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Beginners Crags?

10:04:55 AM
Where have the beginners crags gone?

I used to climb a lot (back when I was a lot younger and lighter, and in a different country). When I had small kids I [stupidly] let it become an excuse to slow right down. I've still got my gear and use it a bit, but I don't know the lay of the land here like I did "back home".

Now that my kids are a bit older and they're interested in climbing, I want to take them out to some easy crags. Sure, I know learning to climb in the gym is great, but I have some problems with climbing in the gym.

1. I'm cheap. I have the gear so a day at the crags is free whereas 4 of us in the gym is not.
2. My kids love the gym, but struggle finding holds on real rock. They only climb somewhere around grade 11-12, so I'm not really surprised. Especially when all the crags list 16-17 as beginner and anything graded 11 is described as a "dirty dark corner". Wow, that sounds inviting to introduce a climber (especially a kid) to the love of climbing.

The Warrumbungles look great for this if you live anywhere near Coonabarabran. Arapiles has so many climbs that you should find some low lever climbs scattered in there somewhere.

Where are the beginner crags - the ones that inspire people to want to keep doing this? Where can I find a CLEAN climbing area with 2-3 grade 11-12 climbs and 5-6 grade 13-15 climbs that kids and other beginners can learn to love climbing on? I'm in Sydney, so my direct interest is around the Sydney area, but I'm sure this question applies to the whole country.
10:40:26 AM
Barrenjoey - range of routes, range of grades, great views, lovely bushland, get some fush and chups on the way home near the ferry wharf. Walk up to the lighthouse with the kids for a jaunt for more wonderful views.

10:52:38 AM
Mt Alexandra at Mittagong would have to be one of the most beginner friendly crags I can think of that roughly fits that description. And it's only an 75 - 90 minute drive from Sydney depending on where you live.

The grades are a bit higher than the 11-12 you're after, but since they are bolted sport climbs the 12 - 15 range don't fit the mega choss death description you're worried about it's a good trade off.

It has a short walk in from the Mt Alex car park. 4-5 minutes walk-in.

Top ropes are easy to setup by someone with a bit of abseiling experience.

And I'd say one of the best things about it being a beginner crag is that you can talk climbers that are climbing grade 22-26 into going as there is quality stuff in that range. Handy if you want a bunch of top ropes setup for the kids quickly.
One Day Hero
1:56:26 PM
On 1/09/2013 snowkiwi wrote:
>Where are the beginner crags - the ones that inspire people to want to
>keep doing this?

There aren't. You and your kids need to get inspired to get better. Sorry, but N.S.W. sandstone in particular doesn't really do good gr11 climbing.

E. Wells
2:22:13 PM
Warrambungles for sure hehehe!!!! There are some topropable slabs at New York. A nice 50mtr grade 8 at Mt Piddington. At those grades you can build top ropes on all sorts of cliffs, just take some time. Spend a day or two looking around, no ropes nothing , just looking around hiking.

3:05:05 PM
On 1/09/2013 snowkiwi wrote:
>Arapiles has so many climbs that you should find some low lever climbs
>scattered in there somewhere.

You're kidding right? Arapiles is littered with so many perfect beginner climbs (of all styles) it'll take you years to tick them all! I know you're based in Sydney but if you want your kids to get addicted take them there for a few days and they'll never want to leave!
4:36:50 PM
The Soft Parade up at Mt York sounds like what you're looking for.

Click here for the guide.

Dr Nick
7:06:17 PM
Probably a bit too easy, but there are a few fun easy routes right out at the tip of Wahroonga Rocks. Look for a council installed seat, then there a couple of SS glue in carrots nearby that can be used for toproping. A nice easy grade 5ish ramp, and grade 8ish corner, and a grade 10 wall going left to right. All about 8-10m. There's also an easy romp back on the main cliff which wanders about a bit before popping out through a hole in the rock. That's about 20m right of where the council installed chain fences pop you out on the main cliff, looking in at the cliff. Very easy except for the last move, which isn't too bad. Maybe 6ish?

7:42:02 PM
We just bolted a bunch of easy stuff at slab world which are fun enough and easy on the main wall right side

Also if taking kids out Lindfield rocks for top roping.

salty crag
8:08:53 PM
Totally agree with sabu. Got a new young climber in our group and he is working his way through the large list of 2 and 3 star classics under grade 15 and loving it, he has enjoyed climbing gym's and our local woody's but now that he's been to the mount he wants me to take him there every day off. Get your kids there asap.

8:16:17 PM
Hey Snowkiwi

Happy Fathers Day

How old are your kids?

Which end of Sydney are you?

Mount Boyce fits your description. I've also found the younger kids like it when you belay from the top.

You've mentioned how cheap you are but the Blue Mountains guide book will cost less than a trip to the Gym. There's plenty of easier trad climbs in there that aren't filthy. I've a theory that the little kids favour crack climbs as they don't have to reach for the holds.

Another theory of mine (and a few others) is that they enjoy it more with other kids around.

9:11:38 PM
Hey, thanks for all the advice, guys.

I'd actually not thought of top-roping them from above making a difference, but I can see why it might. I've definitely found soloing up next to them for "on the spot" beta helps!

And much as Araps are on the list, I can't justify it yet - maybe when it starts cooling down after summer.

I'm in Ryde and the kids are just entering their teens, so I figure this is as good a time as any to really try and set the hook in for a love of climbing. I might head to Barrenjoey in a couple of weeks - next 2 weekend are already full :(. Then probably Slab world and on to Boyce & Piddo sounds like a plan.

Thanks again.

7:05:11 AM

No worries. Sent you a PM with more input.
12:52:59 PM
Hay mate, my kids love the dam cliffs. Great little routes and a safe area at the base. Mt piddington around hope and faith, and further around at hocus pocus are also pretty good.

And the bigK is also pretty good
6:49:07 PM
Taking my kids to araps last week of sept (vic school hols). Worth it.
7:24:50 PM
On 1/09/2013 snowkiwi wrote:
>Where have the beginners crags gone?
>The Warrumbungles look great for this if you live anywhere near Coonabarabran.
>Where are the beginner crags - the ones that inspire people to want to
>keep doing this? Where can I find a CLEAN climbing area with 2-3 grade
>11-12 climbs and 5-6 grade 13-15 climbs that kids and other beginners can
>learn to love climbing on?

Warrumbungles as a beginner crag?
Sure tehy are inspirational, but I think you need to wake up to the reality of multipitch wandery routes that have plenty of choss.

8:17:11 PM
boyce and piddo have some good stuff in that grade range, and dam cliffs for those hotter days have a few too, along with some harder ones that you could easily top rope for them..

but i would be using them as a build up to a week or two at araps..
i got sick of driving from newy to araps, so i sold up and moved here :D
2:14:40 PM
I posted about this on a different thread, the closest spot to me is Barrenjoey, which I'm aiming on going to this weekend to do some top roping.

We also just got back from Nowra last weekend where we hit up 'The Lair'. It's an awesome spot for the returning/new climber. Firstly it's child friendly, you have to bush bash up a hill to the cliff rather than ab' in. Secondly it has lots of low grade routes, perfect for getting you r skills back up. It was well bolted too.

5:17:07 PM
Lol. I'd love to chuck it in and move to Natimuk. Sadly those days are a few years past...and a few years away. Still I can't complain.

And I'm only going by what the guides say about Warrambungles - I guess I didn't read between the lines, especially if there's not a lot of traffic there.

Looks like the plan is Soft Parade for Starters, with BarrenJoey, the Dams, Piddo and Boyce all competing for time after that. I'll happily head back to Nowra for a weekend too - throw in a bit of snorkelling in Jervis Bay and we'll all be stoked.

6:36:28 PM
Barrenjoey is a great entry level crag, just watch the kids on the boulder beneath jezabel, carrie bradshaw etc

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There are 24 messages in this topic.


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