One of the four prominent spires in the Park. This peak offers some of the most popular routes in the 'Bungles. Despite initial appearances, Crater Bluff is not flat on top-the peak is in fact carved by deep canyons, the deepest and most extensive of which is filled with ferns and is known as the Green Glacier.

Home to the much loved "Cornerstone Rib".

Climbs are described right to left from Tourist Route.

Many of the topo lines have been drawn from poor quality topos or from the descriptions. Please don't rely on them too heavily and update them once you have completed any of these routes, if required.

© (koala)

Access issues inherited from New South Wales and ACT

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Approach from Dagda Saddle. Follow the faint and discontinuous climber's path next to the signs down to a creek, follow it's left bank till it crosses another creek below the west face. If you follow the track up diagonally left you arrive below the gully that leads up to the face and from here you can continue up, past an enormous boulder, to the wall, arriving near the start of Lieben. This is where the descent ends up too and it is a good place to leave shoes etc. For Cornerstone Rib, head left along the base, to the far north west corner where the start is fairly obvious.

The normal descent is down "Green Glacier", a canyon that splits the summit and can safely be descended with a single 70m rope. From the top of Cornerstone Rib it is the obvious right hand canyon that has a fairly defined track leading down into it.

The descent is relatively straight forward however it can be tricky in the dark or wet; take care and rope up when necessary. The first optional abseil is near the top of the canyon and is an easy down climb if dry. The chains are on the far right of the canyon (looking down). You follow a vague path down about 12m and they are on the right wall just below a small tree. There are other random anchors on the way down if it's wet or dark. The first obligatory rap station is where the canyon abruptly ends at the waterfall. Chains are at knee height on the left wall. Its a 30m rap to the terrace. From here walk down and right (facing out from the cliff), following the many, many cairns, about 20m, and scramble down a short gully, walk right (facing out) 8m or so, then scramble up onto a block. The rap chains are about 6m away from the wall, slightly over the edge and a little hard to spot but fairly safe to get to. The final rap is past one good ledge at 20m to a large ledge at 35m where you can walk off easily. If you rap all the way to the ground, 50m or so, it is harder to pull your ropes and they get stuck on the big ledge and then pull rocks on your head.

From here it is easy to orientate yourself and wander back to the trail you walked in on.

© (koala)

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Another of Eric Dark's triumphs. Of the three peaks he climbed in the Warrumbungles (Crater Bluff, Belougery Spire and Tonduron), Crater Bluff proved the most problematic. It took several attempts over a number of years to find the Tourist Route, and when he and Dot Butler eventually reached the summit by this route they lit a fire to signal their success to the rest of their party. Unfortunately, the fire got out of control while they were building a cairn and much of the summit was set ablaze. Butler, barefoot as usual, had little choice but to sit atop the cairn and wait for the ashes to cool before she and Dark could make their descent.

Scramble 45 m up a series of ramps that begin on N side of W Face, leading R, taking the upper line when there is an alternative. Tree belay.

Start 9 m below a small overhang.

  1. 15 m Overhang to pillar above.

  2. 18 m Chimney to ledge and tree.

3-4) 30 m Walk R to Green Glacier, then up with care over muddy rocks.

FA: Dot Butler, Marie Byles & Eric Dark, 1936

Possibly the hardest multi-pitch in the Bungles. Tackles the major face between 'Crucifixion' and the Tourist Route. This is NOT a sport route - and the rock quality is a bit sub par on pitch 4. Take a double set of cams to fist size, double rack of wires including RPs, at least 15 draws and several long slings. A helmet is also a must.

Starts on right side of east face at section of black steep slabs, aprox 100m left of the rap descent route.

  1. 35m (20) Wall (3 FHs) to left facing orange corner with fiddly small gear. At the top of corner step left onto wall (vital small wires) and then up trending slightly right past 2 FHs and several small wires and cams. Belay on ledge at DBB. 5 bolts.

  2. 30m (14) Up blocky crackline just to the left of the belay to small ledge belay 3m left of major chossy orange corner (Hex Generation).

  3. 25m (22) Straight up tricky wall on trad for 10m to FH, then continue up and right on steep grey wall and arete past a further 4 FHs to final exposed right step across crack into pea-pod belay directly above 'Hex Generation' crackline. 5 bolts.

  4. 40m (24) Pumpy technical climbing on the left wall - keeping left of the bolts makes for harder but better climbing. Stay right and experience chossy terror. When the bolts run out follow the corner crack for 25m to comfy big ledge. 6 bolts.

  5. 48m (24) Move belay to double bolts at far left end of ledge. Up slab and out left across face with couple of tough moves. Finish up epic wall with a section of micro wires supplementing the bolts. Belay on ledge at double rings. This is the last opportunity to rap off. 9 bolts.

  6. 45m (14) Up blocky line above then leftwards up easy angled corner on lovely rock. Belay on trad when you can.

  7. 40m (14) Continue up leftwards leaning easy crack line to summit. Traverse ridge and then down the Green 'Gully'.

FFA: Neil Monteith (lead all pitches) & Mike Law, 2010

The major orange crackline splitting the right side of the east face. Appallingly chossy. There was an old hex jammed in the crack halfway up - most likely a bail-off piece as the crack above held several 'fun' death block surprises for the first ascent team. Start by climbing Verdun for 2 pitches then setup a trad belay 2m right of the bolt belay. Swing right from the belay into corner. Wade and chimney through epic choss (but good gear!) until the crack suddenly narrows and the walls begin to blank. Jam upwards whilst lobbing off bombs onto your cowering belayers to grovel into pea-pod belay. Thank the lord that there is now two bolts here to belay off, and not the man sized pile of rubble that first confronted the first ascent team. A rest was resorted to on the first ascent due to adrenaline overload.

FA: Neil Monteith (2nd refused to follow), 2010

Looks good, follows diagonal lines of good holds and breaks. Quite runout by repute. The first pitch has had most bolts replaced. Start atop the gully/ramp leading up past Lieben on higher left end of ledge. Good wire belay. Many original carrots are now redundant with modern gear, most importantly the manky BR on pitch 3 belay.

  1. 36m Up diagonally left easily for 16m to original BR a few meters left of good cam horizontal, then hard bulge up onto run-out face trending right, new bolt with fixed hanger, then diagonally right for 16m (another new FH) to new DBB (FH's).

  2. 24m Diag R for 9m on small poor pro, up 3m to good gear and bolt. Up, left toward nice little ledge and bolt. A block hanging just before belay can be climbed around as it is above your belayer. Bolt redundant with higher cams.

  3. 24m Diag R for 11m up ramp to bolt round a small buttress. Same rising diagonal line over blocks to manky bolt. Semi hanging belay. (Small to medium cams and #2 cam hanging belay 2m left of poor bolt).

  4. 27m Right to bolt , up then left towards a scoop, then easier rock keeping on right side of 'chimney cum gully', to a good ledge, 2m long and over 1 ft wide with piton. Note: This is not the vegetated base of 'Chimney cum Gully'. Belay is higher and on right.

  5. 45m (crux) Up the wall on small gully's right to 30m vertical wall. Move left, then up the wall. After moving right slightly on ramp a bolt runner is found 30 meters vertically above your second. "one could belay here in slings" ..instead continue a further 13m to a small ledge above, below a chimney. Rock knob belay.

6, 7, 8) 90m etc up chimney and slabs to a pleasant slab buttress to top.

FA: John Ewbank & John Worral, 1966

As per 'The Crucifixion' for three pitches, then taking similarly sustained and engaging line of features between Lieben and Crucifixion past distinguishable 'gully cum chimney' in centre of West face onward to left most large orange cave and chimney. Bring double rack including rps and micro cams up to cam #3 and also a #4 cam useful. 60m double ropes essential with good rope management.

  1. As for The Crucifixion

  2. As for The Crucifixion

  3. As for The Crucifixion

  4. 24m. From hanging belay, clip manky BR then continue up on good dark rock and poor pro for 8m until climbing leads left, then head across left airily to comfortable base of 'gully cum chimney'. Crucifixions smaller belay ledge is visible above and right from here. Opt for larger (#1 and #3 cam) belay on left side of ledge as leader might want all the small gear for next 50m pitch.

  5. 50m. Take rising line on left until gingerly surmounting highest feature onto vertical face. Good climbing leads to selection of very small gear then onward to small orange pod. Place and extend crucial #3 cam then out left a few meters through pleasant overhang onto lichenous solid features (this is the highest rightmost tip of the green rock patches to the right and above big grassy ledge of Lieben), then another 20m bridging straight up through grey crack/gully (very useful #4 cam) to belay directly under large overhanging orange cavern. RP very high on left and very good gear in brown rock on right. Chordelette useful unless you have double 70m ropes. Despite spacious area, gear dictates a semi hanging belay.

  6. 40m. Up on poor rock with average pro left of cave. Some solid gear eventually in difficult to see vertical crack at approximately 10m on left (small tuft of grass), then up as you wish to jug on left of steepness. Hard move above gear surmounting bulge(crux?)on excellent rock. Continue all the way up to the higher of two very spacious ledges at 40m. The upper face and right trending corner of Lieben is now visible on your left.

  7. 40-50m. Ever so slightly down and left around bulge then up joining final ramble of Lieben, Leavin, Leider on right side of obvious vegetated large gully.

FA: Evan Wells & hugh sutherland, 23 May 2020

Stat: Direct start to 'Crucifixion'.

Easy start on trad, then techy face past three FHs to runout scary finish on shallow small wires to double bolt anchor at end of 'Crucifixion' pitch 1.

FA: Neil Monteith, 2010

1 1 25m
2 15 30m
3 16 25m
4 17 R 45m
5 16 40m
6 10 35m

A wild excursion up a huge face and was Australia's hardest climb for many years. An outstanding achievement by Allen. No big gear required, just heaps of small to medium wires and single set of cams. Long runners will help.

Start: In the middle of the west face is a white water streak (about 50m to the right of the large one about 20m from the far LHS).

  1. 25m (1) Original route cheated by scrambling up the vegetated gully on the right un-roped (grade 1). Real climbers should just climb the rambly wall to the left of the vegetated gully to a small ledge right of the bottom of the white streak.

  2. 30m (15) Straight up face to belay on a ledge about 5m up and right of top of white streak.

  3. 25m (16) Keep heading left (fiddly gear) on a roughly 45 degree angle until you reach a corner. Head straight up this and belay after 5m or so.

  4. 45m (17) Crux. Either up the rib on the right of the corner, or up the steep juggy corner. At 20m step right to small edge (manky BR and optional belay) or continue up crack line above. Belay on huge ledge about 2/3 height of entire west face.

  5. 40m (16) Crack tending slightly right then basically straight up to the top.

  6. 35m (10) Keep going up the very easy rocky ridge to the top

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1962

Years after climbing this I spoke to Rick White (RIP) and challenged him on the Pocket guide grade of 18 and description. He denied ever writing it up and said “it’s at least grade 20, and there is no probably about the run out”. Previous description: Not very direct, probably runout.

  1. 18m Trend up left to base of white streaks.

  2. 30m Right and up from stance. Back left and up onto obvious traverse line. Left and up onto the white streak, up left to roove. Easily up ramp to Lieben stance 1. The description you need to read: “The most dangerous pitch I’ve ever climbed by a sizeable margin. Grade 20 crimp crux 10m out from a worthless RP in loose rock above a long chain of 7m run outs between worthless RPs. Guaranteed ground fall from 45m if you fail the test. We climbed it in 1 long pitch as couldn’t find two pieces to even pretend a belay anywhere along the pitch. Enjoy” Mark Rewi

FA: Rick White & Paul Caffyn, 1969

A proper direct start to Lieben or a good pitch on it's own. Easy route finding as it is very direct. Start about 10m left of the white streak below Lieben. Up corner for 10m and then head up wall in the 12.30 direction. Hard past 2 bolts then past good gear in breaks and more bolts to rap station. Lieben leaves the groove above about 10m higher.

FA: Richard Croker, John Croker & Michael Law, 2011

Direct line to the final pitches of Leider.

Start: 15m R of the large white streak on the L side of the W face. The climb starts on a small pedestal 7m off ground. Scramble from R, or walk on from L.

  1. 48m (17) Step up R onto face. Pitch drifts R past incipient twin seams to the higher of two narrow sloping ledges. Take many small wires.

  2. 50m (17) Step off L end of ledge. Unlikely, exposed, blind moves up L around blunt arete. Up and trend L around steepening on L side. Up to spacious ledge. Take care with rope drag.

  3. 38m (17) Take slab up past loose blocks to old bolt(!?) at 38m

  4. 25m (-) Up rightwards on imperfect apricot coloured rock to wide crack of Leider. Up to stance

  5. 25m (-) Follow Rib to R side of plant choked gully

  6. 25m (-) Follow Rib to R side of plant choked gully

FA: Mark Wood & Julian Devery, 1998

Supposed to be quite good. If you want to suss out 'Lieben' before committing to it, this is the way to do it.

Start: About 50m up and right of the start of 'Cornerstone Rib' at base of rightward leading crack system. An obvious R tending traverse that leads toward base of gully beneath two Orange overhangs. This was where the famous photo of Dot Butler (bare footed and with a rope tied around her waste) was taken.

A #4 cam and double set of C3s including smallest is useful on top of typical rack. Can be done in less pitches.

  1. 30m Easily up right. Belay level with or slightly higher than base of gully.

  2. 30m Right and into gully, up grey rock on right keeping left of water washed rock until last unprotected 6m to avoid overhangs, then up to an obvious large platform with a bolt.

  3. 33m Up and around right arete with care, continue up right to grassy ledge..still caring. A wiggly piton on belay confirms your on your way.

  4. 34m The direct line is right up black cracks past a small Morton Bay fig tree to belay on ledge at base of gully. Alternatively take a better quality line further right from the cracks which ends on a grassy belay ledge with a large fig tree. From here traverse directly left 12m back to the base of gully.

  5. 24m Up gully to water washed crux protected by bolts (visible from belay) though adequate modern protection exists. Hard moves on great (sometimes wet) rock slightly left to belay just left and beneath chimney.

  6. 15m Engaging short face on left to Chimney type gully to a large chockstone.

  7. 18m Bridge up right then out to tree. This is the lowermost and largest of the teatrees in the vegetated gully, protruding over the cliff and most visible from ground. Its trunk is about 1m in diameter and it sprawls with vigour over the terrain you wish to cover at end of an otherwise very good pitch (or two).

  8. 70m Scramble to top on right side of vegetated gully.

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1963

The striking arete to the right of Cornerstone Rib.

There has been some debate about this line (and Reluctance Rib). Most Old Timers agree that the line is the arete but the description from the 1994 Rock Guide seems to be for a very different line. A very bold undertaking for 1954 (8 years before an ascent of Cornerstone Rib) that was not repeated until 1964!

1-3) 90 m Cornerstone Rib to large ledge.

'4) 20 m Scramble down and right out to the base of the arete

'5-6) 70 m Climb the arete. Sparse pro on pitch 6.

'7) 30 m Continue with difficulty up the broken arete on worsening rock to the top or climb up and left across the gully and join up with the top of Cornerstone Rib.

The 1994 Rock guide described the upper pitches as:

'4) 21m Traverse right 6m to a ramp type ledge which goes up to the right for 9m into a corner, piton runner. Up corner then traverse left to a gully.

'5) 12m Up gully to old piton. Right slightly to a home made piton at base of some rotten rock.

'6) 21m Left up wall (good rock) which continues to the rib. Up rib to a piton belay on loose rock.

'7) 15m Continue up rib to gully on the left which leads to top of Rib and Gully.

FA: Russ Kippax & Bill Peascod, 1954

The minor arete between Vintage Rib and Cornerstone Rib.

Again there is some debate about this line as the 1994 Rock guide description doesn't seem to match the line. This description has been adapted from the 1994 guide but please update this guide once you have repeated the line.

1-3) 90 m Cornerstone Rib to large ledge

'4) 15 m Scramble down and right to the base of the right hand gully (the left gully is Rib and Gully).

'5) 30m Chimney then up gully (left side harder). Traverse left (crux) under grey slab and onto rib; pleasant stance.

'6) 35m Up above stance, traverse right to base of gully. Cross it and continue on rib to right to trees.

'7) 30 m Continue up the scrubby gully or climb up and left to meet up with Cornerstone Rib.

FA: Wes Kilharn & Bill Zemek, 1969

It sounds like this route starts at the same spot as Lieder (about 50m up and right of Cornerstone Rib). Please update this if you know.

  1. 54m Potter up rib to large gully on the right, walk into the back of the gully.

  2. 36m Up slab on the left of the left gully. 12m to piton runner, up underneath the overhang then right to a piton. Tricky into gully and bush.[Presumably this is the big ledge where Vintage Rib and Reluctance Rib converge].

  3. 30m Chimney up the left gully to a huge wedged rock.

  4. 30m The chimney becomes narrow and vertical.

  5. 10m Up wall on left to tree.

  6. 30m Scramble up the gully or climb up and left onto Cornerstone Rib.

FA: C.Ivin et al, 1954

Obvious corner to right and behind the usual crux pitch of Rib and Gully. Strenuous, good protection.

?. 24m. Right, up overhangs, directly to tree.

FA: Bill Zemek & Wes Kilham, 1969

1 6 30m
2 8 30m
3 8 30m
4 14 40m
5 13 20m
6 12 20m
7 11 20m

The most popular climb in the 'Warrumbungles' and justifiably so. One of the most striking lines in Australia. Can be safely climbed and descended with a single 70m rope.

  1. 30m (6) The first 90 metres was originally climbed in three pitches but can be done quite safely (and more easily) in two rope stretching pitches (50m rope), including comfy belays. Follow rib.

  2. 30m (8). Keep following rib.

  3. 30m (8). Keep following rib to large ledge.

  4. 40m (14) Move out left around the rib at the little horn and onto the northern face for approx 5m and then back to the arete. Up to a large ledge. Approx 3 pitons on this pitch.

  5. 20m (13) Up the rib from here on. The ledges for good belays are pretty obvious and about 20 metres apart.

  6. 20m (12)

  7. 20m (11) Up past 2 pitons at start.

Was originally called 'Cornerstone Rib Direct' but as the direct version is far more popular than the 'original' version, the direct version has taken the name.

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1962

Avoids the crux of Cornerstone Rib.

1-3: 90 m Same line as Cornerstone Rib.

4: 13 m Up Rib to steepening, then L and down to platform.

5: 30 m Groove on L.

6: 27 m Up to 'green pocket'.

7-9: 60 m Rib.

FA: Kevin Westren & Trevor Westren, 1962

Serious. Start as tor Cornerstone Rib. [Sounds like it is a two pitch face climbing variant of the crux arête on Cornerstone Rib, between the arête and the original route].

1-2: 90 m Cornerstone Rib to ledge.

3: 30 m (crux) L round nose, then rising traverse L Cornerstone Rib crux. Up to alcove and semi hanging belay. Poor protection.

4: 30 m Bulge, then up R to main buttress on Cornerstone Rib.

5: 40 m As tor Conerstone Rib.

FA: Frank Moon, Bruce Cameron (all), Will Moon & Bruce Cameron, 1989

Mostly pleasant climbing on good rock with a delicate crux. Takes the obvious line of grooves left of Cornerstone Rib, but fails to gain the obvious summit gullies. Left of Cornerstone Rib is a gully. Between this and the corner where Diagonal Route starts is a big groove that leans leftwards.

  1. 45m Up the groove and gully. Belay where the gully opens out.

  2. 25m (crux) Left and climb the corner, then a delicate 5m traverse left into the next corner.

  3. 45m Up, right behind a big loose block, right again and climb left-slanting grooves to below a slab.

  4. 35m Ascend the beaut slab to a bushy ledge beside Cornerstone Rib (possibly the ‘green pocket’ on Cornerstone Variant) - old bent bolt above here, below hard climbing into summit gullies.

  5. 10m Move right onto Cornerstone Rib and up to platform.

  6. 45m Continue up the Rib.

The topo is a guess. Please update.

FA: Ian Brown & Peter Blunt, 1978

Start at R·facing corner 60m L of Cornerstone Rib.

1-6: Corner then corner and ramps, tending R at top. Yellow crack.

The topo line is a guess. May be inaccurate but we had to start somewhere. Please update.

FA: Keith Bell & Lucas Trihey, 1989

Start at a little corner about 60m left of the start of Cornerstone Rib

  1. 12m Easily up corner.

  2. 36m Easily to peg, then slight overhang on left and scramble up.

  3. 135m Back right then up onto the ledge. Scramble along the ramp, via scrub and little chimneys, until it finally flattens off and stops.

  4. 9m Up little wall, traverse left at the top to a small 'crevasse'.

  5. 11m (crux) Up block on the right, then traverse left to bush.

  6. 33m Easily up.

FA: Peter Hardy & Jeff Field, 1958

Originally referred to as 'St Andrew's Traverse' by Allen, Cross-cut appears to be the name used by FA party. Start in middle of N Face at obvious weakness.

  1. 30 m Up and R.

  2. 35 m Wall for 3 m, then continue R.

  3. 25 m Up towards 'green pocket' on R.

  4. 9 m Round nose, then wall to 'green pocket'. [This seems to be the name for the vegetated pocket to the left of the main arête on Cornerstone Rib].

  5. 27 m Cross rib, then up.

  6. 15 m Diagonally across wall leading to gully. Belay half·way.

  7. 21 m Up, then to top of gully.

The topo line is a guess. May be inaccurate. Please update.

FA: John Davis & Jack Pettigrew, 1963

Possibly the first grade 17 in Australia!!!

Start as for Cross-cut or Cornerstone Rib. [Sounds like a harder version of Cornerstone Rib Original route that goes higher before cutting back onto Cornerstone Rib...?].

1-4: 120m Up to 'greenpocket'. [This seems to be the name for the vegetated pocket to the left of the main arête on Cornerstone Rib].

5: 6m Up to ledge. Piton belay on L.

6: 9 m (crux) L, then up to layback.

7: 21 m Traverse down and R 4 m, then nose and shallow chimney to fig.

8: 30 m Chimney, then R to rib.

FA: Ted Batty & Ron Malor, 1959

Up middle of black wall 60 m L of Cornerstone Rib. Bolted belays.

Try and find a shorter route description per metre than that (assuming it goes the entire height of the cliff...?).

FA: Keith Bell & Lucas Trihey, 1989

Between Job and the North Face Route. Not a bad route for a winter's day as its short and in the sun all day. Pitch 2 is scary but the rest of the route offers easy climbing on solid rock with good pro. 30m off the ground on the left side of the north face are two trees separated by a triangular pillar. Start just left and below the right most tree.

  1. 30m (14) Climb the dark red line tending slightly right to gain the ledge just left of tree. Nut belay behind tree.

  2. 30m (18) Walk right across ledge to blank corner, up face right of corner on crimps and growing concern. Right past detached shield, then up 10m then tend left onto buttress and belay on ledge.

  3. 40m (14) Climb left onto buttress then follow buttress up to belay on large ledge.

  4. 20m (18) Straight up face for 5m then traverse left onto ridge and up easily.

FA: Peter Kuczera & Matt Bunn, 12 May 2011

Start on NE Face at obvious weakness above 8 m of yellow overhang.

  1. 9 m Line of bolts, then L to tree.

  2. 36 m Scramble along ledge to rock.

  3. 21 m Corner, overhang to bolt belay.

  4. 21 m Up L.

  5. 33 m Gully on L.

FA: Bryden Allen & Ted Batty, 1964

Start R of major gully on E side.

1-2: 60 m Scramble up R side of gully, then L over top of gully to slim ridge overlooking Green Glacier.

3: 30 m Wall on R to summit ridge.

FA: Peter Hardy & Ron Malor, 1959

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