As Canberra is cradled by mountains, rock climbing has always been popular and accessible in the nation’s capital.
And with the rise of indoor climbing gyms, more and more people are testing their nerve with the real deal. We spoke to Nic Curran, self-professed “fresh dirt bag of the crag”, about his top five spots in the region. Hold on tight for a crash course in climbing lingo and insider tips.
Canberra’s premiere destination for traditional climbing offers stunning panoramic views of Namadgi and the Brindabella’s. Standing over 100m tall, this crag is not for the faint-hearted. But don’t be deterred—there are still plenty of single pitch climbs along this superior cliff face as well as the odd bolted wall. This serene natural beauty is rated one of the true gems of Australian climbing and you’ll feel why as these pure granite slabs leave your hands aching for more from start to finish.
Red Rock Gorge
Right on the Murrumbidgee, the cliff face of Red Rock Gorge is even more striking than the river it overlooks. As the highest river climb in the ACT with volcanic red rock that cuts more shapes than you can imagine, the cliff face offers something for everyone. Plenty of muscle ups and technicality will leave you as red in the face as the rock itself.
Experiencing this hidden paradise is worth every second of bush bashing through the Brindabella’s to get there. The area is actually known for Mt Coree and some of the ACT region’s first climbed cliffs, but for me, Lost Vegas takes the cake. It offers everything with great face, crack, chimney, squeeze and jugs. Experienced climbers must try their hand at the route Valhalla. At grade twenty-nine (the peak being a grade 35 in Australia) this world-class rock will challenge even the most devoted climbers! Fingertip holds aplenty, sometimes what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Situated in the beautiful eucalyptus forests of Tallaganda National Park, Black Range delivers some of the best bouldering in the surrounding ACT region. The boulders, while spread out, are home to the greatest number of challenges that bouldering around Canberra has to offer. Every year Black Range invites you to a meet with an eclectic mix of outdoor climbers. For those looking to test their skills without getting too lost in the sky, Black Range is the place to explore.
Since opening their doors a little over a year ago, Blochaus has been serving up some of the best indoor climbing imaginable. With difficulty ratings from ‘human’ to ‘monkey’, Blochaus is the perfect place to learn climbing or to work on any niggles you’ve been facing on the crag. Blochaus is more than just a gym too, it is a community with a real sense of camaraderie. That alone makes this one of the greatest places to climb in Canberra.