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TR: Tarana take two
4:32:15 PM
Tarana Take 2

It was raining on Sunday in the Blue Mountains, so we ignored the Mt Boyce turn off, carried on over the hill and came out in sunlight at Hartley - so Tarana looked like a good option. And it was - sunny but not hot, a nice breeze, and we had the whole place to ourselves.

Tarana is a bit like Jenga for Giants - not always straightforward to find your way around. The old Rock guide is quite basic and very dated now, and TheCrag information limited to a list of climbs. As we expect to spend a lot of time there over the next 6 months working on our granite skills, I'm going to put a bit of work into upgrading the publicly available information. Mark Colyvan (author of the Rock guide to Tarana) was kind enough to allow me to transcribe the entirety of that guide to TheCrag, which I've now done. As I get to know the area better, I'll add missing climbs, develop photo topos and bring the route descriptions up to date. And already this activity is having some effect, with a few other climbers interested in the area adding photos, topos etc - so hopefully we can bring the online guide up to date and make it a little more useful. SeeTheCrag Tarana page for its current status - anyone with anything to contribute would be very welcome :-)

We didn't get a huge amount of climbing done on Sunday, as we got there a bit late, had to leave at 4:30 to get back to Sydney at a reasonable time, and spent quite a bit of time exploring the area and finding routes. All good fun though, I love exploring new areas and getting to know them well.

We started off at the Deckout Buttress, which is a decent warm-up area with easy to find climbs. We started on Lipstick (14) which has the characteristically hard start (desperate for a 14) and then quickly eases off to a more reasonable level. We top-roped Deft (13) as it has no pro at all - it was easier, but not great, being quite dirty & lichenous. Vegetarian Special (16) next door had gone back to nature entirely, so we moved down to Kersplat (17) and gave that a mightly effort. Again, the first steep moves are very thin and tricky, and I fell off and lowered a few times from the first bolt, before sticking the move and trembling my way up easing ground to the top. I worked hard for this and felt quite pleased to have got it.

Rapping off Kersplat

We then went off on an explore - circumnavigating the Googolplex (doesn't that sound like an adventure?) past the base of the Coffin Hole gully in search of some easy trad routes. We found and admired some of the classic routes up this impressive area - mostly far too hard for us, but some (Bilbo Baggins 2001, Fuzzy Navel) we can at least aspire to one day. Many of them looked desperate, but also decidedly unpleasant, vegetated and obviously un-trafficked for years.

Steve looking for Fearnor amongst the nettles

We couldn't find Fearnor, a 60m trad grade 13, or at least we couldn't match the skimpy description to any of the impressive features we found, and weren't game to launch up into the unknown just yet. The problem with climbing the easiest climb on the cliff is that if you get off route, you are by definition getting into harder territory - and given the stout old school grading here, we didn't just want to launch. Weak sauce I know - but we had fun thrashing through the nettles and gawping at the fantastic rock features. Note to other adventurers - the nettles are lush, and happily penetrate thin shirts...

Steve admires the incredible steep curved wall where the Googolplex ends at Goog Gap. There are a couple of rusty bolts up in the middle of that incredible wall - probably an abandoned project, as I just can't imagine anyone climbing that and no description survives.

We did find Reflections, a 10m trad crack up a boulder in Goog Gap. Would actually be a very nice little climb, perfect laybacking up a #2 Camelot crack - if it weren't for the thick layer of lichen covering the wall you need to smear up. Half an hour with a wire brush would resurrect it nicely - if that were possible in a nature reserve. Who knows, maybe the wind will blow off all the lichen one day.

Reflections goes up behind the boulder and then up the shaded layback crack

So we moved on to Passionate Pleasantries (14) described as a "very good slab route". Unfortunately it too has succumbed to time, neglect, and relatively low-angle rock's tendency to collect undergrowth. Steve tried a few times to exe cute the step out of the gully onto the slab, and much hilarity ensued as great green curtains of moss rolled off underfoot, and he attempted to find solid ground under the lichen. He eventually just climbed the gully itself (grade 6 death blocks & trees) to the chains, and we toproped the climb instead, excavating the holds as we went. Actually the climb would be really nice if it was clean - we unearthed some cool solution pockets and ripples of rock that would make it a very pleasant and enjoyable climb. Someone put up a line of bolts up the extreme left hand edge of the slab as well, some of which have completely disappeared under the greenery, and installed a belay station at the P1 ledge. The lower 2 bolts on PP are okay still, the top one is a bad joke of a bolt. The anchor bolts are SS glue ins and are still sound - but the chain is a lacework of rust. A few hours with an excavator and a replacement bolt or two would pay off with a couple of really quite nice easy climbs...

Steve gives up on unearthing PP and heads up the gully blocks. The route goes up diagonally right from the bolt in line with the lower section of rope.

We completed our circumnavigation, then cut across to Crown Buttress at Goog Gully. The left wall of this gully is a blunt spur, with a very prominent dyke running down the arete of the spur. We'd climbed this last week and really enjoyed it, but haven't been able to identify it with any certaintly. It is about gr15, a classic little line straight up the arete, and has a row of quite recent SS carrots making it well protected, so I'd think almost everyone does this climb - anyone know what it is? There is another line just to the right of it, a very aesthetically pleasing slab route that joins it at the top, with 4 fixed hangers for pro. I gave this a crack, and managed to get up it with a lot of highly visible trepidation and unmanly squeaking. Really quite delicate slabbing for the first 5m, then easing as you go up, excellent route, I reckon about gr17. There is also a climb around to the left of the dyke climb, also joining the other two on the top of the spur. If anyone knows the names of these for sure, and can help me update the guide descriptions, I'd be grateful. One of them must be Blue Train, and has been retro- or re-bolted, the other two probably more recent.

Red marks the dyke route, blue the gr17? to its right, there is another bolted route just around to the left.

And that was all we had time for - back through the rain over the mountains to Sydney - great to know that Tarana can be enjoying full sun while 30 mins away it rained all day. Next time we'll go for a weekend, and mix up some easy tradding with some harder top roping to work on our slab skills - granite still feels ridiculously hard.
5:37:27 PM
Nice report.

On 19/12/2016 technogeekery wrote:

>- granite still feels ridiculously hard.

Wait till you get on Valley granite! ;-)

7:14:30 PM
The "Rockclimbs in the upper Blue Mountains" Second edition by SRC (Mark Baker on Reverse of the odds on the cover) has a few more routes in it than the Rock "Tarana" Guide.

It's saying the Dyke is... "? 15 *- dyke L of goog gully. BR & #1.5fr to BB"
Also has " Y? 21- Start L of Dyke. 4FH to BB
and "? 16- 2m R of Dyke. 2FH & Stud (needs wire) to BB

Tarana almost needs a "select best" guide... using obvious features (Like that Dyke) to describe where climbs are..
Worth Brushing and re-bolting the Classics, and letting the no star climbs fade away...

You guys should try Flog a Dog next time! Summit or nothing!
With a couple of #5-#6 Cams it wouldn't be too bad ;) the featured horizontal hand crack to get to the short off width is great! Just like the Bard at Araps, but without the roof above you..
With a belay you could probably traverse from the top of kersplat (or a route to it's left) to the anchors of the great **19 flake, and bloodbath (20**) for a top rope...
Doesn't seem like too much of a grade difference between 17 and 20 on those slabs... If scary and desperate is how a 17 there feels, at least a 19 or 20 will be scary, desperate but more well protected!

8:38:51 AM
Nice TR technogeekery - didn't know there was granite slabbing in the blueys, you've inspired me to go and check it out. Might wait till it cools down a little first though - slabs + full summer sun does not appeal so much... Might pack a dunny brush as well.

8:46:48 AM
Thanks for the TR. Am always fond of Tarana, until I get on the start of any of the climbs...
Btw, we went climbing at Boyce (Afghan Wall) on Sunday: the drizzle/mizzle cleared and it was a glorious day until about 3 when the mizzle started to move back in. We also had the place to ourselves.
10:42:33 AM
Weather:- if it's raining in the mountains due to coastal winds (easterly or southerly), often crags past Mt Vic (Cosmic County/Freezer/Dams/Wolgan/Tarana will be ok

Aspect:- Most of Tarana is a bit shady in the afternoon
1:13:47 PM
timfreddo - thanks for that - useful re Dyke area, cheers. OK, that nails down the Dyke itself, and establishes the routes either side. One of them must be Blue Train (maybe the left 21, havent tried that yet). The one to the right - some people have called this Cirdan, but original description of Cirdan says it goes up the wall to the Right of the Goog Gully, and that climb 2m to the right of the Dyke is definitely not 13 - I'd buy 16 per that description you found, and say its a tricky start for a 16. I'll leave the description in TheCrag alone for now until I get some better info.

Yes, we must get to the summit next time! :-) For sure our plan next time is to explore the Crown Buttress climbs, so Tanners Leap is a must, I'll check Flog the Dog (I have big gear so no excuses) and we can throw topropes down Nose of Love & others there. Am keen on a couple of trad cracks around the back too, and want to try some old-school chimneys and offwidths if we can throw a TR down them.
1:21:10 PM
Lingy - good stuff, that is the whole point of me writing up TRs :-)

Personally I think some scrubbing & bolt replacement would do the place a world of good - but bear in mind it is a Nature Reserve, access is delicate, and gardening is specifically prohibited.
I've written about the access issues on - discretion is the go.

11:32:21 AM
On 20/12/2016 technogeekery wrote:
>Personally I think some scrubbing & bolt replacement would do the place
>a world of good - but bear in mind it is a Nature Reserve, access is delicate,
>and gardening is specifically prohibited.

As is replacement of fixed gear, I believe.
1:11:02 PM
On 22/12/2016 wallwombat wrote:

>As is replacement of fixed gear, I believe.

True. From the guide: "there is an existing ban on new routes, brushing or cleaning existing or new routes, no “gardening” or disturbing vegetation, no marking routes, and no camping or fires in the Reserve. No new bolts may be placed, and technically re-bolting is also forbidden."

Apart from environmental concerns, there are cultural / heritage considerations, and climbing and other recreational uses are not even on the list of permitted uses, let alone priorities.

I'm sure that all visiting climbers will carefully consider their actions and use discretion to ensure minimum impact and continued access to the area....

8:56:38 PM
Nice TR! Your first one was also great. It makes me want to return and try some slabs I had issues with ages ago. Since my first attempts at Tarana, I spent a while living and climbing in Canberra so hopefully my slabbing skills have improved :)

7:55:21 AM
>True. From the guide: "there is an existing ban on new routes, brushing
>or cleaning existing or new routes, no “gardening” or disturbing vegetation,
>no marking routes, and no camping or fires in the Reserve. No new bolts
>may be placed, and technically re-bolting is also forbidden."

Gees, might as well just put a ban on climbing there as well.

9:22:42 AM
Thats kinda the idea I think..I always thought it was more a protecting and aboriginal sacred sites than an environs thing though..either way whatever the reason climbing is discouraged by the powers at be.
4:06:28 PM
Tarana has a pretty tough set of rules imposed by National Parks. The management plan can be found here: Evans Crown Management Plan

Of particular note are these priority outcomes pertaining to rock climbing (and the 2nd last point is the most appropriate):

*Manage all recreation activities in accordance with the recommendations of the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) (see Actions: Cultural Heritage). If the CMP recommends that rock climbing, abseiling and bouldering not be permitted within the reserve, commence the process of removing climbing/abseiling routes following liaison with the climbing community.

*Conduct an assessment of the environmental impacts of adventure recreation activities in the reserve. Remove rock bolts/anchors from those areas where environmental impact is deemed to be high and/or close some areas temporarily to allow regeneration.

*Monitor the environmental impact of the above-mentioned recreational activities on an an nual basis, notwithstanding the recommendations of the CHMP.

*Implement additional controls or prohibit all such activities if environmental impacts are unacceptable.

*Map / GPS all climbing routes.

*Remove all new climbing fixtures as soon as they are identified. Remove any climbing route where the rock face has been cleared of flora to facilitate access.

*Remove rock fixtures from areas where they are identified as directly impacting on Aboriginal sites, places or values. Provide interpretive and regulatory signs as necessary.

- Paul T

8:04:50 PM
Fair 'nuff.
Dr Nick
4:44:27 PM
On 19/12/2016 technogeekery wrote:

>Steve admires the incredible steep curved wall where the Googolplex ends
>at Goog Gap. There are a couple of rusty bolts up in the middle of that
>incredible wall - probably an abandoned project, as I just can't imagine
>anyone climbing that and no description survives.

I have photos of that project being bolted and attempted. I have no idea if the bolter ever finished it, but I should probably make sure he gets a copy of the pics. It'd be from about 91 or 92, so a good couple of years after Colyvan's guide. Will post here if he's cool with it. Thanks for reminding me!
Dr Nick
9:50:09 PM
Here's the intrepid new router making a strong attempt the day it was bolted. This predated the ban on new anchors to the best of my knowledge, and was over 20 years ago in any case. I think it's fairly obvious who the subject is.

10:34:52 AM
Nice one Dr Nick, cool photo! It conveys a little of how extremely hard that slab is - and it is a very aesthetic piece of rock.

According to the "intrepid new router" it was not completed, and I believe it remains a project. It was a visionary "line" - and remains a formidable problem. Given the state of the bolts, the beauty of the "wave" of granite and the restrictions imposed on Tarana generally, I'd suggest this remains a fantastic top rope challenge for those who have exceptional slabbing skills.

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