The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains which is two & a half hours drive west from Sydney is a World Heritage site & one of 15 World Heritage sites listed in Australia’s National Heritage list. Approaching the mountains the road steadily climbs & you start to really notice the dense forests of eucalyptus trees filling every gap apart from where man has laid ash felt & built houses, schools, hospitals, shops & made their living from small ranches lining the road. If you’re new to the Blue Mountains then you’ll be imagining that around the next corner you'll see a great vista of peaks looming ahead with great rocky summits & escarpments, but not so here. You’re actually driving on the mountains with the valleys opening up alongside you as you pass by them. All you really get to see is Eucalyptus trees. When you can though, pull off at the next look out. Park up in one of the small sandy car parks which is generally rutted & potholed due to the heavy rains eroding the gravel, sand & underlying sandstone, take some water & walk the short distance along the flat, through gorse like bush & scrub, beneath huge towering eucalyptus trees to a clearing where you’ll see what all the fuss is about. The views are breathtaking.

Looking out from Pierces Pass over the Grose Valley & Bluegum Forest

The continuing sandstone escarpment which wraps around the rim of the Grose Valley
Looking directly down into the lost world of the Grose Valley where in the afternoon sun huge patches of eucalyptus trees turn a vivid white colour as Sulpher-Crested Cockatoos take to the warm blue skies escaping the dark underside of the tree canopy. It's an amazing sight looking down from the steep sandstone cliffs that rim the valleys.

I linked up with a great friend of my a local climber called Deam Mounsey. Dean's based just north of Sydney in Dee Why which is part of what they call the Northern beaches close to Manley. The beaches are world famous not just through heritage, wildlife & tourism but also the worlds surfing fraternity with consistently beautiful waves rolling in off the Pacific Ocean. We had a few days playing in the surf & enjoying the beach life & then headed into the Grose Valley in the Blue Mountains to reacquaint myself with the sandstone & enjoy some of the longer routes the mountains there have to offer.

Dean enjoying pitch 3 on Bunny Buckets, a super classic of the area which was my first introduction to the steep & exposed Sandstone climbs of the Grose Valley.

Dean high up on the very airy pitch 7 on Bunny Buckets, Grose Valley.

Dean seconding  the final pitch 8, which was an awesome 50m steep pocketed wall leading to the rim on the valley - great climbing.

Dean enjoying the the last few moves at the top of pitch 8, Bunny Buckets, Grose Valley

Views from the top rim of the Grose Valley

The routes in the Grose are pretty committing with many of the routes requiring you to abseil in to access them. You need to be pretty sure of both the weather & your abilities before committing to these long routes which take the best part of the day to climb.

Superb routes on the Walls Lookout Area, Pierces Pass, Grose Valley
Left - Debris 23
Middle - Disco Non Stop Party 25
Right - I Have A Dream 25
  Dean leading the first pitch of Bergermeister close to the Mirror Ball Pinnacle, Grose Valley

A view out from the first belay on Bergermeister

Dean High up on the first pitch of Bergermeister

Dean topping out on the second very steep pitch of Bergermeister which after a difficult fingery start it lead to a very pumpy hanging arete which I was pretty happy to hang in there on!

Dean leading another steep pitch finishing up Weaselberger, Grose Valley.

Great views across to some great climbs - Debris, Disco Non Stop Party & I Have A Dream in the Wall Lookout Area, Grose Valley. 

Me enjoying some sun at the top of the climbs with the Grose Valley & Bluegum Forest behind & below.
Dean tackling one of the many steep & exposed pitches on Big Nose in the Grose Valley

Dean seconding the steep first pitch on Disco Dancer in the Weaselberger Area in the Grose Valley 

Dean leading a great pitch high up on Disco Dancer, thin moves on the arete lead to the half way ledges.

Dean seconding the awesome steep pocketed wall which should have been called 'Keep Smiling'! Which actually was the top pitch of The West Face of the Mirrorball, Weaselberger Area, Pierces Pass, Grose Valley.

We had a good number of days in the Blue Mountains & as well as a few days in the Grose Valley we visited Upper Shipley at Porters Pass, Pindari close to Mount Piddington in the Mount Victoria area, a couple of great routes in the Centennial Glens area on beautiful steep, gently overhanging orange sandstone walls & Heathcliff nr Blackheath which was an absolute awesome find with some great rock and fantastic climbing.

One of the steep, gently overhanging sandstone walls at Heathcliff with 3 amazing routes powering their way up to the top. The quality of the rock here at Heathcliff was just amazing, you have these 3 gems with steeper routes further left & then a whole other part to the crag further right with steep vertical walls, grooves, cracks & slabs endowed with tiny sandstone ripples & small pockets. There were 2 pitch routes there of all grades - fantastic  

The right end of Heathcliff in the Centennial Glens area near the town of Blackheath

The right end of Heathcliff in the Centennial Glens area near the town of Blackheath

Beautiful evening Sky's above the Blue Mountains

Local residents of the Blue Mountains when not sleeping (which they seem to do for 80% of the time) awake & enjoying what they love best - eating eucalyptus leaves!

The Three sisters, Katoomba, Blue Mountains

We had a great trip & while out there planned a couple more!!

Keep travelling


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