The Big Pump

  • Grade context: AU
  • Photos: 8
  • Ascents: 495
  • Aka: Mummy Dust Cave

Access: Environmentally and Culturally sensitive site

The Big Pump is a significant enclosed shelter identified as a highly cultural, scientific and archaeological site. The Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) identifies the site as “De Burghs Bridge”. Previous and ongoing site planning assessments identified the presence of artefacts (shells & flakes) which have since been removed and/or disturbed. National Parks has concerns with climbers chalk and erosion at this area. Do not light fires, remove soil from base of problems or camp in the cave.

See warning details and discuss

Created 9 months ago - Edited 8 months ago




This area consists of overhangs and ceilings. Generally the main cave stays perfectly dry in the wet.


An overhanging cave with a fine red dust that sticks to everything. Has a high grunge factor. It used to be a favourite training ground in the 80's for developing endurance. The traverse from left to right - The Big Pump - is around 28.

Only a few of the main problems are shown and there are zillion variants.

Excellent in summer and also in wet weather. For some obscure reason the main cave doesn't tend to suffer from seepage after rain.

All sport routes are designed to be stick clipped to keep the bolts out of the boulder problems. A lot of the starts are problems in their own right, so definitely consider doing this.

Access issues

In 2021 The Big Pump has been identified as a significant enclosed shelter which is a highly cultural, scientific, and archaeological site. The Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System (AHIMS) identifies the site as “De Burghs Bridge”.


From the corner of Blaxland Rd and Terrace Rd Killara walk through Allen Park and follow the track down to the creek. Take care crossing the creek and immediately follow the shore line to your right. The first cave you get to is the Lower Cave with some ceiling problems to master.

From the Lower Cave you can see the main attraction if you look up and to your right. Walk and scramble up to it.

Be prepared for two dust and The Big Pump.

Keep in mind, if you crossed the river to get to the crag and it's raining the water levels tend to rise quickly. An alternative approach/exit is to continue to follow the walking trail (which you turned off to get to the caves) up behind the climbing area until it passes under the large bridge. From here it is not too hard to walk back around to your car.

Ethic inherited from North Shore

Respecting the enviroment and keeping crags clean will maintain a healthy and important relationship between the climbing community, local councils and National Parks. Carry out what you take in and enjoy what the North Shore has to offer.

If you come across an area that is being developed or you think could be under development, please show all due respect to the developers and do not climb the projects listed on


History timeline chart

Steve Knight discovered this in the early 80's. Geoff Weigand used to train here with a weight belt which is how he probably destroyed his elbows.


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Please avoid climbing these routes after rain as there is only a thin exterior layer keeping the holds on.

If you do come after rain focus on problems in The Main Cave - the rock quality is much better and it will be dry.

Traverse upside down through the roof above the ledge.

From the back of the cave follow the slots out through the roof.

Start on two flat jugs and move through crimps to finish up jugs.

Start on the hold above the ledge, and follow chalked holds to join up with Lower Cave B to the top.

Set: Kevin Li, 22 May 2021

Classic. Use only the holds in the beta vid for your hands, anything for feet.

Start on the jug/slot on the right, head up then traverse left to join the V3.

Phillip Booth

Starts right at the slot/jugs, head up and left (above Dragon's Den) to join the V3.

FA: Mike Forward, 11 Dec 2016

Start as for 'Dragon's Den' then traverse left along the bottom lip holds joining into 'Lower Cave B'. The bottom ledge is off.

FA: Unknown

Set: Phillip Booth

A pumpy number that climbs like one long boulder problem. Thought provoking moves up the face followed by generous holds through the roof. RBs the whole way.

Start up the nudist. When you get to the anchors throw for a big move right around the mossy face then follow the lip of the roof for another 5m on a sightseeing tour of bygone bolts (clip the fresh ones though). Finishes at chains, second or back-jump to clean.

Start up from the sloping rail and move quickly to the chalked jug. A series of big moves through increasingly bad slopers brings you to the roof. Even bigger moves to more friendly holds on the lip and swing on through to the anchors of the Nudist Route. 2 FHs followed by 2RBs to the anchor. Grade in the realm of 25. Stick-clipping the first bolt strongly recommended.

FA: Alex Bowes, 26 Dec 2020

Start below the beginning of Mummy Dust and dyno your way up to a good jug near the first manky bolt. The arete and big break are off, as is matching hands.

Long moves on jugs! Start on the big break a bit right of the arete / start of 'Mummy Dust' and dyno up to the next chalked jug. Continue up to same finishing hold for '2'. Good one to get the juices flowing.

Grade aligned with other routes here, might be V2?

FA: Unknown

Set: Phillip Booth

Start as for Mummy Dust but go high to the start of The High Traverse.

The classic training problem. Usually done left to right. If you don't rest in the little cave it is apparently equivalent to a 28.

FA: Geoff Weigand

A series of desperate iron crosses that links into Mummy Dust.

Up via the big undercling hole.

Layaway to layaway to jug. Balancy and committing.

V3 Variant: Sit start as for 'The Ramp' and head up to join original stand start.

A powerful and desperate crag classic. Start matched on the bottom sloper rail and power up the slopey ramp, past an edge, to the finish jug up high (on 'The High Traverse').

Phillip Booth

Yet another dyno.

Originally climbed back when the pyramids were being constructed. Now on some more friendly bolts. Start up the boulder problem 6, then do another boulder problem, followed by a dyno and another 2 boulder problems to get to the anchor. The grade is an absolute guess, and the real name and first ascensionist is a mystery. (does anyone know?)

Start up Mummy's Old Carrots, clip the anchor and climb past the fixed nut into the crack below the roof. Follow this all the way until it fizzles out past multiple blobs of old coach screw. Back jump (consider re-aiding if too tired) to clean. Whispers amongst the local trees suggest that back in the day this was in the realm of 28/29 but someone local and wise may have some more solid information on this (as well as the real name and FA).

Traverse left and up out of the cave. Heel hooking is off.

Start on the low ridge edge just right of the start of the recess. Go up via big chalked scoop to the 'The High Traverse' avoiding the chalked holds on the right baby arete. Then continue left and finish matched on the final hold of '7'.

Set: Phillip Booth

FA: Unknown

Another easy warm-up for the cave. Start as for '8' on the right side of the cave then go up and traverse left on the high chalked holds (reversing 'The High Traverse'). Match on the final hold for '7' to finish.

FA: Unknown

Set: Phillip Booth, 2020

Traverse right out of the cave.


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