A mix of minor cliffs and large block boulders hidden deep in the forest on the Illawarra Escarpment. A variety of bouldering types - roof, verticals, caves and off-width.

Access issues inherited from Rat's Crag

Climbing in the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area (IESCA) is not permitted except for the Sth and West faces of Mt Keira. This is written in a legal document, the IESCA mgmt. plan. This was formalised in 2018 and can’t be changed for a long time (approx. 10 year cycle). As of 2021, all Illawarra crags fall within the IESCA.

From the IESCA mgmt plan:

The west- and south-facing cliffs of Mount Keira are used for rock climbing and abseiling, and this has resulted in numerous bolted climbs and the creation of informal access tracks ... Abseiling and rock climbing are not permitted elsewhere in the park owing to risks to the safety of participants and other visitors from geological instability, damage to vegetation and rock faces, damage to cultural features and soil erosion.

• Rangers are not targeting climbers but if they encounter climbers incidentally, they are obliged to ask questions. Please be understanding and respectful.

• Historical bolted climbs do exist in this area, however the addition of more safety bolts could create issues with NPWS.

• Using online forums such as to register routes or ascents is public proof that climbers are actively disregarding the mgmt. plan (a legal document). It is not advised to register ascents at crags within the IESCA.

• Please don’t stash gear, NPWS staff are obliged to confiscate stashed equipment.

• Do not bring dogs into the area, if discovered this would reflect poorly on the climbing community in the eyes of NPWS. Be aware of other rules that apply to the IESCA.

• Hazard Reduction burns occur in this area at certain times of year. ACANSW will try to keep local climbing pages updated with information, otherwise look out for signs at entrances to access tracks etc. If climbers are in the area and a burn is planned it is a very costly exercise to reschedule for NPWS (helicopters etc).


Refer to the Rats Crag approach and uploaded marked map.

Once you jump off the East side of the motorway/offramp onto the bush trail network there is a well worn mountain bike trail heading North East. The start of this is just South of the power lines crossing the offramp and bush trail. Follow this for 450 meters where the trail hits a rocky outcrop with cliffs on either side - marking the North and South aspects of Rats Boulders

Ethic inherited from Wollongong

Retro-bolting of established trad routes is frowned upon. There has been some controversy in recent years about new routes being bolted above tourist tracks. Please don't do this.

Please try to use available natural gear where possible, and do not bolt cracks or potential trad climbs. If you do the bolts may be removed.

If you do need to top rope, please do it through your own gear as the wear on the anchors is both difficult and expensive to maintain.

It would be appreciated if brushing of holds becomes part of your climbing routine - do it with a soft bristled brush and never a steel brush!

The removal of vegetation - both from the cliff bases and the climbs - is not seen as beneficial to aesthetics of the environment nor to our access to it.

Consider bolting single lines rather than many link ups and eliminates, where there are established lines also consider the need to add bolts to establish link ups. It can often create an eyesore.

It is a privilege to climb in the Illawarra to maintain access our best approach is to 'Respect Native Habitat, Tread Softly and Leave No Trace'. Do not cut flora and keep any tracks and infrastructure as minimal as possible or risk possible closures.


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Grade Route

Mixed bouldery cliffs on the South Side of the bike track.

Delicate start then easy up.

Start low in the crack jug, then move out right to the massive flake, delicately work up and into the flake crack without slipping off the wall as you top out!

Surprisingly tricky and tough chimney cum off-width.

Pockets and crimps to a couple of good jugs, then a mysterious flight to the top out...

The left hand side of the cave, though the small crappy holds and crimps to the lip. Drop or continue to top out as for SFTJ .

A classic fun roof problem. Big, powerful and straightforward moves.

To the right of SFTJ in a contrived low start, through decent jugs growing farther apart then a committing top out over rough slopers.

A strenuous traverse from the left corner of the cave, out right then loop up left.

Set: jason link

Under the roof up left across some crimp rails.

From low down work your feet up then launch a sweet dynamic move to the top of the ledge.

Distinctive flat wall on the North side of the bike track

The steep and ever shrinking ledge. Commitment.

A surprisingly technical ascent, more of a sport route. A committing final high ball sequence from a rest ledge to top out!

The crack. Runs out. Commitment.

Further out East, small escarpment outcrop near the transmission line corridor.

Start on low left sloper. Head up and left via sharp under-cling, big move with right hand. Slight traverse right to top out

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