Phegans Bay




A lovely little crag overlooking Brisbane water, with easy access, a good variety of easy and moderate climbs on decent quality sandstone.


Originally known as "Gnomeland" in the Wondabyne climber's guide to the Lower Hawkesbury River but now commonly referred to as Phegan's Bay, given the crags location. This is a pleasant and now popular eastern facing crag, well suited to the beginner or those wanting a leisurely day. Efforts have been made to use hex head bolts in climbs around the main wall area to ensure minimum visual impact due to the public traffic through this area. This crag has been the centre of much controversy locally over retro-bolting and route stealing. A number of routes have been put up by transient climbers who never conveyed route descriptions so it is hoped the details of unnamed routes will eventually trickle in, as may other comments. As noted several of the climbs in this area have been regrettably retro-bolted without consent of the original ascentionist. It is believed the level of protection now on these climbs is testament to the boldness of their achievement. These routes are now enjoyed safely by the great number of climbers who visit this crag, however should the original ascentionist request removal of this protection it will be done without hesitation and all efforts made to remediate any damage resulting from their removal. Although that can't be said for everyone as tempers flare easily.

Access issues inherited from New South Wales and ACT

If you have benefited from climbing infrastructure in NSW, please consider making a donation towards maintenance costs. The Sydney Rockclimbing Club Rebolting Fund finances the replacement of old bolts on existing climbs and the maintenance of other hardware such as fixed ropes and anchors. The SRC purchases hardware, such as bolts and glue, and distributes them to volunteer rebolters across the state of New South Wales. For more information, including donation details, visit


Park at the end of Olive Avenue (also called Clem Cl in some street directories), Phegan's Bay and walk south along the track to the right of the road's end. Follow this track along the top of the cliff taking a fork to the left for the cliff edge and the obvious descent gully as the track turns back west away from the cliff. The descent gully is at the eastern most end of the track just a bit past a large flat rock outcrop providing magnificent views of Brisbane Waters. If you starting walking back West, you've gone too far.


View historical timeline

The earliest known climbs in this area were the charge of the rather colourful characters of the Wondabyne Climbers around 1978 - 1979. Most of the obvious cracks and easier face climbs were ticked off. The grades of several of the climbs they established are considered a bit light-on by today's standards and for the purpose of this guide have been updated. The area saw a resurgence of activity in the late 90s when Richard Jeffrey armed with a Hilti established a few of the classic sports routes to the main wall and regrettably also retro-bolting two of the existing established lines. This new activity has however seen the crag further developed with several active new routers Gary Hamilton, Kye Riddington and Shane adding a host of new lines.


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Grade Route

The first 4 climbs are in the descent gully.

At right hand end of short wall. Boulder up rounded flakes. Top rope or solo only.

FA: Paul Riviere (solo), 2002

At low flake. Move from low flake to slightly wet dominant pocket (I've heard people describe their wives this way!). Easily down climbed to clean. 3 BRs.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, 1996

2m left of HIW. Start up past 3 BRs. Again best to down climb to save a lot of mess.

FA: Gary Hamilton, 1999

Start: Below overhanging off width corner at left end of wall. A gutsy little climb. Straight up the corner. Phil Stallard, Dave McGrouther 1979

To the right (looking in) of the descent gully is the Main Wall or Mohamed Area.

On left side of arete. Stem up the dihedral to start then follow arete to top. 4 BRs to DRB lower off.

4m right of arete. Straight up. A little runout.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, Grant Severn & Gordon Porter, 2000

Obvious line up middle of left wall to DRB. Thin start but getting easier with height. 5 BRs.

FA: Phil Stallard, Dave McGrouther & Steve Moss, 1978

2m right of S. Up. Paul Rivere's abandoned project.

2m left of M. Up passing 4 BRs. A #3.5 friend keeps the rope out of the way to start.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, 2000

Large crack that splits the main wall.

FA: Phil Stallard, Dave McGrouther, Steve Moss & Scott Hoy

2m right of M. 4 BRs and mid sized friends.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, 1999

2m right of WIJALB at huge pocket. 1. Even looks like a great route! 6 BRs.

FA: Richard Jeffrey & Matthew Kingsman-Smith, 1996

Start as for SS. Nice moves make a classic face climb at the grade. 6 BRs.

FA: Richard Jeffrey & Matthew Kingsman-Smith, 1996

2m right of SS/P. Around small bulge and then straight up easy ground to DRB lower offs. Well protected with 5 BRs, although 2nd clip can be a bit stressful.

Below right side of blunt arete at north end of Mohamed Wall. Named for what you'd need if you miss the first clip. 3 BRs, #3.5 friend and wires.

FA: Ross Linsley & Paul Riviere, 1996

4m right of O. They needed a lot of cleaning to unearth this one. Up through suspect rock passing 5 BRs (2012 - this route looks clean and appealing)

FA: Kye Riddington, 1999

4m right of CA. Up to the left, behind tree. 4 BRs.

FA: Gary Hamilton, 1999

Up SB then veer right, the back left to rejoin SB to finish. 4 BRs.

FA: Gary Hamilton, 1999

Parallel to Mohamed Wall but some 20m to the north west is a short wall - Stuff Wall.

Short corner at left end of Stuff Wall.

FA: Scott Hoy (solo), 1978

On small boulder in centre of wall. Up centre of wall, fingery holds with a few good jugs lower down. 3 BRs to double BB.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, Matthew Kingsman-Smith & Jenny McClaren, 1996

At right end of Stuff Wall. Up through chossy cave then veer left.

FA: Shane & Gary Hamilton, 2001

Start as for D. Straight up. 1 BR, small friends.

FA: Shane & Gary Hamilton, 2001

About 60 - 80m north of Stuff wall is another short slabby wall with a few gems. At the centre of this area is "Sweet Mamma" the obvious wide overhanging chimney.

About 50m before this area is another access gully (about 15m right of Stuff Wall).

20m left of Sweet Mamma. Up right side of blunt arete passing 2 BRs and 1 RB. Take care with opening gate on second runner.

FA: Shane, 2002

3m right of F. Hard start then eases off. 2 BRs to double BB.

FA: David Forbes, 2002

6m right of G. Up easy slab. 2BRs to double BB.

FA: David Forbes, 2002

Slabby blunt arete. Nice little climb. 2 BRs to single RB.

FA: Shane, 2002

2m right of I. Nice thin slab then over bulge. 2 BRs to shared single RB with 'I'.

FA: Shane, 2002

3m right of J. Another a little gem! Thin slab then over bulge. 3 BRs to single RB.

FA: Shane, 2002

2m right of K. Dirty slab. 2 BRs to shared single RB with 'K'.

FA: Shane, 2002

Right of the obvious, wide, overhanging chimney. Up steep wall and overhanging chimney. Recently retrobolted with 3 large RBs & double BB

FA: Phil Stallard & Scott Hoy, 1978

Start as for SM. Straight up left side of obvious large bulging block. 3 RBs (last needs long runner) to double BB.

FA: Shane, 2002

At obvious tree stump. Centre line up block and over bulges. Shares bolts with M

FA: Shane, 2002

20m further right on the same upper terrace after the large rotten cave is the following very short route. Staying on this terrace will get you to another scramble access up to the cliff top track. Head right along this to get to the carpark.

Right line on block. Start up chossy undercut (take care) to first high clip, then up over bulges. Watch the tree behind you. 2 BRs and 1 RB.

FA: Shane, 2002

20m right of 'O'. 2 BRs and 1 RB.

FA: Shane, 2002

The following climbs are to the south of the main Descent Gully

Mother's Buttress area is to the south of the main descent gully.

The arete at the very base of the gully. Straight up on jugs. Walk down left on ramps, or round out the top and off. 3 BRs to double BBs in back of cave.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, 2002

Left of IITM. Wandery. Up leftward ascending slab onto ramps, then up and right to last overhang. Muscle over this to top.

FA: Phil Stallard, David McGrouther, Iam Williamson, Steve Moss & A. Fraser, 1978

To the south of Mother's Buttress the cliff breaks into small narrow nondescript gullies. Most of the obvious cracks located in the rear of these gullies were climbed by the Wondabyne Climbers in the late 1970s. Their lines are used here to locate and describe the more recently established climbs.

Up high corner about 20m left of MC, then break out left onto wall and up slab above.

FA: Phil Stallard & Steve Moss, 1978

Start as for Roundabout. Veer left to arete. #2.5 friend protects start then 3 BRs to triple BB belay. Retrobolted by David Forbes and Gary Hamilton, 2002

FA: Gordon Porter, 2000

Right side of Roundabout Gully. Straight up past 3 BRs to double BB belay.

FA: Gary Hamilton & David Forbes, 2002

3m right of Roundabout. Clip BR to start, right over ledge then upward right through juggy overhang. 1 BR, 2 RBs and #0.5 friend below top.

FA: Richard Jeffrey & Matthew Kingsman-Smith, 2000

Around arete 4m left of Roundabout. Through chossy start then straight up steepening slab. 4 BRs to triple BBs.

FA: Gary Hamilton & David Forbes, 2002

At rotten roof left of Roundabout, with black corner above. Delicately up frail holds under roof. Over this then follow bulging corner to top.

FA: Phil Stallard & Steve Moss, 1978

3m left of Spalding. Around bulge on frail holds then up slab to left. 4 BRs.

FA: Shane, 2002

7m left of S. Easily up corner.

FA: David McGrouther, 1978

Overhanging groove 6m left of GC. Up groove, right up walls to top. Take care of loose blocks suspended by tree.

FA: Scott Hoy & David McGrouther, 1978

Corner 6m left of TM, just past rotten cave. Up groove then onto wall. Left into corner then follow your nose to the top.

FA: Scott Hoy & Phil Stallard, 1978

About 100m south of Mother's Buttress is another area hosting several quality routes. The area described starts from the obvious gully of "The Little Grotto" with a smooth black slab on its left side.

Large corner 12m left of TC. Grovel left at the top.

FA: Scott Hoy & David McGrouther, 1978

2m right of TLG. Up thin wall. 4 BRs. DBB .

FA: Shane, 2000

4m right of TLG. Wandery and brittle, take care. Veer right toward arete then up left to belay. 3 BRs to double BB.

FA: Shane, 2002

3m left of TLG. Up nice slab. 3 BRs to double BB. This line was drilled minimally by Grant Severn immediately before the appearance of the final line.

FA: Shane, 2002

Down left below blunt arete. Up around bulge and up final dirty ramp / slab. 3 RBs to double BB.

FA: Unknown, 2001

4m left of V. Juggy. Up wall and slab to finish. Traverse right 3m to DRB lower offs as for V.

FA: Unknown, 2001

3m left of W. Straight up wall and slab above, traverse right to belay as for V / W. 3 BRs.

FA: Gordon Porter, 2002

2m left of GC, and just right of damp crack. Straight up steep slab passing 3 rusty BRs.

FA: Kye Riddington, 1999

The next climbs are about 20m south of "The Little Grotto". "Wet 'n' Wild" (a large dirty and often wet crack) is a good landmark.

2m right of WNW. Over bulge. Gnarly second clip if you're short. 2 RBs, 1 BR, #1.5 friend below top.

FA: Richard Jeffrey, 1999

An obvious large, dirty and often wet crack. Bring a range of friends and some absorbent cloth.

FA: Gordon Porter, Jeff Connelly, Grant Severn & Richard Jeffrey, 1999

1.5 left of WNW. Veer left then straight up. A little over protected with 7 BRs. This climb seems to have been retro-bolted with the appearance of several very large ring bolts. The original bolts have not been removed.

FA: Kye Riddington, 1999

Line of large U bolts left of CN

About 10m left of the large ground level block next to 'Left Wing' is a short slabby wall with the following routes.

Left juggy side of the steep slab. Trend up slabs past tree and more slabs to top.

FA: Phil Stallard, I. Dymock & I. Jones, 1979

10m left of SI. Up steep wall.

FA: Dave McGrouther & Phil Stallard (solo), 1979

2m left of AY. Straight up wall on good holds.

FA: Phil Stallard & Dave McGrouther, 1979

6m left of TM at tree growing out of crack. Straight up crack and overhang above.

FA: Phil Stallard (solo), 1979

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