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If you can climb grade 30 this cliff is the mecca of all meccas. One of the 'Big 4' sport crags of 'Victoria'. An amazing impressive cave of mindblowing features.
This is also one of the best "four season" crags in the 'Grampians', for the same reasons as 'Sandinista' Wall:
in winter the sun is low in the sky and stays in the north, reaching in under the big overhangs to warm up frosty belayers;
in summer the sun is high in the sky and both the routes and the base spend most of the day in shade;
the very steep headwall keeps off the rain.
Naturally, if its cloudy and wintery this crag is miserably cold, but it should at least be dry (and hey, no other crag in 'Victarctica' will be any warmer). Also, the routes have enough slopers that temps in the 30s will be a problem even if you are climbing in the shade (on days like this it's probably better to try 'The Tower' just down the road).
A quick history lesson from Simon Mentz:
"Steve Hamilton dragged me and a few others into the cliff many years before it started being developed. I think he had discovered the place with Baxter and came back raving. I recall him telling me about this line that looked like three Sandinista's stacked on top of each other. I went in there expecting to climb mega-routes routes ground-up. Although the cliff was impressive, I was actually disappointed. Most of the cliff looked ridiculously hard. I remember saying to Steve, 'Where is the triple 'Sandinista' line?' 'In fact, show me one line that we can actually start climbing?' In the end I began rap-bolting the steep line of what is now 'Krankandangle'. I faffed around for ages getting in position, then my hand drill kept getting stuck, and finally when I got a bolt in place... I wasn't happy with it. We eventually walked out and never bothered to return. It wasn't until years later that HB mentioned this amazing cliff that he and Noddy had visited and their suprise at seeing a single bolt halfway up one of the lines, that it all clicked. Malcolm had established a few other routes and asked me whether I still planned to do that particular route. 'Yeah, of course!' (What a crock - I had completely forgotten about it). I took a power drill next time I visited the place and finished bolting the line (replacing my old dud bolt). The ascent was a formality, although I recall Sylvia finding the crux moves a bit reachy and falling off a few times. So there you go... another absolutely brilliant cliff (along with the Gallery) that I visited prior to their development and which I failed to see the potential of!"
Bear in mind that no rebolting has yet occurred at this crag so all bolts are the originals, and some are starting to show their age. There's quite a few spinning hangers, and the hangerless carrot bolts vary from "worrisome" to "completely shit". (Take bolt brackets). Perhaps the greatest concern is that the fixed hanger/bolt combos used are mismatched metal types and suffering from galvanic corrosion as a result, which can be particularly dangerous because of the tendency for the damage to be localised around the metal/metal interfaces, i.e. largely out of sight.
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
Drive north for a kilometre (approx) from the Mt Fox carpark on Red Rock Rd until you hit the obvious creek crossing (Muline Creek). 50m south of Muline Creek is a carpark on the east side of the road (which, as of Oct 2008, has a big tree fallen across it) - park here. Walk up old fireroad for 100m to T-intersection. Walk right (south) for 50m to rock cairn marking track into Muline. The well worn track is pretty flat at first, but gets progressively steeper. The track is easy to follow and the walk takes about 25 minutes. The track meets the cliff at After Midnight.
The crag is marked "kid friendly" because the base of the cliff is generally ok for kids to hang out, especially around the base of 'Eye of the Tiger', and 'Desert Rose' (but beware the 6m drop-off separating these areas, just left of Pocket Full of Dreams). However, the walk in will tax little legs (or the adult carrying them!).
Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)
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