Blackheath Highway Bypass

There is a proposal to upgrade the Great Western Highway between Katoomba and Lithgow. Most of the upgrade is to increase the number of lanes, but for Blackheath there are a few options:
1. Duplicate existing road
2. Outer bypass (crag impact)
3. Western bypass
4. Long and short tunnel options

The Outer Bypass option will impact the Centennial Glen and Shipley crags and our climbing community need to provide feedback to avoid this option being selected.

Have your say by filling out the feedback form by 16 December on https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/great-western-highway/katoomba-to-lithgow/index.html

Club Trip to Heathcliff Crag on 31 Aug 2019

Although it was foggy at Blackheath the crag was dry and there was no wind. The maximum temperature during the day was 8 degrees, great for sending plus we had the crag all to ourselves.
Heathcliff is a remote-feeling tall cliff with a great combination of long single pitch routes and short multi-pitches.
Contrary to a number of aspirants it didn’t rain so without the weather nervous our group walked in efficiently and we had the time to check out the climbs at Celebrity Crag, towards a future trip.
The walk is scenic, good lookouts, steep in part, and fairly complex but no one was lost, the importance of a smaller climbing group.
Climbing gems completed included; Fake Blood (18), Bad Blood (19), Chip off the Old Block (19) and the multi-pitch The Rift (19). Climbers were all very busy, there was no lunch break, just snacking on the go.
The weather was actually great and we finally arrived at the car park at 5.00pm, a longish day, really enjoyable with a group of like-minded climbers.

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