17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
Awhile ago I discovered a lovely chunk of rock on the Illawara escarpment - about 10km north of Woolongong. About 80m high and with plentiful cracks and horizontals I decided rather than dumb it down for the masses and grid-bolt it I would make it a mixed climbing adventure multi-pitch crag. The first route I did was with Macca (Stop the Bolts! - 4 pitches grade 22) and now there is around 20 individual pitches established between grades 19 and 25. Many of the routes weave around and across a series of monster roofs, that give great weather protection to most of the cliff. There is something cool about being three pitches up in a monster thunderstorm and being totally dry!
It takes about an hour drive from the CBD of Sydney (only 25 minutes from The Shire!). Access is from the top as the bottom of the hill below the cliff is private property - I have been rapping in and climbing out, however yesterday I finally found a walk-down option (from the same carpark at the top of the cliff). So after extensive exploring there is now a marked trail of only 700m to the cliff base.
The cliff gets shade after 11am, and it is amazingly breezy and cool being positioned so high up the hill. Bring a jumper - even on a hot day! Protection is generally excellent and all belays are bolted, allowing easy escape at any point and the option to do only the good pitches of some routes. The upper pitches are a bit short and sandy but worth it for the full experience.
So tradsters who always complain about the consumerism of climbing - here you go!