Marbles was discovered in April 1999 by Madoc Sheehan who, desperate for a good
bouldering area and hearing of scattered boulders out west, ventured onto the
Table Top. After perusing the main road and finding every avenue fenced off he
began driving the smaller roads searching for unfenced land. By pure accident
(karma ?) he wandered over the embankment at the end of the army road and
discovered the Fun Parlour and Embankment. Madoc did not return
until winter that year when with Sarah and Maya Sheehan they began to establish
good easier problems at these areas. The Snooze and Warm-Up
boulders were particularly good early finds.
At the time the grass was high and the areas potential seemed small.
However, a month or so later Madoc returned for a third visit joined by Stuart
Argent and Adam Oudeman. By this time grass fires had raged through much of the
Townsville region including Harvey�s Marbles. The freshly burnt grass revealed
an enormous potential and provided for very easy access to many of the boulders.
Classics began to fall as this team (including Kylie Argent and Sarah Sheehan)
took to the boulders at every opportunity. Some of the outstanding problems
uncovered were A Fall From Grace at the Fun Parlour by Madoc. The
frightening Pikers Variant at the Embankment also fell to Madoc
after many courageous attempts. This problem still awaits the obvious direct
areas began to be discovered as the quest for classics continued. The Cow
Paddock, Castle and the magnificent Terrace were the next
areas to receive attention. Problems such as The
Knob by Sarah and The Bum-Crack by Madoc, both at the Paddock,
and Spider Bite by Madoc at the Castle, showed the abundance of
quality problems that remained. The taller boulders at the Paddock and
the Castle hinted at the highball potential although many (but not all)
of the problems as yet ascended were quite low and safe. Always with an eye for
a good line, one of the best problems at the Marbles was discovered by Stuart. False
Pretences at the Terrace ascends a gently overhanging wall on
porridge-like slopers. It is an extremely beautiful line and is very photogenic.
The porridge-like overhanging walls are characteristic to the area and offer
many of the harder lines and awe-inspiring projects for stronger boulderers to
aspire. Other classics (and there are many) at the shady and relaxing Terrace
include the very pleasant Cracked Block and Blade Runner both by
Stuart, all the problems on the Shady Boulder and Stu's Grunt up
an extremely satisfying slab.
next areas under the spotlight were the Gallery, with its plethora of
highball classics and steep walls, and the Bus Shelter just next door. It
is here that Madoc climbed the excellent Lovely Legs. Kiwi Crag,
with its superb roped crack lines, discovered by Stuart, was visited soon after.
A day was also spent sheltering from the drizzle at Python Rocks, next
door. It is here that the classic V4 Python Way by Madoc can be found.
Following a misty, surreal and disorienting walk back from Kiwi Crag, the
amazing Misty Place was stumbled upon. Similar to the Terrace,
this area also has a plethora of classics. It is especially renowned for its
smooth slabs, steep flaky walls and the awesome Triple-Scoop boulder
(still un-summitted). The Bear Hug Ar�te and Fluid, both by
Stuart, are excellent examples of the dynamic nature of these problems. Stranger
Than Friction by Madoc and all the problems on the Whale Boulder are
good examples of the fine and delicate slabs available here.
It was not until the year 2000 that Harvey�s Marbles began to see some traffic from the bulk of the local Townsville climbers. Slowly but surely its reputation for excellent technical problems and its beautiful environs became known. The next major developers to visit the boulders were Steve Baskerville and Jason Shaw [curators of the North Queensland Bouldering website]. Their best initial problems were developed in the previously neglected Upper Terrace. Jase's Elegance and an unnamed V2 were put up in January 2000 between bouts of torrential rain. The pair continue to unearth fine lines up to V4 in difficulty.
More recently, in a single day-trip during July 2000, Aaron Jones sent the area's hardest problem, Mike Delta X-Ray, a dyno and mantle problem located in the Upper Terrace which weighed in at V6, making it North Queensland's hardest problem, just ahead of Doug Hockly's Reeven on Magnetic Island.
No doubt development will continue at a ferocious pace!
From the centre of scoop up rightwards, MS
There is a large boulder (with an ugly loose crack on its
right end) that has some lovely warm
up problems further left (***V0 � V1), MS & SS. There are also many good
short �one move wonders� and mantle problems on the boulders behind and
around the w-u boulder.
obvious pleasant face on boulder just R of w-u boulder, SS
1 centre of face via good incut sidepull
2 bulge 1m left of 4.
3 face 1m left of 5.
to your left when looking at the w-u boulder
V1 Centre of face on small block.
The slab behind can also be climbed (V0)
V1 (ar�te just R of small tree, tricky left hand hold) MS
Area classic with lovely technical moves starting on slab just L of small tree,
straight up, MS
crumbly double-boulder just behind w-u boulder
steep slopey layback flake up crumbly boulder that�s a nice breather for the
fingers, stick to the right hand wall for most enjoyment, MS
slab with steep start on back end of crumbly boulder, MS
boulders further down the hill
V1 Centre of face starting off obvious rock and moving R to finish, S
Ar�te just L of Spiderman, starting from the ground level, MS
Classic technical and balancy crack, MS
crank through steep wall from slopers at lip 3m R of Bum
mantle problems and some sit starts abound around the next problem
nice short problem up obvious flake
of larger boulders back toward the car 10m from 3.
starts just R of the tree, MS
Directly up obvious flake/ar�te starting at small underclings, be careful of the
Left hand variant to 6. Start just L of handrail at the better footholds and
finish direct via a great jug, Nick Gust
Hard start on obvious low handrail and then up to reach the hanging flake, up
and right of flake to finish, SA
7. No-Name V0 Pleasant slab up ar�te, other options for the start exist on the blank wall to the right
8. No-Name V0+ Centre of the pocketed slab and just left of the tree
Very large boulder with fine and scary projects on all
sides. Warning: descent can be difficult off this boulder.
The only easy access is up the ar�te, moving slightly left to finish, MS
10. Marriage Vows *V1 A fine slab with a reachy move just below the top. Head for the small cluster of edges in the middle/right of the wall (1.5m left of obvious flake), MS
Classic balancy slab, good if you are having difficulties with the height of
some of the taller problems, SS
12. No-Name V1 Keep just R of the obvious creaky flake and mantle direct
5. Scorched Rubber V2/3 thin moves 2m R of 4., JS
6. Nubbin Nasty **V3 directly up the obvious featured ar�te
7. The Ramp **V0 straight up to L end of obvious ramp. Follow ramp to tentative finish
1. The Horn **V0 (E - obvious horn approached from L or R, for full value and both stars start low, beneath the horn, on good
sidepulls) ?A/MS 5-1999