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Climbing on Carrots

Blue Mountains climbing: striking orange sandstone, soft blue haze hanging in the valley, breathtaking views, funky moves and . . . what’s that hunk of metal sticking out of the rock?
Image credit: jive-assanchors.com
If you're new to climbing you might not have come across a carrot bolt yet, but they were once ubiquitous across the Blue Mountains. While you can find ring bolts, fixed hangers and U bolts all around the world, carrots are a local specialty.
Nowadays

25 Aug 2017
Belaying Like a Boss

There's more to belaying than locking off, feeding out slack and knowing how to give a soft catch. As a belayer, part of your job is to act as a second pair of eyes for your climber. Once they leave the ground you may have a better view of some parts of the climb than they do - especially when they are pumped and strung out mid-crux.
But what exactly are you looking out for? Here are a few things to keep front of mind when you’re belaying:
Leg behind the rope
This is of

27 Jul 2017
Blue Mountains Winter Climbing: Chasing the Sun

Winter Climbing in the Blue Mountains 
We are fortunate to be able to climb year-round in the Blue Mountains. A big part of what makes this possible is the sheer number of crags with different aspects, different angles and different levels of exposure to the wind. In the summer we seek out shady caves in gullies that catch the afternoon breeze, and in the winter we flock to sun-soaked crags to enjoy the golden winter light.
Here are some of our favourite winter sun-traps for

29 Jun 2017
The sticky question of cam care

Climbing School instructor Hugh Ward writes about managing your jammed cams
Have you ever started leading with a trad rack, only to find part way up a climb that your cams are so poorly maintained that you get pumped out just operating the trigger?
Perhaps you've had a similar experience removing gear when seconding?
Well if this is the case, you're not alone. I too have felt this pain, and walked to the very brink of despair trying to resolve it! Hopefully this post can

20 Jan 2017
Blue Mountains: When to Climb?

The short answer is: anytime!  One of the great things about the Blue Mountains is that you really can rock climb year round.  It's all about knowing where to go.
The longer answer is that prime climbing conditions are in the shoulder seasons (March - May and September-November).  This is when you're most likely to find those stellar days of crisp, cool air, clear skies, flawless friction and fine temperatures that mean you can climb wherever you want without hiding from the rain

1 Nov 2016
Wolgan Valley
Mixed Climbing: Blue Mountains-style

When most people think of mixed climbing they think of crampons, ice axes, rock and ice.  Mixed climbing in the Blue Mountains serves up something a little different . . .
On your harness is a selection of trad gear, bolt plates and quickdraws.  You’re squinting into the distance trying to spot a trad placement or a carrot bolt.  Maybe you’re run out on sandy rock, standing on a shrub and calling down to your belayer to check if you’re on the right route.  Welcome to mixed

11 Oct 2016
Would You Ever Free Climb?

Yes, we would! In fact, we do. We love free climbing. We free climb at every opportunity. Which often surprises people. What we don’t do is free-solo. Do you know the difference?
Most of the time when people ask if we free climb, they actually mean ‘do you free-solo?’  Free-soloing is climbing up cliffs without a rope. Recently, climbers like Alex Honnold have become household names (in some households!) for their superhuman feats of free-soloing, climbing

13 Sep 2016
Top Rope, Sport or Trad: Which is right for you?

One of the most common questions people ask us here is ‘what’s the difference between top rope, sport, traditional climbing?’
When you’re new to climbing it can feel like travelling to a new country where everyone is speaking a foreign language.
Today we’re going to translate three of the most popular styles of climbing in Australia: top tope, sport and traditional climbing.
Top rope climbing
Top rope climbing is the style of climbing you

16 Aug 2016
Vertical Survival Skills Course

Self-Rescue 1 with Simon and Monique
Simon and Monique are back again with stories from their Self Rescue 1 Course…
Not long after the Indoor to Outdoor Conversion course, we scrounged up some money and invested in some outdoor climbing gear. Between our uni and work commitments, days at the crag were less frequent than we’d hoped. I’m sure we are not alone in this sentiment - I think most get to the crag less frequently than they’d like. We made the most

26 May 2016
New Blue Mountains Climbing Guide Book

The long-awaited 2015 edition of the Blue Mountains Climbing Guide has arrived!
As always, the new edition is packed with glossy photos and photo-topos, colour-coded crag guides and more new routes than you can poke a nut tool at.  It also has two handy indexes at the back, where you can find routes grouped alphabetically and by grade.
Of special interest to sport climbers heading outdoors for the first time, you can now add The Soft Parade to your sport climbing map, along

10 Dec 2015