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TR: Bung Crag

Big G
12:37:48 PM
A couple of months ago Rod Wills posted about a new crag out west in the bush somewhere. It sounded exciting and adventurous. I persuaded a few friends that a camping trip out to the Newnes State Forest was in order and last weekend we finally made it out there.

Friday night, after a cracking feed in the Apple Bar at Bilpin, we finally rolled into the Western car park as described on Crag. Camp was struck quickly and festivities commenced. Morning broke and we made the short but steep descent to the Pagoda Environs to begin climbing. Rod had warned me that there might be a bit of loose rock and he was spot on. Still we learned quickly to tread lightly and quickly polished off the routes one after another. The climbing was far from classic but it was a good area to get some laps in and for one of the party to expereince leading for the first time. It is a beautiful spot with a great atmosphere, a bit like Dam Cliffs but without the piles of poo ticket and hordes of people. The fires have been through here and the regrowth is kicking in with lots of flourescent green ferns. Having polished off every route in the area we were about to head off to another wall before the heavens opened. It was brief but enough to kill off climbing for the day.

Festivities got into full swing and went a long way to explain the late start. We broke camp and drove down to the lookout and Diesel Wall. You will need a proper 4wd to get all the way down and we also found a saw and 3 former rugby forwards quite handy to clear a path through the fallen trees.

At Diesel Wall we encountered some horrible rock but also some much better climbing. The fire has caused a bit of damage here but the harder graded climbs seem relatively clean and the rock is much less friable. A showere had us cursing the late start as we moved to the very end of the wall and started on some of the more inspiring lines. Just as it cleared and we ventured out of the cave to start again a large and ferocious storm forced a hasty retreat. Classic Blue Mountains weather had us pinned down with heavy rain, hail and incessant lightning. The dash back to the car was still a hairy one even if the rain had passed.

So is this crag worth the trip? It is in a great area and makes for an adventurous feeling weekend. The climbing we sampled was not stellar but there is a good mix of grades and a few different sectors to try out so I'm not prepared to write it off completely. Next time I might bring a rack and try the epic looking lines on the Far Side wall, fingers crossed the rock is a bit better.
Mr Powermutant
8:09:40 PM
Big up to the Wills for reviving an area deserving of more attention.

Duang Daunk
8:55:53 PM
On 23/04/2014 Mr Powermutant wrote:
>Big up to the Wills for reviving an area deserving of more attention.

You obviously like low angled bolted choss.
Damien Gildea
10:57:39 PM
I was there the same day as Gareth, the OP (Gareth, it was me and my friend you showed the guide pages to, thanks!).

It's a nice and interesting area, different to other Blueys crags, and worth a visit and some more new routes.

But I really thought it was over-bolted, something like 5 rings in a 13m climb? It really spoiled it, for me, so I wouldn't go back there and do routes like that. I don't mind a few bolts but it just seemed overkill.

And over-graded, IMO. Science Friction and F Marks The Spot both two grades too high, especially with so many bolts. No wonder beginners get confused and have epics on old classics.

I like the pagoda style areas, so I don't mind the breaking plates and edges. The top of the actual Pagoda block is pretty wild for huge plates though!

1:21:45 AM
Try vwills rather than rwills climbs next time you are there. I am seldom accused of placing too many bolts. However to be fair to the boys, the shorter routes, to keep you off the ground in the event of snappage do need bolts fairly close together. Maybe not slabs with 3 point contact so much, but if people are leading at their limit they may be very grateful. I was attentively belaying a friend at a different crag on a climb (not one of mine) which was a little run out between 4th and 5th bolt, he fell with rope out when about to clip the 5th bolt when a foothold snapped and I pulled him up about 30cm from the ground, having taken in an armful of rope and sitting down.

Having just left kalymnos I have grown very soft and was heard to remark today at a crag on Crete how far apart and scary the bolts were :)
7:56:35 AM
On 23/04/2014 Damo666 wrote:
>I like the pagoda style areas, so I don't mind the breaking plates and edges.

I thought this region to be a very environmentally sensitive area.

If one must climb on the pagodas, could you at least put your feet right inside the corners so as not to result in 'breaking plates and edges'.
Damien Gildea
8:58:27 AM
I wasn't clear. I've never broken off any such edges or plates, anywhere, and would not normally climb up one of these pagoda features if I was going to be breaking off big bits.

On top of The Pagoda itself the plates are huge and just lying around and I don't think anyone has broken them off via climbing. It's those plates that I was referring to. There is/was a 'fixed' rope part-way up the pagoda and someone mentioned possibly Scouts or others have been doing stuff there?

On these short routes I mentioned above, the edges *are* a bit friable, some of the 'jugs' might actually be pretty weak and small bits have clearly broken off via climbing, though not necessarily any more than any other Blueys area. eg. Tom Thumb has a large number of very small edges that have clearly been broken off climbing.

We scoped out some other potential routes, including others on The Pagoda, that are more regular Blueys rock and not so plated or weak. I think walking around the general area on recovering flora might be more of an issue?
10:06:10 AM
On 24/04/2014 Wollemi wrote:
>I thought this region to be a very environmentally sensitive area.
>If one must climb on the pagodas, could you at least put your feet right
>inside the corners so as not to result in 'breaking plates and edges'.

You haven't seen the size of his feet...
11:06:49 AM
Took a visit out there recently with my partner who climbs in those grades and she loved it, cheers Vwills for developing an area for those that dont climb 20+ and need to get some mileage up.

12:21:57 PM
Glad you enjoyed it Matt...did you head into the valley proper to get on some of the higher graded routes that Ness & Dave put up?..also plenty of potential for harder long routes on the other side of he creek
3:28:10 PM
I was lucky enough to get a tour of bung. It is an extensive area, so I would recommend heading along with someone that has been there previously. I was put on some excellent routes there, defiantly some notable 19s I would love to jump on again.

There are 11 messages in this topic.


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