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Table of contents
JFMAMJJASONDseasonalityTrad, Sport and Aid
Long/Lat: 142.385454, -36.896140
- Description:© (willmonks)
(a) Before you leave the car, please try to poo in the toilets at Flat Rock car park; and
(b) if you need to poo while at the crag (which should be rare if you adhere to (a)!), then please walk at least 50m (no, 10m from the base of the crag is NOT ok!) and make sure you bury your poo and paper.
(c) do not burn your paper. Visiting Americans and Euros bringing this practice with them start bushfires all too often - the Australian bush is highly flammable!
It's a shame we have to start with the above, but unfortunately the popularity of this great crag is having some side effects caused by those who are happy to shit in their own nest. Don't stuff it for the rest of us!
Now onto the good news. 'Taipan Wall' is widely considered to be the best single crag in 'Australia', and many climbers consider that it ranks up there amongst the very best crags in the world. It is certainly the most outstanding climbing feature of the Grampians: a 200m long, overhanging wall up to 60 metres high, which positively glows a stunning orange in the evening sunshine. And the wall doesn't only have good looks: the climbs themselves are almost all of incredibly high quality. While a number of climbs unfortunately require a bolt for aid or have a crux move that is grades harder than anything else on the climb, the climbs are nevertheless generally magnificent.
Because of the uniformly excellent quality of the climbing, previous guides have used "Taipan stars", which effectively involved deducting a star from most routes and only giving 3 stars to those particularly sublime routes which push for the mythical 4th star! In a break with that tradition, this guide gives stars wherever they're deserved - and 'Taipan' deserves plenty! To help you work out what is the absolute cream of the crop, look out for the group of "Taipan's Top 5": Daedalus, Cardigan St (pitch 2), 'Feather Boa', 'Serpentine', and 'World Party' (pitch 3). It could have also been a "Top 7" because Mr Joshua and 'The Seventh Pillar' are right up there too.
Despite a reputation of being largely inaccessible to moderate climbers, the truth is that if you climb in the low 20s there are many days' worth of truly fantastic climbing to be had. In this regard it is worth remembering that, at times when difficult multi-pitch routes are all a bit too much, many of the hard classics have excellent easier first pitches. In particular, the following pitches are highly recommended, and have rap anchors:
'Sordid Orchids' p1 (** 20m 25);
Seventh Banana p1 (** 20m 23);
~Sirocco p1 (* 20m 21);
'Medusa' p1 (* 40m 25);
~Seventh Pillar LHV (* 45m 23);
Seventh Pillar LHV (short version) (* 28m 22);
~Serpentine p1 (* 35m 24);
Naja p1 (** 30m 27);
'World Party' p1 (* 20m 21);
Mr Joshua p1 (* 30m 25);
~Kaa p1 (20m 23).
(The ~ symbol indicates pitches which must be seconded because they traverse too much to allow rap-cleaning).
Note that a 60m rope is required to lower off many routes, and longer ropes are often very handy. A 100m rope has even been used to work Father O from the ground! In any event, you often need every metre of your rope to lower off, and you're often trying to land on a ledge, so there is a real chance of ending up dangling in space or worse. Take careful note of the rap length and pitch length information provided against each route, and tie a knot in the end of your rope.
Because most routes have slopers and/or smooth holds, bear in mind that temperature and humidity conditions have a strong bearing on route difficulty. The wall has shade until 1-2pm so generally speaking, depending on the forecast daily maximum temperature, you should plan as follows:
>35C: climb elsewhere
28-35C: make a very early start and expect to be roasted off by noon
23-27C: exploit the mornings, but may be ok to carry on in the afternoon sun
17-22C: prime 'Taipan' conditions. Go hard!
<17C: Morning shade will be cold, afternoon sunshine will be glorious, although limited to only a few hours in winter.
'Taipan' is a good venue on days of light showers, but is not great if it really rains. Despite the large areas of always-dry orange rock, the grey & black lichen streaks will seep. The black streaks can develop a surprisingly strong trickle if there's been decent rainfall, due to the fairly large slabs above which drain down these lines. Also, despite the majority of the crag being overhung, the prevailing southwest winds tend to bring rain into the base onto packs and belayers. Plus, if its anything more than passing showers then the humidity will make all the slopers seem harder to hold on to! And don't count on a retreat to 'Spurt Wall' - despite the huge rooves protecting it from direct rain, it has an amazing ability to soak up moisture and all the crimps become disgustingly spoodgy. So, 'Taipan' is a good choice on days of light showers, but if rain sets in you're better off going somewhere shorter, steeper and thuggier.
- 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, Legoland, 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
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
CLOSED CLIMBING AREAS
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
- Approach:© (willmonks)
Drive to Flat Rock carpark and walk up Flat Rock (noting the difference between "flat" and "horizontal"!). Follow the track down into the Amphitheatre and across the flats. About 300m into the Amphitheatre the track starts to rise again and here the first boulders are met on the left (Trackside Bouldering Area), at this point leave the main track and head left. Follow this track uphill through the boulders for 100 metres or so to a tall boulder on the left with a prominent arete. From here the path up to 'Taipan Wall' is nowadays a well trodden highway, and meets the base of the cliff between 'The Great Divide' and Seventh Banana.
Descents: for climbs on the left half of the wall (i.e. all routes left of, and including, Serpentine), the descent is by a 40 metre abseil from the top of 'Clean Sweep'. Anchors atop other routes (such as 'Divided Years', Father O, Cardigan St and Mirage) are either unsafe to access from above or are poorly arranged for rope pulling, so the 'Clean Sweep' anchor is the only option. It is recommended to get your bearings beforehand (e.g. from the top of Flat Rock) as the anchor can be a little tricky to find from above. Traversing along the top of the wall to this anchor is quite exposed, particularly the section above Father O. While some people opt for the scary traverse on the very edge of the clifftop, this is not trivial above Cardigan St and the fall potential could hardly be worse. The better option is probably to stay about 12m back up from the clifftop above Cardigan St and Father O but this is still quite exposed so take care, and if in doubt rope up. Once you're at the 'Clean Sweep' abseil anchor, make sure to test-pull the ropes before the last person comes down because the ropes regularly get jammed on this abseil. Hint: the last person should step to abseiler's left to avoid laying the ropes in the offending groove on the lip. Right of 'Serpentine' it is not safe to walk unroped along the clifftop, and descent details are specified against each individual route below.
Mission Over Tokyo Gunigalg Gully Connection
The easiest way to the top of 'Taipan' if you want to pre-place gear or take photos from rap. It is also a great beginners route with excellent rock, big features and good pro.
Start: Start 3m L of 'Mission Over Tokyo' (to avoid it's tricky starting crack). Climb most of the first pitch of Mission Over Tokyo then step left across the void of the Gunigalg Gully chimney. Easily up the slabby left wall of this, into the boulder choked gully, and up the short right wall to the top.
FA: Andy Pollitt?, 2000
Mission Over Tokyo
A couple of exciting moves but the rest is ordinary.
FA: James McIntosh, Melanie Taws (alt), 1988
An attractive climb with an intimidating finish. Usually done in a single pitch.
Start: Start on the elevated ledge, just L of the boulder, at the base of the nice face crack in the middle of the grey slab.
FA: Glenn Tempest & Kevin Lindorff, 1977
A selection of the various flowers, plus some nice poses of its own.
Start: Start on top of the big boulder perched on the ledge between 'Atomic Tadpole' and 'Tokyo Rose' (but it's a better more sustained pitch if you start up UG). Trend R up the easy slab (adequate pro found on the R). Cross Tokyo Rose, then join Ukrainian Geranium for 8m over bulges to the start of the upper slab. Now traverse 3m R to FH in major grey streak, then up to break. Move R to join Sordid Orchids Direct past it's final 2 FHs, to rap anchor (28m). Full set of cams and wires, and several long draws (or double ropes).
FA: Will Monks, Mike File, 2005
Takes in the good pitches of Tokyo Rose and Mission over Tokyo, and avoids the rubbish.
Start: Start as for 'Tokyo Rose'.
Start: Start in the square orange corner at the right side of the grey slab, about 8m R of 'Atomic Tadpole', on the elevated ledge.
FA: James McIntosh & Melanie Taws, 1987
This ground-up effort felt all the more intrepid for being established in single-digit temperatures with no fewer than three hailstorms on the way. It's the best moderate route down this end of the wall.
FA: Will Monks, Kevin Lindorff (alt), Joe Goding, 2004
Sordid Orchids Direct
Extends the first pitch of 'Sordid Orchids' by 12m and adds three bolts. Sustained wall climbing with crimpers and reach moves. Climbs more like a Blue Mountains wall climb rather than a 'Taipan' steep sloper fest.
Start: Start as for 'Sordid Orchids'. Climb Sordid Orchids to horizontal break after last RB. Instead of traversing off right into the birdshit, head straight up wall above (FH), step left (#2 camalot) and then up again (2 FHs). At large slopey rail step right into Sordid Orchids pitch 2 and climb this for 2m to a single U-bolt loweroff (60m rope required). Above this U-bolt is the aid move on Sordid Orchids pitch 2.
FA: Neil Monteith & Will Monks, 2005
A good line spoilt by a single aid move on the second pitch. The first pitch is a popular and well chalked line with a handy lower-off, but beware that falls before the 1st bolt have strained a few ankles on the swing into the slab below.
Start: Start at the flake/seam 5m right of 'Tokyo Rose', on the elevated ledge.
FA: Pitch 1: Chris Shepherd, Parrish Robbins. Pitch 2: Parrish Robbins, Nick White, 1990
|26 M1||2, 555m|
|10||Sordid Orchids Pitch 1||25||20m|
A beautiful natural line but unpopular due to its rusting bolts and bizarre traversing.
Start: Start at the first anchor of 'Sordid Orchids' Pitch 1, on the guano-stained ledge. Drop down, traverse 4m right and go up flake to roof. Right below roof for 5m and over lip (crux). Traverse 5m right to finish beside Clean Sweep. Approx 5 bolts?
FA: Pete Cresswell, Andy Pollitt, 1990
Dinosaurs Don't Dyno
The dyno identifies many dinosaurs. A superb climb up the intermittent flake system.
Start: Start 10m R of 'Sordid Orchids' on the elevated ledge, which at this end is about 10m above ground level. Follow the thin flake past a sea of fixed rubbish to a pin. Hard moves lead straight through the dyno, then traverse R to the continuation of the flake. At the roof move R and up a shallow groove to the top.
FA: Kim Carrigan, 1984
In 2009 some new bolts appeared in the groove which goes up the steep bulge about 5m L of the finish of DDD. This is being approached via a cool girdle from Sordid/Blackadder (2 ropes, drop 1 halfway), but could also start up DDD. There were already some old carrots here... Carrigan's?
"That rusty bolt was by far the best bit of gear on the route" - Dave Jones. An obvious arete that sprouted a mystery bolt in the 90s but was never climbed.
Start: Start as for 'Dance of Life'. Aid on the bolts and monkey R to the arete as for Dance of Life. Then trend L up the arete, into a funky groove and up to a long-awaited rusty FH (the Lure). There is little protection for quite a distance before this lone bolt. Join Clean Sweep (better) or Dinosaurs Don't Dyno (easier) for the last few metres.
FA: Rich Heap, Dave Jones
|25 M1 R||240m,|
For almost 25 years this route has largely been neglected due to a reputation for having a runout crux. In reality, it can be completely sewed up if you have plenty of micro-wires and a blue alien, and the endurance to hang around and fiddle them in. Plus the climbing is simply immaculate and, even despite the aid bolt, this must be a strong contender for the best 24 in the 'Grampians'.
Start: Start as for 'Dance of Life'. Aid on the bolts and jug R to the arete as for Dance of Life. From there climb straight up the grey faint groove with fantastic sustained moves all the way to the horizontal breaks, then directly up the excellent blunt arete.
FA: Kim Carrigan, 1985
|24 M1||2, 140m|
Dance of Life Dinosaurs Don't Dyno Connection
FA: Will Monks, James Pfrunder, Kevin Lindorff, 2004
Dance of Life
Outstanding and unlikely climbing on amazing rock, with great pro and a bouldery finish.
Start: Start just R of Dinosaurs Don't Dyno, on the R end of the elevated ledge. But belay at ground level to reduce rope drag and improve communication. Delicately sidle R and slightly up along the small ledge/slab, until it terminates in a hanging 'horn' of rock. A tricky reach off the horn gains a RB and BR. Aid on these to gain the flake, then monkey R to the arete. Trend R and up the gorgeous orange scoops to large break (optional belay). Continue up flakes to crimpy finish (BR). Full rack, extenders and 2 bolt plates.
FA: Kim Carrigan, 1984
|24 M1||2, 235m|
Dance of Life Clean Sweep Connection
Some link-ups are hardly worth recording, but this one is notable because it avoids the cruxy moves of each route, leaving amazing sustained climbing around grade 22 with bomber pro the whole way. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a better 23 in the 'Grampians'.
Start: Start as for 'Dance of Life'. As for Dance of Life to the horizontal break 10m below the top, step L 3m, and finish up the lovely well protected blunt arete of Clean Sweep. Needs double ropes to do it in a single (ultraclassic) pitch. Has also been done by going further L along the break to the deceptively tricky finish of Dinosaurs Don't Dyno, but this needs a hanging belay and is not as classic.
FA: FRA: Will Monks, Kevin Lindorff, James Pfrunder, 2004
Fun traversing on superb aesthetic stone. Full set of cams. Has also been done by starting up the unpleasant flakes 10m L of Great Divide (see 16a on topo). You can do a 150m girdle of 'Taipan', via 'The Mint', 'Arabic Mint' and 'Lawrence of Arabia' (the full thing is yet to be done in a single push).
Start: Start just R of Dinosaurs Don't Dyno, on the far right hand end of the elevated ledge. Put your belayer on the wide ledge 6m below the start, so they can see the crux.
FA: Will Monks, Mark Rewi (alt), Neil Monteith
The Great Divide
Wonderful climbing based on the sharp, undercut arete right of 'Dance of Life'. The crux is very hard, but very short. If you pull on the crux bolt it's an excellent 25M1. Take 3 bolt brackets, a full rack incl. 2 #3.5 cams, and 15-20 quickdraws.
Start: Start directly below the impressive hanging arete which soars upwards from the R side of a large roof. This is just L of where the walk-in meets the cliff, and is where the track along the base balances along the top edge of a large smooth-faced boulder.
FA: Kim Carrigan & Martin Scheel, 1984
Steep scoopy 'World Party' start then thin technical finish. Well protected and convenient for climbers who end up on the ledge above the left end of 'Taipan'.
Start: Start on top of 'Taipan' Wall: this route is a rap in and climb out affair between 'The Great Divide' and Daedalus. Locate double rap rings on ledge about 10m south of the 'Clean Sweep' rap chains. Rap down wall aiming for double ring belay at right end of horizontal break. You will need to be pushing off and swinging in to reach this anchor - the wall is steep! Traverse left across horizontal (FH), then up into water funnel scoop (two FHs) to small cave. Out right side of this cave on crimpers past final FH to juggy gritty finish. #3 SLCD and a few medium wires are all that is required in the trad department.
FA: Neil Monteith Hannah Lockie, 2005
The Chick is Trouble
A nice mini-pitch, although the crux is several grades tougher than the rest.
Start: Start 15m R of Great Divide, below the flake which is a few metres L of Seventh Banana pitch 1. Easy grey rock leads to roof. Turn the lip with difficulty (FH), to gain the flake. Nice moves up flake and face, to the first belay of Seventh Banana. Rap off (20m).
FA: Ross Taylor, 1999
This alternative second pitch to Seventh Banana is rather runout at times, but it's also an incredible sustained line, and is the first climb we get to which is in "Taipan's Top 5". May not yet have seen a ground up ascent.
Start: Start at the first anchor of Seventh Banana. Up Seventh Banana pitch 2 for a few moves then move L (crux past the first bolt), and blast up the somewhat sparsely bolted grey streak to the top. Approx. 7 bolts?
FA: Julian Saunders (26M1), Dave Jones (28), 1997
The Seventh Banana
A good aid climb turned into a great free climb. The first pitch is worth a star or two in its own right and is justifiably very popular with 'Taipan' virgins.
Start: Start 25m R of 'The Great Divide', and 8m R of 'The Chick is Trouble'.
FFA: Steve Monks and Jane Wilkinson
FA: FA Nick Reeves, Dave Mudie, Steve Due (alt), 1975
|25||The Seventh Banana Pitch 1||23||20m|
As for Sirocco pitch 2 past the first bolt (doing it's crux), then move L and up for 25m of new climbing between Seventh Banana and Sirocco to the top. You can also approach from Seventh Banana, by stepping R after doing the crux on p2.
FFA: Graeme Dick, 2013
Another classic up this unlikely looking section of cliff. The crux at the start of the second pitch is ridiculously hard, and can be quite demoralising. Some prominent international climbers have suggested up to 8a for this move! It is also enjoyable, and far easier, to pull on that one bolt to reduce the grade to 25M1.
FA: Malcolm Matheson, 1989
|28||Sirocco Pitch 1||21||120m,|
Extraordinary moves on immaculate rock. If you're picky you might deduct a star due to the numerous rests, and the bouldery crux start being several grades harder than the final 25m. Tougher than many 'Taipan' 26s, but easier than 'Sirocco' so it can't be 27 ... can it?! Often repeated using only the bolts with some 6-8m runouts, but most people also use a couple of wires and cams.
Start: Start on the first belay ledge of 'Sirocco'. Start as for Sirocco pitch 2, delicately to the horizontal break at 3m (cam). Step R then up cruxy wall (2 RBs) to ledge. Step R to RB, up the juggy scoop (wires), then veer L to stance below roof. RB on lip, then a long reach/dyno gains the delightful grey headwall (3 RBs, cam). Lower-off (30m+ to ledge, tie a knot in the end of 60m ropes, or 48m to the ground). Rebolted ~2006. An independent start has also been done off the ledge, its protected by tiny trad and, instead of sharing the first few metres of Sirocco p2 off the L end of the ledge, it goes up and a bit left from the middle of the ledge to the 1st bolt of Father O.
FA: Simon Mentz, 1991
A good option if you think Father O eases off too much after its crux. Start as for Father O, until just past it's 3rd bolt. Now head up the R side of the scoop, through bulge past 2 FHs and 2 RBs (thin crux direct past 2nd RB) to break. Trend R to top. Take cams & wires. If that's not enough harder climbing for you then throw in the worthwhile direct start, from the middle of the belay ledge and heading up L (good tiny trad) to Father O's first bolt.
FA: Will Monks, 2013
Adam Demmert's Closed Project
Closed project, please stay off. Will be a mega pitch up the full height of the crag. As for Sirocco p1 until halfway across the traverse. Now head up flakes onto the blank grey wall, then head rightish to a brilliant orange scoop/arête, eventually joining Pythonesque for the last few metres. Bolts and trad.
HB had previously dabbled in this vicinity while searching for a second pitch for 'Mirage', but after he declared the second pitch groove "impossible" nobody bothered with it for years. Luckily no one told Stuart, who sauntered in and snared one of "Taipan's Top 5". Unfortunately the first pitch is ridiculously cruxy, so most people rap in to do pitch 2 only.
Start: Start as for 'Sirocco'.
FA: Pitch 2: Stuart Wyithe (late), Pitch 1: Garth Miller (2nd shot!), 1995
|33||Cardigan Street Pitch 2||28||25m|
Variety! The famous HB dyno route as immortalized by Simon Carter's photos in the early 1990s. Take a full rack up to #2.5Fr, including Aliens, RPs, and sling runners (and/or double ropes) to minimise drag.
Start: Start as for 'Sirocco'.
FA: Malcolm Matheson (pitch 1), 1990
FA: Quentin Chastagnier, 2013
Second Pitch to Mirage. Quentin approached from Seventh Pillar LHV via Snake in the Grass. More like 33 according to Alex Megos.
FFA: Quentin Chastagnier, 2013
HB's 'It Might Go' Line (project - closed)
This is what Malcolm's original thinking was for the 2nd pitch of 'Mirage'. Apparently he thinks it might go so best stay off.
Start: Start atop the first pitch of 'Mirage'.
FA: Equipped Malcolm Matheson ~?, 1990
Malcolm's Dyno Line (project - closed)
Rumoured to have an impossibly long dyno and, according to Dave Jones, 'Malcolm only ever bolted this because he'd just done 'Mirage' and thought he could dyno the full height of the cliff'. Start: Start about 15m R of 'The Seventh Pillar', where there is a lonely FH below the major horizontal of 'Lawrence of Arabia'.
FA: Equipped Malcolm Matheson early 90s?, 2000
A great section of traversing, the addition of which enables a 150m girdle of 'Taipan', via 'The Mint', 'Arabic Mint' and 'Lawrence of Arabia' (the full thing is yet to be done in a single push). Start: Start at the end of 'The Mint' (the first anchor of Sirocco). Can also be worked from the ground by starting up the first 15m of 'Mirage'. Reverse the Sirocco pitch 1 traverse, then take the Mirage traverse to the white corner. Swing R to obvious slot on arete, up a little then back down to a break which leads into Lawrence of Arabia. Cams to #5 & wires. Descent requires creativity if not continuing into LoA. Be aware that the slot on the arete captures your rope, which doesn't seem to create drag or rope cutting potential for the leader, but does create rope cutting potential if the second falls off the crux (as happened on the first ascent: the sheath was completely severed but thankfully the core survived). The leader should consider obstructing the slot and/or padding the problematic sharp edge, and/or the second should try to flick the rope out of the slot before leaving the corner.
FA: Will Monks, Adam Demmert, 2008
The main attraction is a seductive groove on the second pitch reminiscent of Cardigan St, but with lesser quality rock and a sullied history. For those who "only" climb 25, the first pitch is very worthwhile in its own right and deserves a lot more traffic than it gets - especially since the old bolts were replaced (2009).
Start: Start as for 'The Seventh Pillar'.
FA: Pitch 1: Gordon Poultney, Simon Carter early, 1995
|25 R||2, 335m|
Medusa (Pitch 2) (open project)
This pitch moves R to gain the distinctive line of water scoops about 8m L of the prominent flake on Seventh Pillar pitch 2. This pitch was "enhanced" with a glue edge by Poultney, but he never sent it (and the glue edge has now gone). On his "belayer's lap" Dave Jones sent the pitch at 29, with a token sit down low. And there it remains - unfinished. If slightly dubious rock and the now old bolts don't bother you ... help yourself. The 29 version moves R at the top of the groove before gaining the major break, however the direct to the break should go around 31/2, and the line then continues above the bushes to the top of the wall. Do NOT rely on the rap anchor just below the bushy break - it uses only one bolt, of a type which has often failed. About 8 bolts?
Snake in the Grass
Goes left from 7th Pillar LHV to finish at the top of Mirage P1
FA: Quentin Chastagnier, 2013
The Seventh Pillar Left Hand Variant
The crux is immediately after the bolts at the start of the traverse, so the second needs to be stronger than the leader! A heady megaclassic ... but also a brilliant consumer-friendly 22 if you lower off the bolts at the top of the flake (25m).
Start: Start as for 'The Seventh Pillar'. Follow The Seventh Pillar for 18m to the major horizontal break. Swing left into flake crack and up it. Bolts at the top protect the crux, which is followed by a longish rightwards runout to the horizontal. Traverse 10m further right along this to rap chain (22m rap, can just barely lower off with a 60m rope). Extend all gear before the bolts, otherwise the flake is a real rope eater and rope drag will be hideous.
FA: Mark Moorhead, Col Reece, Eddy Ozols, 1980
The Seventh Pillar (Free Variant)
This short variant halfway up the second pitch was the final link for the whole line to go free.
Start: The independent bit starts 10m up pitch 2 of 'The Seventh Pillar'. Break L from the top of the initial fat flake/corner on pitch 2 of TSP, 2 bolts and hard moves take you over the bulge and up the thin face to gain the guano-stained flake on the original.
FA: Dave Jones, mid 90s?, 2000
The Seventh Pillar
This was the first route up 'Taipan Wall', an incredible achievement for the time, and remained the lone route on the wall for many years. It is still a stunning classic that generally follows a series of flakes and horizontal breaks trending rightwards up to the very highest point of the wall. Whether you do it at 18M2 with 3 sections of aid, 22M1 with one point of aid (via LHV) or free at 28 (via variant), it is a fantastic excursion. The remnant original fixed gear should be treated with suspicion, although enough bolts have been replaced to avoid death route status.
Start: Start at the very faint initials "SP", about 5m L of where the major flake system doesn't quite reach the ground (or bridge the tree direct).
FA: Andrew Thomson, Kim Carrigan (18M2) 1974
FA: Ian Guild, Mike Stone (var.)(16M4) (16, 17), 16th May
FA: Kim Carrigan, Kieran Loughran (22M1), 1982
The Seventh Pillar Right Hand Variant
Fantastic sustained moves and position.
Start: Start at the original 2nd belay of Seventh Pillar (i.e. at the guano-stained stance halfway up the 2nd pitch as now described). Extend high pro, then step down from the belay to traverse 3m R to incipient flakes. Up past 2 FHs and straight up grey streak (med wire) to gain major break. Move L to belay as for the original.
FA: Will Monks, Kevin Lindorff
Seventh Pillar Direct Finish
A superbly positioned bouldery little pitch.
Start: Start at the second belay of 'The Seventh Pillar'. Blast up the surprisingly overhung headwall, trending a little R, past 2FHs and a medium cam. Trad anchor.
Some fantastic slabbing in the prime central part of 'Taipan'. Originally 24, recent attempts by a prominent slab master suggest it could be 26 or more! For now we are splitting the difference.
Start: Start at the first belay of 'Lawrence of Arabia'. Either do LoA's 1st pitch, or jug up Feather Boa's 8m fixed rope and traverse 8m R along the break. The latter is much quicker and avoids the hanging belay if the leader uses double ropes and drops one after 15m. From the R end of the roof-like section of the horizontal, head up on pockets (thread, #3-4 cam). Continue slabbing past 4 hangerless bolts (rebolted 2011) to ledge below main roof. Traverse 5m R (small-med cams) to the first belay of Serpentine. Rap off (20m).
FA: Richard Smith, Andy Pollitt, 1992
Lawrence of Arabia
2 long traversing pitches which give fantastic perspectives on the daunting territory above. Take lots of cams of all sizes.
Start: Start as for 'The Seventh Pillar'.
FA: Keith Lockwood, Malcolm Matheson (alt), Richard Smith, 1991
Quetzalcoatl (project - closed)
This one will go - Dave has managed it in several different overlapping sections. Please stay off.
Start: Start at a hanging belay in 'Lawrence of Arabia', about 15m R of the Seventh Pillar bolt ladder.
FA: Equipped Dave Jones, 2000
This is something special, even by Taipan's lofty standards. The magical long sustained main pitch uninterrupted by rests puts this route in the rarified atmosphere of "Taipan's Top 5". After some high profile spankings it seems to be settling in as being about a grade harder (not a grade easier!) than 'Serpentine', so Dave's original grade of 28 has been bumped up to a solid 29...and may not stop there!
Start: Start at a hanging belay in 'Lawrence of Arabia', about 6-8m R of Quetzalcoatl and 5-6m L of 'Scud Buster'. It\'s best to do the LoA approach once, then fix a 12m rope back to the ground. This way you can belay from the ground and jug/batman the fixed rope to avoid the long approach.
FA: Dave Jones, 1998
Starts as FB then goes right
FA: @jaicritchley, 2015
Extension to Kundalini. Adds another 7m of hard climbing on thin crimps and pockets and a final jump to the ledge.
FA: @alexmegos, 2015
Makes Rage an independent line to the top, providing another awesome pitch up the most majestic part of Taipan. Start as for Serpentine pitch 2. Follow Rage for 5 bolts then head left to wide runnel, follow right side of runnel to just below roof, span left across runnel, then up to roof. Follow right side of next runnel to top. Another variant has been bolted (see 41b in topo) which moves left after only 1 or 2 bolts of Rage and up the faint arete to join into Angst.
FFA: Adam Demmert, 2011
Start: Start as for 'Serpentine' pitch 2. Pull through initial roof on Serpentine then L via very thin moves to red jug on beautiful sheer hanging red face. Trend back R past 3rd bolt and up subtle arete. When the arete finishes trend L via more hard moves past 5th bolt, to rejoin Serpentine at the horizontal break.
FA: Andy Pollitt, 1992
This famous line was the first route on the wall which cried out for the mythical fourth star. Naturally, it's in "Taipan's Top 5". Be aware that the bolts are bash-ins (with FHs) and are now over 25 years old, although they still look pretty good. PLEASE DON'T PISS ON THE BELAY LEDGE (bring a pee bottle for long belay sessions). Aiming left or outwards is NOT ok, you WILL be pissing on other pitches and yes they do get climbed.
Start: Start on the cairn on the raised ledge, directly below the obvious huge arete of Naja.
FA: Malcolm Matheson, Steve Monks, 1988
FFA: Malcolm Matheson, 1988
Serpentine Pitch 1
FA: Malcolm Matheson
Serpentine Direct Start (project - open)
This is the bolted line directly below Serpentine's first belay, and is one of three 15m bolted variants to 'Serpentine'. Some 'Serpentine' aspirants stick-clip their way up this to avoid doing Serpentine's first pitch!
Start: Start directly below the first belay of 'Serpentine'. 1 FH below the Lawrence of Arabia break, then a few more FHs up the faint arete above before joining Serpentine's first pitch for the last 10m to the belay (25m rap). It is reportedly feasible, but hard - feel free to put it out of its misery.
FA: Equipped by Nick White?, 2000
Another excellent 15m variant to 'Serpentine'.
Start: Start as for 'Serpentine' pitch 2. Follow Serpentine pitch 2 for 12m until halfway up the fridge hugging. Trend R and up past bolts to loweroffs (30m to 1st belay, 52m to ground). The loweroff is somewhat diagonal - be careful not to end up hanging in space.
FA: Scott Walter, 2000
The visionary black streaks and water grooves about 5-8m R of Naja.
Start: Start as for Naja.Up Naja for 2 or 3 bolts then traverse right via an obvious undercling flake a few metres above the low roof. Use long (2m) extenders for this section. Now follow the incredible grooves, ignore the half-height anchor, and continue up via amazing sustained climbing on slopey edges to the top of the wall in one single mega pitch. Rap anchor (55m). Stopping after 30m at the DRB is about 29, with some tricky sideways runouts at the grade.
FA: Lee Cossey, 2011
After the long years of Steve and others being spat off before Dave cleaned it up, it's apt that this genus includes the Spitting Cobra! The strongest line on all 'Taipan', this is the left-facing arete bounding the right side of the massive scooped out area right of 'Serpentine'. It is more closely bolted than most other 'Taipan' routes, although they're getting a bit the worse for wear. The whole thing can be worked from the ground using a 70m rope (but only just!).
Start: Start as for 'Serpentine'.
FA: Equipped Steve Monksish?, sent by Dave Jones, 1990
|61||Naja pitch 1||27||25m|
Almost completely superseded by 'Sneaky Snake', especially until the low aid move gets freed. But still worth recording, for those who can't climb 33!
Start: Start 6-8m R of Naja. Pull on 1 or 2 bolts to get through the low blank bulge, then follow the awe-inspiring water groove in the incredible steep sheer wall 6-8m R of Naja. Finish at the half-height DRB. The start aid move has reportedly almost been freed, but will be MUCH harder - open project. In April 2013 Quentin Chastagnier tried a variant start about 5m to the left, on trad, which included a sideways downwards jump from a break to a hold on the lip!
FA: Lawry Dermody, 2006
FA: Rich Heap, 1997
Groovy (+ The Groove Train)
The original version (Groovy) takes one of Taipan's best scoop lines and is ultra classic in it's own right. The new extension (Groove Train) was briefly the hardest route on the wall and may be the best.
Start: Start 10m up L from the base of Invisible Fist. This scramble/traverse is 10m off the ground and trickier than it looks so consider belaying across.
FA: Richard Heap (Groovy, Jan '97), Ben Cossey (Groove Train), 2009
A strenuous single pitch, mostly superb 22-23ish but with a distinct hard section. It takes the main arete-like thing bounding the L side of this large red scooped out section of cliff.
Start: Start on the elevated ledge, 3m L of the top of the boulder you scrambled up.
FA: Malcolm Matheson (originally starting up Invisible Fist - he added the direct start through the roof with Jacqui Middleton and Neil Monteith on)., 2003
Trouser Snake / Le serpent de' pantalon / Snake Flake Direct Extension
Just another incredible looking line on Taipan. It's the orange streak directly above Snake Flake's anchor, climbed in a single pitch from the ground. Probably at least 2 stars but confirmation awaited from Lee.
Set by Equipped by Ben Cossey & Al Pryce late Oct 08
FA: Lee Cossey, 2013
The Invisible Fist (of Professor Hiddich Smiddich) (+ Southern Delight)
A few pieces of gear down low on the easier sections. If you use the anchor, shout AD a beer for fixing it up. Probably the most popular route on 'Taipan' - not least because of it's spoodgy grade and the quantity of shiny stainless steel!
Start: Start on the elevated ledge, just L of the top of the boulder you scrambled up, below a well-chalked slabby thin flake.
FA: Gordon Poultney, Chris Jones (p1 Jan 1996). Extension: Kilian Fischhuber 3/8/2012, 1996
|26 R||2, 726m|
Fisting Party (Link-Up)
A link-up of The Invisible Fist into the top pitch-and-a-half of 'World Party'. One of the greatest single pitches in the universe for anyone with the stamina. 'Almost' a sport route (15 bolts) with only two medium wires being optional on the entire route.
Start: Start as for Invisible Fist. Climb Invisible Fist to the 2nd last ring, then step right (new FH) into the slopey rightwards traverse of World Party pitch 2. Finish up pitch three of World Party - the 'best 24 in the country'. Rope drag is ok if you use extenders and roller-biners appropriately, but could be horrendous if you don't.
FA: Neil Monteith, 2006
A Central American snake vilified by some Mexicans. Start on the elevated ledge, 4m R of the boulder and 2m L of a small tree. The wall between IF and WP, then finish up IF past it's last bolt. If you're not as long and strong as Rhys, its still a good 26M1 by pulling past the jump. The extension out the scoop/roof to the lip has 2 bolts in it and is an open project.
FA: Will Monks (26M1, pulled past the jump), 2000
FFA: Rhys van Gastel, 2013
And here we find the last member of "Taipan's Top 5": the stunning final pitch is one of the very best on the wall. Before you get there, there's a hard crux on the 2nd pitch. The hanging 2nd belay is best avoided by linking pitches 2 and 3, while pitch 2 is easily worked from the ground if you have a recalcitrant belayer.
Start: Start on the elevated ledge, 7m R of the top of the boulder and just R of the small tree, at a short fat flake on the slab.
FA: Peter Cresswell (1), Andy Pollit (2,3), 1990
|71||World Party Pitch 1||21||20m|
World Party Pitch 2
FA: Andy Pollit
World Party Pitch 3
FA: Andy Pollit
World Party Anaconda Pitch 1 Link-up / World Party Anaconda Connection
Nothing flash by 'Taipan' standards, but certainly recommended for those at the grade wanting a taste of the fabled 'Taipan'.
Start: Start as for 'World Party'. Follow World Party for 8m to horizontals. Traverse R along horizontals until 4m R of Constrictor, to finish up short flake onto slab and mantle to the 1st belay ledge of Anaconda and rap chains (15m).
Squeezed in! A 'Taipan' slab route with a crimpy crux down low.
Start: Starts 3m right of 'World Party', just left of small bush growing out of horizontal crack. Boulder up tenuously onto orange slab and good pocket (FH). Step left slightly and climb slopers directly to join World Party at large horizontal. Traverse right across this for four metres to short vertical flake. Arrange pro and balance up flake onto slab (FH). Finish up slopers (FH) and over final committing bulge to ledge. Rap chain (18m).
FA: Neil Monteith, 2004
Suffocatingly powerful. Can be led as one giant pitch.
Start: Start at large expanding left-facing flake 8m right of 'World Party'.
FA: Malcolm Matheson & Simon Mentz, 1993
Anaconda Pitch 1
FA: Malcolm Matheson
Start: Start at rap chain at end of first pitch of 'Anaconda'. Climb Anaconda's 2nd pitch for two bolts then out right into white 'cave'. Scuttle across this (2 UB's) and then go-go-gadget span between scoops to reach juggy flake. Swing across this (large wires/cams) then up final scoopy headwall (UB) to join into Mr Joshua pitch 1 for last move. Backclean, or get some idiot to second then rap off (38m).
FFA: Toby Pola
FA: Equipped and dogged by Neil Monteith, 2005
Mr T (Mr Josh Left Variant) / Mr T
Totally classic ... but it's hard to give the third star when it's only an 8m variant of the first pitch of Mr Joshua.
Start: Start as for Mr Joshua. At the post-crux horizontal break of Mr Joshua's first pitch, (after the 6th bolt) step left and climb left side of scoop past two FHs to rejoin Mr J at it's last bolt. Lower off (28m to tree then swing back in to ledge, or 38m to ground).
FA: Garry & Jake
FA: Garry Phillips, 2006
The brilliant first pitch is one of the most popular at 'Taipan' and was a very impressive effort by the young bumblies Jared and Simon. Often cited as the best 25 (26) in 'Australia'. Pitch 2 is far less popular, but still excellent.
Start: Start from the R-hand end of the ledge, 4m R of Anaconda's flake - and set a belay.
FA: Pitch 1 Jared McCulloch & Simon MentzPitch 2 Jared McCulloch 18-10-1989, 1989
|81||Mr. Joshua Pitch 1||25||835m,|
Sheek Naja Ket
Established after a tip-off from Jake the snake Bresnehan. "Named in honour of a great man, and possibly the best climb on the wall". Given 31 originally but has quickly been knocked down a grade.
Start: Start as for Mr J. Up most of Mr J p1 then, instead of going diagonally left past the last bolt to the cave, continue directly up. The crimpy orange wall has 4 more bolts and takes you about 4m R of Mr J p2, right to the top. A 70m rope can lower off the last bolt to the ledge - just! It's only a sport route if, like most grade 30 climbers, you skip the trad gear on Mr J.
FA: Ben Cossey, Al Pryce, 2008
A variant to 'Venom'.
Start: Start as for 'Venom'.
FA: Dave Jones (p1p2 98), 1997
A beautiful scoop of rock with a tenuous traverse and remarkably sustained climbing for the length of the scoop. The business is a little short to rank up there with Taipan's very best, but it's still a 3 star route.
FA: Steve Monks early, 1995
The Old Dog
a.k.a Enter the Dragon, a.k.a. 'Mortal Combat'. This is the subtle groove about 6-8m R of Mr J's arête. "33/34" with tricky beta on both cruxes and lots of kneebar action, says Alex. Start at the DRB at the base of 'Venom'. Trend L past FH, through desperately blank looking bulge, to follow the line of anti-holds up the attractive faint groove, joining Venom at the big break.
Set by Equipped Rich Heap, 2000
FFA: Alex Megos, 2015
2 bolt boulder start to RS. Classic!!
Ho hum, just another fantastic 'Taipan' route. You'll be shaking on the slab section! Continually bouldery climbing split by good rest stances.
Start: Start as for 'Venom' on the ledge 15m off the ground. Traverse right as for Kaa pitch 2 (small-med cams), past the black streak with 2 FHs (don't clip them, that's the "Rattler" direct start, which is grade 27, see 61a on topo), almost to Kaa's second bolt (don't clip this either!). Straight up grey streak above past 6 FHs and a fixed wire up high. Route finishes in large cave at rap rings (35m to the ground). You need a 60m rope to (laboriously) tramline back to the belay, or a 70m to lower off to the ground.
FA: Neil Monteith, 2007
Wanders around like crazy in order to follow the 'weaknesses', but still worthwhile. Nearly all the bolts are in poor condition - please contribute to rebolting. You also need a light trad rack.
FA: Steve Monks, Keith Lockwood, 1992