Down and Out at Boars Head

The craggy outcrop of Boars Head located just a couple of kilometres north of Katoomba hosts a number of quality low to mid grade multi-pitch sport climbing routes that on their own would make for a solid day out. But when you throw in the fact that their approach involves a 4 pitch abseil through a narrow slot in the headland, the day enters into quality micro-adventure territory.

As I currently don’t own a car I’m always on the lookout for a public transport accessible adventure objective. As Boars Head is walking distance from Katoomba I was excited to give this one try on a day when none of my car fairing friends were gracious enough to drive me to the crag. When this day finally arrived my fellow ride-deficient bud Ben Hanley and an I rose early and after a meandering 2 hours spent on the train from Sydney, made the relatively short walk to the top of the headland.

We arrived mid morning and after briefly sorting out the necessary gear and stashing our bags in a bush we rappelled down the initial, short abseil that led us into a narrow gully between the main cliff and a rocky outcrop. From here it was a quick scramble around to arrive at a narrow slot that cut the headland in two.

After tying into the rope Ben made the precarious, airy traverse though the crevasse to the next belay station, stepping gingerly over small stances with nothing but air under him. Once I reached him I quickly tied in and we completed an excellent three pitch rappel through the slot to the base of the cliff.Ben squeezing into the abseil slot in Boars HeadSetting up the 2nd abseil inside the slotMe making my way down the third abseil

The climb we had chosen is named Dirty Rotten Pigs (19) and was a short walk around the base of the crag. Looking up at the route we could make out another climbing party making their way up the face directly adjacent to a knife edge arete.

Looking up at Dirty Rotten Pigs (19)

Ben took the first lead and quickly made his way up the moderate terrain to the first belay station. Once I reached him after cleaning the pitch I swapped into the lead and made my way up pitch two. Though relatively easy the vertical terrain and its height from the base of the valley made fro some great exposure and excitement.

As Ben reached me at the top of pitch two on a small stance inside a cave in the cliff he chucked that as he was belaying me from some poisonous funnel web spiders popped out to a crack directly in front of him. As he was hanging from the anchor he had to gingerly negotiate avoiding the spiders while still keep me safe on belay while I remained blissfully ignorant of the whole situation.

Ben on his way up pitch 2 of Dirty Rotten Pigs
Hanging out at the top of pitch 2

Pitch 3 was another excellent jaunt up more vertical terrain before topping out onto a large, scrubby platform. From here all that was left was to scramble around the corner and up a slippery grade 15 slab to reach the top of the abseil.

Looking out over Narrowneck from the top of Boar’s Head

After taking in the view of Narrowneck and the surrounding valley we grabbed our gear and were fortunate enough to hitch a ride back to Katoomba and treat ourselves to a celebratory pizza and beer at Station Bar before passing out on the train back to the big smoke.

No car, no worries

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