Central Buttress Mostly trad climbing29 routes in cliff
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Most of the following has been copied directly from Kieran Loughran's excellent Amphitheatre guide - thanks!
'Central Buttress' is the big somewhat scrappy looking area extending right from the Amphitheatre 'Gully', until the cliffline breaks down into a gully before the Grey & Green Walls. It offers a wide variety of climbs with a few outstanding classics. While some of the cliffs do not look particularly attractive at first sight, don't let that put you off. The highlight of this area, and the best section of the entire Amphitheatre apart from 'Taipan Wall', is the recess containing 'Simpleton', 'Missing' and 'Technical Ecstasy'.
'Central Buttress' is in the shade until early afternoon. 'Simpleton' gets sun only on summer evenings. An early start on a hot day can see you up a good climb before the heat of the afternoon. The climbs left of 'Simpleton' appear grey and amorphous but are generally quite steep and more difficult than appearances suggest.© (willmonks)
Access issues inherited from North Grampians
This entire area is currently closed due to ongoing fire activity. Fires started on 15/1/2014 and swept the area. All access is prohibited.
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
Follow the walking track from Flat Rock down into the Amphitheatre for about 150m past 'Epsilon Wall', avoiding any right-hand turns. Follow a faint pad on the left to soon arrive below the Amphitheatre 'Gully'. 'Central Buttress' extends from here to your right.
Descent: Descend via the abseil near 'Simpleton' or the 'Hollow Mountain' walking track towards Summer Day Valley (return into the Amphitheatre is then possible by walking beneath Amnesty, Clicke, Kindergarden and Northern Walls areas). Avoid the horrible dangerous Amphitheatre 'Gully' (which I refuse to call by its traditional name of "the descent gully"!). Parties with novice climbers are strongly advised to use the walking track for descent.
'Simpleton' Abseil Route: This is the only abseil descent from this area, and allows the awful Amphitheatre 'Gully' to be avoided, but it has its own hazards. If you have two 50m ropes, you need to use the old anchors: from the top of 'Simpleton' (near a lonely 4m pine tree), move out to the front of the cliff and scramble down 5 metres to the chains, the scramble is fairly easy but very exposed - one snapped hold or foot slip and you're facing a death fall. If in doubt, keep the rope on. Have slings ready to clip into the anchors, which are now worryingly rusty. It is a 50 metre abseil, and the first 40 metres are free hanging. Abseil ends on long ledge at the base of 'Missing'. Either scramble down the initial slabs of 'Technical Ecstasy' or do a further short abseil from trees. If you take novices on this descent (not recommended) you must be able to rescue them if they get stuck on the long free abseil section. On a pragmatic note, remember that belaying a novice on descent can take just as long as simply walking off.
In May '09 a new anchor was added at the top of the 'Simpleton' corner, and this can be accessed much less dangerously than the original anchor because you don't need to do the scary 5m downclimb. To use this new anchor you need two 60m ropes.
Climbs are described from left to right.© (willmonks)
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