Finding the Cave Climb rap point at Narrowneck

From the description in the 2010 Blue Mountains guidebook this is extremely hard to find, so here’s my description after a couple of trip and a fair amount of bush bashing. The Cave Climb rap is the best access for Cave Climb (obviously), Fuddy Duddy, Tal, Toll, and On Both Sides Of The Glass.

From Cliff Drive in Katoomba drive down Glenraphael Drive for 1.4km, to a small turnout on the right after you come up a small hill. It should be about 50m before the national park sign.

From here walk towards the national park sign, and about 10m before it there is a small cairn on the right (this is described in the 2010 guidebook). It doesn’t look like there’s any track, but bash through the first row of trees and it’s there.

Follow the track down and slightly to the right towards a large pagoda (visible on google maps). Scramble down the gully to the right. Underneath the pagoda is a sweet bivvy cave with a fireplace and windbreak. From the bivvy cave follow the path straight down towards a buttress. On the left side of this buttress are the rap chains.

Map showing route

The chains are on a ledge a short scramble below the top. This is a pretty necky solo, so luckily there is a single ring on the slab above the cliff edge to belay people down. From the chain it’s a single 50m rap to the ground.

From the top of Cave Climb there is a faint track skirting the cliff edge heading south (towards the left looking out). This quickly turns into a horrible scrub bash as you descend into a small gully but after about 100m you will traverse into a more canyonlike gully with a track descending it. This is Herbaceous Gully, which you can descend via scrambling and a single rope rap. If you continue to traverse around onto a broader shale ledge, you will find two new rings at the end. You can do a 50m rap from here to the base of Tal and Toll.

Accessing the top of Herbaceous Gully from the road is left as an exercise for the reader! Will Monks’ description should be helpful:

Walk 80m further along the road to the “obvious gumtree” described in the SRC Guide. The track here is now overgrown, so head about 120m further along the road, which curves R uphill then starts to curve back left – here there is a small dirt cutting on the right (1m high), with a small cairn marking a much better track than the previous one. Follow it easily 100m towards clifftop, trending R & down for 50m at the end, then back L along under upper cliffs for 80m. Herbaceous Gully is then obvious, a major cleft in the lower cliffs. As you approach, the rap rings are on the closer side, about 30m from the deepest point of the cleft. A worn track heads steeply down through bushes to a big-arse rap ring. Take care as you approach it. It’s a 30m rap (can be done as a 20m rap with extra downclimbing), then wander down gully to a 25m rap off a tree to the bottom.

I’ll try and update the access description on soon.


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