Spring buttress is the big, intimidating looking dark wall which dominates Woody Ravine on the Apostles. Its heyday was in the early 80's, and saw many impressive lines put up, but for whatever reason (perhaps the walk in) it hasn't seen much traffic, letting lichen and nature regain her. If you are interested in opening new- and probably hard- multipitch routes this may be a good place to look.
Aspect: Being North facing it scores morning shade until about 9:30, then staying in the sun for the rest of the day. There are no meaningful differences between summer and winter (if there are, please correct this statement, but we haven't found any). The crag does drip at places, however the drips that sometime fall off the roof above Fear of flying is no indicator of the condition of the wall, as the wall is so large and steep that light rain has no bearing on it.
Being in the ravine it can be susceptible to a strong crosswind from a South Easter. Northerly winds also funnel up the ravine.
Approach and layout: From the Pipe Track take Woody Ravine up through the forest, when the path backs off and the forest changes to windswept "grass" look right for a long wide bushy ledge marked with a small cairn at its start, that is the base of Amphitheatre Sector. One can collect water from one of several drips on that ledge.
The climbing on the extensive buttress is only really on the left half of the buttress, a area broadly broken in two: Left Sector, and Amphitheatre Sector, with the latter being much larger, steeper and harder.
This is a pleasant little single pitch crag directly below Spring Amphitheatre. The area is beautiful with a good tea/lunch spot and the routes are of good quality at moderate grades. It seems that Duncan McLachlan and Kevin Weir climbed the most obvious corner back in the day, but it was never written up. This may well be the line to the left of what we have called We are the Robots. All the routes described below start in a grove of yellowwood trees, or the ledge to the right, and end on the Woody-Spring traverse. In absence of other recorded information, we have described the lines as we climbed them. Any of them could be used as first pitches for routes on the main amphitheatre above.
Hand to fist size cams and a long cordelette are useful for belay anchors on Wood-Spring traverse the ledge.
Take care when toping out on the ledge not to knock anything down onto your belayer.
Topo: 1. We are the Robots, 2. Podo-bot, 3. Podocarpus, 4. The Gentle Titan, 5. Deucalion, 6. Pyrrha
We are the Robots (18)
This route starts about 8m right of the overhang by the tea cave. Pull onto the wall and follow 2 steep recesses until able to move right into the vertical hand crack. Straight to the top.
R. Halsey & A. Hall, 20/7/14
Start on Podocarpus and then head up the face (some tricky moves) until able to move left into the vertical hand crack. Straight to top.
A. Hall & R. Halsey, 20/7/14
Pull onto the wall about 2m right of We are the Robots. Tend right and then up the face to pull through the roof using the flake. Step left and top out on We are the Robots.
R.Halsey, G. Lipinska & D.Steyn, 29/7/14
The Gentle Titan (14)
Start on Podocarpus and head right into the large, vague corner, and follow this to the roof. Move right and exit up the layback to the top.
G.Lipinska, D. Steyn & R. Halsey
Pull up to a rail (#4 Camalot useful) and then up two narrow corners to a small roof. Pull through and then follow the right side of the arete until just before the top, where you step left and then top out.
R. Halsey & A. Hall, 20/7/14
Start about 2m right of Deucalion and pull up rail (#4 Camalot useful). Head up a wide corner and then straight up the face, just right of centre. Near the top there is a long move to a large horizontal pocket. At the next hand rail, traverse left and finish as for Deucalion.
R.Halsey, D. Steyn & G. Lipinska, 29/7/14
This wall left of the big roofs looks relatively uniform but for overhangs towards the top. At the base on the right is an obvious undercut open book facing left, this is The Plunge. About 3m left of this is Third Eye, and about 4m left again is the start of Yo Yo.
Yo Yo *** 19
G. Lacey, E. February 1982
Start: About 200m from the top of the ravine the path runs close to the face on the right. At a level slightly higher than this a steep juggy face leads to an obvious crack.
Pitch 1. 40m (15) Climb the face moving diagonally right then back left to gain the base of the crack. Ascend the crack to a stance blow a small overhang.
Pitch 2. 25m (19) Pull left through the roof over jammed blocks. Continue up to the next set of roofs, Move left, crank through the double roofs to gain a rail. Traverse left and move up to a stance.
Pitch 3. 15m (15) Climb diagonally right up to the top.
The Third Eye *** 22
G. Lacey, E. February 1982
Start: Down and tight of Yo Yo is a beautiful layback crack in a slim left facing corner.
Pitch 1. 20m (19) Climb the crack and bulge to below the roof.
Pitch 2. 25m (22) Move slightly left and break through the overhang above. Continue up on weathered rock to a ledge beneath some roofs.
Pitch 3. 30m (19) Climb into a small bottomless dihedral, exit left and move up the wall to beneath a series of overlaps. Crank through the overlaps then traverse right to a shallow open book. Climb this to the top.
The Plunge *** 19
FA: G. Lacey, E. February. 1982 FFA: A de Klerk, G. Lacey, E. February
Start: In the obvious left facing open-book, right of 3rd Eye.
Pitch 1. 15m (17) Move into the crack from the left, then climb up to stance on the right.
Pitch 2. 30m (15) Climb up left to gain the corner. Move right and climb the corner to the face above the right side of the overhangs.
Pitch 3. 25m (19) Climb the recess then traverse left below the roofs and pull through into the shallow undercut open-book.
Pitch 4. 20m (15) Climb through the crack in the roof above, then move diagonally left to clear the rood and continue to the top.
At stated above, routes in this sector is generally start from a large bushy ledge (Woody Spring Traverse) running right along the amphitheatre. The starts of most routes are beaconed.
Because of the enormous roof at at its center most lines in this sector join Fear of Flying in traversing left to easier ground.
The Gates *** 23
FA: G. Lacey, E February 1982.
FFA: A.de Klerk, E February 1983
Start: The route starts on the left end of the ledge and is marked by a beacon. The route follows a line of obvious overhanging open-books on the prow separating the two sectors.
Pitch 1. 15m (19) Climb the wall to a ledge and move left to a stance below the overhanging open book.
Pitch 2. 12m (23) Climb the open book to the roof, then rail left to the prow on the lip
Pitch 3. 20m (19) Climb the series of open books, tending right to reach the left side of a ledge.
Pitch 4. 20m (13) Climb the crack and walls to the top.
Stairway to heaven G2
Railrunner **** 20
FA: G. Lacey, E. February 1982
FFA: A de Klerk, E. February 1983
One of the best routes on the amphitheatre with a fine last pitch.
Start:About 10m right of Gates, below an undercut sloping corner/ramp.
Pitch 1. 15m (19) Stand on the blocks and pull into the corner. Move up left past some small roofs, then continue up leftwards to stance in a cubbyhole on the right. Pitch 2. 15m (15) Traverse right to a good ledge below an obvious slanting corner.
Pitch 3. 18m (17) Climb the corner and rail to a stance.
Pitch 4. 20m (20) Climb the faint corner to the roof. Rail right, move up to the next roof, then rail back left to clear the roof. Climb the short wall, past the wide horizontal crack to reach a ledge a little higher.
One could stance 4m left on a grassy ledge which allows the belayer to watch the leader on the last pitch.
Pitch 5. 22m (19) Climb up through two horizontal breaks to beneath an overhang, where one steps left to beneath a clean but featured face. Climb the face diagonally right to reach the top.
Men at Arms *** 22
A. De Klerk, E. February, G. Lacey 1982
Start: about 10m right of Railrunner, below a corner capped by a roof.
Pitch 1. 20m (20) Move up in the corner, then traverse left to gain a small ledge 3m above the ground. Step down to the left to reach a good handrail and traverse left to stand under a small overhang.
Pitch 2. 18m (22) Climb some cracks on the left to a small roof and continue past this to a rail. Rail right, then climb diagonally right to a hanging belay at a sloping ramp below the big roof.
Pitch 3. 15m (19) Break through the overhang on the right to gain the ledge. Move left and up to a higher ledge.
Pitch 4. 22m (19) Climb the last pitch of Railrunner
Silver Tightrope *** 20
G. Lacey, A de Klerk, E. February 1982
Start: About 10m right of Men at arms, directly beneath the huge overhang at the top of the amphitheatre. Just left of a corner and right of some black streaks should be a beacon. ( Fear of Flying takes the break on the right with a peg.
Pitch 1. 22m (20) Pull up on jugs and a prong, traverse left to gain the white nose. Climb up, tending right to stance below a large flake in a horizontal crack.
Pitch 2. 20m (20) Climb behind the flake, then up the face and through a small roof to a rail. Traverse right and climb the face to stance at a wide rail on Fear).
Pitch 3. 18m (17) As for Fear Traverse left to stance at either of the grassy stances or the one before it (they are all great, and work$).
Pitch 4. 22m (19) Climb the face diagonally right, (as for Railrunner)
Rolling Stones in Concert G1
Fear of Flying *** 22 or 21 A0
FA: E February, K. Appolis 1978 FFA W. Gans, S Cunnane 27 April 2014
A good route with an exciting traverse- don't fly.
Notes: We disagree with several points in "Peninsula Select's" description of this route: 1. The grades in the guide (21A0, 18, 17, 17) don't seem consistent or accurate, and have been corrected below. 2. Pitch 2 is changed below for better climbing. 3. There is no way the last pitch takes that line at that grade,and have offered a partial solution below.
Start: An overhang juts out left of a prominent drip, on this is a piton in the middle of a small face, about 4m off the ground. At the base is an A3 sized flat rock, and about 2m above and right the wall seeps slightly on the overhang.
Pitch 1. 25m (22 or 21 A0) Climb past the piton to a narrow ledge, climb diagonally right beneath the overhang to take an open book up for 3m, step right beneath the next overhang then diagonal left into another open book fault taken up past a semi-detached block to a large ledge. Stance comfortably on the right.
Originally opened by aiding on the peg. The free grade of 22 is suggested, but may be harder.
Pitch 2. 18m (17) start 1m past the right end of the roof above the stance, climbing diagonal left around the arete, then traverse over the open book and beneath the gaping crack until the face on the left. Take this to a small stance a pitch directly beneath an improbable roof.
One can link Pitches 2 & 3, however rope drag could be problematic if done poorly.
Pitch 3. 25m (17) Step back down then follow a good handrail left above tine to none-existent feet on the lip of a roof, around a small corner to a good ledge. Walk left to a grassy stance, (crossing beneath Railrunner's last pitch). Excellent pitch.
Pitch 4. 25m (23) Step up to a grassy ledge left, around the corner then left beneath a roof. Up the right tending break to a ledge. Traverse left around the corner, then diagonally right to a grassy ledge. Step up, then follow a lay-back crack in a recess to another ledge, then easy ground to the top.
We suspect this pitch starts well left of the line described above, and instead we highly recommend the last pitch of Railrunner.
M. Scott, B. Martin, G. Ehrens 23 Jan 1983
Pitch 1. 10m (F1) Move left and up to the start of some rails. Step right onto the steep wall, using hand jams in a horrendous crack for a higher finger rail. Pull up into a niche. If the traverse move is done to low down its a F2.
Pitch 2. 25m (E2) Continue up the wall on the left using cracks and rails until a bulge above some easy crack to a ledge on the left.
Pitch 3 20m (D/E) Continue diagonally left across a face, then climb a wide easy crack to a ledge on the left.
Pitch 4. 23m (F1) Ascend a short face behind the ledge, then move up to a crack with a short wall above, blocking entrance to a recess capped by an overhang. "Spring Balance" comes in from the right, goes up the crack and recess and pulls through the overhang via an exposed move out right. Pull up to a bulge on the left of the crack, traverse right back to the top of the crack and get into the recess by the jams in the corner of "Spring Balance" Step left onto a big flake and move on an exposed corner with an awkward reach for a fingerrail. There is a hidden footrail just around the corner. Climb up the wall to a stance on the very edge of a rib at the end of a ledge also gained by "Spring Balance".
Pitch 5. 18m (E2) Above the ledge is a horizontal slit. If you face the wrong way and get the wrong left up into the slit to will battle and struggle and never reach the elusive diagonal grip on the left corner. (Around the edge is the direct continuation of Balance) The face leading to the big grassy ledge below a prominent overhang. Balance traverses to white slab below this and goes up the chimney on the left. To avoid extensive damage to the ecology by having a to garden a new pitch, we decided to do the Balance" pitch.
Pitch 6. 23m (F1) Climb the bushy recess to the overhang. Traverse left across the slab to climb the chimney, exit right (instead of left for Balance's stance). Climb an exposed corner to a ledge with a blocked chimney behind it (used by the Matters).
Pitch 7. 18m (F1) Climb the crack in a black and yellow striped face right of the chimney. Above this the crack can be followed but it is more exhilarating pulling up on small edges on the smooth face to reach a ledge. A short wall is surmounted to gain the Woody Spring traverse.
Walk nearly a rope length left to a corner with a view into the ravine. Those who don't want to climb more than F1 can walk off here.
Pitch 8. 30m (F2) The only less than excellent rock appears on this pitch. These are upside down recesses. Climb up onto the ledge just right of the corner and up steep moves to a little overhang. Pull around this, traverse left, climb up to below the brown, rough rock overhang blocking the way into the left wall. One delicate move out and finger troughs are reached for superb, steep, exposed but easy climbing up to a big ledge next to a huge "Spring Crag" Beacon.
Pitch 9. 20m (F2) Move right to the steep undercut rib, which is climbed to beneath the overhang. Reach around right to take a crack (past a tea-cup handle grip). Climb to a ledge. Move left and down under an overhang (passing the last pitch of "Spring Balance") to the leaning block and yellowwood tree at the last pitch of "Crag"
Pitch 10. 22m (F2) Stand up on the steep wall on the right, above the tree. Rail to the corner and pull up to a foot-ledge. Using a high rail swing left over a dizzy drop, get the feet onto some prongs, and pull up into a rough recess with a flake in it. Move up this into a crack, which cuts diagonally right. One ends up lay-backing spectacularly up the side of Horses Head to finish right on top of the block.