Balls Head

10 minutes

Afternoon sun, if any.


Many Australian climbers will know Ball's Head because of the famous "hero shot" of a climber suspended at the lip of a roof above the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately not many climbers get the opportunity of sharing the experience, since the North Sydney City Council has prohibited rock climbing here since 1996. The reasons quoted are "issues including degradation caused by the creation of informal paths, areas of denuded vegetation forming at the base of cliffs causing excessive erosion and bolts being installed in cliffs and overhangs, as well as safety and risk management". As far as I know there has been no attempt by climbers to organise remedial works or develop positive relationships with the council or the local bushcare group, so the situation is unlikely to change.


Balls Head reserve is at the end of Balls Head Rd, Waverton. Park in the parking area in the middle of the loop road and walk south, down a series of steps towards the harbour. Clocks is on the far side of the boulder at the bottom of the stairs but you'll need to jump the fence, walk around to the left and make your way down to the water line to get to it.

The Big Block

The following 7 climbs are all located on the big block on the southern side of the headland, down near the waterline.

* * Clocks 21/22 10m
At the back of the cave, just left of IA22. Fabulous chossy roof pumping! Follow the line of ring bolts towards the Harbour Bridge. Either lower off the fixed carabiner (scoring a grade 21), or continue up as for IA22 (and give yourself a 22).
Tony Harris
* * It's About 22 24 15m
Start below the lip of the cave, on the western side of the block. Traverse around the block, just above the lip of the cave. From the fixed carabiner, head up and right to the top of the block.
Tony Harris
It's About 22 Variant 21 7m
Head along IA22 to a crack about halfway along. Continue up this.
Tony Harris
It's About 22 Variant II 23 8m
As for IA22V, but head diagonally right up the outside of the cave (BRs).
Tony Harris
It's About 22 Direct Finish 26 15m
As for IA22, but head diagonally left from the fixed carabiner and follow a thin crack.
Tony Harris
A 16 7m
On the side of the block. Up the first crack.
B 17 7m
Up the second crack.

Central Buttress

Located on the southern side of headland, about 100m west of the big block. A track runs past the bottom of the buttress, which is distinguished by two aretes that loom above the track.

Michael's Indecipherable Handwriting 21 15m
I'm sure that's its real name! Below the right arete of the buttress. 1. 8m (21) Up the poorly protected corner below the arete to a cam and BB belay. 2. 7m (21) Up the arete (friable rock) past two BRs.
* Sunset Arete 21 8m
On the high ledge below the left arete (BB). Swing up the cracks to the right and up the arete (BR).
Blather 14 8m
3m left of SA. Up the short wall (no protection).
* Watch This Space 26 15m
Just left of B. Up the bulging arete and overhanging wall, passing 3 manky BRs and a manky PR.

100m further west along the track is a plaque below a short wall. Up and to the left is the following route.

Navel Research 17 10m
The recessed slab. Up and through the roof and into the cave. Step right and continue to top. 5 manky BRs in all.

There are a few poorly protected routes on the slabs left of NR. The following (obvious) route is about another 75m further on, where the headland starts to turn north again.

C 20 7m
Up and out the obvious roof crack.

When Crags Collide

There is some bouldering on the western side of the peninsula, mostly easy grades but some nice problems.