section (5 bolts) have since been placed with the possibility of it extending even further. This thing will be hard!

Set: Adam Donogue & Sam Bowman

Climb adams proj until the 6th and then throw back right into the end of pepperoni. Great power climbing.

Set: Dan Gordon

FA: Victor Hall, 29 Sep 2020

Climb the relentless thuggery of Channing Potatum to the rest. Instead of finishing up L.A.M.O.P, pump your way across the traverse of Dr Pepper. Finish up that route.

FA: Robbie Brownlie, Nov 2021

Awesomely popular kneebar fest, a “must do” crag classic! Usually always draws on it, but take a long draw for the 6th bolt if not. Then commit to the second half and enjoy the air below you. 2nd pitch is not completely established.

  1. 20m (27) - 9 bolts

  2. 17m (-) 'Open Project' above the anchor. All the way to the lip of the cave.

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

Start up 'LAMOP' to 5th bolt then go right 6 more bolts to Space Odyssey's anchor. A long pumpy route.

FFA: Duncan Steel, 21 Nov 2015

FA: Duncan Steel, 21 Nov 2015

Begin off the big cheese Boulder right of LAMOP

Set: Glen Foley, 2006

FFA: Sam Bowman, 2015

Start as for the first 3 bolts of 'Entergalactic Ceiling' then branches left and up sustained head wall. Finishes at the anchor of Entergalactic Ceiling.

Set: Dan Gordon, Feb 2016

FFA: Sam Bowman, Feb 2016

Mega extension of 'Event Horizon'. After the last draw of 'Event Horizon' blast off across the cheese block in space and then continue up 'One man space race' frothing the lactic delirium to glory. It's out there!

Take note on equipping EH to limit drag at the beginning. Although not going to anchor or kneebar it is a straight line out the roof.

Set: Dan Gordon & Alexander Turnbull

FFA: Rob Saunders, 27 May 2018

Start from the small boulder. Powerful over horizontal moves through the ceiling then up the hard steep wall above.

Set: Cameron F

FA: Sam Bowman, 24 Aug 2015

The extension to Entergalactic Ceiling. Continues from the chains across the cave to finish on the anchors of Saxicoline. Long and pumpy. Definitely harder than "Entergalactic Ceiling" but probably not by a full grade. Adds a whole lot more fun climbing to an already awesome route.

Set: Johnny Schwartz & Sam Bowman, Sep 2015

FFA: Lucy Stirling, 24 Jan 2016

Climb Entergalactic Ceiling then bust under past the fridge block of doom and head up the runnel. The link from the first bolt to the second of the extension is bold. A fun super pump lactic fest.

To reduce drag perform some trickery at the start of EC; clipping the next, then unclipping the last for bolts 2,3 and 4. Then when safe, the belayer or a friend can unclip the first bolt from the ground. A long sling with a revolver biner on the last bolt of EC helps with drag also. Avoid the temptation of clipping EC's anchor.

Set: Alexander Turnbull & Sam Bowman, 31 Jan 2016

FFA: Lucy Stirling, 6 Feb 2016

Climb 'Astrobatics', then keep girdling to the right across Paul's project until you end up at the end of 'Desperado'. Long and pumpy.

FA: Sam Bowman, 23 Oct 2016

Mega extension of 'Event Horizon'. After the last draw of 'Event Horizon' head right across cheese blocks and then continue right and then up the compact head wall.

Set: Sam Bowman & Johnny Schwartz, Feb 2016

FFA: Sam bowman, Mar 2016

Starts 2m to the right of "Entergalactic Ceiling". Give your eyes time to adjust. Interesting climbing into the back of the cave.

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

Short roof problem 4 meters R of VA. Finishes as for VA's anchor. Fun.

FFA: Ross Ferguson, 2008

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2008

Start as for Event Horizon 1st bolt then follow the first bolt on the left into a boulder problem to reach the start of Grandmas Bad ass UFO this is to be followed to the anchors. Adds a ground up start with some interesting moves to a great Rick Helm Classic.

Set: Rick Helm, 20 Sep 2019

FFA: Jack Brown, 28 Dec

Batman start. Stick clip the first 2 bolts. Some steep thuggery with some good knee bars to a hard finish. Finish up last bolt and anchors of Second Base With Grandma.

Set: Rick Helm, 20 Sep 2019

FFA: Rick Helm, 29 Feb 2020

Starts up the back of the cave, 5m right of 'Short Sighted'. Take care to 4th, then super steep inverted madness for 2 bolts. Bust along the hanging wall traverse to a rest, then escape the rooflet and power up the headwall to the anchor.

Set: Tom Reid, 9 Apr 2016

FA: Tom Reid, 16 Apr 2016

FFA: Tom Reid, 15 May 2016

Climb the fun first 3/4 of "the boob" and then traverse merrily left on more unlikely pockets. A tricky sequence gains you access into the end crux of “Cosmic Caveman”. Classy movements on holds that are never too poor or spikey. *9/05/17 moved anchors slightly, couldn't remove one of the old anchors as it was stripped, don't use captive ring - will remove.

FA: Dan Mackenzie

Set: Dan Mackenzie, 11 Feb 2017

FFA: Dan Mackenzie, 1 Mar 2017

Really fun punchy little climb. Starts on the left side of the big hanging down boob/udder at the back right side of the cave. Stick clip the first bolt as a tumble down the slope will make the walk out very unpleasant.

Set: Alexander Turnbull

FFA: Alexander Turnbull, 6 Dec 2015

Stick clip the second bolt of GAB, caress your way right at the 4th, some longer draws across the traverse help smooth things out as you respectfully fondle the anchors on Geriatric Acrobatics.

FFA: Dan Mackenzie, 25 Aug 2018

FA: Dan Mackenzie, 25 Aug 2018

Bouldery and varied climbing, has cut looses and feet first moves! Burly roof problem straight into a "harder than it looks" mantel sequence. Perma draws through the roof, stick clip the first bolt and unclip after the first perma draw is clipped - until you are confident on the start.

Quite a Journey! Linkup of Geriatric Acrobatics into GAB. After doing the first two cruxes of Geriatric at the double knees, go left across the face with a bit of power, a few long draws help with drag. Joins into the crux of GAB and then continues to its anchors.

FFA: Dan Mackenzie, 4 Nov 2018

In the steep grotto on the right side of the cave. Start way at the back, grunt thru the roof, and traverse the left wall to shared anchors with TVM. Belay bolt on wall adjacent slab.

FFA: Kenny Walker

Set: Kenny Walker

Of average length but quite stiff. Extends TVG over the lip and up the headwall for a bunch more climbing. Use 600mm draws and drag is no problem.

Set: Kenny Walker

FFA: Kenny Walker, Aug 2016

In the grotto. Scramble carefully up to ledge belay. One for the boulderers. Short but steep R trending line out ceiling. Bust a Valsalva manoeuvre to reach the chains.

Set: Kenny Walker

FFA: Kenny Walker, Mar 2016

Three boulder problems stacked, Climb TVM and continue up the shared extension to the anchors of TS. Adds a 25 and a lot of value to TVM.

FFA: Cal

Set: Kenny Walker

Super steep and super classic climbing up and through the almost improbable (for grade 24) looking line that finishes at the top of the cave chamber. It overhangs a solid 12 meters but the good holds just keep on coming!

Set: ross ferguson

FFA: ross ferguson, 18 Sep 2015

FA: ross ferguson, 18 Sep 2015

Start up Saxicoline then sneak under and around the lip out onto the main face. Traverse out left along seam, then head straight up the right-hand set of bolts through fantastic climbing with some long moves on the head wall. This is a crag classic and must do at the grade.

Set: Nate Foster & Sebastian l

FFA: Sebastian Loewensteijn, Feb 2016

Start "Saxicoline" but break right to get just above the lip following a series pockets to a big hueco. Keep pushing and turn around the lip. Closed, bolting to be completed.

Set: Andrew Lightfoot & Radest, 27 Sep 2015

Climb desperado and keep trucking left into the hard end crux of astrobatics.

Starts the same as Desparado but continues straight up the head wall when Desparado breaks left. Some very hard moves on good rock.

Set: Sam Bowman, Johnny Schwartz, Blake Stringer & Dan Gordon, Nov 2016

The original start and name to desperado climb terminus for 4 bolts then head left into a hard boulder. (closed project need some fixing of bolts and hold please stay off)

Start up the slab. Unique holds and fun compression climbing, see you to and through the corner. The original ending saw you clipping the chains from devious crimpers!

FA: Cameron Fairbairn, 2007

The natural antithesis of French Desire, climbed in large part because of the name.

Climbs Terminus of Desire's crux then traverses across the top of the shield to finish up the finale of The French Connection.

Up 'The French Connection' but head left after the shield crux to the 'Terminus of Desire' anchors for an easier finish. Great climbing and could be a good warm up option. Depending on who you ask, this was once the original finish for 'The French Connection'.

Set: Radest, 2008

FA: Radest, 2008

Start from the big belay ledge down hill from Saxicoline. Stick clip the first bolt, climbing upwards to a good rest. The wall gets “off vertical”, as you make your way across the “shield” feature. Classic moves all the way, punching upwards to the high anchor.

Set: Antoine Moussette, 2008

FA: Nate Foster, 2014

Do The French Connection and get into the steep shallow corner to the left of “The Watchtower”. Only a couple of bolts***

Set: Radest, 20 Sep 2015

Climb ”The Watchtower” but instead of topping out continue left to Desparado's Anchor. Open Project, get on it.

After climbing The French Connection keep climbing up the right most line of bolts. Hard moves into the roof lead to a boulder problem right at the lip of the cave. Mantle out of the cave to a hands free stance to finish the climb and take a well deserved victory whipper. Back jump to The French Connection anchors to clean.

Set: Radest, Alexander Turnbull & Andrew Lightfoot, Sep 2015

FFA: Troy McAndrew, 17 Sep 2021

Stick clip first. Climbs the first 3 bolts of 'The French Connection' then splits right. If you're like Glen you can just campus the crux!

FA: Glen Foley, 2007

Finishes at "Talking with the Tax Man" anchors.

Set: ross ferguson, 2015

FFA: ross ferguson, 2015

FA: ross ferguson, 2015

Athletic climbing, with a reach-dependant, tricky crux. Finish up BSOTW

Set: ross ferguson, 2016

FFA: ross ferguson, 22 Jul 2016

Start on “Drinking From The Sun” getting established over the funky roof - but instead of going straight- move right to finish on “Hilltop Hoods” anchor clip.

FA: Jsbc, May 2021

Stick clip first bolt. Short and sweet, traverse right past the first bolt and then head straight up to the double bolt anchor.

FA: Gareth Llewellin, 2007

Ross pulled himself out of a slump and sent this in 26 shots, about 4 every weekend for many weekends! Stick clip first bolt. This beautiful right sweeping, ever hardening line is worth singing and dancing about!

FA: Ross Ferguson, 2007

Crank Song And Dance Man, but instead of clipping the anchors on the right, get groovy up Steve ‘Epic’ Turner Memorial Route to it’s high anchor.

Climbs direct through the steepness into the crux of 'Song and Dance Man'.

FFA: ross ferguson

FA: Equipped Gareth Llewelin, 2000

Like the great man, it's a journey that keeps you engaged right to the anchors. Climb 'One Eyed Undertaker' and exit top of crux into the small corner on the left. Head on up blunt arete to chains. Shown as route 19 on the old ACAQ route database topo:

Set: Gareth Llewellin

FFA: Rob Saunders, 23 Sep 2018

A delicate, bouldery crux down low, leads into great technical climbing joining into Fingertips and Mountain tops (skip the double bolt hangers on the left- and put a long draw on the 6th). Climb this all the way to the anchor.

Jimmy Blackhall

Set: Glenn Ferguson, 3 Jan 2016

FFA: Cal, 10 Jan 2016

Finesse up “No Knees” though to the rest at the 5th bolt. Move up, before making a tough traverse left, gunning across One Eyed Undertaker’s anchor (don't fall here or you maybe likely to receive the link up's name). Keep climbing up onto the blunt arete of Steve 'Epic' Turner Memorial Route. Try not to pump out, blasting up to it’s high anchor.

FFA: maybe & Jsbc, Apr 2022

Power endurance classic, back to back V5. Knees crux into song and dance crux.

FFA: Rob Saunders

Set: Cal, 22 Oct 2017

A break from the steep stuff. An intricate crimp fest. Technical climbing around and above the lip of the cave.

FA: Ross Fergason, 2007


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