I'm thinking of heading to the Warrumbungles over Christmas - more specifically Belougery Spire. Has anyone climbed around there? I'm looking at easy grades anywhere between 10 and 15, nice long multi-pitch. What's the rock like? Good pro? The walk in? And also temperature comfort for that time of year if it's hot/cold? Can you camp there? Cheers Li
Hey Liane did Out and Beyond once - really good adventure. Be ready for a solid day out though, bring water, torches etc etc. Its on the east side so do-able in summer. Route finding is not too hard, obvious start stepping over a big crevice. A bit of loose rock, average for the bungles.
Have also done Out and Beyond a couple of times. On the first attempt we did it from the very bottom - a couple of (easy) pitches required to get to the "step across" on the LHS of the buttress. We ended up being benighted a pitch from the top (under the Arch). Great route though. On the second ascent we started at the Step Across. OAB has the usual assortment of loose rock and the occasional pin to let you know you are still en route.
On 22/10/2010 langles wrote:
>Have also done Out and Beyond a couple of times. On the first attempt
>we did it from the very bottom - a couple of (easy) pitches required to
>get to the "step across" on the LHS of the buttress. We ended up being
>benighted a pitch from the top (under the Arch). Great route though.
>On the second ascent we started at the Step Across. OAB has the usual
>assortment of loose rock and the occasional pin to let you know you are
>still en route.
You are not the first (nor the last), to do the non-written-up lead-in pitches, or be benighted on the route!
>I'm thinking of heading to the Warrumbungles over Christmas - more specifically Belougery Spire. Has anyone climbed around there? I'm looking at easy grades anywhere between 10 and 15, nice long multi-pitch. What's the rock like? Good pro? The walk in? And also temperature comfort for that time of year if it's hot/cold? Can you camp there? Cheers Li
Belougery by any route is a great day out, but unless you have a strong leading head then Out and Beyond is likely a sandbag for would be ascentionists of that grade, unless you like traversing over ever increasing exposure*, while running it out from a small RP, (or even further from the insitu-pin if you don't back it up), into unknown climbing around the corner.
~> It is not called Out and Beyond for fickle reasons!!
(*A strong hargs-style kindness factor here! Read you are three pitches off the deck and heading off horizontally for half a ropelength into unknown territory from thin and spaced protection, if you want the adventure factor diminished!).
Li, my advice would be to do the East Face Route first (before considering O&B), as it will allow you to become familiar with the rock quallity (actually better on EFR); allow you to get your exposure head together for it's upper pitches (you will know you are there); and all at an easier grade of 10 vs 15. To access it is also the best way to access O&B (without doing the unwritten lower pitches, but starts up a short vertical bit to a much easier ramp/gully that leads to a magic headwall location with an obvious blocky rising traverse up across it), ie access is from south (the high side) of the Spire.
Don't underestimate the easy grade long climbs in the 'Bungles. There is often plenty of air/exposure to be found on them! As an example, in my opinion the traverse on O&B at Gd15 makes the traverse half way up Sultan at Buffalo (Gd 20) seem like a walk in the park by comparison...
Dr Darks Chimney (not really a chimney at all), at Gd 6; and Vertigo at Gd 10, are both worthwhile shorter undertakings on the West side of the Spire.
To answer your other questions...
>What's the rock like?
Trachyte. Variable from bomber (the chocolate brown stuff), to mank (often the orange stuff), with the green/yellow/grey/white stuff being mostly OK, but can sometimes be quite fractured/splintery on Belougery.
Yes. Full set of wires and hexes will get you up most things on Belougery, with an occasional runout (often on easier ground).
SLCD's are nice to have but not mandatory, likewise some RP's in their mid to larger sizes.
Long slings and double ropes will make your life a lot easier, for both the wandery routes and the abseil off the top.
>The walk in?
Allow a couple of hours from Pincham carpark to the ridgeline of The Grand High Tops (above the Breadknife). It follows a yellow brick road, literally for most of its track!! From there another half hour should see you at the base of your route of choice.
>And also temperature comfort for that time of year if it's hot/cold?
Can be both.
Expect temps closer to 40 than not, as in my opinion this is more usual, however it has also been known to snow at Christmas up there!
>Can you camp there?
Camp Blackman has tourist facility camping.
Balor Hut (requires booking ahead), has bunks for sleeping 8 and is 3/4 of the way in to the climbs compared to Camp Blackman.
Wilderness camping is allowed, but most of their recommended sites have no amenities or water.
Carry water. Balor Hut often has it available, but pretty much everywhere else, and on the climbs you will need it.
There are many threads on the Warrumbungles, and a search of them will inspire you greatly.
The top of Belougery is small enough that you are aware of the drop-off on all sides, and it is not unusual to be able to look down on eagles circling below you from there!
It is a great place.
Echoing M9, OAB is fairly full-on for the grade. Once you commit to the Step Across and round-the-corner traverse, escape would not be trivial. Route finding in the middle I remember as being a little tricksy as well. Whilst I haven't done any other routes on Belougery, Cornerstone rib on Crater Bluff is excellent, not too far away, and a saner introduction to the area. You'll still need to start early!
Twice I've walked in early and done a route, ten gone back to the car as carrying camping gear in is hard work.
Did carpark to balor hut to Crater Bluff, then Cornerstone rib 915) the decended the Green galcier and continued the lop walk past Bluff Mountain and back to the carpark, about a 10 hour day with a lot of extra walking.
Did car to car Flight of the phoenix in 7 hours wheni was younger
On 22/10/2010 mikllaw wrote:
>Twice I've walked in early and done a route, ten gone back to the car as
>carrying camping gear in is hard work.
>Did carpark to balor hut to Crater Bluff, then Cornerstone rib 915) the
>decended the Green galcier and continued the lop walk past Bluff Mountain
>and back to the carpark, about a 10 hour day with a lot of extra walking.
>Did car to car Flight of the phoenix in 7 hours wheni was younger
Aye, and you think that's rough? (said in Monty Pythonesque voice)...
Why when I were a lad I did Dubbo to Dubbo including walk in and climb Lieben (onsight), in 18 hours!
~> all this pales into insignificance of course, when one considers the exploits of Kieth Lockwood and John Bowen re Melbourne-'Bungles (new route London Dockyard)- Melb in a weekend; ... ~> then later ... Kieth Lockwood (again) and Ed Neve, re Melb-'Bungles (Flight of the Phoenix, and new route Neruda)-Melb in a weekend.
Now those chaps were good examples of the climbing term 'hard men', and set bench marks that few have aspired to, let alone attained, in the pansy years of the generations since!
Walking up for a day route isn't too bad, as mentioned above, no camping gear. If you plan on doing more than one route though I'd camp up there. Balor Hut is the closest camp to Belougery. Ring the Parks to see if there is water in the tank. Also ask them if the hut gets busy at Xmas. Depends how social you want to be. I've been there in Easter and it was packed. I've also camped over near Bluff Mtn which was a great spot. We carried collapsable 20L gerrry cans each and after setting up went for a stroll round to the hut. Top spot.
Thanks for all the suggestions! Having discussed with my partner, he thinks we should go in a cooler month (he has climbed out there before - just found out!). He reckons cornerstone rib is a fun climb. Anyway, we are definitely going to check it out in the not too distant future. So we've opted for Buffalo instead - another Christmas day spent up there. I love Buffalo.