Muline Crag Rock climbing43 routes in crag
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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 following reasons: - around the winter solstice (May-Jun-Jul) the sun is low in the sky and stays in the north, reaching in under the big overhangs to warm up frosty belayers; - around the summer solstice (Nov-Dec-Jan) 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.
However, there are of course times when conditions won't be perfect. In particular, around the equinoxes the entire crag (except for the starts on the steep left end) is in full sun from 8-9AM about until about 2-3 PM. This means that days around Feb-March (usually warm to hot) can be prohibitively sweaty, and that days around September may turn very cold in the afternoon shade (although this at least can be solved with suitable clothing). 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 or the Gallery just down the road).
Sadly this crag has also become something of a cautionary tale for hasty route development, being littered with far too many unpatched bolt holes, bolt studs, dogging/aiding bolts, and abandoned carabiners. Futuristic projects are one thing but much of this detritus clearly has no prospects at all and the clean up effort has unfortunately been nil to date.
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 almost 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.
The best warm up is the bouldering around the base of 'Desert Rose' - neither of the "easy" routes are good options if you're still cold and haven't been on them before.© (nmonteith)
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.
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 track is pretty flat at first, but gets progressively steeper and the walk takes about 25 minutes. As of 2017 the track is relatively easy to follow but is badly overgrown by bushfire regrowth in places, it has seen plenty of pruning but still needs a lot more so please bring secaturs. (A single well-defined path is much less impact on the environment than the track braiding inevitably caused by an ill-defined path). 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!).© (nmonteith)
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