Flame Wall AKA Graham's Creek Supercrag Mostly trad climbing8 routes in crag
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An outstanding orange prow of jutting sandstone that requires a long and taxing approach. Unfortunately the centre of this formation is either too steep or too blank for mere mortals. Perhaps the next generation will take advantage of some of the incredible potential of this area. In the meantime you can enjoy some very nice face and roof routes on either side of the main prow.
Climbers have been sniffing around up here for decades. In early 2003 Neil Monteith and James Pfrunder hiked up in the pouring rain and brought back photos of the main wall dubbing it the Graham's Creek Supercrag. They were however put off by the long approach walk, and the apparent blankness of much of the face. The sheer size and angle was enough to impress others who soon made their move. In 2005, the 'Yerba' crew cut a path up the creek from the nearby 'Good Friday' Wall and set about bolting the unlikely roof climb Out Of Control (24). Robin Holmes dragged several assistants in to help in his two day marathon bolting effort. Eventually he returned for the redpoint and brought in Neil Monteith and Will Monks. Neil got excited and worked furiously to bolt the steepest thing that looked possible, with 'Flaming Lips' (26) being the end result. Steve Chapman optimistically bolted a very thin face route that was steeper than he thought upon redpoint attempts! This route might have to wait for a super hard man. In the meantime Will Monks got given a nice partially bolted project on a platter by the 'Yerba' crew. This route had to wait for more than six months before it was finally climbed as 'Slow Burn' (23). Earlier in the year Steve Chapman also tradded his way up a thin crack variant to Out Of Control to produce 'Edge Burner' (23). In late 2005 Malcolm Matheson did his usual and onsighted all established routes in a single day, including a drawn out battle with the pumpy 'Flaming Lips'. Fast forward three years and Nati local Ingvar Lidman finally puts Steve Chapman's project out of it's misery to create 'The Thin Red Line' (29) and another hard new route - 'Tantalus Released' (29). The main prow of Flame Wall still beckons… Malcolm rapped it – the verdict: "too hard and too far away".© (nmonteith)
Access issues inherited from Victoria Range
The Victoria Range was badly burnt in the fires of February 2013 but all areas are now open to climbing (Feb 2014). However there are access changes to the cliffs in the Eureka area.
Here's an update from Parks Victoria:
Grampians National Park Update – 14 February 2014 (Rock climbing and Bouldering)
The Northern Grampians Fire severely burnt the natural environment and much of the park infrastructure in and around Hollow Mountain, Summer Day Valley and Mt Stapylton – this includes many popular rock climbing and bouldering sites; as a result there are many park closures in place. The dry, rocky landscape is now extremely fragile and will take a long time to recover – the fire burnt extremely hot so in many cases regeneration will now occur (very slowly) from seed. Loss of vegetation, loose rocks, unstable soils and loss of access tracks means any foot traffic will have long term impacts on the recovery of the environment. Impacts now will also affect the sustainability of rock climbing sites well into the future.
Please respect the fragility of the environment and support the long term recovery of the Northern Grampians by remaining out of any closed areas. While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on those found in any closed, fire affected area.
Parks Victoria recognises the importance and popularity of the Northern Grampians to the rock climbing and bouldering communities and will be working closely with industry and community representatives throughout a staged reopening process. Environmental considerations will largely determine when sites are available to be reopened, and replacement of damaged infrastructure will occur as suitable funding is available.
As part of the recovery process, Parks Victoria will be identifying alternative options for climbing and bouldering, and will closely monitor impacts on these sites as their use and popularity increases. There will also be significant work done on the future experience of visitors in the Northern Grampians.
Parks Victoria is continuing to improve its understanding of the needs of climbers and boulderers and is intent on providing an experience that is well respected, regarded, promoted and understood throughout the Australian and International Climbing and bouldering communities.
Parks Victoria will be relying heavily on the climbing industry to work together to spread the messages about the fragility of the landscape and the long term sustainability of rock climbing in the Grampians. There may be opportunities for licenced tour operators, school and community based groups to become involved in the recovery process.
Due to closures in the Northern Grampians, the availability of rock climbing, camping, car touring and bushwalking experiences is limited. Sourcing information on available campgrounds and other accommodation options is recommended. Please visit www.parkweb.vic.gov.au for park maps and regular Grampians fire recovery updates.
For detailed information on available rockclimbing and bouldering sites in and near to the Grampians please refer to recognised guidebooks/websites. A general list of open and available areas includes the following:
Rockclimbing sites open in the Grampians:
- Wonderland Range
- Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
- Mt William Range
- Victoria Point area
- Victoria Range (Including the Red Rock, Muline and the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)
Limited Bouldering Sites available in and near the Grampians:
- Victoria Range (Including the Gallery area. Please respect cultural heritage and recovering fire affected areas)
- Serra Range (Including Mt Rosea and Bundaleer)
- Mt Arapiles
- Mt Talbot
- The Black Range
Please remember your climbing etiquette:
- Only climb and boulder in open accessible areas
- Stick to tracks
- Respect fragile environmental areas and cultural heritage
- Keep an eye out for Aboriginal Art sites – Report to Parks Victoria if you come across anything new.
- Be mindful of cleaning
- No chipping or bolting
- Avoid excessive chalk
- Take your rubbish home with you
Parks Victoria - Grampians National Park
All up the approach takes about an hour from the road. If you are as enthusiastic as Neil you might get this down to 40 minutes. Walk into 'Good Friday' Wall. From the far left (uphill) end of this crag keep following rock cairns and tape markers up over the hill (just south of the gorge) to arrive on rocky plateau with clear view east towards the proud Flame Wall. Walk right (south) along these rock shelves following large cairns and tape to eventually drop down into the small creek (runs for 8 months of the year). Cross this, and hike steeply up the other side to arrive at the base of the wall. For all the routes you scramble onto a friendly ledge, from the left side, that offers good sun-napping locations for belayers.
The wall faces into the sun for most of the day with shade only in the early hours of the morning. 'Flaming Lips' is in shade until midday. Rain protection is minimal if you get caught this far out without an escape plan!© (nmonteith)
Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)
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