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Description

The highest peak in the 'Grampians' is not a winter destination. A long cliff line in a striking location but few strong lines. There are however a number of good buttresses with unxepectedly good holds and gear turning up on many of the faces. A number of good climbs are available [if you can locate them!]. The climbs around 'Conqueror' and the Major Mitchell buttress are easy to find and are the best starting points for visiting the cliff. A lot of the original routes were very undergraded. This probably happened in the late 60s when the grades were translated from the old [badly applied] English system to the Ewbank system of grading without any one actually repeating the routes to see what grades they really were. 'Mt William' is very much a summer cliff and is often much cooler than other cliffs even though it faces North.

© (armstp)

Access issues inherited from Grampians

Please note that due to the fact that the Grampians is a national park, dogs and other pets are not allowed in the park except in vehicles on sealed roads and in sealed car parks. See http://m.parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/grampians-national-park/safety-and-regulations#overview

Approach

From the Halls Gap/Dunkeld road take the Mt William road to the carpark at the locked summit road gate. The RH end of the upper cliff is visible above the carpark. Walk up the summit road to the 4th and last zig zag corner. Depending where you want to go there are now two options. *OPTION ONE - this is best for the climbs around Conqueror and from there Rward to Order of the White Elephant. From the 4th zig zag continue along the road for 15m. On your L is a scree slope get up onto this and find a cairned route. This route initially keeps about 50m away from the cliff edge, after the first 100m it moves into quite clear and easy terrain and hits the cliff edge in little more than 5 minutes about 20m short of the abseil chains above Marie. These abseil chains are over the cliff edge and it is advisable to connect in with a sling before setting up the abseil. 2x50m ropes required [45m abseil]. Gear up at the top and abb down to climb. *OPTION 2 - this covers the area from the Major Mitchell Buttress Rwards and back L as far as Lower Orders. For these climbs head out on a faint track from the last zig zag to the cliff edge 40m away. If you walk R [facing out] along the cliff edge for 30m you will arrive at a descent gully. There are 2 abseil bolts a few meters down in the gully. A single 50m rope will get you down from here [25m abseil - If preferred this gully can be scrambled down and back up with some difficulty]. From the foot of this gully the Major Mitchell buttress is about 20m R. Or you can pick your way L from here on a rapidly improving pad to get to the area around Conqueror.

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Routes

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Grade Route

Good luck finding this.

Start: South of the summit is a lot of cliff. This route is in a large amphitheatre accessed from the first prominent saddle south of summit area. Start 5m L of prominent spur.

  1. 25m (-) Through scrub and up broken corner to ledge and tree on R.

  2. 20m (16) Offwidth and squeeze chimney

  3. 30m (16) Move 4m R then up wall. Traverse R then up and L. Up through scrub to major spur dividing amphitheatre.

FA: Graham Gittins & Wayne Maher [alt], 1993

A long way L of the other routes, look for a groove line starting high on the cliff [it has some bright green lichen on the left wall high up but this doesn't stand out as much as it did 40 years ago!]. It is a V groove leading to an overhang then a steep R facing groove up the headwall. It is not however easy to find. I recently repeated it thinking I was on a new route, and as I had done the first free ascent of it in 1978 I should have had some idea what it looked like.

  1. 39m (12) Pick you way up broken walls and ledges to below the groove with the lichen.

  2. 22m (18) Up line to groove, up this to ledge. Corner to roof then R [crux] to groove and up around overhang.

FA: Michael Stone & Chris Dewhirst [alt] Rein Kamar, 1972

FFA: Philip Armstrong, 1978

Nothing royal about this

Start: Below a buttress with a distinctive triangular roof.

  1. 22m (10) Up broken rock into corner and up to small stance.

  2. 13m (10) Chimney to small ripply wall.

  3. 9m (10) Chimney L of wall to top of pinnacle. Up wall to top.

FA: Rob Taylor & Daryl Carr [alt], 1966

Originally escaped off R, the exciting finish as described gives a good route.

Start: R of the QA buttress is a buttress distinguished by a 1m wide overhang just below its top. This overhang has a a couple of lines though it towards the RH side.

  1. 25m (16) Up thin shallow cracks towards RH side of buttress moving L to foot of deep crack.

  2. 15m (18) Good crack up and L to overhang. Jam through this and up.

FA: Jerry Maddox, Philip Armstrong P1Philip Armstrong & Richard Curtis P2, 1978

Start: Next buttress R of B&B. I haven't been able to identify this route.

  1. 22m (15) Corners on L wall of buttress.

  2. 36m (-) Up crack for 5m, traverse L to corner chimney and up.

FA: Rein Kamar & Bob Connell [alt], 1972

Pitiful

Start: From end of terrace L of 'Stage Fright'

  1. 36m (8) Broken line to tight chimney, up.

  2. 9m (8) Chimney crack on R.

FA: Alan Gledhill & Geoff Gledhill [alt], 1972

Big line 13m R of ET, originally described as a 'proud corner' it actually looks like a steep grotty gully...and what do you know, when you climb it that is just what it is.

FA: Chris Baxter, Geoff Gledhill & Julie Tulloch, 1973

Start: As for SF

  1. 30m (12) Up the lose rubbish of SF for 6m then into and up subsidiary line on R.

  2. 15m (15) Corner to overhang. A fraught followed by a terrifying swing R on loose blocks and up.

FA: Geoff Gledhill, Michael Stone [alt] & Alan Gledhill, 1972

Not bad but a bit mossy.

Start: 7m R of TD. Has a prominent square and letter B at its base, making it a good landmark in this area.

  1. 18m (12) Climb initialled corner to ledge. Veer L and climb crack beside detached pinnacle. R and up crack to small stance.

  2. 21m (13) Nice moves around overhang then line.

FA: Ann Richardson & Jerry Grandage [alt], 1966

Excellent positions.

Start: 3m R of 'Banksia'

  1. 25m (20) Up wall then R around arete. Up corner a few moves then back L around arete and up wall to ledge. Step R and climb thin crack to exit R to block.

  2. 35m (18) Wall then finger crack to roof. Step R and up line to step R to ledge. Finish up crack.

FA: Kevin Lindorff & Rod Young, 1978

A dramatic line and an atmospheric climb which is best completed by the P3 variant. The 2nd pitch was originally all aid.

Start: Initalled corner 9m R of FB

  1. 18m (15) Corner, over overhang and up crack to sentry box.

  2. 13m (22) Up corner and flakes moving L to a small stance under roof.

  3. 8m (15) Up crack then step R to sloping ledge. Up to small terrace. [Alternately go straight up without moving R for 15m at grade 18 Peter and Kevin Lindorff 1978]

  4. 8m (-) Chimney on L

FA: Peter Jackson & Ian Guild [alt], 1966

The excellent crack [which the abseil route goes pretty much straight over] on the 2nd pitch links together sections of existing climbs to give an exciting route finishing at the abseil bolts.

P1 (18m, 15) As for P1 Fedallah

P2 (32m, 19) Up the corner to the bulge, step out R and up to the ledge above the bulge. Traverse boldly out R to the thin crack, up this exiting L at the top. Step back R and up to join the top corner of Marie.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong [alt] Jerry Maddox, 1 Apr 2012

Very unlikely looking wall climbing which looks very poorly protected. Sustained.

Start: 2m R of 'Fedallah'

  1. 25m (20) Up face to short corner which leads to overhamg. Swing R onto steep slab then make a dramatic move L to a hanging slab. Up and L to join 'Fedallah' for 2m. Where that climb swings L cont. up line to stance below overhangs.

  2. 25m (20) Short corner to roof. Move L and pull up R around lip in exciting situation. Follow line up R to join 'Marie', finish up this.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Chris Baxter, 1990

Two clean, varied and enjoyable grade 17 pitches which deserve to be popular. Their are abseil chains at the top. 2x50m ropes required.

Start: Crack 4m R of KotSW and 3m L of the prominent corner of 'Conqueror'.

  1. 25m (17) Climb crack, when it stops above steep wall step R and climb 'Conqueror' for 4m to sloping ledge on L.

  2. 25m (17) L facing corner above. A nice pitch of jamming and bridging.

FA: Stephen Hamilton, Chris Baxter [alt] & Gary Schmidt, 1990

A solid undertaking up a powerful line. Originally graded 11! Possibly the hardest route led by a woman in 'Australia' in 1966.

Start: Initialled corner 3m R of 'Marie'

  1. 26m (14) Corner to ledge.

  2. 21m (16) Up R hand line [L hand one is Marie] with some steep and awkward moves.

FA: Jerry Grandage & Ann Richardson [alt], 1966

Start: As for 'Conqueror'

  1. 25m (18) Up 'Conqueror' a few meters then R and up unlikely looking wall to arete and V corner. A hard start to the corner then R and up to small ledge.

  2. 20m (14) L of 3 lines

FA: Kevin Lindorff, Philip Armstrong [alt] & Tony Dignan, 1978

1 19
2

Dirty, loose and poorly protected

Start: 8m R of 'Conqueror'.

  1. 26m (19) Corner to overhang [very loose flake], R to nose then up to and up groove.

  2. 30m (-) 'Flake' and corner, L under overhang and up groove easing.

FA: Chris Dewhirst & Michael Stone [alt], 1972

FFA: Stephen Hamilton & Nick Tapp, 1992

Altho' it initially struggles to stay out of 'Snake' P1 gives good climbing on good rock, P2 isn't bad despite some loose stuff.

Start: 7m R of 'Nails'

  1. 25m (19) Climb groove to overhang, L under this [crux] then up next groove stepping R to ledge below roof.

  2. 25m (18) R along ledge, climb corner to ledge on R. Up thin crack above to exit onto unstable ledge. L on this then up crack, veer up L to arete and follow it to an unexpectedly difficult conclusion.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Chris Baxter, 1990

There is a large gully/groove between Swarm and Excalibur. Snake, Pilgrim and part of Swarm go into this gully. Some time in the 80s there was a massive rock fall in this gully when a huge detached flake high on the cliff which was originally part of Pilgrim and Snake along with a large part of the gully/groove lines above and below it, fell down. Everything in the gully itself where Pilgrim originally started is very unstable and covered in loose shattered rock. Only the first pitch of Snake has survived, after which you will need to continue up one of the harder finishes. Start: Initialled crack 1m R of 'Swarm'

  1. 15m (13) Up wide crack to nose, swing R and up to ledge.

FA: Brian Oates & Barbara Gillespie, 1966

Due to the rockfall the described route is an amalgam of 3 old routes giving a route on mostly solid, protectable rock. Originally started in the gully around the corner, but this is now best avoided. Wide crack 1m R of Swarm.

P1 (15m, 13) Up wide crack to nose, swing R and up to ledge. Up to block, climb crack behind block to ledge below overhangs. This is the same belay as for Swarm.

P2 (35m, 18) Traverse R to short corner, up this [crux] then traverse R on unstable ground to solid crack on R wall of groove. [Continuing up the thin crack above the crux is P2 of Swarm]

P3 (20m, 14) Up the steep crack [top pitch of Despondency].

FA: Michael Stone & Chris Dewhirst [alt], 1972

Awful first pitch. At the R edge of the gully/groove line R of Swarm is a large detached pinnacle.

P1 (34m, 14) Up the R side of the pinnacle then R ward into a series of short corners leading to a ledge below a steep exit crack.

P2 (12m, 14) Crack and chimney

FA: Alan Gledhill & Geoff Gledhill [alt] Michael Stone, 1972

20m R of Swarm. Marked with a white square. The climb starts up a fairly obvious crack/seam above an overhang which was originally graded 11. Not a bad route with the variant finish.

  1. 23m (16) Up the undercut crack for about 5m. then make an ascending traverse L across steep wall and up to ledge. Up short wall to ledge at base of chimney.

  2. 26m (10) Chimney to ledge and large block. Move R around bock and finish up short crack.

FA: Daryl Carr & Rob Taylor [alt], 1966

Start: A better way to do 'Excalibur', start as for that climb. Interesting climbing on both pitches.

  1. 18m (16) Up as for 'Excalibur' but belay at the first ledge.

  2. 29m (14) Climb the little corner on the R to the overhang. Pull R ward through overhang then step back L. Up to roof, step L to finish up Excaliburs chimney

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox [alts]., 27 Oct 2011

Originally erroneously described as starting up Tweedle Dum, it takes the attractive shallow corner 15m R of Excalibur which the First Ascent party must have assumed was the corner TD started up. Clean and steep, with some unexpectedly good holds and excellent gear. Up corner, move out L when it ends and up to overlap. Above this traverse R [crux] to crack near arete. Up this to ledge [possible belay] then R and up 2 short walls.

FA: Rod Young & Kevin Lindorff

Initialled TD. About 22m R of 'Excalibur', and 7m R of 'Yesukai' are a pair of short corners just R of some rooves. Up the RH corner to a ledge, rising traverse L ward for 3m then up short wall to ledge. Up wide crack, then short walls, cracks and gullies to top.

FA: Alan Gledhill & Geoff Gledhill, 1972

Start: As for Tweedledum.

  1. 14m (14) Up short corner to ledge. Rising traverse L ward for 3m then up short wall to ledge [This pitch is as for 'Tweedle Dum' which then continues up the wide crack above]

  2. 12m (19) R to corner, up this to roof. R around roof and up to ledge.

  3. 19m (18) Up crack and steep seam in wall behind, then another short wall and a corner on the L to the top.

FA: Philip Armstrong [P1 & 2] Jerry Maddox [P3], 27 Oct 2011

I have no idea where this route is. It was described as starting 5m R of TD. But nothing with this grade or description goes up there.

  1. 18m (8) Crack, exit R at overhang. Up L past overhang.

  2. 18m (8) Crack, R to ledge.

  3. 11m (8) Chimney

FA: Tom Banfield & Keith Wooward, 1972

Start at the bushy ledge beneath Upper Crust. 10m R of Tweedle Dum.

  1. 30m 15. From L end of ledge head easily up and L a few meters to a ledge. Up short corner on R to roof, step out R and up line around bulge to ledge. R and up short crack to large ledge.

  2. 15m 15 As for Upper Crust.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox [alt], 15 Apr 2012

Steep and enjoyable face climbing

Start: 10m R of TD, a seam/crack up an attractive wall. Initialled [altho' you can't see the initials from the track thanks to some bushes].

  1. 25m (17) Follow seam

  2. 15m (15) Short walls and crack

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jeremy Maddox [alt], 2006

Start: 15m R of Upper Crust is a L facing corner, initialled. A worthwhile outing at the grade.

  1. 20m (17) L facing corner then overhanging crack to sloping ledge. R to sentry box, then crack to ledge.

  2. 15m (17) Cross crevasse and up wall to steep R tending seam in headwall, up this [route originally exited off L].

P2 added by Philip Armstrong, John Stone 20-11-2011

FA: Greg Aimer & Chrissy Freestone, 1994

About 30m R of Order of the White Elephant is a buttress with a band of steep orange rock across its base. Scramble up to the RH edge of this band. There are some massive detached blocks on P1 which you have to pull over, in retrospect I wouldn't recommend it.

P1 (18m, 15) Up RH crack over two bulges to a seam. Up seam until it steepens, step L and up to ledge. Up and R to ledge next to chimney.

P2 (17m, 15) Up chimney and crack

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox [alt], 5 Jan 2012

Start: Approx 50m R of OWE locate a short steep buttress with an initialled thin crack leading to a bulge. [This is about 70m L of the major Mitchell Buttress]

  1. 20m (19) Crack then up and R through bulge.

  2. 20m (17) Up to and up obvious crack which is a good deal more awkward than expected.

FA: Jeremy Maddox & Philip Armstrong [alt], 2004

Good

Start: The buttress directly below where you reach the cliff. There is a distinctive boulder/pinnacle at the L edge of the face.

  1. 25m (19) Up line behind pinnacle, trend R through small overlap into R hand seam. Up this to sentry box, exit R and up through bulge to ledge.

  2. 8m (16) Step out R from ledge to finish up steep crack. [Can be avoided but is a lot of fun]

FA: Greg Aimer & Chrissy Freestone, 1994

From top of pillar, 4m R of MMCT. 'Steep' wall, short flake then L hand seam.

FA: Greg Aimer & Chrissy Freestone, 1994

Excellent, sustained climbing. Start 4m R and 8m below MMFC. Easy square cut chimney to ledge on L [possibly better to start from here]. The surprisingly frantic groove and seam exiting Rward to finish up short cracks and steep head wall.

FA: Jeremy Maddox & Philip Armstrong, 2005

Nice varied climb. The next buttress R of the King Billy buttress has a steep bushy gully in the centre [about 10m R of RB].

  1. 12m (17) The clean arete just R the gully moving R when the angle eases to belay on ledge.

  2. 15m (16) Corner then out R to finish up steep line.

FA: Jeremy Maddox, Philip Armstrong [alts] & Chris Armstrong, 2005

Start 3m R of William Who? Wide crack to ledge below overhang. Follow good crack around overhang and Rward up steep wall then back Lward to finish as for WW?

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 2007

About 10m R of WW starting on top of the platform 8m higher. Take crack up R side of short pillar and continue up through bulge to foot of large chimney. Climb R arete of chimney.

FA: Philip Armstrong, Chris Armstrong & Jeremy Maddox, 2005

Enjoyable face and arete. 40m R of HofH is a buttress with an orange seam towards it L side, a few meters L of a deep line with 2 wide cracks up it. Steeply up seam until it ends at horizontal break, L to arete, up just R of arete to ledge. Line just L of arete to top. Cairned.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 2007

40m R of HMSV [and clearly visible from the top of it] is a steep jamcrack up the R wall of a gully. About 6m L of 'Little Willy'.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 2007

Strenuous and pushy. On the front of the face around R of EoM. The thin seam on the L side of buttress which has wide cracks on its R side. At 10m step L to avoid a small corner leading to a dubious boulder.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Peter Woolford, 1991

Start: The original description said 'A track from the car park crosses the cutting near the N end and goes NE to the ridge. From the start of this track above the cutting go S to cliff above car park, L of 3rd gully'. So the climbs are somewhere on the cliffs visible from the car park? Who knows?

  1. 12m (-) Climb corner 7m L of middle chimney [Dodo]

  2. 13m (-) Corner to scrubby ledge.

  3. 5m (12) L front of boulder

FA: Tom Banfield, Laurie Doe & D Delves [var], 1972

Start: 2m R of 'The Milkshake'

  1. 21m (5) Front of L corner of buttress.

  2. 15m (5) Short wall, scramble to next face, climb R crack.

FA: Laurie Doe & Steven Pinder, 1972

Start: 5m R of HS

  1. 21m (8) Chimney

  2. 15m (5) As for HS

FA: Laurie Doe & Keith Woodward, 1971

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