Three Star Threes – Sam May

Three Star Threes and Five Star Fives


(Bouldering, I know, but apparently Akuna Bay is “adventure” bouldering so I guess it’s worth a trip report)

For our saturday arvo climbing, James had scoured Balint’s guide and wanted to check out an Akuna Bay spot. Simon came all the way up from the south (“Well, it’s not the furthest I’ve driven for a bouldering day trip…”)

I picked up James and we drove up from Mona Vale via McCars Creek Road, very scenic and winding. After running in the others near the entrance station, it was time to find the crag.

James had been keen on Cottage Point, but I overruled in favour of Three Star Threes as it was the only one I’d heard of. After driving up and down the length of General San Martin Drive looking in vain, I feel I can offer the following update to the Sydney Bouldering guidebook directions.

Drive exactly 1.6km from the first park entrance station (which seems to be often closed, we didn’t have to pay any money). You will drive through a windy cutting on the right hand side of a steep hill. As soon as you exit the cutting and the railing ends, the road turns RIGHT (not left) out on to a straight section. The first car space is immediately on the left, a bigger one is 50m further down as described in the guidebook. This is the first car park:

From here an old fire trail in poor condition leads away to the left through some thick brush.

The distances in the guidebook are WILDLY overestimated. For Five Star Fives you can pretty much walk a few metres down the trail and then break off left and head straight up the hill. There is no trail, if there was there is so much fallen wood around it’s been covered up. For Three Star Threes walk maybe 50m down the track, until you come out of the ‘tunnel’ to where the bush thins out. Then break off left and up the hill. There is a very faint trail if you can find it, again there is a lot of dead fallen wood all over the place.

Anyway, we found the place! Here we are at the Three Star Threes area.

My first impressions were…not good. “We came all the way out here for this?”. It’s a pretty small poxy area out in the bush. But then we started climbing some things and I warmed up to it a bit. The Prow, which you may know from the shot on the back cover of Sydney Bouldering guidebook, is what we ended up climbing on for most of the day, and it’s a great problem.




Punch to the lip and cut loose! Badass. Then you have to mantle. It was a pretty brutal mantle. There is a hilarious video of James which he can post if he wants.

After a pleasant ramble up the two slabs of Lost At Sea, the so-called ‘multipitch boulder problem’ we moved over to the scary, loose, and hard Underthingy. Even Simon didn’t really get close so it’s stiff problem. Perhaps the problem was the weird face-out beta we tried instead of actually underclinging.

We had a look at Captain Pugwash but it was seeping, well at least that was our excuse.

Time went by quickly and the others had to leave, so me and Simon headed over to Five Star Fives to check out Malpomene. Again my first impressions were not good. But what can I say – this poxy seeping micro-crag is definitely home to five star fives! Each problem we tried had awesome big moves that were just easy enough to make you feel good, that led to hard cruxes waaay off the deck.


We tried Malpomene, which is utterly blank on the headwall; the orange scoop of Tomato Soup which is the obvious natural line, big moves between cool horizontal slots, to a brutal iron-cross move left to a poor slot; and finally the good little line of pockets that is Catch The Bus To Bondi, up to a bad pinch on the arete. We got shut down on all of them, can’t believe they were first done solo without mats or spotters – top effort.


So plenty of projects to come back for. This area is exactly what it says on the tin – five star fives and three star threes! The bush surroundings are beautiful, feels a lot further away from the city than it is. I reckon next time though, we’ll check out Above The Boat, a bigger area with more variety, the water views would be very nice, and apparently there’s still live music on Sunday afternoons…


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