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Warrumbungle family climbing
8:47:27 AM
Hi everyone

Iím after some recommendations for climbing in the Warrumbungles with my family. My wife and girls (10 &12 year old) boulder 3 times a week and climb outdoors twice a month. We are planning a week of climbing, would probably like to do start off with some shorter easy access climbs and then try something a little more adventurous. We have loads of gear and are happy to lead easy trad routes. What are the must do climbs that can be accessed within an hour of the car? Are there any sport routes in the mid to high teen range?
One Day Hero
9:33:09 AM
This is gonna be good :)
1:18:28 PM
Yup, I was thinking the same ..

Michael, most of the climbing there is up on the range which is 1.5 hours (or more) from the car. Each way.
I seem to recall some short stuff perhaps somewhere down near the campground (no idea, I may be making this up). I also believe the peak starting with T down the other end (someone will come along soon with some actual facts) has a shorter access, but I have no knowledge of this.

I have a guidebook at home (funny coincidence, I held it in my hand yesterday afternoon) so I could look it up for you.

For background, you can read my trip report from 2007:


1:22:06 PM
Oops and sorry but the trip report got trun-cated by some historical accidents with the forum technology.
I'll see if I can resurrect it.

1:27:29 PM
I'll bite. Don't waste your time; go camping and walking.

I love adventure choss epic trad so much I went up Balougery Spire.

Then; I took the wife and kid up to Blackman's Bluff; just above camp.
F'king disaster. A bit more bush-bashing that it looks; and total/dangerous choss. Backed off some grade 14 (my 8yo was belaying) and didn't find anything inspiring that looked worth the effort.

Although - a tip - if you're going up there; walk miles down the valley (North of camp) and up to the far far L hand end of the cliff; there's a few ok climbs there that looked a little cleaner. But it was so far across from where we were (epic bushbash); it wasn't worth taking the family across.

Anyway; I checked out Canyon Cliffs and some of it looked reasonable... you might find something there; at least access is better.

2:27:37 PM
You might have more luck (and fun) at Mt Kaputar?

3:52:27 PM
Based on one trip over twenty years ago, and repeated guidebook fetishism since, I'm more than happy to answer your questions.

10-Mar-2020 mjf wrote:
>What are the must do climbs that can
>be accessed within an hour of the car?

They're aren't any. Unless you're a family of super trail runners....

>Are there any sport routes in the
>mid to high teen range?


But it's still awesome.
5:49:32 PM
Although, it might lead to a memorable experience, it won't be a fun climbing trip. Either go camping and walking or find another destination. Warrumbungles is a place of epic adventurous climbing. Requiring good skills of all in the party - it's not Arapiles!
6:08:51 PM
Thank you everyone for your candid and honest advice for the Bungles. Weíll still go, have a look around, definitely do some of the easy climbing thatís not too far away from the car.

7:47:10 AM
On 13-Mar-2020 mjf wrote:
>Thank you everyone for your candid and honest advice for the Bungles. Weíll
>still go, have a look around, definitely do some of the easy climbing thatís
>not too far away from the car.

Short easy climbing is an afterthought for the Warrumbungles, as itís not the kind of climbing there that is worth traveling for, but rather, rest day activity or family style time filler stuff.

You will still enjoy it because it is an absolutely magical place.

Although what others have said above is generally true, I have found family climbing to be okay there for trad and adventure style climbing, and reckon itíd be sad indeed if the ísport brigadeí have got their tentacles into the íbungles.

Unlike goshenís assessment my view of Blackmans Bluff differs.
Many of the routes at Blackmans Bluff (W facing cliffline just north of Camp Blackman), were put up by a father and 12 yo son team, specifically for that lad to learn the art of trad on. Routes are short (15 metres or less), but rock quality is good and more akin to quality sandstone than the trachyte predominantly found in the Ďbungles. Grades range from 6 to 15 there.
Some of the routes are pretty burly (overhanging / offwidth), but they, along with face routes there, can be easily top-roped off trad anchors if necessary.
Access is best following up the open valley to LH end of cliffline, instead of bush bashing, and then progressively doing routes by traversing right, along the base of the cliff.

Another easily accessed location, Canyon Cliffs (W side of Canyon Picnic Area) has trad routes up to 35 m, and mostly mid-high teen grades for the better lines, though thereís a few grade 8 to 12 routes there.
A note of caution at this point... Humble trad grades still require respect! - Iíve seen falls taken there by people who take the lower grades of climbing for granted!!

The Nature Track Cliffs are also easily accessible along Wambelong Nature Track from Canyon Camp; but this area has less routes and is stiffer climbing (quality high teens grades), on trachyte.

8:19:59 AM
If you and your wife are competent at leading easy trad grades with your kids belaying (climb like youíre soloing!), along with abseil descent; a grand all-day adventure well worth doing (that Iíve done with kids), would be to ascend Belougery Spire by Dr Darkís Chimney (not a chimney at all !!), Gd 6 120 m, or, If The Spirit Moveth 150 m Gd 8, but a less obvious line...

Youíll have the satisfaction of ascending a true peak that will either make or break any future climbing that your kids will do, so only consider doing it if they are up to that level of ability.
Even if you donít attempt it, go to the Grand High Tops with them as a pre-sussing hike for a return when they are up for it. Itís truly beautiful country and you wonít regret it as a family outing.

Easier (shorter) access, but equally exposed, is the Tourist Route 80 m Gd 8, on W end of Timor Rock; another true volcanic peak, located on north side of road on edge of the NP on Coonabarabran side. This is the normal down-climb descent off Timor Rock for other climbs there, but requires roping up for most people due significant consequence of a fall otherwise.

Oh, and if camping at Blackmans Camp, go for a torchlight wander spotting wildlife after dark. The Feathertail Gliders are a great family favourite!

E. Wells
11:56:29 AM
I reckon you could have a great time in one week. Just get a park pass for about 22 bucks , then park and hike up to Balor Hut. Its a great time to do it as there has been plenty of rain and the tank will be full up there. Also a very good toilet, and you could even book the hut and save weight on tents. From Balor then start up vertigo etc before tackling classics like Cornerstone rib. Your girls would walk it at that age. Just bring helmets and have fun. Basically if your prepared to camp (in a spectacular location) your good to go.
10:32:26 AM
Timor rock is a fun family scramble.
Take a short rope and some slings to winch the family up the short section of bottomless chimney (especially if it's wet)

There are 13 messages in this topic.


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