The volcanic pinnacles of the Glass House Mountains offer heaps of unique climbing opportunities – here’s how to make the most of them!
Last year, I was lucky to have an awesome weekend away to the Glass House Mountains with eight climbing buddies. We travelled up from Sydney and left our beloved Blue Mountains behind for a new climbing experience. We had a blast discovering what some of South East Queensland climbing has to offer.
Here’s a snapshot of the climbing on offer in the Glass House Mountains.
- A wide variety of climbs, graded from beginner to advanced (including short sport climbs, long multis and trad adventures)
- The Glass House Mountains are just over an hours’ drive from Brisbane and Noosa with many cool places to stay for the weekend (also not too far from the beach, if you want to combine the two)
- Soak up epic views and incredible sunrises and sunsets
- Options for easier or harder crag approaches (from paved footpaths, to steep rock scrambling)
- Fantastic photography opportunities
Not sure on the different types of climbing? Read: The Many Faces Of Rock Climbing
Climbing in the Glass House Mountains
Being from Sydney and a stone’s throw away from the Blue Mountains, I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to climbing. So why did I go all the way to Queensland?
With 11 ancient volcanic peaks, cones that sporadically poke out of the surrounding forest and farmlands that create breathtaking and unique climbing adventures, we’d heard that it was worth the journey.
The Glass House Mountains is a historical and iconic climbing destination, with ascents recorded as early as the late 1800s – but its history as a meeting place for First Nations people goes back much further. Today at the Glass House Mountains, there’s something for everyone, from beginners to expert climbers. There are iconic sport routes, epic multis (make sure you start early to avoid the heat) and adventurous trad routes.
There are four major peaks that are open for climbing, however Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Ngungun are the main ones. Others include Mount Beerwah, which has great routes at Mosquito Wall for beginners, and if you’re after something a bit more hidden and off the beaten track, you might like to try the small buttress ‘Dwarfland’. There are fewer options here but it has stunning panoramas and some well-protected and enjoyable climbs.
Also known as ‘Tibro’, Mount Tibrogargan is one of the most popular mountains in the Glass House Mountains for rock climbing. Sliders Wall and Celestial Wall are the more popular crags, both featuring mostly sport climbing, with grades ranging from intermediate to expert.
Sliders is a classic crag, boasting epic jagged cliffs with a photogenic backdrop of mountains and farmland. At Sliders Wall head to ‘Lower Sliders’ for a wide range of climbs, mostly around grade 15+, and the steeper and more vegetated ‘Upper Sliders’ for pumpy climbs that are mostly graded 22+.
Beginners might like to try Candy Mountain with many nice routes graded from 11-20.
Mount Ngungun is one of the smallest mountains and also has one of the easiest approaches, with a paved 2.8km footpath to the top of the mountain. There are some lovely shady crags here that are perfect for summer climbing.
Refer to the South East Queensland Guidebook or The Crag website for full crag and climb descriptions.
Climbing Outdoors is a Privilege Not a Right
The Glass House Mountains have important historical and cultural significance. Remember to respect the locals and the national park and to apply the Leave No Trace principles. Let’s keep our climbing spots beautiful!
Climbing of Mt Beerwah (the ‘mother’ mountain) is discouraged by Traditional Owners.
Outdoor Climbing Gear
Ensure you’re prepared with all the usual climbing gear including a helmet, rope, quickdraws and belay device. If you’re a beginner, go with someone with sufficient outdoor climbing experience. There are also outdoor climbing companies that can take you on a 1-2 day course if you need to convert from indoor to outdoor climbing.
Food and Water
It goes without saying. Bring plenty!
It gets pretty darn hot in Queensland and while some of the crags are shaded, it’s best to bring sun cream and a hat, even if it’s just for the approach.
The areas are prone to mosquitos! Don’t let it put you off though – it’s well worth it, just be prepared (unlike us, we got eaten alive!).
Grab the South East Queensland Guidebook – essential reading.
Some of the crags have a more rugged approach so it’s best to wear quality closed shoes with good grip.
First Aid Kit
It never hurts to carry first aid essentials with you on a day at the crag, including a snake bandage.
How To Get There
The Glass House Mountains are located on the Sunshine Coast and about an hours’ drive from the Brisbane CBD or Noosa. Either of those spots would also be perfect for a weekend away.
The mountains are visible from the road and can be accessed through different public car parks. The Crag gives a good description of the location and approach of each climbing spot.
- Rock climbing
- Photography (grab an awesome sunrise/sunset shot)
There’s something for everyone at the Glass House Mountains – from beginner climbs for outdoor first-timers, to climbers at the top of their game.
- Research – be sure to do your research first so you take the right gear and are prepared for the conditions. Always go with someone who has sufficient experience.
- Weather – check the weather forecast before you leave. Some crags with more difficult approaches can become slippery and dangerous when wet.
- Updates and alerts – check the national parks website for updates and alerts.
- Know your ability and limits – there have been many people who’ve had to be rescued from Glass House Mountain peaks. Do your research, bring the right gear and equipment and be fully prepared to avoid this.