Rat's Crag




Rats crag is a hidden away craglett at the top of Mt Ousley. All of the climbs are ringbolted and are short, steep and involve some powerful moves. More reminiscent of roped bouldering, Rats is definitely worth a visit if your in the area. (Source:

Access issues

* Rats Crag / Boulders is outside the IESCA boundary *

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).


Not the easiest crag to access, despite being next to a motorway. Primary vehicle access is driving the M1 Princes Motorway through Mount Ousley.

CHECK A MAP FIRST (A marked up map has been uploaded) - if you miss the stop it is a long way to turn around!

Heading South – Easy - Park on the side of the M1 Princes Motorway underneath the Picton Road overpass bridge (small shoulder area). From here walk straight North up the side of the motorway until you hit the crag cliff line on your right.

Heading North – Harder - Best option is to turn left onto Picton Road from the Motorway, then loop back to head East over the motorway to join the motorway Southbound. Just after the offramp splits into separate directions and before joining the motorway there is a small shoulder area you can park on. Proceed to walk back up the road 100m until you can jump off right on the bush trail network. Follow this along north to join access as for Heading South.

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.


History timeline chart

Brian Rattenbury and Manny Perez approx 1994


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Plenty of good holds for a easy power boulder, but very exposed.

Pull up to reach the under side of the roof. Easy holds to progress but very hard on the hands with conglomerate type rough rock.

Jump on to the ledge for a fun bouldery move to pull your self up into a nice rest position, then easy onwards with more rest positions. Two chains for anchor.

2 RB then an anchor randomly 3m to the right. Inundated by moss.

Safe to say it is open after 20+ years.

Pull up the flake to reach the ledge on good holds then power along the traverse. Sustained and powerful.

Delicate moves to a nice pocket larger then the one on SMW then over the ledge to decent rails and pockets to the top ledge.

Possibly a harder first few moves then PB, delicate pulling to a less-than-stellar pocket then big reach to the ledge rails then onwards through more rails and pockets to the top ledge.

A pretty sustained and pumpy warm-up. Two chains for anchor.

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