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Northcote Wall

21
BLDV
V0-

Seasonality

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D

Description

This wall has decent bluestone bouldering. The wall is about 150m long and 2-8m high, and is relatively slabby.

You can invent problems from VE to V3, even up to V-as-hard-as-you-want-to-contrive.

Approach

The wall is on the lower side of High Street in Northcote, access is via Timmins street.

The area is easily accessed by bike, car (park on Timmins Street), train (Merri Station or Westgarth station), or tram (Ruckers Hill/High St stop on tram #86).

Descent notes

You'll have to jump or down climb to get off the wall. You can top out on to the footpath above but be very careful with this since the top of the wall is often covered in moss and other vegetation that's slippery.

History

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In 1888-1890 the tram route (the 86 route today) was extended up Ruckers Hill, this required a huge ramp to be built because the gradient of the slope was too steep otherwise. The embankment for this ramp was built with bluestone blocks and filled with earth. The wall for this ramp forms the climbing wall described here.

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Routes

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Grade Route

Climb up to the stump and press out a mantle.

Note that this route doesn't exist anymore as the tree stump that was protruding out of the wall was removed a few years ago. Since then a new tree has been growing at the previous end point of this climb.

Traverse the full length of the wall, staying down low.

Traverse the full length of the wall.

Traverse the full length of the wall, keeping your hands on the top block.

This traverse uses only the hand holds that have been formed from the drill holes that were used in the plug and feathers masonry technique that was used to split the stone blocks used in the construction of this wall. This type of feature is almost entirely side pulls on this route.

Note that the easiest foot positions for this traverse are very close to the ground on the lowest row of blocks, so if the grass is long you may not be able to see all the foot holds. Also the lowest row of blocks can be wet and somewhat slippery even if the rest of the wall is dry if the grass is long.

This traverse uses only the hand holds that have been formed from the drill holes that were used in the plug and feathers masonry technique that was used to split the stone blocks used in the construction of this wall. This type of feature is almost entirely side pulls on this route.

Note that the easiest foot positions for this traverse are very close to the ground on the lowest row of blocks, so if the grass is long you may not be able to see all the foot holds. Also the lowest row of blocks can be wet and somewhat slippery even if the rest of the wall is dry if the grass is long.

Start with a sitting start and go up via the sloper holds that are just above the start. All the holds in this route are negative holds with fairly high friction which makes climbing this route feel very different from the general character of the rest of this wall.

The holds at the start are quite large but get smaller as you go up. The route blanks out significantly towards the top of the wall.

Variants on this boulder can be done without using any of the cracks between the stones and only climbing with the features. It is substantially easier to climb if you use the gaps in the grout (which are quite big in some spots) between the blocks on the wall for footholds.

FA: Janis Lesinskis, Jun 2020

This route uses a missing block in the wall as the only place for hand holds along with the top of the blocks (where the stone blocks meet the bricks). Can place feet anywhere. There is block missing from the wall as well as a substantial crack below this missing block with the void space having a shape that looks a bit like the outline of the number 9.

Start from a sitting start with your hands using the space formed from the missing block. Route ends by touching the bricks with your hands (3m). An extended version of this route (4m) you can top out by climbing over the brick potion at the top of the wall and top out on to the footpath above.

This route only uses the drill holes formed by the use of the plug and feathers masonry technique used to split the stone blocks for construction. The route starts just behind tree K goes up and to the left before coming right and upwards towards the starting point. End of the route is where stone changes to bricks. The path climbed by this route forms something of a sickle shape.

This route only uses the masonry holes formed by the plug and feathers drill holes in the rock for the hand holds and only the surface features of the stones for the feet. Starts at the same point as the sickle shaped traverse behind tree K but instead of traversing left then right you just go straight up from the start point. 2 of the drill holes form a pinch directly above the starting point that allows this route to be taken.

FA: Andy Walker, 1 Jul

This route consists only uses the drill holes formed by the plug and feathers masonry technique and the ledge where the stone wall meets the bricks for hand holds. There's only 3 drill holes on this route with the last one being a fairly marginal hold. There's a fairly large distance between the last drill hold and the ledge at the top of the wall that may require a bit of dynamic movement (even if you are tall) so bring a mat if you want to try this route. Also be careful with where you place your hands on the uppermost ledge at the end of this route as there's exposed metal on the ledge at the top that can be a hazard. If you decide to go for a dynamic move at the end make sure to mark out a safe spot for your hands first before going for the move.

FA: Janis Lesinskis, 5 Jul

This route is a short traverse followed by a vertical route that only uses the plug and feathers masonry technique drill holes for the hands. Starts with a short traverse from right to left before going straight up. Route ends at the brick section of the wall above the stones.

FA: Janis Lesinskis, 25 Jun

This route uses only the plug and feathers masonry drill holes for the hands. This route starts at the same spot as a number of other routes ("plug and feathers traverse" right most hold, "sickle shaped traverse" and "the big pinch shortcut") after traversing from right to left you have to go up and right before going up and left to the end of the route.

FA: Andy Walker, 8 Jul

This route uses only the plug and feathers masonry drill holes for the hands and surface features for the feet. Good introductory climb for these sorts of routes on this wall (Many of which have bird names, hence the name of this route)

This is a very short route on the shorter portion of the wall. This route only uses the plug and feather masonry drill holes for the hands. Standing start with both hands on the undercling drill holds that are 75cm up from the ground, there are two more hand holds 90cm directly up from the start holds. This boulder is just an awkward start. Good introductory climb for these sorts of routes on this wall (Many of which have bird names, hence the name of this route)

This route uses only the plug and feathers masonry technique drill holes for the hands. Route traverses a bit from right to left then goes diagonally up and to the left.

This route uses only the plug and feathers masonry drill holes for the hands and surface features for the feet. All the hand holds for this route are within a width of 50cm or so.

FA: Andy Walker, 1 Jul

Long traverse using only the drill holes from the plug and feathers masonry technique for the hand holds. This route starts low on the wall and has a fairly big reach to get started before traversing horizontally for a few meters before going diagonally upwards for a few meters.

This route has a really good section between two blocks where you can use hand jams.

The top row of stones where they meet the brickwork just above this route has exposed and somewhat rusted metalwork that can be sharp and just generally a hazard especially if you dyno or forcefully reach to this row (there's some metal brackets that were bolted between the stones and the bricks that if I recall correctly used to support something that was removed a long time ago). Also due to this area being in the shade almost permanently the top of this route is often damp and can be slippery. If you going to dyno to the top ledge please look first so you are able to avoid the hazards at the top of the route.

Somewhat highball route that only uses the plug and feathers masonry drill holes for hands. Definitely bring some protection if you climb this route, might be a good idea to have a spotter too.

This route only uses the drill holes from the plug and feathers masonry technique for the hand holds. There's a rather large vertical gap between the groups of holds.

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