Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ACT Rock Climbing

After watching your elected MP's behaving badly during Question Period at Parliament House, you'll undoubtedly feel like going out and doing something eminently sensible like rock climbing. Luckily, there is plenty of that around the ACT. There is a printed guide, although it is most likely severely out of date, but, you can also get by with some pdf guides available off the web from the Canberra Climbers Association.

Booroomba climbing

The first place we went was Snake Rock. This is a little crag accessible along the Corin Road that is well developed and seems very popular. We walked in one morning after a couple of days of very heavy rain and found about a dozen other people scattered about the various areas. Most of the climbs were wet, some very wet, so we were a little limited in what we could climb, but, we did a few good routes. Mostly well protected sport routes on new ring bolts and easy to set top-ropes on many climbs, but, the routes are pretty short. We also checked out Bandito Wall, which is also accessible from the Corin Road, but all the climbs there were very wet and even a wee bit slimy looking. There is good camping nearby in Woods Reserve and also some nice bushwalks.

Heading down to the abseil anchors at Booroomba Slabs

Our next stop was Booroomba Rocks in Namadgi National Park. Again, really nice camping nearby at Honeysuckle Creek but beware of bogans on weekends. It's a bit of a walk in to reach the climbing area. You take the tourist track up to Booroomba Ridge then, depending on where you are climbing, abseil or scramble down to the bottom of the big granite slabs on the north side of the ridge. We opted to abseil in using fixed stations on the route Melmoth. We had a seventy metre rope which enabled us to reach the ground from the second set of rappel rings. With a shorter rope, you'll come up short and have to downclimb grade 11ish slabs. Mostly the slabs are clean and the climbing is good, but, read the guide carefully as there are some long run-outs on routes. After heavy rain, some of the climbs stay quite wet for many days. Good climbing, great ambiance as you are right in the lovely Namadgi National Park.

Booroomba views

Our next stop was Mount Coree where there is some awesome climbing but we faffed away half the morning trying to find the descent route which is not as shown on the pdf guide. The scramble route marked down Pretty Gully is really ugly - very bushy and difficult downclimbing, particularly with a pack. It's obvious that other climbers feel the same as there is a cut track - narrow but cut - leading across from the base of Wind Wall, but it is hard to find as you have to scramble right down past Wind Wall and plunge into the bush. Lots of great climbs here on solid rock and in a nice location up on Mount Coree. There is a camping area on the NSW side so you could easily spend a few days here. Like Booroomba Rocks, this climbing area has great ambience as you are right up on the Brindabella Range. 

Mount Coree views

We also went to Sewer Wall which has some reasonable short climbs, but, it took us two tries to find this climbing area as the instructions are so detailed yet non-specific as to be almost completely useless. The crag is right down at river level on the Molonglo River but not where the topographic map shows a crag at river level. The climbing area is about one kilometre downstream at a sharpish bend in the river and is hard to find from above. Don't try coming up the river from the water treatment plant as you'll end up swimming. The climbs are short and some are a bit broken but some locals have gone to a lot of trouble bolting routes so it is worth a day. There is a great pool below the climbs to swim in, and, if you were of a mind, the cliff shown on the topographic map has great route development potential. 

Swimming hole at Sewer Wall

There is also other granite climbing on Gibraltar Peak and Orroral Ridge but we did not visit either of those areas.

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