EXPLORE // Rock Climbing at Tallong
The Southern Highlands has one helluva backyard! You can go exploring in it, go bush walking, camping, swimming or – if you’re experienced enough – rock climbing!
Yep, thanks to the region’s gorgeous natural landscape, there are plenty of good spots for rock climbing.
Now when we were at Badgery’s Lookout at Tallong a few weeks ago, we discovered a cool cliff face, accessible via the Badgery’s Spur Walking Track, for rock climbers.
Now, we absolutely stress this. Do not do this if you are not an experienced outdoor climber or not with an experienced outdoor climber. Skinny Ross (if the name sounds familiar, you met him here) is our resident rock climber with 20+ years experience, so he took us along to give this climb a crack.
Here’s what you need to know…
Head through the southern villages of Penrose and Wingello and wind your way into Tallong. Turn left at The Midge – Tallong’s local café and convenience store – onto Caoura Road before turning right into Badgery’s Lookout Road (it’s well signed so you can’t miss it) and driving another 4km to the lookout.
Head towards the right hand side of the car park, facing out towards the valley. Pass the sign for Badgery’s Spur Walking Track and head down quite a steep decline. There is a cliff drop to the left so stay to the right and steer clear. The track becomes a little vague, but we followed our nose and scrambled down a short cleft between rocks, then turned left and you’ll find yourself at the bottom of a rockface that is about ten metres high.
Wandering along the bottom, you’ll see obvious cracks to climb and the occasional bolt or fixed hanger (that’s climber talk!) from this level to the top of the cliff where the lookout and the track is.
It takes about five minutes to get to the bottom and requires a bit of fitness and skill. You climb the last section of the cliff on a high valley so while the walk in and the climbs aren’t overly long, you’re a bit exposed there, so be careful.
Nice view though!
LEVEL OF SKILL
The climbing covers a broad range of skills from beginner grades (5-10) right up to very skilled grades (20 or so). It’s a good climb to train on or build skills in leading on natural gear, rather than those looking for a pure sport climbing experience (more climber talk – that means a technical experience).
Climb lengths vary but are from 10-20 metres, and the cliff is quite exposed, so you get a great view over the valley as well as a real adrenaline rush from how high up you are.
Unlike some of the other climbing areas in and around the Highlands area – like Penrose and Nowra, for example - the protection is traditional rather than bolted, so you will need a proper rack to explore the area fully.
A proper rack means you need to take along temporary climbing anchors – nuts, hex’s and a full set of cams come in handy. And that’s why you need an experienced climber with the right gear with you, cos’ they talk a whoooooole different language.
There are a few completely bolted routes on the cliff but a proper rack will allow you to climb any of the routes on the cliff.
Top ropes can be setup for beginners (that’s what Skinny Ross did for us) as there are plenty of trees to anchor off on the top of the cliff, which is accessible from the carpark.
There is lots of trees and loose bark and debris make it a bit tricky to navigate the bottom of the cliff. If you plan on running top ropes, take rope protectors to keep your ropes in good condition.
Make sure you wear a good hat and lather yourself in sunscreen as the cliff gets full sun – ouch! This one is just for climbers – don’t take young kids or spectators – as there isn’t a great deal of safe and comfortable places for them to watch from.
So, there you go! A cool climb to get in the rhythm of outdoor climbing.
Now, here’s disclaimer number 487 – make sure you go with an experienced climber or you’re an experienced climber yourself. Click here for some more technical climbing info if you need it.
Awesome images thanks to Nick Torpy.
Wearing helmets when rock climbing isn't mandatory. Sport Climbing Australia recommends that if a helmet is worn, it should meet Australian Standards. Each climber should base whether they wear a helmet or not on the experience of the climbers, the level of the outdoor climb and a risk assessment of the climbing area EG a high level of loose rocks.