Lee's Mount Stuart Select Climbing Guide - 70 of the best

By Lee Skidmore, November 1999

Last updated 01 February, 2001

Introduction:
This guide makes no attempt to be comprehensive. Rather, it looks to describe a biased selection of the better routes in each area of Mt Stuart. As it stands currently, 95% of climbers stay within the sanctuary of the Playground. This is fine for novices, top-ropers, and afternoon heroes, but most of the high quality climbing and adventure on Mt Stuart lies in other areas. This is your guide to those areas.

Many route descriptions come directly from Mark Gommers' 1994 guide so credit where credit is due. Also, some info has been gained from Doug Hockly's 1999 guide. Star ratings denote quality and are mostly my own opinion. Where I haven't climbed the route in question, stars come from the guidebook. 

 

The Areas:
Click for big clickable map

 

Route Guide:

The Playground [back to top]
The Playground is the first area you get to when walking down the track from the car park. After the five minute walk down the track, you'll arrive at the middle top of the cliff. Access the base of the cliff by walking down either L or R down the easy track. The Playground has the highest concentration of routes on Mt Stuart, and almost every square metre of it has been climbed upon at some time. Many routes are initialled at the base in paint, but thankfully this practice is now frowned upon. Routes will be described from L to R.

*** Fist Full Of Ants 20m 19
Originally graded 19 and so it should be. Townsville already has too many giveaways. At the L end of the Playground there is an obvious deep corner capped by a roof. Move up the corner to 1m below roof, then traverse L to BR on arÍte. Up to below roof and clip BR above. Layaway around far L of roof onto face. Now move diagonally R (not directly up [Wimps In The Gym - 20]) on awesome jugs passing a FH and another BR to a mantle exit. DBB.
Alan McGill, Scott Johnson, Suzanne Dyer 4/91.

** Two Hands Are Better Than One 20m 23
Easy for the grade. It's the arÍte R of FFOA. Start 1m R of FFOA's starting corner and move R onto arÍte (BR). Find a way through the two small roofs (BR's) then a big crank onto R side of top arÍte (crux) for some nice face climbing past another couple of BR's. DBB.
Scott Johnson, Matthew Swait 3/91.

Eye Of The Tiger 20m 17
Only included here because it gets more ascents than it deserves. Starts in the corner around R of FFOA and THABTO. Up the corner on good natural pro to surmount the large chockstone and into the cave below the roof. Eat lunch here, then reach 1m R for the "eyes" and head up the crack 2m R minding rope drag. DBB. Note: you can avoid the cave and traverse directly from the chockstone.
Owen Richmond 10/83.

** Simple Pleasures 20m 19
One of the best crack routes on the Playground. The obvious crack 2m R of EOTT. Sling the weird stone to start and grunt into crack. Easy moves and great pro up to the bulge, then strenuous moves through this and up to a groping exit and DBB.
Scott Johnson 2/91.

* IYFG 15m 25
Included here because it is technically the hardest route on Mt Stuart. Up the wall a few metres R of SP through the biggest section of roof and straight up. Numerous FH's.
Andrew Doubleday, Anthony Timms 9/96.

*** Tit For Tat 15m 24
Very sustained! Take RP's for this particularly fine thin crack 5m R of SP. Muscle up the progressively harder seam to bulge (crux). After getting through this, the last section of seam protected by a #1 RP makes for an interesting finish. Originally led with a broken finger. Mike Myres (who onsighted this) reckons it would be 21 if it was at Nowra, but I'd like to see the Nowra bumpy boys try to place the gear.
Scott Johnson, Matthew Swait 3/91.

* The Greenhouse Effect 22m 18
Worth doing. Starts around the corner, 8m R of TFT. Easily up face to BR below base of bottomless corner. Layback up corner to below small roof, then slap around R (crux) and pull up to ledge. Up short crack and go for a walk in the "greenhouse" before finishing up the nice wide cracks in the corner. Has seen some huge groundfalls from the corner.
Scott Johnson, Anthony Timms, Matthew Swait 4/91.

* Happy Wanderer 18m 11
One of the best beginner routes here. It starts about 12m down and R of GE at the base of the huge detached block. Up the nice crack, then traverse L to arÍte (crux) and up to ledge passing a FH. Now climb ramp (FH) and exit up mini corner to belay seat.
Mark Gommers, Raymond Stewart 9/3/94.

* Slippery When Wet 18m 21
A very good route, but a scary lead on account of poor bolting. Originally led in the rain, hence the name. Starts where the R-hand side of the big block meets the main wall (chimney), about 10m up and R of HW. Straight up to small sloping ledge (BR) then continue staying just R of the overhanging bulge passing two more BR's.
Scott Johnson, Suzanne Dyer 5/91.

* Holiday 22m 13
Another beginner classic. Starts 4m R of SWW in the deep black corner. Follow this corner crack to top of pedestal. Climb up into the three-sided lift shaft and fill your pants as the massive boulder moves. Now layback your way up the R-facing corner to glory. Perfect tree belay.
Mick Pezet, Rob Smythe 11/85.

* Suspicion 23m 20
A slabby adventure. Start as for H to the pedestal. Step across the void to the R (FH) and crank up to the slab (crux). Now delicately up the slab passing two more FH's.
Mark Gommers, John Blayke 12/92.

* Big Green Maggot-Ridden Tripe Farm 23m 20
Crap name - good climb. The scene of Lee Skidmore's brush with death (4m grounder onto back on grisly boulders). Don't let that deter you though, there is bomber pro. Starts right around the corner from the above two routes, about 15m from S. Up the overhanging layback crack then L to arÍte (BR). Up L side of arÍte past another BR and some natural pro in pockets to ledge. Finish up the short face behind (BR). Mind rope drag, or use two.
Scott Johnson, Suzanne Dyer 9/91.

** Joy Boy 21m 21/22
One of the cliff classics and the epitome of Mt Stuart climbing. If the bottom half was like the top, it would be three stars. Up the grungy corner (14) 3m R of BGMRTF to ledge. From here, boldly blast straight up the 10m face passing three FH's with the crux at the third FH to the top.
Mark Gommers, Scott Fry 4/91.

** Eclipsed 15m 25
Wicked from start to finish. From JB, walk R for about 10m to ramp rising up on L. Scramble up this ramp to big ledge (with trees) which is the base of the route. The left wall is used a few times to bridge in the lower half of the route. Up the sustained wall just R of the chimney [Eridanus - 11] passing six FH's. Crux is near the top.
Scott Johnson, Aiden Forde 12/91.

*** Yankee Logic 22m 21
Excellent face climbing and a soft touch at the grade. From base of ramp described above, walk along narrow terrace to below rooflet on arÍte (climb is initialled). Lash your belayer to the wall, then through the R side of rooflet (BR) and straight up the wall (BR) to big hole and small ledge. Step R towards arÍte (BR) and straight up the thin fingery wall through the bulge to ledge (3 BR's). Belay from here, then climb crack on wall behind to top.
Scott Johnson, Matthew Swait 3/91.

** Voodoo 22m 23
Starts around the arÍte R of YL and 2m L an obvious corner [Cannon Ball - 17]. Climb diagonal crack then weakness to ramp (BR). Hard moves to ramp and a welcome rest. Step up (BR) then  straight up passing two FH's. Traverse L at the steepness, or finish straight up.
Andrew Doubleday, Joe Kippax, Mark Gommers 11/94.

* Cannon Ball 22m 17
The earliest recorded route at Mt Stuart. One star to lead, two stars to top rope. The initially corner 2m R of BM. Bridge up corner (sparse protection) to ramp. Now up the obvious layback flake to the top. DBB. Note: there are plans to remove the massive flake because it's loose.
T. McOwen, Dave Hall 21/2/82.

* Hard Rain 22m 18
A solid lead with fiddly pro down low. Starts 3m R of CB. Up the wall to the vertical crackline above. Up to gain the ledge, then up crack with a tricky layback thrown in.
Scott Johnson, Suzanne Dyer 10/90.

* Smiley 22m 13
This is a pretty good first lead on natural protection. Starts at the mini corner and obvious crackline 6m R of HR. Climb straight up the crack to gain the first main ledge (crux) then up more passing the fig tree. Now more straightforward crackwork to the top.
Shane Stephenson, Glen Myors 14/6/92.

** Under The Cling 24m 15
Deservedly popular and another good lead. Starts 6m R of S. Straight up (poor pro) to the prominent bollard, veer L "under the cling" into the vertical crack. Rather than going up this [Let's Face It - 22], move along narrow sloping ledge to the L to join up with Smiley. Up this to finish. Note: a more interesting finish is to instead of finishing up Smiley, continue diagonally up and L up the fun line with surprisingly good gear.
Allan McGill, Ron Janson 11/89.

 

* Flashdance 17m 16
A yardstick 16 and a great lead at the grade. Starts at the black juggy face 4m R of UTC. Climb up this black wall with great friction (no pro) to ledge (good gear). Walk up ledge to V-corner behind, then up the this short but technical corner with great gear to the top.
Dave Hall 10/83.

 


The Nursery Cliff [back to top]
The Nursery Cliff is located immediately below the R-hand (looking in) Playground descent track. From Flashdance, walk toward the sea for a few metres, then L along the well-worn track for another few metres to the L side of the wall. There is a whole swag of routes on this poxy little wall, but I'll just describe three. Routes will be described from L to R.

Elle 8m 18
Starts 1m R of wide crack on left of wall [Cheryl - 12]. Reach for finger pocket and pull onto wall. Now straight up the wall without deviation. No useful pro.
FSA: Mark Gommers 1991.

Rocky Horror 8m 13
This is the obvious crack splitting the middle of the wall. A good landmark, but not a very pleasant climb.
Unknown.

Roots Bloody Roots 8m 10
Reasonable pro throughout. Starts about 3m R of RH. Up the ledgy face tending L to root filled top corner. Up this to finish.
Lee Skidmore 13/5/96.


The Lower Playground [back to top]
This area is located below the L end of the Playground (check out the photo). Access by descending the track that leads down from the L end of the Playground to the Pinnacle. When about halfway between the Playground and the Pinnacle, scramble L (when facing seaward) down the gully. Alternately, you can rap from trees at the top if you wish. Routes are described from L to R.

* Lady Natasha 20m 15
A good route. Starts at the base of the obvious brownish corner (initialled). Up this crack and then continue up the V-groove crack to finish.
Raymond Stewart 1993.

 

** Knockin' On Heaven's Door 20m 21
Very nice. Starts on a lower terrace about 8m R of LN at the plaque. Up the crack to ledge. The best thing to do here is step up on cheat stone, clip the FH, then step back down onto ledge, so you remain safe for the crux. Step out onto face (cruxy) then climb up the thin and very technical wall passing a few FH's.
Mark Gommers, Andrew Kinbacher 5/96.

 


The Pinnacle [back to top]
Clearly visible when looking out to see from the top of the Playground is the Pinnacle which is home to a lot of classics. This area is best accessed (as per the Lower Playground) by following the track downhill from the far L (when facing it) of the Playground. Scramble down the gully until you can gain the Pinnacle ridgeline at a small saddle. Now walk along the top of the Pinnacle to chains at the end (use backup bolt if rapping). For ease of description, routes are described from R to L when facing the Pinnacle at its base.

*** Physical Meditation 35m 25
It's the fairly obvious line straight up the overhanging W face (wall facing the Playground) of the Pinnacle. Starts 2m L of the horrible looking offwidth [Marrelas Crack - 15]. Launch up the sustained wall to gain the diagonal crack. 5 BR's and natural pro. Take a wire to clip the second bolt if you're short.
Scott Johnson 12/91.

*** The El Nino Effect 30m 24
Magnificently sustained and well protected face climbing. Starts at the small ledge and DBB on the arÍte L of PM. Approach by scrambling up and L from PM. From the DBB, climb L then up the face passing 8 FH's to the top. Some SLCD's might come in handy.
Mark Gommers, Scott Johnson 12/91.

* The Monsoon 20m 20
This forms the first pitch of TENE. Do them both in as one pitch for one killer rope stretcher. Starts at the crack in a shallow chimney 2m R of the NW arÍte (the next one around L of TENE). Climb the crack to the FH. Traverse R to the DBB at the start of TENE.
Mark Gommers 1991/1992 ??

*** Romancing The Stone 50m 22
This is fantastic. The second pitch provides climbing so good you may wet yourself. Starts in the obvious corner a few metres L and downhill from TM. 1) 10m (18) Climb the corner to a small ledge (DBB). 2. 30m (crux) Step R onto toe of buttress. Attack the steep, sequency crux down low (roar!) and blast straight up veering L to semi-rest on arÍte. Continue up with aim of climbing the arÍte all the way to a ledge and DBB. 2) 10m (17). Tricky moves up Megalith's second pitch will see you to the top.
Mark Gommers, Michael Dielenberg 10/91.

** Megalith 50m 20
A fun excursion. Ascends the seaward face (E wall) of the Pinnacle. Starts a few metres L of RTS. 1) 35m (crux) Climb the face past a BR and manoeuvre your way up the L-trending crack. Continue up the crack system until it becomes possible to traverse 2m R to the RP crack. Up this to the overhang and clip the BR above. Traverse 2m R then straight up passing 3 BR's to the ledge and DBB. 2) 10m Straight up the awkward wall passing 3 more BR's to the top.
Scott Johnson, Suzanne Dyer 6/91.

** Black Widow 40m 23/24
A pretty unmistakable line. The bottomless hand crack 3m L of the deep chimney in the corner L of M. Starts at the arÍte on the L side of the chimney. Climb the arÍte and swing L on to the face. Crank up the this cruxy wall (3 FH's) to gain the bottomless, forbidding hand crack. From here, the way is all too obvious. Sustained.
Mark Gommers 8/94.

** Step Lightly 40m 23
This flaky arÍte about 22m L of M requires a gentle touch - no cranking here! 1) 30m (crux) Start just L of the arÍte and enjoy long and interesting climbing past 8 BR's to a DBB. Switches to the R side of the arÍte after the 8th BR. 2) 10m More of the same passing two more BR's.
Scott Johnson, Mark Gommers 11/91.

** Spontaneous Ritual 35m 23
A classic climb featuring a flake corner, roof and another technical corner. Starts 20m L of SL. Climb the flake and exit roof to L. Move R onto ledge above roof and marvel at the clean corner with the spider crack. Climb the corner and continue up passing one BR near the top.
Scott Johnson 11/91.

** Non Son Girate 35m 19
An easier variant to SR. Start as for SR. Climb SR up the wide flake-crack to the roof. Exit roof to L and continue up the crack L of the blank corner. When the crack ends, move R and finish as for SR.
Aiden Forde, Suzanne Dyer 11/91.

 


The Gallery Cliff [back to top]
A worthwhile area to spend the afternoon. This is a hidden upper terrace of the Pinnacle and directly above NSG (described above). Easy to get to and best accessed by abseil from a ledge 15m off to the R of the Pinnacle ridge top (turn R halfway along the rocky pinnacle ridge top). There is a very large terrace at the base of the wall. At the base of the cliff is a small plaque dedicated to Graham Brett which marks the start of his favourite climb, One Tree Hill. Routes are described from L to R.

One Tree Hill 10m 15
Better than it looks. May be a bit vegetated. Starts 1m L of the plaque at the obvious wide crack-corner. Climb the deep crack to exit at the old tree.
Ross Anderson 7/93.

* Spiny Tree Lobster 10m 22
Has some very interesting moves packed into 10m of great stone. Balancy face starting immediately R of the plaque (1m R of OTH) keeping between that climb and NML. Natural gear and two FH's up high.
Ross Anderson 1/96.

* No Man's Land 13m 21
Starts 4m R of OTH and 3m R of STL. Up the crack to ledge, then pumpy layback to second ledge. Instead of going up arÍte on R [Broken Earth - 16], step L onto face and desperately clip the FH. A few tricky moves to the top.
Ross Anderson 5/94.

 


The Fortress [back to top]
These cliffs are hidden from view when standing at the top of the Playground. The Fortress is best accessed by Rear Window's abseil chains using double ropes. To get to the chains, go to the Nursery Cliff and then wander down the gully and series of ledges to the terrace below and slightly L (facing seaward) of the Nursery Cliff. The chains are here (pretty easy to find). Alternately, you can walk into this area by following the track from the Playground to the Pinnacle. When you get to the base of the track, head back toward the main black slabs (away from the Pinnacle). This is the L end of the Fortress Walls. Routes are described from L to R.

*** Rock Sex Variant Start 25m 21
This route is easy to find - it starts at ground level. If you walk in from the Pinnacle past the black slabs, this is the first bolted route you'll see. If you rapped in from RW, walk down to ground level and then back L (facing in) to find the bright green flaky bolted face. Up the superb face with four FH's and natural gear to the great corner. Up this to rap chains.
Daniel Ellis, John Pearson 7/95

* Australian Foreplay 25m 18
Definitely one of Mt Stuart's better crack routes. Starts in the obvious recess 3m R of RSVS. Scramble up to lift shaft, then bridge up the textbook L-facing corner crack to below the roof. Reach out to hidden jug in crack and pull around roof. Now directly up R side of pillar (large SLCD's) to beneath bulge. Instead of trying to jam directly up the hand crack (hard and painful) layoff crack L and hug your way through the bulge to chains.
Peter Kingsbury, Raymond Stewart 7/8/94.

** Too Bad Bumhole 27m 22/23
Ooo, a roof! Starts about 7m R of AF at the slabby buttress capped by a roof with FH's. Up it to the roof (crux) with FH on lip, then on to top. 6 FH's and natural gear. DBB on top. Take tapes to descend.
Nathan Bolton, Andrew Doubleday 25/7/98.

* Nice Face, Shame About The Jugs 10m 21
This is worthwhile and easy to find, located on the obvious, short, smooth slab 15m R of TBB. Up face (two FH's), step R, then up L (another two FH's).
Matt Lovatt, Scott Bewley, Daniel Ellis 7/95.

Rear Window 40m 20
This route is only included because you can rap down it - it's nothing to write home about. If you don't rap into this one however, it's harder to find. Starts on an upper terrace around R of the above route. Walk 10m around R of NFSATJ, then walk L up the slab/gully for 15m. Now scramble up and R. Starts at the arÍte in the boulder choked gully below the abseil station. 1) 20m (crux) Tricky starting moves up the arÍte passing a couple of FH's quickly relents to crappy climbing up and R to large ledge and DBB. 2) (16) The crux of this pitch is right off the belay. Up and L passing 3 FH's and some natural pro. The single FH and thin crack heading directly up the latter section of this pitch is a 23 done by John Pearson (4/97).
Mark Gommers, Michael Dielenberg 9/93.

* Bad Religion 43m 22
I included this route because it's on an interesting wall which is worth a look, but it's actually supposed to be fairly good. Located on the same upper terrace as RW - access by RW's rap chains or by walking in as per directions to RW above. Perfect orange crack just R of steep, R-leaning corner 10m R of RW. 1) Crack (FH up high) to small ledge. Through bulge, then up (poor rock) to ledge. 2) Corner, then L onto face (poor pro).
Mark Gommers 2/95.

* Hung Over 17m 21/22
Ascends a steep pillar with four 45 degree FH's. From NFSATJ, walk R and instead of heading up L to RW, keep walking R around the corner. The route goes up the pillar that forms the boundary between The Fortress and The Main Faces (about 6m L of PU - described below) and finishes on the same upper terrace as the start of RW and BR (described above).
John Pearson, Dan Ellis 6/97.

 


The Neutral Zone [back to top]
Historically, the "Main Faces" encompassed anything and everything on Mt Stuart apart from the Playground and Pinnacle. That name has now been erased to avoid confusion. We now classify the narrow (but high) section of cliff between The Fortress and Colorado Wall as The Neutral Zone (see the picture for clarification). You can access the area by walking via the Fortress (for more info, see above) or you can do two double rope abseils down Pleasure Unit. To get to Pleasure Unit's top rap station from the Playground, instead of wandering down the L (looking seaward) Playground descent track, follow the vague walking track L for about 30m (look for white survey peg). Now scramble R down the fairly obvious gully for about 30m to the rap station at the top of Pleasure Unit. Unfortunately, this rap station setup is unsafe, so you must use the backup bolt provided (this means leaving gear at the top). Routes are described from L to R.

Pleasure Unit 65m 16
The first route done on the Main Faces. Again, this route is only included because you can rap down it - it's not particularly enjoyable. It's the obvious steep black V-corner in the prominent gully and can be seen from the highway. 1) 25m From the ground, climb the wide black crack (slightly tricky) to a tree and move L onto the slab. Pass the slab and into the crack again, belaying at a comfortable point. 2) 20m (crux) Continue up the V-corner which gets progressively harder to the large ledge with tree. 3) 20m Finish up the fat crack full of big chockstones.
Mick Pezet 10/84.

*** Beam Me Up Scotty 80m 22
"Mega classic featuring radical exposure and positions" - Scott Johnson's 1992 guide. Starts at the crack 3m R of PU (often vegetated). 1) 25m (18) Up the slabby crack (may be vegetated) to dirty ledge. Move R into the cleaner twin cracks (BR) and up to the sloping ledge and DBB. 2) 25m (22) Head up the face with growing concern to the intimidating V-funnel (2 BR's). Take a few deep breaths and blast up this where some very clever moves will see you to a small ledge on the R (DBB). 3) (crux) Silly traverse directly R (BR) around the corner from the DBB to gain the base of the overhung corner. Climb this until it fades away (BR) to rest at the shark's fin then move R (BR) onto the perfect stone of the exposed arÍte (best positions ever!) passing 3 BR's to the DBB.
Scott Johnson, Aiden Forde 11/91.

*** Cosmic Messenger 65m 23
The second of a magnificent duo offering a superb variety of climbing. Starts about 8m R of BMUS. 1) 30m Up the ledgy face and over the roof (BR) to join the crack above. Follow this to the sloping ledge and DBB. 2) 35m (crux) Up the R side of the face with the DBB to gain the base of the green slab. Up the slab (BR) to the small tree and psyche up for the fabulous technical corner above (BR) which ends at a DBB.
Scott Johnson, Aiden Forde 11/91.

* The Prime Directive 38m 19
Sustained slabbing. Starts at ground level about 10m R of Cosmic Messenger at base of seam with black FH at 5m. 1) 16m (18) Climbs the sustained slab and seam protected by bolt and many small wires to chains (not visible from ground). 2) 22m (crux) From chains, traverse 3m R and down into big corner crack (which is Into The Night - 17/18). Up this for 8m to ledge, then step R towards arÍte and climb slab protected by two FH's and small wires to chains. Double rope rap to the ground.
Lee Skidmore, Jason Shaw, Steve Baskerville, Philippa Newton 8 & 9/98.

 


Nameless Wall [back to top]
This is a miniscule 7m high wall at the top of the cliff above Colorado Wall (see the picture). It is mentioned here because it is a good place for beginners and because if you can find this (not too difficult a task), you can easily access Colorado Wall. To get here, follow the walking track for about 100m from the L-hand end of the Playground (looking seaward). You should stumble into the top L of the wall, and will be able to walk down the small track to its base. Every piece of rock on this wall has been climbed upon and most named with stupid long-winded names. The wall is about 25m in length and routes will be described from L to R.

Deception 6m 19
Harder than it looks. Short finger crack on the far L of the wall, R of some chimneys.
Mark Gommers, Andrew Rule 7/95.

The Cleaner 7m 12
Nice and easy corner crack 10m of D. Good for leading practice.
Andrew Rule, Mark Gommers 7/95.

Rosebud 7m 12
Short and sweet. The wider crack 2m R of TC.
Mark Gommers, Andrew Rule 7/95.

 


Lower Colorado Wall [back to top]
Coolness. If you don't want to walk in (from the above areas) the best way to access this area is to rap in from Upper Colorado Wall. To do this, follow the directions to Nameless Wall above. From Deception, wander 20m downhill toward the edge of the cliff (there should be a big boulder precariously perched near the edge). There are two sets of rap chains here, one on the L of the boulder and one over to the R (facing seaward). The R-hand chains are atop A Few Good Men. Rap down these chains with double ropes. Instead of using the chains at the top of the first pitch of AFGM to continue your descent (you can if you wish), at the obvious point (you'll know), swing around the arÍte R onto Colorado Wall (impressive!) and continue down this to the big ledge (top of Lower Colorado Wall) 25m off the ground. You can then rap down using the chains on this ledge (down The Fifth Element) to the base of Lower Colorado Wall. Routes are described from L to R.

*** A Few Good Men 80m 23
One of the best. This route climbs the left side of the entire Colorado Wall (lower and upper) from its base to the top. Starts at a small tree a few metres above ground level at the L end of Colorado Wall. 1) 45m (crux) Climb up the arÍte then step R to gain diagonal crack. Follow the crack with growing concern to the small corner. From here, sustained moves up and L to gain the hanging arÍte. Follow this exposed arÍte to the ramp and SHB off chains (7 FH's). 2) 35m (18) Climb the corner then continue up and exit R via the hand-engulfing flake (3 FH's).
Mark Gommers, Ross Anderson, John Blayke 11/9/93.

** The Fifth Element 25m 21
The crux likes to spit people off. Harder if you're short. Starts at ground level on the buttress directly below the obvious, orange upper Colorado Wall and about 10m R of AFGM. Up R-trending seam to good natural pro, then ledge and first of five black FH's. Up and through 1m roof (FH). Up and R to FH, then R again into thin cracks on arÍte. A long and insecure crux move to small wire placement then further up crack to stance (FH). Move L onto face, layoff seam and more face climbing to fifth FH, then more of the same to chains on main ledge (base of Immortality and Siddhartha). Lower off, or continue up one of these.
Lee Skidmore, Erik Smits 3/7/98

*** Tristar 15m 23
Probably the best sport route at Mt Stuart. Doug gave it 24 in his guide, but I'm not so sure. Located about 25m L of Deliverance on the boundary between lower Great Wall & Colorado Wall. Starts on the free-standing, 5m high pillar of rock and ascends the bright orange, overhanging, pocketed main wall. Bridge across between the pillar and the main wall to clip the first of six black FH's. Sustained climbing up the seam with awesome huecos leads to a ledge and double rings. Note: two of the holds require a little care (don't crank too hard!). The direct start has been top roped, but not linked with the rest.
Lee Skidmore and a host of helpers over 3 months 5/9/98

 


Upper Colorado Wall [back to top]
"The Taipan of the North". This is without a doubt the most impressive wall on Mt Stuart. There are only a few established routes here, and all are three star classics (there are also some projects). There are two options for accessing this wall: 1) Easily walk in via the Main Faces and climb The Fifth Element to the start of the upper wall or 2) multiple abseils as described above. Routes are described from L to R.

*** Immortality 50m 22
A must do! 1) 20m (21) From the starting ledge at top of TFE, climb up the R-tending weakness behind the tree (BR). Once on ledge, start the balancy traverse L for 10m passing 3 BR's to a very exposed DBB. 2) 18m (crux) Straight up the crack (3 BR's) to large sloping ledge and DBB. 3a) 12m Obvious but not very fun corner past the fin to abseil station. 3b) 10m (17) Traverse directly R across incredibly exposed territory on natural gear to the DBB of S and then up the 3rd pitch of this climb (20). Note: it makes for more sustained climbing to run the first two pitches together, but watch rope drag.
Scott Johnson, Aiden Forde 12/91. Variant 3rd pitch by Doug Hockly and Chad Albinger 8/98.

*** Siddhartha 50m 24
Superb, one of the best here. 1) 20m (20/21) Climb as for 1st pitch of I to (BR). Once on ledge, continue up R tending crack to small ledge and DBB. 2) 20m (crux) From the DBB climb up and R onto the face and then back left (2 BR's) and up the crack to large sloping ledge and DBB. 3) 10m (20) Straight up the corner (BR) to ledge, then up arÍte to chains. Note: it makes for more sustained climbing to run the first two pitches together.
Scott Johnson, Matthew Swait 7/91.

 


The Great Wall [back to top]
And it is! This is where the longest routes on Mt Stuart are to be found. As you can see in the picture, The Great Wall is the wall directly R of Colorado Wall. You can walk in past the Main Faces and Colorado Wall, but the best way to access Great Wall is via two 45m abseils down Deliverance. To get to the Deliverance chains, firstly go to Nameless Wall, walk L (facing seaward) along the base of this wall all the way, then follow the track along the edge of the cliff proper for about 30m or so. The chains are located on a lower terrace, so you'll have to do a bit of scouting around to find them. It's not that hard. Rap down off these chains (double ropes) to the big sloping ledge with chains, and then rap again to the ground. This is the base of Deliverance.

*** Deliverance 90m 18
The best middle grade multipitch on Mt Stuart. Located about 25m R of Tristar (described above). 1) 25m Climb the sustained black R-leaning corner/slab to gain a ledge with tree. 2) 13m Up the groove to gain sloping ledge and chains. 3) 12m Traverse L to belay below obvious V corner and arÍte (traverse past corner with FH). 4) 20m (crux) Strenuously up steep crack in arÍte to where it finishes. Step L around arÍte to gain another corner then up to sloping ledge. 5) 30m Climb straight up steep headwall to gain a ledge then continue up to final ledge and belay.
Mark Gommers, Andrew Rule (alt) 11/96.

* Great Expectations 60m 19
Starts about 10m R of D. 1) 25m (crux) Climb slab with crack running up it and belay below the point where the crack runs off R. 2) 20m (18) Up the crack, then exposed traverse moves R-wards and then up vertically following the crack to belay at the obvious ledge above. 3) 15m (17) Step out L to bridge the void into the crack, then up the crack and easily up the slab. To escape from this point, scramble R-wards up the vegetated gully.
Mark Gommers and others (pitches 1 & 2) 1997. Mark Gommers, Lee Skidmore (pitch 3) 17/8/97.

 


Shady Wall [back to top]
This wall forms the very top L section of the Great Wall, directly below the R end of Nameless Wall. There aren't any classics here, this area is included here simply to let you know it's available. Access is by abseil off natural gear (double ropes) at a point about 20m R (facing seaward) of Deliverance's top chains down to a ledge. At least four climbs have been done. Here are two:

The Clinic 15m 11
Climb major hand crack to ledge. Belay here, or scramble up easier ground to top.
Andrew Rule, Mark Gommers 10/95.

The Feather Men 15m 19
Climb 4m R of TC to join that climb at ledge.
Mark Gommers, Andrew Rule 10/95.

 


Wall Of The Four Winds [back to top]
This spectacular area is again an upper tier of the Great Wall, this time on the upper R of the Great Wall. There are six very nice single pitch routes from grade 19 to 23 established here and all start from a ledge. Access is by abseil off Deliverance's chains (see above for directions). Stop upon reaching the first main ledge. If you need to escape from this area, you can scramble up the R-tending vegetated gully which is on the R side of the wall. All routes are at least two stars. Routes listed from L to R.

*** Ride Like The Wind 25m 23
Brilliant, and supposedly one of the best pitches on the mountain. Sustained and solid for the grade. Starts at ledge with chains, up and L around arÍte to ledge. Up steep face (3 FH's) and R to intermittent crackline. Belay off on FH and SLCD's above detached block.
Mark Gommers, Craig Goebel 3/98.

 

** Against The Wind 25m 22
Start on ledge with chains. Up shallow technical corner above chains to FH and roof. Traverse R (FH) to cruxy exit around roof. Take heaps of small wires and RP's. A grade 20 variant climbs to the FH, then L around bulge and up. 

Mark Gommers, Jason Gunders 11/97.

 

** Gone With The Wind 25m 22
Shallow R-leaning corner to the R of the chains to a FH, then R to arÍte. Up crack and face keeping just L of arÍte. 2 FH's.

Mark Gommers, Andrew Rule 4/96.

** Candle In The Wind 25m 19
Hmm, solid at 19. Directly below the rap chains at the top. The giveaway for this one is you can clip the first FH almost straight from the starting ledge. Difficult to start (or come in from R), small SLCD, then climb face and crack (FH). Up to next FH, then step R to vague arÍte. Up then back L over bulge using undercling to another FH. Step R, then up. Take small wires/RP's. DBB.
Mark Gommers 1997.

 


Remembrance Wall [back to top]
Yet another huge wall. To access the rap chains, go 30m past the cairn at which you descend to the Deliverance chains. Scramble down R-leaning (facing out) ramp to ledge. Go L (facing out) along ledge for 15m to chains. Double ropes required.

 

* The Last Post 83m 22

Starts at the detached, leaning pillar R of Great Expectations. 1) 8m Up crack on leaning tower to BB. 2) 30m (crux) Step across void and straight into strenuous R-leaning crack. Continue desperately R to pull around bulge, then up to ramp. 3) 10m Face and crack to large ledge. 4) 20m Crack at R end of ledge, ramp, headwall. 5) 15m Finish up arÍte. There are various variants to this route.

Mark Gommers, Andrew Rule 11/96.

 


Acacia Wall [back to top]
Where the prominent jagged ridgeline joins up with the rest of the cliffline is an upper and lower tier of cliffs. The lower is Butterfly Wall and the upper is Acacia Wall. To access Acacia Wall from the Playground, walk L (facing seaward) along the top of the main cliffline until level with the jagged ridgeline and then meander down to the wall. Alternately, you can walk along the bottom of the main cliffline.

* Pooky Love 25m 16
30m L of where the ridge joins the main cliff is a shallow R-facing corner below a clean orange face and two roofs. Corner to thin crack, then up this. Take lots of RP's. DBB.
Mark Witham, Deb Churches 2/93.

Skin Graft 15m 19
It's recommended that you tape your hands on this one. Pretty obvious crack about 10m R around the corner from the gully.
M. Retallick, C. Hughes, C. McSwann, G. Woodbridge 5/95.

Physmid 16m 21
The large corner crack 15m R of SG with an overhanging top section.
M. Retallick, C. Hughes, C. McSwann 5/95.

** Green Lantern 15m 21
This is worth doing. Nice face climbing up the wall 5m R of P with 5 FH's. Up crack to second FH, L 1m and then up fingery face.
M. Retallick 9/95

 


Butterfly Wall [back to top]
Butterfly Wall is the dark westerly facing wall directly below Acacia Wall and about 80m east of the prominent ridge line. Get there via Acacia Wall or by walking along the base of the main cliffline.

Green Ants 13m 15
Start at the bottom of the obvious hand crack which splits at half height. Up it.
Mark Retallick 10/95.

* Singer 10m 17
Start at the open book corner and finger crack 20m R of GA. Up, then go R at roof.
Mark Retallick 10/95.

 


 

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