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Most of the following has been copied directly from Kieran Loughran's excellent Amphitheatre guide - thanks!

The Northern Walls offer a wide variety of climbs with a few being outstanding. While some of the cliffs do not look particularly attractive at first sight, don't let that put you off. These steep walls offer good wall climbing and a couple of weird grooves. There's not a bad climb here, but some are quite unusual and not to everyone's taste. Whatever else you do, don't miss out on 'Trident'.

The cliffs are shaded much of the time but get sun on summer mornings (as shown in the topo below, taken at 8:30 AM). It's a good spot for mild to warm days but it is quite sheltered so can get humid and sticky.

© (willmonks)

Access issues inherited from North Grampians

This area is now reopening after the fires in early 2014

Here's an update from Parks Victoria (18 September 2015):

People – it has been a long time coming, and the recovering areas thank you for your patience. As of the 18th September, most of the climbing areas in the North Grampians still closed, will once again open. These areas though, are still fragile and deserve to have a little extra thought given, if and when you decide to head there. The Mt Difficult Range is still in a very fragile state and because of this, some of the closures here will remain in place, except for those cliffs listed. Check out the list below and please continue to read the care info following it. Thank you all in the climbing and bouldering community who have been understanding of the closures and have been actively promoting it to others. Lots of other areas have seen renewed interest. Whilst Nature will continue to throw these events at us, it is obvious that there are always enough cliffs and boulders to go around.

To aid the long term recovery of the Northern Grampians there is a general closure in place for rock climbing throughout the Mt Difficult Range, except for the main climbing areas stated below. Please support the long term recovery of fire affected areas by remaining out of any closed sites. See closure map for further detail. While Parks Victoria regrets the need to enforce closures, substantial fines will be imposed on those found in any closed, fire affected areas. Open and accessible rock climbing and bouldering areas in the Northern Grampians Hollow Mountain Area Barc Cliff
, Gunn Buttress
, Battlescarred Blocks / The Ammo Shop, Amnesty Wall Area
, Andersens
, Clicke Area (incl. Kindergarten routes) The Kindergarten (bouldering) Expedition Crag, 
Turtle Rocks, 
Sandinista Cliffs, 
Pensioners Wall Area, 
Red Wall Area incl Echoes Block, Loopeys
, Hollow Mountain Cave, 
Cut Lunch Walls
, Koalasquatsy Wall Tribute Wall
, The Dungeon, 
Bad Moon Rising Wall Van Dieman’s Land, Rambla Wall, A-Frame Boulder

Summerday Valley Flying Blind. Wall of Fools, Back Wall Bowler Boulder

*Note closures are in place to Main wall, Left wall, Bird wall and Calcutti crag and others east of Summerday Valley due to threatened plant species regeneration, cultural heritage protection and trail degradation.Mt Stapylton Amphitheatre Northern Wall, Central Buttress, Sabre Gully, 
Grey and Green Walls, Taipan Wall Spurt Wall, 
Bouldering Buttress, Lower Taipan, 
Afterglow Wall, Afterglow Boulders
,The Plaza Strip,
The Snake Pit
, Trackside Boulders. Citadel
. Ground Control Caves, Cave Club, 
Between the Sheeps, Spurt Wall (Bouldering), The Titanic (Bouldering) Flat Rock Area West Flank / Wall of Fuels, Bellepheron Wall
,Epsilon Wall
,Bouldering Cloud Cuckoo Land
, Note: new access track between flat rock, the kindergarten and Andersons via Bellepheron wall. Mt Zero Area Pangaea Walls, Toolondo Waters, 
4 Cornered Crag, 
Mt Zero Summit Cliff, Mount Zero West Walls

Iskra Crag Flower Power Block, Shadow Buttress, Emu Crag
, Sunstroke Area
, Pigs in Space Buttress, Main West Face, Dolgoruki Wall First Tier, 
Second Tier, 
Third Tier
, North Western Outcrop, Eastern Walls 36 Chambers
, Dolgoruki Wall and Three Tiers

Asses Ears Area Sunset Crags, 
The Secret Crags
, Cherub Wall
, Maul Wall, 
Wallaby Rocks, 
Conifer Wall
, Geranium (Brim) Springs, Porcelain Wall
,Wallaby Rocks
,Joey Blocks

Pohlner track and Smith Road Area The Rust Bucket, Martini Rock, Worship Wall, Point 447 ,Bordel Buttress, Mt Emu The Crows Nest, The Eyrie
, The Unnamed Cliff, An Unnamed Cliff, Olive Grove, Cave Of Ghosts Cliffs, Ghost Block,
The Olive Cave,
The Ravine


Eastern Mt Difficult Range No Mans Land, Heatherlie Heights, Cape Canavera,l Woomera The Promised Land / The Pine Plantation, Cliff Lebanon,
The Heavens, 
Lower Heavens, Lunar Walls, The Tim Tams

North West Mt Difficult Range Sickle Wall
, Mawson Slab, 
Mt Difficult Cliff, Epaminondas Buttress, Troopers Creek Cliff, Mt Difficult Summit ,Mt Bloody Impossible Mt Stapylton Campground Cave
, Sentinel Wall
, The Guardhouse, Warden Wall , Campground Boulders, Titanic Boulder, Doddery Rock, Mt Pleasant
,The Rockwall Area ,Briggs Bluff Area

NE Mt Zero Range Golton Rocks -
Cave Cliff
, Wave Wall (aka The Sundeck) / The Sun Deck The Sun Gate,
Golton Wall, 
Gog-Magog Crag, 
Watchmen Wall, 
Coppermine Track Cliff


This is the line of cliffs on the Northern extremity of the Amphitheatre, being the southern side of Wudjub Guyan (Hollow Mountain). The left side is above 'Epsilon Wall' and eventually becomes Kindergarden at the far left (West) end. The right side terminates at the major gully which separates the Northern Walls from 'Central Buttress'. 'Access' by walking into the Amphitheatre for about 150m past 'Epsilon Wall', then taking a well trodden sandy track up left towards 'Central Buttress', then walking back left along the base. The Northern Walls can also be accessed via Kindergarden, but this is slower, has scrambly bits and is verging on bushbashing at times.

The best descent from climbs in this area is by abseil. Two ropes are usually required. In the past the main descent, was a 40 metre abseil from the tree above Zola. The chain has been removed to prevent damage to the tree from ringbarking and climber movement around the tree. An anchor left of 'Trident' serves the climbs in that area (35m). There is another anchor at the top of 'Germinal' (30m)

The major gully to the right of the Northern Walls does not deserve it's title of Amphitheatre Descent 'Gully' because it is highly dangerous and 100% NOT recommended. Originally noted by the Gledhills as being "dangerous at night", this gully is dangerous even in broad daylight and fine weather!! It is often wet and features awkward chimneys, greasy slabby sections and difficult sections with dangerous landings. In recent years, broken glass has become a real hazard. There are few abseil anchors and it is not possible to abseil the gully in one rope length. At least one accident in this gully has resulted in serious head injuries. In short, it's far better to traverse from the top of your route of choice to one of the numerous abseil anchors.

In a break with tradition from previously published guidebooks, climbs below are described from RIGHT to LEFT - after all, this is how you approach them. Your first good reference point is the major splitter line of 'Germinal', just L of the big gully.

© (willmonks)

Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)


Add route(s) Add topo Resequence Bulk edit
Grade Route
24 Ancient Evenings Trad 20m

Dim and obscure.

Start: The location of this route is poorly known. On the plateau near the "penis-bollard" rap station, there is some shitty tat and a rusty rap ring on a horn near the edge of the cliff, which is thought to mark the top of 'Ancient Evenings'. It may take the face which looks out into the Amphitheatre, left of the Wall of Cool gully. The original location description was: "Start in the major chasm left of 'Trident', which marks the (arbitrary) boundary of Northern Walls. Getting to the chasm requires an awkward scramble".

FA: Nick White & Richard Smith Early's., 1990

21 Cool Intentions Trad 25m

A movie out at the time was called Cruel Intentions.

Start: Start by scrambling down to a platform of rock just below and to the left of BOTC.

FA: Dave Jupp, 1998

17 Birth of the Cool Trad 20m

Up the wall. A few meters up there is a sickle shaped crack/pod that takes a bomber #7 rock. Up on natural gear. Take care with the juggy rock near the top, as some of it is a little fragile. Rap from the big penis-shaped bollard.

Start: Start on the left wall of the gully, a few metres right of the start of the distinctive horizontal break.

FA: Tim Marsh, 1998


As soon as you are out of the scoop and onto the face look up. 2 FH take you through the lovely rippling grey wall above. Finish at the ledge, with another chain/ring combo (50m rope is long enough to lower off).

Start: Start as for 'Pressure Drop'.

FA: Tim Marsh, 1998

22 Pressure Drop Trad 25m

An old Jamaican ska song, but also descriptive of the relief felt by the first ascentionist after finally ticking it, just as a cool front rolled through on a hot day.

Start: Start at the back of the gully on the same wall as, and about 15m L of, 'Agent of Cool'.

FA: Tim Marsh, 1998

31 Agent of Cool Trad 25m

A fantastic natural line that was one of the 'last great lines' in the Grampians until Lee Cossey put a few days work into it and freed it in November 2015.

Start: On the right wall of the gully, about 15m L of 'Neptune' pitch 2, is this striking overhung curving corner/crack. Up tips finger crack to crux move from crimpy pinch to big huecos above the sickle, monkey right into the crack (drop the rope back to the belayer - or use double rope technique - to avoid heinous drag) and blast upwards to glory.

FFA: Lee Cossey

FA: Worked extensively duringby Dave Jones., 1997


Start: Overhung bolted groove (22/23) leading to roof about 10m left of 'Trident'. Traverse right then hard out through roof.

14 Neptune Trad 50m 2

Good face climbing but a long approach.

Start: Start as for 'Trident'.

  1. 20m (14) As for pitch 1 of It's My Brain Again.

  2. 30m (14) Traverse L to the major line (very easy, climbed on FA of Plastic People) left of the smooth wall and step left around the arete and then up the steep wall, continuing up the headwall via lovely cracks.

FA: Keith Lockwood & Kieran Loughran, 2007

19 Plastic People Trad 12m

Was almost going to call it YACSAFT (yet another climb starting as for Trident) but that would be silly. This climb was originally approached from the ground but the approach is long and quite easy and mostly climbed by other routes. It is best approached via the 'Trident' area abseil after doing another climb.

Start: Start on the large ledge on the left below the overhang about 12m down the abseil.

FA: Norm Booth, Kieran Loughran (alt) & Ray Lassman, 2006

20 * It's My Brain Again Trad 50m 2

Good face climbing on pockets on the second pitch. Could be straightened out at the top.

Start: Start as for 'Trident'.

  1. 25m (14) Follow the first pitch of 'Trident' to the traverse L at 9m. Traverse L and keep going L around the arete to a ledge above the overhang. Move L along ledge to belay below L side of orange-streaked wall (2FH).

  2. 25m (20) Up the grey wall, 2FH, just L of the orange streaks to a cave. Step R and pull over overhang into thin crack. When crack steepens move L to easy ground and go up.

FA: Peter Canning & Kieran Loughran, 1992

18 ** Prong Trad 50m 2

Exciting for the grade, a slightly harder and better finish for 'Trident'. Would rate three stars if it was independent.

Start: Start as for 'Trident'.

  1. 21m (14) Climb the first pitch of 'Trident'.

  2. 24m (16) Up a short crack from the L side of the ledge to a horizontal slot. Traverse L along the slot (large cam) and go up steeply to cave. The crack from the L side of the cave.

FA: Kieran Loughran & Malcolm Matheson, 1991


Contrived but enjoyable.

Start: Start at the first belay of 'Trident' (i.e. do pitch 1 of 'Trident' first).

FA: Keith Lockwood & Kieran Loughran, 1993

14 ** Trident Trad 40m 2

"Continuously steep between the vertical and the overhanging.", Speedie. A very interesting angle and a bloody good climb. One of the best of its grade. Consistently difficult and strenuous, can be done in one pitch if double ropes are used.

Start: Start below the corner 15m L of Zola and just R of the large overhang.

  1. 20m (14) Ascend the wall just R of the crack for about 6m (poor pro unless you have #1 & #4 Frs), and up to ledge at 9m. Traverse 3m L and go steeply up another groove to a ledge.

  2. 15m (14) Traverse 3m R and up steep crack for 8m. Near the top, move L a bit before moving up to the top. This helps to avoid some loose blocks.

FA: Ian Speedie, John Mclean & Nick White(not the English Nick White-he was probably still in nappies!), 1965

18 * Sternold Trad 35m 2

Good climbing, with funky moves around the overhang which would have been hard to protect before small cams.

Start: Start as for 'Trident', i.e. start at the crack line about 15m L of Zola.

  1. 20m (19) Follow 'Trident' to the ledge at 9m then head directly over the overhang and up the shallow orange corner.

  2. 15m (16) Move 2m R and climb the wall L of the wide chimney (bold to start.

FA: Keith Egerton & Jeremy Boreham, 1977

21 * Mr Keith Mixed 33m, 3

A good climb based on 'Sternold'. Be careful with rope management around the 'Sternold' overhang.

Start: Start 2 metres right of 'Trident'.

Up face (FH) to ledge (some poor rock) at 8 metres. Climb directly through the overhang (small cams) and up the easier corner to a small stance on the right. Move back left and climb the steep headwall (2FH). Will probably need to go back some distance to belay (not included in length)

FA: Kieran Loughran, Norm Booth & Keith Lockwood, 2007

FA: Kieran Loughran, Norm Booth & Keith Lockwood., 2007

20 Zola Trad 40m

Better known these days as the rap route beneath the tree!

Start: Start 4m L of 'Spinoza' and about 15m R of 'Trident'.

FA: Kieran Loughran & Meg Sleeman, 1990

23 * Spinoza Sport 40m

The definitive word on ethics? Wall 4m R of Zola. Originally done in 2 pitches but pitch 2 is worthless and it is now a 1 pitch sport route.

Start: Start 4m down L of 'Starstruck'.

FA: Kieran Loughran, Simon Mentz & Louise Shepherd, 1991

21 Starstruck Trad 50m 2

Unusual groove climbing on the first pitch. Rarely, if ever, repeated. Protection looks a problem but climbing looks good.

Start: Start a few metres L of 'Germinal' at the scooped line (4m up R of Spinoza).

  1. 20m (21) Trick moves up first scoop lead to hard climbing in the second scoop and so to a ledge. 'Spinoza' rap anchor is just to the left and now would be a good time to use it.

  2. 30m (21) L to an easy break in the overhang, back R and up steep wall.

FA: Kevin Lindorff & Glenn Tempest, 1977

17 * Germinal Trad 37m 2

An old classic with a tough crux. Often done in 1 pitch.

Start: Start beneath the major but strangely scooped line up the prominent sheer orange/grey wall at the foot, and to the left, of the descent gully. This is at the L edge of the jumble of flakes and blocks.

  1. 15m (17) Move up an easy rib R of the corner and traverse L across a gargoyle into the corner (the direct variants have all been bouldered). Up corner, an old peg or two, with hard moves to gain the cave.

  2. 22m (14) Continue up the chimney to a ledge on the L. Continue in the line or move out L to the arete. The rap anchor (added early '07) is about 0.5m down in the crack itself.

FA: Ian Guild & Chris Davis, 1965


Looks wonderful but rarely repeated...it has handed out some spankings so may be rather solid. The bolts are those funny hanging ring jobbies and are rather old, plus the abseil sling needs replacing with a decent anchor. Ascends the golden wall L of the descent gully, between the upper sections of 'Asterisk' and 'Germinal'.

Start: Get to the start by soloing across a ledge from 10m up the descent gully. Alternatively, the initial cracks of 'Asterisk' are reputed to be a good warm-up approach.

FA: Andy Pollitt, 1990

20 * Asterisk Trad 24m 2

Quite attractive, with some good moves. Protection is good even though the old bolts are terrible. Originally two pitches but better done as one.

Start: Scramble R from the foot of 'Germinal' along the vertical wafers leaning against the main wall, to a flake crack.

Belay in the chasm just right of 'Germinal' at an old initial "A".

  1. 18m (20) Easily up to the wide apparently detached flake crack and go easily up to the top of this (rotten rock, very good protection from large cams). Move L and climb the wall via the intermittent crack/seam past 2 poor bolts to a narrow ledge (poor bolt) (LOE belay is to the left) then up into a sentry box.

  2. 6m (17) Fairly sensational out of the sentry-box (watch rope-drag) into the final crack.

FA: Phillip Seccombe, Ian Speedie. FA Glenn Tempest & Kevin Lindorff 1977., 1966

16 Wooden Heart Mixed 20m, 4

Middle of face left of 'SyntheticSpine'. There's also a medium wir below the final bolt.

FA: Kieran Loughran, Norm Booth & Ray Lassman, 2006

15 Synthetic Spine Trad 15m

It's nice to climb a pinnacle that has no easy way up. Final mantle might be solid for the grade.

Start: Start about 10m L of the foot of the gully, about 10m around R of 'Germinal'. This route climbs the south-west arete of the square pinnacle that squats at the foot of the descent gully.

FA: Kieran Loughran & Meg Sleeman, 1991


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