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Summary

One of the very tallest cliffs in Qld at over 200 vertical metres. The site of some very bold climbing. Characterised by long routes. Has been traversed twice: from left to right & right to left.

Description

Triangular in shape, the shortest routes are those on the left (Opus=100m) with the longest on the RHS (the three Deception routes are almost 300m). Rock quality is generally better on the face, poorer on the Deception routes.

Access issues inherited from Mt Maroon

Access from the carpark at Cotswold Rd. to the National Park is across gazetted private land - from the sluice gate:

walk up roughly 400m to the National Parks sign:

This is the start of the National Park. Visitors are urged to stay on the path or use established tracks, rather than blazing a new trail.

Approach

  1. Walk up the hiker's track to the rocky outcrop which is "Echo Point" (above Viewpoint Buttress). Continue up the track a few metres to the first orange triangle glued on the rock, then turn Right:

Following this track will save you 4-5mins & a good 30m of elevation gain/loss. It passes below Virgin's Window Buttress & the evergreen route Jezebel (16) on the left, when the track starts to slope down & winds its way in behind Egg Rock, scramble across the gully here for the lower RHS routes. 1-1:15 approach.

  1. For the upper routes, such as Phaedra, continue up the hiker's track (now steep), to a small grove of Sheaoak, below The Central Knoll & head out right here:

across slabs + boulders - this will bring you directly below the prominent Phaedra ledge & SBB. 1:15-1:30 approach.

Ethic

The East Face was originally established as bold, trad climbing. There are bolts here & there on the East Face, but think carefully before you decide to place a bolt here.

History

History timeline chart

The very first route (officially) established on Maroon here. Quite possibly Bert Salmon or Don Groom may have climbed something on Maroon earlier, but no record exists of this.

Rick White & Dave Reeve established Deception I here in February 1968. Rick came back 2weeks later with Graham Simpson to establish Deception II.

Rick named them "deception" as he felt the East Face was deceiving in its size, being almost invisible from the road.

This cliff was a favourite of Rick's & he continued to push development here through the 60's & 70's, even bringing Henry Barber out here to free Beau Brummel & later, Tobin Sorensen to free Nympho.

The two classics of the East Face:

  1. Ruby was nothing special at the time Rick pegged up it in 1971 (it was freed a fortnight later by Tony Kelly & Jon Oddie), a vegetated, messy route, better forgotten

  2. Phaedra was established very early on by Rick & Ted Cais pegging & bolting their way up it. Successive pitches were freed over the years, with pitch 4 estimated to go free at about grade 27-28. Was almost freed in the 90's & Glen Foley almost freed it in 2007.

Tim Balla established a couple of hard, single pitch finishes to Phaedra in the 90's: one out left, the other out right from the 3rd belay.

Scott Camps established his hardman 4 pitch 24 here in the 80's.

A plethora of variant finishes to Beau Brummel were established through the 70's & 80's.

Queensland & Australia's first 22 went up here by Rick: Valhalla in 1972.

John Hattink took a mega fall on The Anti-Christ whilst attempting to free it in the mid 70s. Accounts vary & are subject to exaggeration, but certainly over 20m. John busted his head & scalp & Rick carried him out, got most of the way down, then realised his car keys were in the pack at the cliff.

The most recent new route here is Herb Brandmeier's Captain Nemo in 2006.

Adam Donahough & Gareth Lewellyn freed The Anti-Christ in 2007 at grade 27.

The official record for fastest ascent of ROI is just under 20mins.

Tags

Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)

Routes

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Grade Route

3 short pitches on the juggy upper wall in the gully.

FA: Robert Staszewski & Cameron Rafter, 1983

Start: at the top of the East Face - LH end (looking at the cliff), a bit back from the gully, almost on the corner of the gully, down a sloping ramp.

Pitches 1) - 4) Down the ramp, abseil, then traverse to pedestal, climb down the crack, traverse with aid to Phaedra, lower 25-30m, tension (pendulum) across 18m to The AntiChrist bush(!?).

Pitches 5) - 9) Traverse Right, up cracks to Beau Brummel ledge. Easily down groove, traverse Right to small cave below the crux of ROI (pitch 3).

Pitches 10) - 12) Up Ruby Of India to the top.

Although it reverses Party Trick, there is considerable new climbing. Varied climbing, mostly free, across an exposed wall.

FA: Rick White (solo), 1972

Start: Left of PSD - an obvious crack line left of PSD. Very enjoyable climbing.

  1. 50m 22 Up past 2 bolts up to a ledge.

  2. 50m 23 2 Climb past 2-3 bolts, past a pin & up slab.

FA: Paul Hoskins & evan bieske, 1983

Start: Left of Phaedra on next ledges higher left.

All trad – no bolts placed by first ascentists.

  1. 35m gr__

  2. 35m gr__

Continue up last half of p2 of OIGWM or escape right into p3 of Phaedra. (The original ascentists abseiled off from this point.)

The full name of the route: Pussy Squat Dribble

FA: Paul Hoskins, evan bieske & Gordon Bieske, 1984

From last belay of Phaedra, climb the LHS of the arete to a FH about 1.5m up:

tricky moves (crux) past this, a dyno to a very poor finger edge, then hand-step across left to good instep & sloping edge up R. Up over left to top of flake on Opus In G-String With Minor (2.5 Friend) then up slab (easier moves 20/21) to top BR on Phaedra and up to anchors 7-8m above.

FA: Tim Ball & Alan Frost, 1990

Phaedra is an historical and adventurous climb, first envisioned by Rick White in 1969.

To gain access, proceed up the hiker's track, past Egg Rock, to a stand of Shea-oak, just below the Central Knoll:

Start below the obvious rooflet halfway up the wall. Either belay on the ground or off a single ring on the ledge 10m off the ground.

  1. 45m 19 - Start up the slab past a peg, angling towards the finger crack, continue up this, heading towards the hanging flake on spaced but good gear. Pull over the flake up to a belay at a sloping ledge below the rooflet.

  2. 15m 20 - Clip the SS carrot (hard to spot) above the belay left of 3 rusty carrots. From the belay traverse left and up the shallow groove to the left side of the overhang. Traverse right under the roof past gear and 2 pitons. Pull through the roof, to the hanging belay at 2xRBs directly above.

  1. 20m 19 - Proceed up the corner, to a crack and up to the base of the headwall + bolt ladder & hanging trad

  2. 35m 21 M1 - Climb up the old bolt ladder on the headwall to gain the slab (20/21) above past shallow gear to follow 3 bolts (left trending) on the slab in a breathtaking position to the top & 2xRB belay in alcove.

Gear: small to medium cams & lots of wires + plates.

Rick & Paul pegged their way up p1 in 1969.

Rick White, Jeff Morgan & Ron Collett freed p1 (18 by their standards) & aided the whole route in October 1971.

Paul Hoskins & Joe Lynch freed p2 in 1983 (they would have freed p3, but Joe forgot his shoes.)

Fred From & Chris Frost freed p3 in 1983.

Jon Pearson came close to freeing p4 in the late 80s, and Glen Foley almost freed it in 2007.

FA: Rick White, Paul Caffyn (p1) & aided, 1969

From last belay of Phaedra step R and down onto hanging flake (loose) then up leaning corner (3 BR's) to bulge (crux). Slab above has two BR's.

This route wanders on to Scott's route Your Mom Told You So - the bolts are Scott's.

FA: Heinz Buhler & Tim Ball, 1990

The line of spaced carrots right of Phaedra's first pitch. The 3rd pitch starts right of Phaedra's second belay, and climbs the mixed corner right of P3 of Phaedra. P4 heads straight up.

FA: Scott Camps, 1980

Start: As for The Anti-Christ.

  1. 27m 17 - Up the first pitch of The Anti-Christ then follow a shallow line of grooves and corners almost in a direct line from the Coconut Ledge.

  2. 20m 21 - Perhaps up to BB?

  3. 35m 24 - Possibly 2 bolts up to the very exposed summit slab?

  4. 20m 21 - 1 bolt to top?

FA: Paul Hoskins & evan bieske, 1987

On the East face down and right of the two rings at the Phaedra start. This is also where the slightly lighter rock subtly meets the darker rock. The line also leads up to left edge of bushy ledge about halfway up the face (a good landmark). Scramble up ledges to get to a belay spot below this weakness.

  1. 50m (21) Originally climbed as two 25m pitches, but for full value one long pitch is the go. Traverse right past large blocks to short flared corner. Up this and the obvious line of weakness above. Carefully follow path of least resistance and more gearistence. A tad runout in spots and two ropes required to reduce drag this pitch requires a crafty and confident leader. Belay at left edge of top of bushy ledge. Also the scene of a 50m fall by John Hattink running it out to the top ledge only to have two foot holds blow!

  2. 40m (28) A stunning pitch! Head up the obvious corner past a few old pegs and the small rooflet. Then up subtle cracked line toward the looming headwall. This pitch provides good though not excessive options for protection and progressively gets harder and steeper. A very aesthetic line splits the top golden headwall in the steepest and cleanest position on the face. The position in the middle of the face with plenty of exposure, a steady breeze, very tenuous moves and spaced gear make it a very memorable lead. There are also three BR's on this pitch leading up to the headwall (hangers required). The free ascent was led placing the gear ground up and it is graded for a lead in this style. Belay at the obvious stance with a peg and #0, #0.5 #1 cams needed.

  3. 25m (20) Head a little right and up large corner past bushes to the top of huge pedestal. Some softer rock and awkward sections make it a slow but straight-forward lead. Belay at huge blocks about 10m back from the top cliff edge.

FA: Rick White, Ron Collett & Jon Oddie, 1971

FFA: Adam Donogue & Gareth Llewellin, 2007

From RURP September 1971: "The East Face of Maroon, a perfect line where the light and dark rock meet."

  1. 30m 17 Zigzag up easy blocks, etc., to a small corner niche. Up steep wall to a foothold belay ledge.

  2. 30m 18 Up to overhang, left and up, then back right and up to a ledge with a small bush, up another 7-8m to a slightly bigger ledge.

  3. 24m 10/M5 Free 6m, then follow nebulous crackline to a bivy under the headwall.

  4. 24m M7 Follow the line to a sloping shelf, hanging belay.

  5. 12m 10 Up with a peg for aid in lose blocks. Belay at foot of corner.

  6. 30m 14/M3 Up corner to top of a pedestal. Aids in poor, rotten, crack, free to top, block belay.

"Gear: rurps, skyhooks, bathhooks, microhexes, and blades up to 1.5 angle (plenty of knives + a few crackers)."

FA: Rick White, Ron Collett & John Oddie, 1971

A rewarding climb with plenty of exposure, difficulty, good protection (p1 aside) and varying technical climbing.

Start: In the left corner of the huge arch/cave. P3 traverses a largish pillar and P5 follows a large RH dihedral (corner).

  1. 24m 18R - Up the LH corner of the cave to a ledge (crux protected by a piton), then out L at 10m along a ledge, on thin holds and scant gear (decking-out territory) to good gear and up to belay.

  2. 30m 17 - Up, Right trending across sheer wall through 2 caves, out Left from 2nd cave and up overhanging groove to stance on side of buttress.

  3. 12m 8 - Up and traverse across buttress to base of corner.

  4. 33m 14 - Up corner, trending slightly Right, to a good ledge.

  5. 18m 20 - Up steep overhanging corner on the Right. Hard moves follow (crux) to a small stance at start of obvious traverse.

  6. 42m 17 - Traverse right, then up rib, followed by a thin wall to welcome exit gully.

  7. 15m 2 - Up the gully/groove to the top.

History: Ps 1-4: Rick White & Paul Caffyn 6.7.68 (alternate leads).

Ps 4-7 Rick White & Paul Caffyn 31.8.68 (again, alternate leads, after traversing in left from Deception I to the start of p4).

The whole route was lead ground up by Rick & Ted Cais 8.2.69 with Ted having to aid a move or two at the crux.

FFA: ‘Hot’ Henry Barber & Rick White 3.1975

Historical note: Rick told me in 2003, that whilst it was originally graded at 19, it really should be a 20.

FA: Rick White & Ted Cais, 1969

FFA: Henry Barber & Rick White, 1975

Start: From the big ledge at the 4th belay of Beau Brummel (99m).

  1. 25m 21 – A hard, sustained & exposed pitch. Step Left off the 4th belay and follow the left leaning open book corner up to the overhangs. Follows a very thin crack most of the way to a semi-hanging belay below the triangular overhang.

  2. 30m __ An easier pitch that skirts Left around the overhang, then back Right a few metres to the 2nd obvious crack line & straight up this to the top.

FA: Fred Fromm & Joe Lynch, 1982

Start: At 5th belay of Beau Brummel

  1. __m gr? Straight up from belay following a crack line.

  2. __m gr? Continue to top.

2 pitches, about 60m, the grade is around 19ish.

FA: Paul Hoskins

The inside LH corner of the big cave - opposite Valhalla.

Characterised by poor rock & poor gear = hence the name.

FA: Robert Staszewski

Has the distinction of being Australia's first 22.

Scramble/climb up the easy start next to ROI & onto the belay ledge. Starting in RH corner, trending left up weakness, then up, slightly right trending, into crack corner & up this to flaring off-width at top. Aid your way out to lip. then up over this to a good belay stance above.

Be wary of the original button bolts put in by Rick 47yrs ago; these are only 1" deep or so & hand-drilled.

Very rarely climbed, the route is rather chossy & vegetated.

(Estimates of freeing the downward flaring crack at the top start at around grade 27-28.)

FA: Rick White, Ron Collet & Ted Cais, 1972

Start as for Ruby Of India. Established ground up.

  1. 25 m Up ruby 15m till behind pinacle. Left and up across wall to gain crack on left above tree, Up corner crack till able to belay Below steepening.

  2. 30 m Left through overhanging scoops to runnel on left passing 3 fixed runners. Up to crack passing 3 more fixed runners. then left with growing pump to crack, runner possible, up to belay on grassy ledge.

  3. 50m Right from belay. Up weakness till able to walk left. Up trending right passing 2 fixed runners. continue up through hanging corner to slab above. Sustained climbing to belay.

  4. 35m. Right to touch Ruby of India where ruby goes right from crack. Continue up crack passing old peg. High runners in crack, then move left to gain horizontal rail. Pull up to crack above and ooze your way upwards till able to move left through hanging corner. Position Position Position. Continue upwards with some shoulder mobility moves to belay at small tree on shattered ledge.

  5. 55m Up on trending right, following obvious weakness, till able to walk across slab to gain wide crack on left. Up this the continue to top.

We don't think you need a six but don't take our word on it.

FA: Hamish Ousby & tony barten, 22 Aug

Start: Ruby Of India

  1. 45m 14 - up p1 of Ruby Of India. (Up p2 of Ruby Of India to belay?)

  2. _m _? Traverse across to Beau Brummel

  3. _m _? Up Beau Brummel - p3 or p4?

  4. _m _? Traverse across to The Antichrist?

  5. more Pitches or abseil?

Route description is very vague as related to me by other climbers. It does traverse across into Beau Brummel from ROI.

FA: Fred Fromm & Mark Morewood, 1982

1 14 45m
2 13 45m
3 16 45m
4 13 28m
5 14 45m

Protection: Full rack, cams up to 3 - 3.5 Description: 210 metres, grade 16, fun climbing - all trad. To find the start: walk up to "Echo Point" - the rocky outcrop above Viewpoint Buttress, from here, walk up a few metres to the first orange triangle on a rock:

turn Right here & follow the track a couple of hundred metres past the "Jezebel" cracked pillar into the gully to where the track turns right & starts to slope downhill. When you arrive in the steep gully behind Egg Rock, cross the gully, to Egg Rock & contour up towards an arched cave in the main wall. Belay from this bent tree directly below the centre point on the arch.

  1. (45m 14) Take the easy ramp up right into the alcove & follow the chimney thru to 2nd chimney & corner, up obvious crack (8-10m), or alternately, step out right onto face around pillar & up to large belay ledge.

  2. (45m 13) tough starting moves off belay ledge, mounting the overhang, then an easy walk up track right past the bush boy for 10m & take the left leaning ramp up very easy territory (grade 2-3) passing 1 gnarly tree to another gnarly tree just below the top of a pillar & prominent L-facing corner

  3. (45m 16) Up face for 4-5m to the gnarly bush (first gear), passing a small cave & follow the line of weakness up past a small gnarly pine tree on the face. Up to ledge and into the prominent left facing corner, up corner 2-3m & step out right onto face & arete. From here up another 10m to belay ledge.

  4. (28m 13) Choose your own adventure up any line you choose to the trees above & belay on ledge above

  5. (45m 14) Up the scooped alcove either way, ending up in the prominent crack on the RHS & topping out via this. (NOTE: a nice finish to this route is to link the last 2 pitches using a 70m rope.)

When exiting the mountain, track Right across the caldera as shown here to avoid the nasty 20m cliff at the gully:

Look for a big forked gum tree, this will bring you to an easy (4-5m) down-climb.

FA: Rick White, Ron Collett & Keith Nannery, 1971

FFA: Tony Kelly & Jon Oddie, 1971

Start: same as Ruby Of India

  1. 45m 14 - Pitch 1 of ROI

  2. 35m 14 - Up through the crux, up the Left leaning ledge for a few metres, then make your way up Right to the base of the cliff above as per topo.

  3. 50m 19 - Up the wall below the big off-width as per the topo, do not get entangled in the nasty off-width, then out Left on face, then up to the vegetated ledge above. cross the vegetated veranda

  4. 50m 12 - Up the broken wall as per the topo, arriving at the belay ledge for DII

  5. 50m 19 - From the belay, out Left, following the Deception Link-Up Route for a few metres, then up the first prominent crack to top.

FA: Bill Strachan, Nikki Strachan & Bret Jewel, 2007

Eleven pitches of adventure climbing.

Start: Cross the gully from the hiker's track, behind Egg Rock:

scramble across the steep gully on the other side, then up the other side to a terraced ledge. Right along this a few metres, you will come to the initialed 'DI' shown here:

(This is Rick's original route description - the grades have been converted to the Ewbank System & pitch lengths to metres. The hemp rope they used, was 120' [36m] & 1.5" in diameter. This precluded longer pitch lengths. With modern, thinner, kernmantle ropes & good runner management, you can certainly run pitches together, thus shortening ascent times. Notes re "tree belay" & "peg belay" should be allowed for: trees may have vanished in the 51yrs since first ascent & new ones appeared.)

  1. 33m 12 - Move up to right, over blocks & ledges. Block belay.

  2. 30m 13 - Move left & up obvious scrubby corner. Peg belay.

  3. 9m 12 - Shift belay up below small cave. [NB: This is the 1st belay ledge of ROI.]

  4. 33m 13 - Mantle the shelf above, now move up Right to corner & tree belay behind slab. (NB: Shares first 10-15m of ROI p2]

  5. 18m 12 - Move right to base of chimney. Tree belay.

  6. 36m 14 - Up chimney, then out left & up smooth slab, climb razorback edge, passing overhang, then easier rock to verandah.

  7. 9m 13 - shift belay up to good ledge below overhang.

  8. 36m 13 - Up obvious 80° wall on good holds, tree belay at base of crack.

  9. 9m 13 - Shift belay up to enable leader to reach summit.

  10. 33m 14 - Up obvious crack to tree belay.

  11. 6m 12 - Over overhanging rock to summit.

FA: Rick White; Rick White & Dave Reeve, 1968

9 pitches of adventure climbing. The best of the three Deception routes - it was Rick's choice of the three Deception routes & he climbed it many times.

Start as per Deception II. Up to & including pitch 7; belay on the small ledge & bush (gear on the Left, behind bush), in the middle of the concave face.

  1. (pitch 8) 52m 14 - Traverse left, across the face, then diagonally up left, joining pitch 10 of Deception I in the crack; continue up this to alcove (& belay) on left. A long traverse pitch = manage your runners well.

  1. (pitch 9) 12m 12 - Top out at your pleasure.

FA: Rick White & Chris Meadows, 1969

Another 9 pitches of adventure climbing.

Start: As per "DI", walk another 20m further Right along the terraced ledge from DI (up over & around a bulge), near a unique four cave, clover-like formation in the rock. Initialed "DII".

(This is Rick's original route description - the grades have been converted to the Ewbank System & pitch lengths to metres. The hemp rope they used, was 120' [36m] & 1.5" in diameter. This precluded longer pitch lengths. With modern, thinner, kernmantle ropes & good runner management, you can certainly run pitches together, thus shortening ascent times. Notes re "tree belay" & "peg belay" should be allowed for: trees may have vanished in the 51yrs since first ascent & new ones appeared.)

  1. 18m 12 - Over roof of cave & up wall above, through scunge, trending left to base of crack in corner. Tree belay.

  2. 18m 14 - Climb crack by jambing & bridging, cracker runner. Peg (gear) belay at base of pinnacle. (From this belay, you can look down Left onto P1&2 of DI)

  3. 33m 13 - Bridge up between wall & pinnacle. Up through shallow cave & over small overhang, then traverse right over slab & up to tree belay on verandah.

  4. 18m 12 - Cross verandah trending right to cave.

  5. 27m 14 - Out of cave & jamb up crack, passing strenuous overhang. Block belay.

  6. 36m 15 - Traverse down to ledge, climb straight up corner on thin holds, using finger jambs & laybacks. Move up left past pinnacle & continue up wall to verandah.

  7. 33m 13 - Scramble across verandah to tree belay at base of steep buttress, just right of steep V-shaped corner. [NB: Blackened tree stump is still there.] Up blocks left, onto slab, follow weakness trending slightly left to small ledge & tree belay (gear behind).

8 33m 14 - Out Right from belay, follow arete up, a but run-out in places, mantle onto ledge & belay in corner.

9 12m 12 - Up groove to summit.

(On the first ascent, Graham, who i spoke to in 2007, recalled having no gear or holds on pitch 8, he called out to Rick on belay. Rick jokingly said: "Oh just leap for the tree", which Graham did, much to Rick's horror.)

FA: Rick White & Graham Simpson, 1968

Rick White in RURP September1972:

1-5) Up D2 to top terrace, walk left & belay on left ledge.

6-8) Climb down gully ca.20m (rope assist) to a traverse line. Traverse left, then up grassy corner to below crux of BB. Climb down crack (rope assist), traverse left & up to "AC" ledge.

9-11) Peg up to AC bivie bolts, lower down ca.25m & pendulum across to Phaedra bivi bolts, 8m below roof. Peg up past bolts to roof & then through roof to more bolts. Traverse left (2 pegs), lower or fall off a tied off knife blade, pendulum & tension with difficulty to bush(?). Up crack to magnificent perched belay.

12-13) Up diagonally left, through blocks. keep traversing: up short wall, then easy finish.

Ian Thomas: "Why wouldn't you want to complete the first girdle of a big exposed face, spend the night in a free hanging hammock, flail around on an 30m pendulum and scare yourself silly with hard aid?"

FA: Ian Thomas & Rick White, 1972

Start: Head up & Right of the Deception II initials along a narrow, exposed ledge.

Take bolt plates.

  1. 20m 17 7BRs - Follow the line of carrots up the broken face, one bucket at a time. (see photo of p1)

  2. 35m 18 11BRs - From the belay, you can see a big round boulder on top of p2. Traverse far Right on verandah, passing a rocky outcrop. Start in open gully. Very similar to p1. Top out on the RH side, via the chockstone. Both pitches initialed + rap chains. (see photo of p2)

FA: Herb Brandmeier & John deBont, 2005

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