January 22 - Nortons Basin

Nortons Basin has a nice set of crags overlooking the Nepean River near Walacia. This was the third time I had been climbing there. This time we started on the East Side, which I had never been to previously - it is in the shade till about 1pm in summer. Then we had a swim in the basin and were able to complete one climb on the West Side before a storm arrived.

This crag is described in "Rockclimbs in the Lower Blue Mountains" by Harry Luxford 1994 (Sydney Rockclimbing Club) and the earlier - "An Interim Guide to Rockclimbs at Nortons Basin" by Bruce Cameron. Both these guides are out of print - but you may be able to photocopy one or the other if you know somebody with them. I expect that these climbs will be added to Sun, Surf and Sandstone some time in the future. At present it lists only one new climb there.

Nortons Basin is quite close to Sydney - but it has been marred by arecent bushfire and all the rubbish in the area. From the East Side - I could look down and see the remains on 7 car bodies below the cliffs on the West Side. Below the West Side crags there is a fair bit of broken glass, mainly from smashed beer bottles - and care needs to be taken. There is also lots of broken glass near the car park, above the cliffs of the West Side - which does detract from the atmosphere somewhat. On the day we did these clibs the track down to the Basin was garnished with toilet paper every few metres. Despite these aspects - there are quite a few enjoyable climbs.

Above - Looking down at the basin from the East Side Crags

Above - Martin and Christian below the East Side Crag. The descent route (scamble) lies directly behind Martin

Above - Looking along the crag. "Riverbend" goes up the crack behind the small dead tree, and then follows a crack to the left

Above - Martin on Clearwater (12)

Above - Martin just going over the top on Clearwater

Above - Christian seconding Clearwater

Above - Christian a little higher on Clearwater

We then did Fishing Pool - another grade 12, a few metres to the left. It too was a very enjoyable climb. Both these climbs had a few carrot bolts and needed a cam placement or two.

It was then over to do Riverbend (15) - which is described in the guide as "bound to become a classic". We all agreed - every move was enjoyable. A really nice climb.

Above - me leading Riverbend. (Martin took these photos)

Above - a little higher on Riverbend

Above - moving left to the second crack. This trad climb is very well protected with cams.

The sun was getting closer to the cliff - and we would soon roast. We only had time for one more climb. So Martin led "Albert Edward Bennet (16) - another trad climb.

Above - Martin on Albert Edward Bennet (16), Christian belaying.

Above - Martin higher up. Looks interesting above.

Above - some interesting moves through the roof

Above - a bit higher

Above - doing the splits

The East Side Crag viewed from the West Side - with our four routes marked.

Above - we then cooled off in this massive pool

Above - On the West Side- Christian and Martin at the top of where the descent chains are. Behind is the upper basin. The East Side Crags are on the other side behind Christian.

Above - Christian leading "Slab" (11) - which always seem much harder than its grade.

Above - Christian a bit higher on "Slab". Martin belaying.

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