Claimed by many as Austalia’s best crag, West Cape Howe offers kilometers of high quality routes and still much potential for new climbs. The areas are described from west to east.
Location: West Cape Howe National Park is about 35 km south west of Albany. It is the southern most point of WA.
Climbing: Mostly one pitch routes with some two or three pitch routes up the 85m. Many require an abseil approach to ledges or hanging belays above the sea, however there are also many walls where you can walk down to the base.
Top-roping from the cliff tops is easy although you will need natural pro and some extra rope or slings to set up belays. Make sure that the rock you are anchoring to is solid.
The sea can be unpredictable so always be careful when descending down to near sea level to get to the start of climbs. Always stay tied to the anchor.
Leaders must always be cautious about loose rock. There have been a number of accidents here that have resulted from loose block pulling out.
Rock: Mostly dark grey to black dolerite but there are some granite areas. Friction is good and there are many featured walls with vertical and horizontal cracks. Loose rock can be encountered on some walls, particularly as you near the top. The tops of cliffs are scattered with loose rock and some precarious looking boulders. We strongly recommend you wear a helmet.
Guide: South Coast Rock by Stone Productions and the old CAWA guide. South Coast Rock has excellent photo’s of all cliffs, which makes finding climbs much easier than the old guide.
Access: From Albany take the Lower Denmark Road for 23km. Turn left into Cosy Corner Road. Continue past Cosy Corner Motel.
Turn right into Coombes Road at 3km (straight ahead takes you to Cosy Corner, nice beach, some bouldering).
Turn left (after 2.2km) at the intersection of Coombes and Horton South Roads (at top of large hill). THe road changes to dirt and heads for Shelley Beach.
(At 3.5km there is a track to the right. Don’t take this.)
At 3.9km there is another track to the right, take this one.
4.7km of 4WD to Fisherman’s Turn Around. There are numerous 4WD off-shoots. You are there.
For walking access keep driving to Shelley Beach, but take the right fork for the upper car park (where the Hang Gliders take off). Left fork ends at Shelley Beach.
Park your car. You should inform the local CALM ranger if you intend to leave your vehicle overnight.
Follow the CALM path along the ridge. This joins the 4WD track eventually. About 1 – 2 hours over hilly and sandy tracks.