|?||The Green Wall
(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.
The highest concentration of hard routes in 'Victoria' and certainly the most popular sport crag in the 'Grampians'. Packed into a relatively short area and overshadowed by 'Taipan Wall' this well developed wall is full of hard slopy sustained test pieces. For many Europeans this is their entire experience of climbing in the 'Grampians' - which is a bit of a shame really. Like all true sport crags this place is all about the moves not the aesthetics of the routes. If you have issues with chalk and bolts than steer a wide path around this piece of modern cragging. The bottom of the crag is a very eroded sandy ramp so bring a good rope matt or suffer the consequences. Stick-clips litter the ground, use them to either aid your way up the respective project or to protect your ankles from snapping before the first bolt. Be warned - on some of the routes the longest stick still won't reach between the bolts! 'Excellent', although greasy in summer, bouldering is spread along the left hand end of Spurt. Some of the problems are starts to routes, but many are their own unique adventures. Big positive pockets and long dynos are very popular. Bring a good matt and something to clean your shoes from the endless sand. Please don't treat this area as just 'another sport crag'. Don't leave blue tarps at the base, remove all rubbish including finger tape and try and minimize chalk use. This crag has been trashed by sheer numbers and is a very clear reminder of the impact climbers can create. Please try and minimize human created destruction - our access to this crag depends on it.
[Topo's are in 1st draft stage] As the name suggests, it is on the trackside when you are heading towards the summit of Mt. Stapylton, as well as trackside if you are heading 'Taipan' wall. Various boulders requiring different skills including monos, to the highball problem. Fairly good landing for most of this area.
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