The Colliery

5 min - 1 hour

Shade until midday


Best described as an "undeveloped Mount York", with similar rock and features, and clifflines broken up into distinguishable areas separated by access gullies. At present there are 4 genuinely great trad-line that make the trip worthwhile for a trad enthusiast alone. Most of the prominent trad lines have been climbed (though a few remain), but the many clean slabs and faces are awaiting bolting and first-ascents by anyone who sees the area worthy of development, and doesn't mind the extra distance to travel.


Rediscovered by "No-Chalk" Rob Burton in 2012. Has clearly been investigated previously (a number of cairns were discovered beneath specific lines, a few metres back from the cliff) but no details of ascents has ever been published.


Take the Bells Line of Road towards Lithgow. Drive through Clarence, passing the Zig Zag station on your right.1km after Zig Zag station, the road takes a big sweeping left bend. At the end of this bend, turn left into an obvious cleared dirt area, marked by a sign saying: "Zig-Zag Tunnels 9/10 Site Office Access". Continue along dirt road (ignoring first locked-gate turn off to the left), and at approx 700m turn left onto dirt-road. This road gets progressively worse, with 4WD capability needed to reach the very end. Park wherever you become concerned for your cars clearance, and continue on foot. At 1800m ignore adjacent trig point (Uncle Toms car park) and continue straight ahead. 75m before the track comes to a dead end (marked by camprire site and fallen tree), take the faint track on the right marked by a cairn. At about 80m, the track curves around L. 4WDs should park here. Branch off this into light bushland heading West. You are now aiming for a gully and constriction which is reached within 3 min. This is the "Access Gully Area" of Colliery Crag. About 75m down and to the left (South) is the obvious steep crack FIFO Hooker, which marks the start of the South Cliffs Area. This area stretches on for a few hundred metres. About 80m to the right (North) is the first of the North Cliff climbs: Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology. This area stretches on for about 300m. Further in the distance, where the cliffline begins to head west, is where the Far Northern Cliffs resides. This can be seen from the base of Climbing Boom. From here you get a great view of Gina Climb-hard in its entirety; it takes 15min extra walking to reach this climb and the others there. You know you've reached the right area when you pass a large boulder sitting in a gully with a prominent grey "fin" of rock: The Shark's Fin. As you head west, look up to spot Coal Seam Crack.

Access Gully Area

The narrow gully constriction you pass through when approaching the The Colliery. The first climbing area you come to.

In the Pits 13 15m
The obvious chimney/corner on the left as you enter the constricted section of the Access Gully. Climb the chimney/corner. Walk off via Access Gully to the left (facing in).
Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012
Half Thumb Hero 18 12m
Start on right at the end of the Access Gully Constriction. Around bulges using flakes and crack to the left as necessary (avoid going off-route to the crack proper for the full tick - it's a full grade easier to climb the crack directly), move right under roof and up into easy squeeze chimney to top-out. 5 Bolts + Anchors.
Paul Thomson,17 March 2013
Graveyard Shift 16 30m
As you emerge from the access gully constriction, there is a south facing cliff on the right. Climb the leftward-leaning off-width (with good face holds) until it thins, then climb the thin crack and headwall above. Walk off with through scrub via the access gully to the right (facing in).
Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012

South Cliffs

The cliffs South of the Access Gully to the Colliery. Commencing approximately 75m past the Access Gully Area (to the South/Left) at the obvious steep crack FIFO Hooker, and continuing for a few hundred metres.

* * FIFO Hooker 19 35m
75m down and left from the access gully constriction. Long, steep, technical crack. Small roof crack to leads to technical corner, and steep chimneying into a roof, before finishing with a nice hand/fist headwall. Walk off the top via the Access Gully to the left (facing in).
Rob Burton (L), Alex Bergmann (S), 2012
Sooty Shaft 16 40m
10m right of FIFO Hooker. Obvious offwidth corner up a detached pillar. From the top of the pillar continue directly up the headwall to the top. Rap off tree to the right (facing in), and downclimb a few metres. Take big gear. (Warning: Pro directly after the pillar is sparse, and big boulder on top of pillar rocks if you stand on it). You can belay on top of the pillar, and walk off the back of it if you wish. May have been climbed previously.
Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012
Brave Canary 14 20m
Easy corner ramble on good rock up crack, past bulge, and continuing up corner crack to the top. Walk off via gully to the right (facing in).
Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012
Pneumoconiosis Aspirations 17 20m
Start 5m right of Brave Canary in front of dead tree. Boulder up to ledge, move slightly left and climb face to break and gear. Then continue up and slightly right to top of main wall. Hand-traverse right to arete rather than climbing detached block above headwall.Walk off via gully to the right (facing in). CAUTION: Falls much above the one good break would be serious. So named because contracting Pneumoconiosis is probably safer than this climb.
Paul Thomson (L), Rob Burton (S), 2012

North Cliffs

The cliffs North of the Access Gully to The Colliery. Commencing approximately 80m past the Access Gully Area (to the right/North) with Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology (wafer thin flake to off-width).

Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology 16 25m
80m right of Access Gully constriction. Thin flake to hand crack, past detached block and some choss to bulge, left and out under bulge, then up easy corner to top. Walk off via Gully to the left (facing in). May have been climbed previously.
Paul Thomson (L), Rob Burton (S), 2012
Mine Shaft 14 22m
10m up and left of Abnormal Coal Seam Morphology. Climb obvious off-width/squeeze chimney to ledge, then head up shallow corner on the right to top (avoiding iron-stone plates). Take big gear. Walk off via Gully to the left (facing in).
Rob Burton (L), Paul Thomson (S), 2012
* Climbing Boom 18 55m
100m further left from mine shaft P1 (15) - Up easy hand-crack to belay at back of cave. P2 (18) - Up slab to arrange protection in roof crack. From there either (a) Downclimb and step around arete, then up delicately; or (b) stay high and traverse under the roof crack. Whatever route you take, it leads to a hard move past flake to footledge. Then traverse right to corner, and up easy corner to top. Walk off via Gully to the right (facing in).
Paul Thomson (P1), Rob Burton (P2), 16 Dec 2012

The Shark's Fin

An obvious free-standing grey/orange fin of rock, located in the corner where the cliffline turns west, approximately 20min walk from the car park. This is also the intersection where the North Cliffs ends, and the Far North Cliffs begins, 40m high at its highest (west) face, and a mere 15m high at its lowest (east) face, it is currently the home to a number of closed projects. A fixed rope has been left in-place on the back (lowest) point of the Fin, to allow easy access to the anchors at its summit.

Flipper 6 15m
A short, easy crack on the shortest (north-eastern) side of the Shark's Fin. Originally done as solo-aid to gain access to the summit to install anchors, and then as a free-solo doddle as a warm-up.
FA: Paul Thomson, 2013. FFA: Rob Burton, 2013
* * Dorsal Fin 22 30m
Climbs the Eastern side of the prominent knife-blade southern arete. Stick clip first bolt from walk-down track, then start the climb at the very base of the arete where it is steep (don't cheat!) using both sides of the arete until the 3rd bolt. At the third bolt move onto the right side of the arete, and climb the line of the bolts to the top. Desperate pure-arete moves until past the second roof, and then tenuous moves up the knife-blade arete to easy-ish top section. Bring up second and rap-off eastern-side of the Shark's Fin.
Paul Thomson, March 24, 2013.
Fin Rot 17 12m
Starts on North-Western side of The Shark's Fin at obvious clean slabby crack (with an undercut start) on far left-hand end (before vegetated chimney) which gradually steepens before becoming vegetated. Climb the crack to where the crack ends below the roof. Place some bomber pro. Swing left to gain the tree in the chimney, and bring up your second. Alternatively use the fixed rope and 2 x raps to pull gear from the very top. Rap anchor will be installed within a month. The extension through the roof has been cleaned, and is an open project (21/22)?
Paul Thomson, March 24, 2013.

ABOVE: (Left) Macca Mcewen repeats Dorsal Fin (22), while (right) Paul Thomson makes the First Ascent of the same route.

Far North Cliffs

The Cliffs at the Northermost end of the crag. Visible from the climbs at the North Cliffs. This area begins where the cliff turns West, and is reached after approximately 20min of walking.

* COALgate Smile 20 35m
About 500m past from Climbing boom. Start underneath small roof crack and corner, right of Coal Seam Crack. Crack to stance beneath fingercrack roof. Undercling roof to gain corner, then up corner to the top, with a vegetated topout. Rap off tree to the right (facing in). Watch the overhang! So named because Rob chipped his tooth whilst abseiling through the jungle trees shortly after the ascent.
Rob Burton (L), Alex Bergmann (S), 2012. FFA: Paul Thomson (March 24, 2013)
* * Coal Seam Crack 19M2 40m
20m left of COALgate smile, the obvious R facing corner with a super exposed off-width roof. (P1) 20m climb corner to stance beneath roof. Some dodgey rock but pro is reasonable. (P2) 20m Aid through roof and crack above, and free up small offwidth section. Rap off as for COALgate smile.
Rob Burton (L), Jonas (S), 2012 19 M2
* * Gina Climb-Hard 18 45m
20m further L from Coal Seam crack is this prominent line under a huge finger crack roof. A real classic. P1 15m - Crux. Climb the tight chimney come hand crack to ledge beneath roof (chimney needs a camalot #5). P2 (17) 30m - Climb steep corner, traverse under roof, and continue up finger-crack headwall to ledge (many finger crack sized cams are needed). To reduce rope drag, you may wish to set up a semi-hanging belay at the end of the roof traverse in Pitch 2. Stay roped up to traverse right and belay at the top of coal seam crack. Rap off as for COALgate smile
Rob Burton (P1), Morgan Huxley (P2), 2012

ABOVE: Rob Burton climbing Gina Climb-Hard