1 August 2010

Bouldering in Canberra?

| Pommy bastard
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Does anyone know of any decent bouldering areas in or around Canberra? I’ve just been scanning some old snaps of me bouldering on Dartmoor, and in Cornwall (UK), and thought it may be nice to get out with a pair of boots to drag my aging carcase up some easy routes.

I’ve been to the indoor walls, and while I enjoy them greatly, it’s always a hassle with my shifts and finding a regular partner. So a nice easy low level bouldering venue would be a plus.

I’ve seen the alleged bouldering on Orroral ridge and other areas of the Brindies, but they are far too chossy and derelict since the bushfires to be safe or appealing for a day on one’s own.

Any clues guys and gals?

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BlocHaus Bouldering Canberra in Fyshwick opens in March 2017.


Pommy bastard7:58 am 04 Aug 10

Just found this guide!


Pommy bastard7:13 am 04 Aug 10

Heading out to check some of the Cooleman ridge problems today, if the fog clears.

Many thanks to all

I just spent too much cash and 2 weeks building the ultimate bouldering lair in my garage. ANyone know where I can get some reasonably priced holds / anyone pulling apart a woodie and want to sell some or swap for beer etc??

Also I have heard rumors of a boulder up on black mountain. Has anyone been / is it worth a go?

plausibly_deniable4:07 pm 02 Aug 10

I’ve not been there yet but there are apparently some good granite boulders out near Captains Flat:


Pommy bastard said :

A slight diversion if I may? This thread, as it has the topic of rock climbing has initiated in some mystical way adverts of a related nature. One of them “meet rock climbing singles” offers to introduce me to lovely attractive blonde young ladies with an interest in climbing….

While I am not in the market for a romantic liaison right now, maybe I should click the ad and see if any of these attractive single women folk wanna go climbing?

Pommy bastard1:04 pm 02 Aug 10

A slight diversion if I may? This thread, as it has the topic of rock climbing has initiated in some mystical way adverts of a related nature. One of them “meet rock climbing singles” offers to introduce me to lovely attractive blonde young ladies with an interest in climbing. The funny thing is, in the 30 + years I’ve been involved in climbing, I’ve never noticed a surfeit of unattached pretty blonde young lady climbers at all, let alone some who would like to be introduced to geriatric poms.

In fact Riot Act seems to be festooned at times with adverts offering to introduce (presumably) the male reader to stunning and sexy young females who, for reasons best known to themselves (psychopathic tendencies?) are unable to meet unattached men.

I wonder when this phenomena occurred. In my young(ish) free and single days (1975-2001) I couldn’t find attractive young women who would even talk to me, let alone some who were just an e-mail away and gagging for my company.

Funny old world.

Thanks HC and Larry BTW.

hey check out the canberra climbers site. up the back of chapman there are several boulders that have some good lines on them. they are much closer to the city that black range or orroral and are good fun! canberra climbers has directions there.

Holden Caulfield10:01 am 02 Aug 10

The rocks near the car park at the end of Apollo Road, adjacent to the old tracking station site, might suit your needs.

Pommy bastard7:46 am 02 Aug 10

Chris, there has been long and fierce debate about bolting in Cornwall, and on most UK crags, as there is an emphasis on “Traditional” or “Adventure” climbing.

Long and detailed article here if you are interested enough. http://www.javu.co.uk/Climbing/Articles/CornishBolts/index.shtml

I must admit I’ve never seen an “overbolted” Aussie route yet(not that I’ve seen many routes!)

But chipping is, or should be, an anathema to any climber.

ConanOfCooma8:04 pm 01 Aug 10

jumanji said :

So, do have this right, is ‘bouldering’ a Pommy word for rock climbing?

Actually, Bouldering is quite a commonly known term, even outside of “climbing” circles.

It’s something I’ve recently taken an interest in, as I am a coward when it comes to heights.

No worries.

It bloody well should be heresy here too. I reckon most of the climbers you ask would be against it.

My guess is because of how Cooleman ridge is so close to the suburbs and easy access, it attracts the kind of traffic who are less concerned about ethics.
One particular set of manufactured holds that I know of at the Horse Paddock boulders are on an otherwise unclimbable, steep prow. A contrived problem to start with, so no big loss.

I’d like to think that if you chipped at any of the more classic routes around town you’d be lynched. But I have also noticed the occasional glued on hold, and bit of silicon sealant in cracks. Which is another ethical dilemma in itself.

Drilling into rock for the sake of protection is more accepted. Although the process of re-bolting an existing route would likely be a coordinated with others in the community. And not done at all if there are other ways to protect the route.

Those drilled cam slots are just atrocious. What’s wrong with a bolt? Or is the attitude towards ethics in Cornwall similar to the Peak District?

Pommy bastard3:18 pm 01 Aug 10

Oh, I remember too, either side of the road to Tidbinbilla Tracking station (Discovery drive) there are what looks like perfect (abet rounded) boulders for bouldering, set in perfect grasslands, which look very much like Dartmoor tors. I take it these are on private land and unavailable to the public?

Pommy bastard3:11 pm 01 Aug 10

Thanks Chris, much appreciated.

“if you don’t mind the occasional chipped hold and drilled pocket”

That is the ultimate heresy in UK climbing. There’s a big fuss being made over there at present, over Mark Edwards being up to his old tricks again.


Why was or is it done in this case, and what’s the Aussie attitude to such things?

Many of the established Pierce’s Creek problems (those in that Google Map) got ruined after the fires. But there’s still plenty of rock out there.

Black Range is awesome. There’s lots of rock and variation.

Red Rocks is a mainly a sport crag. There are boulder problems around that area (and some more spots a little further upstream). But the cliff itself is closed for the year now anyway… so yeah.

Cooleman ridge is good more so because it’s close to town if not for the quality of the place. But there are fun problems scattered amongst it all, if you don’t mind the occasional chipped hold and drilled pocket.
If you want easy & low level this would be your best bet.

On the way to Corin Dam; the Carpman boulder near Snake Rock is great (and a little bit high-ball). George’s Boulder has a fun traverse. And Glitz rock and the Heart block on Cantaloupe hill are well worth the visit – although you’d probably want to be climbing V6+ to make the most of them.

The National Library is good for training on. You’d probably need to be a V5 or V6 climber to be able to do a full traverse of the lakeside wall.

Pommy bastard12:57 pm 01 Aug 10

jumanji said :

So, do have this right, is ‘bouldering’ a Pommy word for rock climbing?

Nope, bouldering is about doing short “problems” on smaller rocks, faces, or man mande structures, too short to count as an actual climbing route. Though many “high ball problems are high enough to make coming off a risk of injury, most tend to be less than 12 foot in hight.


Pommy bastard12:51 pm 01 Aug 10

NB. Climbing is banned at Red Rocks between August and January due to the nesting of Peregrine Falcons

Just my luck!!!

Pommy bastard12:50 pm 01 Aug 10

Many thanks p1!

So, do have this right, is ‘bouldering’ a Pommy word for rock climbing?

ConanOfCooma12:13 pm 01 Aug 10

If you don’t mind a day trip, and waiting until the snow melts, Kiandra offers unlimited potential.

You would find boulders like that and bigger all over Tidbinbilla, almost anywhere along the road to corin dam and pretty much anywhere in the brindies.

National Library of Australia FTW if you want central location with great grass. But it is man made of course. And it looked like a construction site when these photos were taken, so the grass might not be as nice as it used to be.

As for the rest of Canberra, and natural boulders specifically, it’s a bit hit and miss. Not that I ever really got into boudering as a sport in its self.

This google map has pretty good list of Canberra crags, some are worth a look for bouldering. Might wanna look at this too. Red Rocks is nice if it warm enough for a swim.

Pommy bastard10:00 am 01 Aug 10

Thanks UA. Boorooma is more a venue for full on route climbing though, a fantastic one at that.

I was looking for more this sort of stuff;




The ideal venue would be a scattering of large boulders, between 6 and 15 foot in hight, with clear soft grass landings below, riven with cracks and festooned with knobbles and crystals.

I know I’m asking a lot, but maybe in this area, there may be something similar.

the wall on the lake side of the national library is pretty good for a cheeky pre or post work climb

UrbanAdventure.org9:41 am 01 Aug 10

Boorombera (or however it is spelled) rocks in Namadgi National park will probably be your best bet. There are huge numbers of good rock escarpments in Namadgi ranging from easy scrambles on fooot with no gear to full on “you need a helicopter mate” climbs that require full ascent gear.

Just head south through Tharwa to the visitor’s centre and ask them or Google their number (I would do it but I don’t want to make life that easy for you. You’re into rock climbing not lounge sitting) and give them a call.

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