Lindfield Clean and Climb Day – 18 Aug 2019

Sixteen keen bods turned up for the first clean and climb day. The first 90 minutes were spent hunting sparse rubbish. We got about 3 big bags of rubbish, a pallet, 10kg of tiles, and a few syringes.

This was run as a satellite Clean Up Australia event which gave us gloves, bags, a first aid kit, and helped with the council picking up our pile’o’crap at the end.

Then we broke out the climbing shoes and toproped or bouldered our way to glory till pizza arrived at 1am.

Many thanks to all that helped to keep our park clean. We hope to make this a regular event.

Trip Leader: Michael Law.

Photos by Jeff Crass

Berowra Trip Report – 20 July 2019

A perfect winter’s day with warm temperatures and lots of sun at Berowra on Saturday 20 July 2019. 24 members attended and 2 very small future members – which made some routes very busy, particularly as there were many other non-club climbers at the crag. Fortunately there are a lot of intermediate grade sport routes spread out across the crag to give everyone something to climb.

We started a the southern end and tackled some crag classics on the bullet hole wall – including Mental Fatigue (18), Fox Sox Pox (18) and IGMC (19). A little further down Wall Thing (19), Boundary Rider (18) and a new route called Wee Gully (17) which was a little strange with so many ledge fall potentials. Although it would be a perfect climb to learn cleaning an anchor as you can stand on a large ledge 1.5 metres below the lower offs.

Some also top roped Kenneth’s Climb (14) whilst Andrew McPherson made his first trad lead on the tricky crack and did an excellent job with placing protection. Karen also did a lead on this and kept a cool head at the upper layback to the anchors.

Luv Handles (20), Yesterday’s Heroes (17), Palm Sunday (21) and Glamorpus (24) were also done by various folks whilst trekking between either end of the crag.

Later in the day there was a non-club crew hanging about around Ladder of Gloom and with no chance to get space we headed up to Pimple Buttress. I believe Andrew Stevenson, Matt Short and others already had completed Savage Cabbage (19), Stone Grotties (16), the Ladder of Gloom (19) and with Andrew’s reach, the Ladder of Death (22).

I was stoked to redpoint Pimple (20) with a bolt at the roof then cams through the crack. We also did the new route A (17/18) which was strange at the start and then easy above the roof. Sean Maguire turned up after work and managed to squeeze in a few routes around this area including Look Blue Go Purple (18) and It’s For You (16).

Photos: Jeff Crass

Bonnet Bay Club Trip – 15 June 2019

This month Paul took us to Bonnet Bay, a small crag with a 20 second (yes, second) walk in (ok it was uphill but still!). Bonnet Bay offers a great range of shorter sport climbs and can cater to most climbers with sport grades from 15-27. The crag is family friendly with a nice flat areas at the base ideal for picnic rugs and keeping the kids entertained, most climbs can be accessed from the top in case you need to rap in to clean.

The trip drew a good crowd and we had ropes up along a good selection of the cliff line. The Chimney (15 with a tough crux), The Jungle book (15), Mowgli (18), Burning Shells (17) and Kim (21) were especially popular and a few took on the challenges of Between the Lines (23) and Lean Beef (24). Heavy Haulage will have to wait until next time!

Bangor West Club Trip on May 19

The Rockies has a very large turnout last Sunday to Bangor West with 25 participants attending. Mikl and Jeff took the opportunity to demonstrate a few important skills such as changeover/cleaning a sport anchor. As you can see by the photo there was much interest

The more popular climbs were attempted – Python (17), Andrew’s Bulge (16), Zip (18), Chicanery Crack (13), Nananapper (14), Zulu Trainer (13), Reno (17), The Whorl (17), Fixed Steps (19). A rarely climbed but quirky Sandstorm (20) was attempted and of course the test piece Lucky’s Roof (20) saw more than a few laps

A special mention for the team that worked on The Whorl. With a particularly bouldery start, this attracted quite the peanut gallery to laugh, clap and provide unsolicited advice – such as “use the tree”, “pull with your hamstrings” and “the hold is just behind your head”

Mount Gibraltar Club Trip – 13 Apr 2019

The unseasonably warm year continued into April 2019. Luckily on the Saturday there were some scudding clouds giving temporary relief from the sun.  Mount Gibraltar has a high elevation (at 863m thus is cooler) and is located near Mittagong, the rock type is called Mount Gibraltar Trachyte, thus closer to a granite style for climbing. Our trip to Mt Gibraltar focussed on the climbs at the Slab Walls.

Jeff arrived early that morning and prepared the descent ramp with extra hand line ropes. Geoff briefed the amassed crew numbering 20. Care was required on the descent ramp mainly to ensure no one dislodged any small stones.

The climb many people were interested in on the day was; The Very Easy Route (5 pitches, 110m, Grade 13). The many variations in and out of this climb (including shared belays) ensured a very busy afternoon on the slabs.

Slab Dash (1 pitch, 15m, Grade 12) was a popular starting point for the beginners. A single pitch to lower offs therefore a place to practice delicate foot work.

The more experienced groups were directed to other warm up climbs (including “Team Daddy’s Day Off” with Matt & Paul); On the Shoulders of Giants (with extension to the descent rope bolts, 20m, Grade 15) & Paved with Good Intentions (1 pitch, 15m, Grade 17).

After these warm ups a number of the beginner parties decided to climb Barking Knuckles (3 pitches, 60m, Grade 13) as their first foray into sport multi-pitching. This climb provides a gentle introduction where it is possible (with care) to escape to the descent ramp at each of the belays.

The lunch stop at the top of the crag allowed everyone to refuel and drink water (it is very easy to get dehydrated on the slabs) then it was back down the descent ramp to climb; The Very Easy Route (5 pitches, 110m, Grade 13). A number of the pitches can be combined by more experienced parties (i.e. pitches 1+2 and 4+5) but with beginner groups the full value of the 5 pitches allows the leader to keep an eye on their second(s) at all times.

Other climbs highly recommended and climbed on the day included:

  • Mad Dogs and Englishmen (Pitch 1, 20m, Grade 16) particularly now with the new lower offs.
  • Gripping Yarn (3 pitches 95m, Grade 16) for added value this climb was bolted on lead, thus a few spicy but easy runouts.
  • Here Be Dragons (4 pitches 70m, Grade 18) a new climb, so watch for loose holds.
  • Blood Magic (4 pitches 70m, Grade 17) also a new climb sharing some sections of Here Be Dragons.
  • Road Less Travelled (2 pitches, 60m, Grade 19) this will test your slab technique.
  • Nintendo 64 (3 pitches, 70m, Grade 17) Jeff’s birthday climb (guess why) new & possibly a bit of a sandbag.

Later in the day a Special guest appearance with one of the local crag developers – Matt Tranter and his son – witnessing what he described as “The Great Sydney Migration of 2019” as there was at one point 16 people all heading towards, at or moving away from a single belay point. Clearly this was one of the busiest days for the crag but made for a very fun social day out.

Everyone’s toes were feeling it by the end of the day (well that will teach you to wear your tightest climbing shoes on slabs!), ah the joys of acquiring a new ‘skill’ slab climbing.

The weather was near perfect and the last climbers finished at 5.30pm, yes, a long day out, but an enjoyable and successful day climbing and meeting like-minded people, what more can you ask.

Report: Jeff Crass with additional comments from Geoff Cooper

Photos: Jeff Crass, Slava Lipovskyi, Ev Ok, Andrey Moskalev

Mt Kuring-gai Club Trip

Nine climbers plus two trip leaders climbed the Lost and Found wall at Kuring-gai Chase National Park on 9 March 2019. The group came with a variety of experiences doing both trad and sports climbs. We had a lovely 26 degree day looking over Berowra waters. We had the Crag to ourselves the whole day. A little rain cooled the place down in the afternoon, followed by a little more rain. Some found shelter in a cave with the popular two star climbs **Woken Furies grade 18 and **STW grade 20. Even with the wet the day turned into a great fun climbing day.

Rebolting Update – March 2019

The SRC Rebolting Fund has had a busy month since it’s relaunch. Using the new hefty stash of bolts and glue the main work has centred around the Blue Mountains.

One of the main aims of this fund is to make sure the busiest crags in NSW are equipped as best as can be. No point wasting money rebolting obscure routes that no one does. So the first stop is probably the busiest small crags in NSW – the mighty Dam Cliffs. It’s a slightly odd place for bolts, with a mix of old and new bolts and even some attempts at rebolting done about 15 years ago that were not very good. Most people are probably under the assumption that any hanger-less bolts at this crag were glue-in bolts. This was proved wrong in a big way when rebolting began. There were some alarming short bash-ins still remaining on hyper popular routes in the Steep Wall. Some even popped out with a twist of fingers – no tools required! 5 routes were rebolted on this Steep Wall, there are no longer any carrots or spinning hangers in this sector. There are plenty of more bolts to fix at this crag in the future.

Atlantis crag has had four routes rebolted ready for the cooler winter months. There will be more rebolting to do here over the next year.

A cracked ringbolt at Boronia was also replaced – and the bolt will be sent for analysis by the UIAA. It was a homemade ring that appeared to be welded incorrectly. Scary to think about where else these bolts were placed.

Celebrity Crag has had two routes rebolted. The bolts removed were some of the very very worse ever seen. Held in with silicon sealant and hiding heavy corrosion and no welding on the ring. Absolute deathtraps now replaced with 3 tonne rated rings. After rebolting work done there last year (8 routes) this is now one of the best mid-grade sport crags in the Bluies. Put it on the top of your list if you haven’t visited yet. Fort Rock nearby has also had a refresh after John Smoothy requested it be rebolted before his passing a few years ago.

Railway Cliffs got rebolted last year and is now a great spot for the hotter months (funded outside of SRC). Later this year it is hoped that major rebolting work can begin at Bowens Creek and Logan Brae – both crags have a lot of spinning ringbolts.

After a big social media push we collected more than $1500 of donations – although a fair bit of that was from one generous SRC member. Please tell your friends to donate to this cause – bolts are expensive, about $10 each and there is no shortage of work to be done.

Phegans Bay Club Trip

On a warm summer Saturday 16 Feb 2019, we had a group of 15 people visit Phegans Bay crag near Woy Woy on the Central Coast. It’s a 45min-1hr drive north of Sydney and the best features of this crag are a 5min walk from the car, an easy decent down a short gully and importantly a south-east facing wall which is shady all day. Often non-climbers use the track around this area to get an amazing view over Brisbane Water to Woy Woy, Ettalong and Umina.

For my first Rockies event as trip leader, I wanted to organise a day for people who had limited or no outdoor climbing experience. It was great to see so many new faces and all the participants were very keen on having a great day and keeping safe. Fortunately, I had a co-leader in Jeff Crass who expertly setup top rope anchors and helped observe the group to ensure that no one got into trouble. He also showed his old school method of stick clipping a carrot bolt with a wire – particularly useful for some routes with an early crux.

Nestor had some notable sends leading Sharon Stone and the wide-ish trad crack Mohamed. Stingray and HS are also nice sport climbs on this wall. Most of the group climbed 3 routes on the Roundabout buttress – Knife Edge, R and the ungraded Q (Jeff set the standard by climbing this in approach shoes). Later in the day we setup 3 routes called U, V & W further down the crag which are reasonably bolted – although maybe not spaced perfectly for first-time lead climbers.

I hope to return to this crag again in the future as it provides a nice contrast to the nearby west-facing Berowra and Mount Kuring-gai crags. I’m also looking forward to seeing this crew join us at future Rockies club trips.

Geoff Cooper

Thanks to Jeff Crass and Richard Ly for providing the photographs