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