Big Hill Rock climbing32 routes in crag
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Granite crack climbing and bouldering close to Melbourne, no crowds, great views, short walk to access, easy to top rope.
Granite crag just over an hour from Melbourne, situated in a Flora reserve which runs along the highway. Good views north, nice rock and smattering of lines in the 17-24 grade. Short cliffline easy to toprope, highest route is only 25m, and features some interesting cracks on good qaulity granite that is kind on the paws; a good spot for beginners to granite cracks. Climbs are generally crack affairs, there is one bolted line at time of writing, but potential for more on some faces. Makes a good little daytrip from Melbourne if you are sick of the local stuff and don't want to drive to Gramps or Araps. A nice trip is to do Big Hill and nearby Tennerife. Its a lovely location with great views north, lots of wildlife and a few climbs that stay in the shade through summer.
The land is a Flora Reserve, so it is legal to climb here and there is no need to ask permission - but respect the land and leave gates as you found them. There are some endangered wildflowers that grow amongst the crag boulders and cliffs (some can be found on the 'sandpaper terrace', as well as numerous wombats, echidnas and falcons, so be aware.
This is a roadside crag just off the Hume Highway. From Melbourne, head north on the Hume. A few minutes after the Avenel roadhouse you will see Mt Tennerife on your right, keep heading north until You see a turnoff for Berry Lane. Turn right, then left onto the dirt road just off the highway. Before the top of the crest you will see a gate on the right, park here, and follow the fire trail up the hill to the north. The Southern Boulders are obviously on the southern side of the ridge, and the crag is on the northern face. Climbs are described from this approach.
To get to the better boulders you need to contour around the ridge and pick out the stuff with good potential.
Where to stay
Nearby towns Avenel, Longwood, Seymour and Euroa have hotels and other accomodation.
In 1969, 'Trial' (6) and 'Coolu' (5) were established, as well as the other 'chimney', 'Tribulation' (14). Chris Baxter aided Dipsomania with his brother in 1970 and led the crag favourite 'Cut Throat Crack' with Keith Lockwood. In '74 those routes went free by Mike Law, who also happened to solo a second ascent of 'A smile from Julia', and soloing the FA of 'Lightstropper'. 1974 also saw visits from Nic Taylor, Reg Marron, Iain Sedgeman, Peter Watson and Andrew Bowman took most of the obvious lines. In 1975 Mike Law and Kim Carrigan returned to put of more comments from Julia. Things stayed quiet with focus moving to the bigger crag down the road at Mt Tenerife. In the late 1990's Pat McVeigh-Mcconnel and Darryl McConnel put up the nice beginner line 'Mosquito Corner', a rather difficult 10. Steve Wilson and Robin Holmes finished off the last of what was available in 2002 with 'Battle of the Bulge', the one star 'Lost for Words' and 'Gravel Rash' all on the sandpaper terrace. They also added a nice variant to the already enjoyable 'Tribulation' at 18.
Hard for the grade.
Up column to under chockstone, traverse (bridge) out and around chockstone then to top.
A fun variation at around grade 16 is to just use the hand crack on the right side, or just the offwidth on the left.
A nice addition to the climb. Up column till you reach chockstone. Traverse left using horizontal crack then up ramp to off-width.
FA: Robin Holmes & Steven Wilson, 2002