The first section of cliff you come to immediately after a couple of short free standing columns. Perfect morning crag with North West to North East aspect

Access issues inherited from Kaputar

The road is suitable for 2WD vehicles but is steep, narrow and winding with part of the road gravel.

The area is a biodiversity hotspot with much endangered or rare flora and fauna. Do not alter habitat. The “ snow daisy” Coronidium kaputaricum grows in cracks at altitude and must not be damaged. Kaputar rock skink: And the famous pink slug.

Ethic inherited from Kaputar

Endorsed by:
Peter Blunt, Ian Brown, Scott Camps, Richard Curtis, Taib Ezekiel, Angus Farquhar, Adrian Kladnig, Vanessa Wills (some of whom would have preferred a stronger position).

Retro-bolting at Kaputar

Since the first climbs were done in Mount Kaputar National Park in the 1960s, it has been a predominantly trad climbing area. Until about ten years ago, most of the hundreds of established climbs were protected entirely with natural gear. A small number of climbs had one or two bolts, and a few independent, fully bolt-protected climbs had been done. The 80m north face of The Governor has been regarded as one of the premier trad crags in Australia, with more than 80 multi-pitch climbs, many of very high quality, mostly established in ground-up style and with only a few bolts in total (and often at the technical limit of the climbers).

Since about 2005, more bolt-protected climbs have been established, particularly on Euglah and then Mt Lindesay, then The Governor. At first these were independent of established trad climbs and on otherwise unprotectable rock. But over the past few years other climbers have been retro-bolting over the top of existing climbs. This practice began on Mt Lindesay and then extended onto the Governor.

On Lindesay, about 200 bolts were placed, most of which retro-bolt or impact on at least 20 existing climbs. Bolts were very close together and some bolted lines were only one metre apart. Many bolts were placed beside good placements for removable gear. Numerous chains were also installed at the cliff-top, and the climb grades were painted in large letters along the bottom. Some of the bolts were found to be dangerous – either glue-ins on which the glue never cured (and which pulled out by hand) or dangerously short ‘studs’.

These were not assessable without removing them. Some of the retro-bolted Lindesay climbs are on the bold side, while others are very well protected with natural gear.

On The Governor, at least 60 bolts were been placed which either retro-bolt existing climbs, or squeeze up very close to them. Natural lines on The Governor’s columnar structure tend be only a couple of metres apart, so any new bolted climbs will impact on adjacent trad routes. Eight climbs have been impacted, including the popular moderate classic Clandestiny, and it's start that gives access to five other climbs. Additional chain anchors have been installed at the cliff-top. Some of the new Governor bolts have also been found to be dangerous, including a chain anchor with un-cured glue.

The retro-bolting on both Mt Lindesay and The Governor was visually intrusive, using large stainless ring bolts or shiny stainless brackets.

The people who have done this retro-bolting are not known to have consulted with first ascensionists, other Kaputar climbers or NPWS. Some first ascensionists and other climbers are angry.


A number of climbers who love the special qualities of Kaputar climbing became very concerned about this trend and joined together to take action. The objectives are to restore The Governor to a premier trad-only crag (i.e. no sport routes), and to remove impacts on pre-existing routes on Mt Lindesay (retro-bolting etc). Most of the offending new bolts have now been removed and patched on both cliffs and the remainder will be removed shortly. Painted grades have been cleaned off. This has taken lot of work, time and expense by a bunch of people. If any of the bolts removed from these climbs are replaced, they will also be removed. Any new retro-bolting will also be removed.

Why have we taken this action?

Because we believe the following:

  • Existing trad climbs and quality trad crags should be retained in their original condition. That means no retro-bolting and no bolting that impacts on the integrity, or ‘hanging space’, of natural lines. Good trad cliffs, and trad climbs in general, are limited resources which need protection.
  • Retro-bolting on established climbs should be opposed and rectified.
  • National parks exist to protect natural areas. Therefore the environmental impact of climbing should be minimised in national parks. Trad climbing is generally low in impact, consistent with other activities like remote bushwalking. The Plan of Management for Mt Kaputar National Park (2006, section 4.3.9, page 37 – emphasis added) states: The NPWS will provide information and guidance on Service policy to visitors wishing to undertake adventure activities in the park, and will require minimal impact use of the park for these activities.
  • Excessive and unsightly bolting or other climbing impacts in national parks risk attracting the disapproval of other park visitors and park authorities, and may threaten ongoing climber access to these areas.

Trad climbing at Kaputar

Trad climbing at Kaputar requires judgment and skill. Important skills include route-finding, down-climbing (when necessary) and finding and using natural gear placements - which are often small wires or cams/nuts in unexpected places. Kaputar is a good place to learn and apply these skills because it offers trad climbs at a wide range of grades.

Protection is often very good but not always obvious from below. Poor protection is usually mentioned in route descriptions, and/or allowed for in the grading (i.e. increased grade for poor protection). Bold routes on Mt Lindesay can be easily top-roped. Route descriptions on will be amended where necessary to assist safe climbing on climbs that were previously retro-bolted. But climbers should always be wary of attempting trad climbs that are close to the limit of their ability.


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

The first climb on the crag.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1982

The insanely knobby rib to highly suspect shared lower offs with Salad Days.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1982

Up the dyke and knobbly knobs. A great climb to hone your chicken head slinging technique.

The clean square cut corner groove 5m left of 'Thanks for the Mammaries'.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1981

Up the rounded buttress 2m left of 'Short Shrift'. Mostly well protected, sparer near the top.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1982

Up knobs then the thin crack which starts at about 3m high.

FA: Giles Bradbury & Mal Johnson, 1980

Up the wall past a single bolt.

FA: Phil Parker & Paul Colyvan, 1984

The original guide book really doesn't rate this climb: "Terrible. Suspect rock, poor position and abysmal protection". Up the groove. Try not to fall into the gully.

FA: Ian Brown & Stuart Wilson, 1982

Up the knobbly narrow buttress.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1982

Some face moves lead to a very nice crack.

Start: The first decent crack line from the right hand end of the cliff (facing the wall), guarded by a large eucalypt.

FA: Giles Bradbury & Mal Johnson, 1980

Up the arete.

The corner crack left of 'Mis Taken'.

FA: Mal Johnson & Giles Bradbury, 1980

Up the left side of the arete.

Start: The arete left of 'Mis Led'

FA: Anthony Brennan & Peter Morrotsey, 1989

The bulging wall and incipient crack above.

Start: Left of 'The Hippy Hippy Shake'

FA: Mark Colyvan & Paul Colyvan, 1981

Up the groove.

Start: Just behind the white Gum Tree. Scant pro in the middle

FA: Ian Brown, 1982

Up steep knobbly groove 1m left of 'Rack and Ruin'. Left to nose and up.

FA: Ian Brown, 1983

Up through bulge at 5m then into groove and up.

FA: Ian Brown & Greg Croft, 1982

Up black streak just left of pyramid shaped rock.

FA: Ian Brown, Justin Gouvernet & Warwick Payten, 1982

UP 'Back Roads' for a couple of moves, then right and up wall (BR) to groove.

FA: Paul Colyvan & Mark Colyvan, 1987

A zig-zag line that starts up small black holds, right across slab to corner then back left and up wall.

Double ropes are handy.

Start: 3m left of 'Easing Into Midnight'

FA: Ian Brown & Stuart Wilson, 1982

Up the left-leaning groove 4m left of 'Back Roads'.

Has sprouted 3 new FHs up high.

FA: Ian Brown & Warwick Payten, 1983

Up through bulge then thin crack up wall (2BRs).

Start: 4m left of 'The Idle Rich'

FA: Mark Colyvan & Paul Colyvan, 1985

Up corner on the right side of the roof and continue up. Run-out and scary?

Start: 2m left of 'That Old Soft Shoe'

FA: Ian Brown & Stephen Percival, 1983

Start as for 'Nijinsky' up black knobbly rock into corner at 6m. Good runners under roof. Up then left to nose and up (poor pro) to good crack.

FA: Ian Brown & Stuart Wilson, 1982

Up left side of roof through cracked bulge to slab below second roof. Left across hanging slab to crack. Up, left to second crack and up.

FA: Ian Brown & Stuart Wilson, 1982

Looks like this partially retro-bolts the top half of 'Morning Glory'.

Start: Just to the right of 'Morning Glory'.

FA: Unknown

Up knobs for 5m to bulge in solid yellow rock right of 1m roof. Right and up interesting crackless corner and wall.

Start: 15m left of 'Winter Cruise' at the highest point of ground.

FA: Ian Brown & Warwick Payten, 1982

Up knobs for 5m to roof, pull round left and up to easier territory.

Start: As for 'Morning Glory'

FA: Ian Brown & Warwick Payten, 1982

4m left of 'Morning Glory' and 2m right of 'Abraxas' . Up black knobs, through A-shaped groove through roof (small wires and micro cams). Then up slab delicately following blind seam (no more natural pro past top of overhang).

FA: Brad Taylor, Clive Murphy & Linguistic Stu, 2005

Up short slab 6m left of 'Morning Glory' then left around overhang and up cracks on right.

FA: Ian Brown & Justin Gouvernet, 1982

Up face 2m left of 'Abraxas' to lovely crack.

FA: Ian Brown, Warwick Payten & Stuart Wilson, 1981

A black groove which curves left into a channel-shaped line. Up the brown wall left of the groove then into the channel.

Start: 5m down left of 'Madrigal'.

FA: Ian Brown (solo), 1982

FA: Unknown

Marked as "D". Up the right leaning black groove 4m left of 'Troubadour', through bulge finishing on either side of bush at top. A bold climb with little decent gear until 2/3 height.

FA: Ian Brown & Justin Gouvernet, 1982

Beginner offwidthing. Go left before bulge and up to off-width pillar. Remember to grunt a lot.

FA: Iam Browm (solo), 1982

Up to bulge, left, up and out onto wall. Up middle past BR. No more pro after BR.

Start: As for 'Darkangel'.

FA: Anthony Brennan, 1987

Up left edge of narrow, semi-detached buttress, then move right to front when the difficulties start. The buttress is visible 10 m left from where the cliff drops down in a gully formed by a large boulder 5 m back from the face.

Start: 9m down from 'Darkangel'.

FA: Ian Brown & Warwick Payten, 1982

Up sharp edge 1m left of 'Warlock', left into corner crack and up. Left around roof into good crack to finish.

FA: Ian Brown & Warwick Payten, 1982

Bridge up the black groove to difficult climbing through bulge. Move into the right hand crack above the blocks.

Start: 5m left of 'Caliban'.

FA: Ian Brown & Justin Gouvernet, 1982

Climb crack on left side of slab left of 'Black Pearl' for a few metres, then up and right via blind corner to stance. Up and back left (crux) to roof. Traverse right onto large block, step round left into crack-line and up.

FA: Anthony Brennan, 1987

Start as for Herbert's dog leg with 18 painted on the rock, 8 m right of where rock changes direction to east face. Use the first few bolts if you want, though there is gear, then go direct up the nose with excellent gear on the left, and continue up good cracks to a vegetated finish as for HDL to DBB

FA: David Gray & Vanessa Wills, 14 Apr 2017

Follow bolts, stepping weirdly left then up and back right before a final thrutch through vegetation to DBB.

Appears to be retro bolted on ring bolts. The route 5m right of where the cliff turns from north to east facing. A small square is just visible from original markings. Start up groove and keep following bolts to flake. Interesting climbing.

FA: Ian Brown & Justin Gouvernet, 1981

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