Mt. Coolum is a volcanic lacolith on the Sunshine Coast of Queensand, approximately one and a half hours north of Brisbane. It forms part of a chain of volcanic plugs which include the Glass House Mountains to the south. It was formed 25-26 million years ago in an event where magma forced its way through the rock under the Sunshine Coast which either cooled in dykes and tubes to form plugs (Glass House Mountains), or in subsurface bulges to form lacoliths (Mt. Coolum). Subsequent erosion of the surrounding landscape has left us with a wide variety volcanic formations excellent for free climbing.
Although there is much rock exposed on Mt. Coolum, climbing exists only with the permission of the ranger in the large shady cave on the SE side of the mountain. Here can be found hard steep overhanging sport routes on uniquely featured Trachyte. Its position on the mountain means the cave receives full shade, good rain cover and usually a southerly breeze allowing relatively cool year round climbing. The mountains proximity to the beach (~2 mins), also means there's great surfing and cooling down possibilities.
Routes are generally of good quality, usually sporting multiple kneebars (bring your kneepads), heel/toe hooks and general trickery. Established routes range from 18-31 (5.9 - 5.13d), with most routes falling in the 24-29 (5.12 - 5.13) range. Several projects abound, some are open most are not, ask a local what's up before getting on projects. Most routes are bolted with stick clips in mind, there are pool skimmer handles with clamps around, be sure to put them away when you are done.
Mount Coolum National Park is home to more than 700 different species of plant as well as the majestic Peregrine Falcon. Be sure to tread lightly and minimise impact and noise. The agreement with the ranger means there is to be no new routing outside of the cave nor any lines where the falcons nest. Failure to comply with these simple restrictions will affect future access. Ask Ian, the crag rep, for permission to bolt any new lines.
From Brisbane: ~1.5hrs Drive north along Bruce Highway ~65km until the Ettamogah Pub and Aussie World. Soon after, take the exit for the Sunshine Motorway. Continue along this until the Noosa exit. Take this and eventually you will spot the mountain, shortly after your first glimpse, take the David Low Way exit toward Mudjimba Airport. Keep going until you pass an IGA supermarket, then take Tanah St East on the left and park in the National Park parking lot.
To The Crag: 5-10mins Avoid the tourist trail and instead take the fire trail at the other side of the parking lot. Continue along this until a right fork with a "No quarry entry" sign. Take this past the quarry up all the way to the cave.