Hilton - Atom Smasher - Route Descriptions

For the general location of this crag, see the map on the main Hilton Crags page. The routes on this crag are described from left to right.

The routes from 'Suzy Wong' to 'Another Excess' are usually accessed by walking down the spur from the picnic area.

1. Suzy Wong (11) *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Follow the path down the ridge after passing the rubbish bin. Continue down steeply for about 100 m to a small crag with a pinnacle on its left-hand side. The route takes the short crack to the right of the pinnacle.

2. St. Senor the Hairy Grill (17) *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Start about 30 m to the right of 'Suzy Wong' and climb the crack splitting the white wall.

3. Dead Dog (18) * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Start on the comer 15 m to the right of 'St. Senor the Hairy Grill', next to a cactus. Climb up the recess and step left onto a ledge. Move straight up to exit at the crack.

4. Another Excess (22) * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Just past the rubbish bin is a short, smooth face split by two cracks. Start below the small roof in the middle of the face, and move up diagonally right to gain the crack which is followed to the top.

The following routes are usually reached by parking about 200 m 'up-stream / up-valley' from the picnic area. There are no obvious landmarks at the top of the crag. Either find a tame local to show you around, or abseil down and then walk along the base of the crag, route guide in hand, until you begin to get your bearings. The Sunset Ledge buttress is probably the easiest feature to locate.

5. Route of all Evils (19) * * *

OP: Andy de Klerk (1984)

About 30 m to the left of 'Pyschobabble' is a crack splitting a wide face with a roof at the top. Follow the crack to the roof and pull up through the finger layback crack above. A good route.

6. Red Tape Escape (25) 2B * *

OP: Roger Nattrass (1990)

Start on the left-hand side of the 'Psychobabble' face, 1 m to the left of 'Disintegration'. Climb up and through a small overlap then follow a right-tending seam past two bolts to the top. The moves are crunched and powerful. The second clip is a crux in itself.

7. Disintegration (26) 3B * * *

OP: Roger Nattrass (1990)

Climbs the bulge and small comer just to the left of 'Psychobabble' - about 1 m to the right of, and parallel to 'Red Tape Escape'. This is a fierce and continuous line protected by three bolts.

8. Pyschobabble (21)

OP: Chris Leslie-Smith (1984)

About 20 m to the left of Sunset Ledge is a face with the 5 bolts of the previous two routes towards its left-hand side. Climb to the top following the thin crack on the right-hand side of this face.

9. The Blasting Concept (24) 3B * * * *

OP: Roger Nattrass (1989)

There is an orange face with two lines of bolts, about 5 m to the left of Sunset Ledge. Start towards the left-hand side of this face where the rock is slightly undercut and climb up passing 3 bolts. The crux is a lunge above the second bolt.

10. Sweet Street (23) 3B * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1989)

On the right-hand side of 'The Blasting Concept' face there is a blunt arete. Climb up just to the left of the arete past three bolts - the third bolt cannot be seen from the ground.

11. The Mother Crushers (22) 8D * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1989)

Immediately left of Sunset Ledge and just around the arete to the right of the previous route, there is a grey slab topped by a large block. Start on the red rock, move up right onto the slab and then climb straight up past 4 bolts to the rail at the base of the large block. Climb the arete on the left of the block past 2 more bolts to reach the chains.


Sunset Ledge is a prominent balcony bounded by a steep, orange face on the left and a grey face on the right. This is the central 'reference point' for Atom Smasher Crag. There is a short, easy scramble from the ledge to the top of the crag. Several short top-rope problems also lead up from the ledge to the top of the crag.

12. Creatures of the Wall (25) 6D * * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Leading up to the left-hand side of Sunset Ledge, there is a steep orange wall. Start towards the left-hand side of this wall and climb straight up past four bolts to the chains.

13. Acid Reign (25) 5D * * * *

OP: Andrew Russell-Boulton (1989)

This superb line starts to the right of 'Creatures of the Wall' then follows three bolts up to chains on Sunset Ledge. The route has become somewhat easier since a flake broke off and produced a good layback edge at the crux.

14. Bolts from the Blue (18) 5B * * *

OP: Mark McGlinchey (1986)

This line takes the left-hand side of the grey wall leading up to Sunset Ledge. Start near the corner on the right-hand side of the face and then leeeeean, tip-toe or jump out to the left to reach the huge jug. Follow the line of bolts up to the ledge.

15. Bolts from the Blue Direct (21) 5B * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1989)

This is just a variation to the start of the previous route. Start at the left-hand edge of the face directly below the line of bolts. Pull through the roof to start and the follow the bolts to the top.


The following four routes are short top-rope problems off Sunset Ledge up to the top of the crag. To get down onto Sunset Ledge, scramble down between the boulders on top of the buttress to a wormhole that leads out onto the ledge.

16. Verbular Concoctions (20) * *

OP: Ian Wallace (1984)

This line takes the wall on the right. Climb up to the rail and pull through the small roof to the top.

17. Empty Spaces (23) * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1989)

Start to the right of 'Verbular Concoctions'. Climb through the scoop and the roof.

18. Skating On Thin Ice (22) * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Start on the comer of the grey face, next to the chimney. Climb up the comer on rounded holds to the top without bridging onto the other wall.

19. Zoot (16) * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Start on the left edge of the grey face. Climb up the comer using the arete, without trivialising an already contrived affair by stepping left onto the ledge.

20. The Purple Thread (21) (1B) * * *

OP: Gerald Camp and Egmont Goedeke (1989)

To the right of 'Bolts from the Blue' there is a big, red corner with a roof at 8m. Start under the roof immediately to the left of 'Arbitrary Assumptions'. Climb the thin crack in the face, moving out onto the left edge wherever it looks most feasible. Climb up onto the small ledge level with Sunset Ledge. After clipping the bolt climb up and around the comer then on up the middle of the face above.

21. Arbitrary Assumptions (16) * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1986) - possibly first climbed by R Davis in 1977.

Start in the back of the big corner. Climb up to the roof and pull through on the right. Finish up the open book above.

22. Gravity's Rainbow (29) (7D) * * * *

OP: Evan Wiercx (1990)

This superb technical line climbs the blank face to the right of 'Arbitrary Assumptions'. Climb the crack to the overlap, then on up the face. The crux is gaining the base of the flake line. Take along your best set of arms and a belayer who is prepared to put up with a great deal of hang-dogging time. There are 5 bolts and anchors at the top of the wall.

23. Claxtor Fortune (15) *

OP: Gavin Raubenheimer and Dirk Mcintosh (1986)

Start 5 m to the right of 'Arbitrary Assumptions'. Follow the obvious layback crack, moving left into a cubby-hole. Exit awkwardly. The line is currently quite vegetated at the top.


The next major reference point is the 'Tears For Fears' area. This is a clean open book capped by a roof about 25 m to the right of Sunset Ledge.

24. Steve Bradshaw's Bedtime (13) * * *

OP: Andy de Klerk (1984)

Climb the break above the off-width crack just around the corner to the left of 'Tears for Fears'. Start about 2 m to the left of the off-width crack, almost level with the second bolt. Climb up into a cubby-hole then step to the right on small holds past the bolt to gain the off-width. Continue straight up the off-width to the top.

25. Steve Bradshaw's Bedtime Direct (17) * *

OP: J Davis (1989)

This is a variation of the previous route involving a harder start straight up the off-width crack past two bolts.

26. Elemental Power (25) (7D) * * * *

OP: Kevin Tonkin (1993)

Climb the face past five bolts to the right of 'Steve Bradshaw's Bedtime'. Do not move around the arete. Excellent climbing with a powerful start followed by desperate snatches to the top. The chains are difficult to thread from above.

27. Tears for Fears (21) * * *

OP: Roger Davis (aid) (1977)

Climb the smooth comer capped by a roof. Protection is in the form of small wires and the crux is near the top of the corner. Either finish to the right and around the comer, or move out left and pull through the break in the face. Both exits are about grade 19.

28. Charlie's Family Housecalls (21) (9D) * * * *

OP: Marcel Viljoen (1993)

This line takes the face and arete between 'Tears for Fears' and 'Synchronicity'. Technical climbing leads to a powerful crux on sloping holds through a roof at the top.

29. Synchronicity (21) (3B) * * *

OP: Gerald Camp (1988)

Start around the comer and to the right of 'Tears for Fears'. Pull through the roof and continue up the wall just to the right of the arete past three bolts. Exit left at the top. Some natural gear is needed at the top.

30. Short, Sharp Shock (24) (1B) * *

OP: Fluffy Grandin and Francis Nanni (1989)

About 10 m to the right of 'Tears for Fears' and just before the scramble down, is a short, grey wall. Start below the only bolt, and finish slightly left at the flake. The name says it all.


Just after 'Short, Sharp Shock' there is an easy scramble which may be used to access the foregoing routes. However, traversing along the base of the crag to the right of the scramble is a real 'bundu bash' and the following routes are best accessed from above. Walk along the top of the crag for about 60 m beyond the scramble to a small, prominent buttress with a bush on top. When standing on the buttress, facing the valley, 'Ring of Thunder' is directly below and 'Minor Misdemeanour' is down the face on the left. Abseil off the bush or off the chains on 'Minor Misdemeanour' - awkward. There is also a tricky scramble on the other side of the bush.

31. Ring of Thunder (24) (3B) * * * *

OP: Evan Wiercx (1987)

Takes a line up the impressive orange face about 150 m to the right of the scramble. The large tree stump at the top of the crag that was usually used as a reference point has largely rotted away and is difficult to spot in the long grass. Start below the first bolt. Climb up the middle of the face to a third bolt, move slightly right and up to the small roof. Pull directly through this to finish. It is advisable to pre-clip the bolts as the eyes of the hangers are small. The bolts are fairly old and a bit rusty. This excellent route is in serious need of rebolting.

32. Minor Misdemeanour (22) (7D) * * * *

OP: Mark McGlinchey (1987)

This route takes a direct line up the white face on the same buttress as 'Ring of Thunder', but on the opposite (upstream) side. Climb up to the rail and exit up the crack, passing 5 bolts along the way. The hangers are difficult to clip.

33. Australopithecus (15) (1B) * * * *

OP: Attributed to Dave Robertson and Francis Nanni (1988) but almost certainly first climbed by Roger Davis in 1977.

Start as for 'Minor Misdemeanour'. Climb up diagonally left past the bolt to reach the thin crack which is then followed to the top.

34. Dark Dog (20) * 

OP: Gavin Raubenheimer (1994)

Start from a small platform about 10m to the right and around the corner from 'Australopithecus'. Pull up into the crack above and continue up the face on pockets.