Little Joe Hill




Little Joe Hill is the rocky protuberance that overlooks the Lake Bellfield Dam wall and the Lakeside Caravan Park. The west face of the cliff has a number of different faces and levels. The east face is smaller and has longer access. The lower section of the West Face has a number of good middle grade routes. Now that abseil points have been put in above some of these the cliff is much more user friendly.

Access issues inherited from Halls Gap Area

A low profile always helps to avoid too much attention from tourists and park rangers.


For the West Faces drive to the car park below the Lake Bellfield Dam Wall. From here the West Face is about 300m to the NE overlooking the campground. Walk back to the gate at the NE corner of the fence line [the corner closest to the campground]. Go through the gate and walk 40m along the jeep track then turn L. You will find a steep ramp descending to a clearing. Cross the clearing and head uphill on a steep track which eventually meets an old steep jeep track. Turn L and follow the jeep track for 110m to a switchback. Head back SE [uphill] for 50m to a short cairned track on the L. This heads up to the RH end of the cliffs arriving below a large smooth boulder below Silent Reach. 10 minutes from the car park. If you find yourself overlooking the old quarry, or heading up the steep gully to the R of the cliffs you have gone too far! The East Face is best approached from the Terraces Fire Line 4wd track. From Pastoral Buttress walk L about 150m to a 4wd track. Follow this uphill to the fire line. Head R until a line of orange buttresses are visible on the right about 100m off the track. Probably 15 minutes walk from Pastoral Buttress.

Ethic inherited from Halls Gap Area

Bolting, is considered illicit, along with the rest of the park and other National Parks within Victoria. Only alter routes after considerable consultation with first ascensionests and local climbers.



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Grade Route

The faces above the caravan park. This is the most accessible part of the cliff only 5-10 minutes from the car park below Lake Belfield dam wall. It contains a number of good middle grade routes and has lower offs and abseil points for descent. There are abseil chains above High Noon, Male Bonding, and on top of the Feed the Chooks pinnacle.

6m left of Pale Rider is a chimney. This can be approached by climbing the slab as for Pale Rider then traversing left across to belay below the chimney, or after completing another climb in the area by stopping at the ledge below High Noon when abseiling down. Up the chimney a move [FH] then step out left onto the slabby ramp, up this past a FH. Follow the thin crack on the head wall past 2 more FH to finish at the abseil chains.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 26 Nov 2016

Climb Pale Rider to just above the bolt. Place a high piece in the crack, then step across the face to a FH. Continue left and up to reach a good cam placement. Belay from the Pale Rider rap station or use a large tree back from the cliff

FA: Martin Jackson, 19 May 2018

About 120m left of where you reach the cliff is a short clean slab leading to a striking crack line. Up the slab past a FH to the foot of the crack. Sustained climbing up the crack passing a FH where it narrows down. Lower off chain at top.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 15 Oct 2016

Lovely slab and face climbing on good rock taking a steadily left drifting line. 10m right of Pale Rider. Up the slab past 3FH to a ledge [grade 15 to here with lower off rings on right]. Up left off the ledge past a FH and onto ramp [for the nervous a #2 or #3 cam can be used to protect the move off of the ledge]. Straight up past 2 more FH to the chains on Pale Rider.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 27 Aug 2016

The next line of bolts right of HPD to lower off rings. More lovely clean rock.

FA: Philip Armstrong & David Lia, 8 Oct 2016

13m uphill right from Ernest Tidyman. Up the technical slabby wall past 4FH to lower off rings.

FA: Philip Armstrong, Peter Cody & Jerry Maddox, 3 Dec 2016

The second pitch was climbed years ago and starts from an inaccessible ledge half way up the cliff. With an independent start and abseil chains to get off it is now a fun middle grade outing up a prominent pinnacle. 40m right of Pale Rider [staying below the lower tier] is a gully. From 5m up the gully a shallow flake corner takes off on the right wall.

  1. 12m 12. Up the little flake corner to a ledge. Move right to take the second steep crack through the bulge.

  2. 25m 15. Up to the steep left leading crack on the wall behind. Up this to the slab. Up the slab then traverse right to reach an exposed little corner on the front of the pinnacle. Up this to the top. Abseil chains on top, 40m abseil to ground. [If you only have 1 rope it is a 20m abseil to the large ledge then 20m off trees to the ground.]

FA: David Dodemaide & Mark Schroeder

FFA: 1992

Instead of traversing out to the hanging corner climb the knobbly crack up the steep wall above the slab.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 2010

Start as for Feed the Chooks.

  1. 11m 11. Up as for Feed the Chooks to the first ledge. Take the first steep crack through the bulge to the large ledge.

  2. 27m 15. Up the major steep crack on the face for about 5m. Traverse left on a sloping ledge around the arête. Up the flakes and cracks on the shoulder of the pinnacle to the slab. Up this to belay below the steep headwall.

  3. 10m 10. Traverse out right to reach the exposed little corner. Up to the abseil chains [this last section is as for Feed the Chooks]. Peter Cody, Philip Armstrong [alts] 23/10/2016

FA: Peter Cody, Philip Armstrong & alts, 23 Oct 2016

From the gully on the right hand side of the FtC pinnacle. The crack and groove up the pinnacle

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 2010

The buttress right of the Feed the Chooks gully has a prominent crack starting half way up it. Start towards the left side of this buttress below the left end of an overlap. Undercling and balance right past the wedged flake. Step up to reach the horizontal break [good gear in the break]. Traverse right to below the crack. Up the crack [BD#4 useful] to the abseil rings below the short headwall. Alternately continue up the headwall to the large ledge and finish up one of the Chooks.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 20 Oct 2016

Start 4m right of The Preacher Requires several cams.

Up the short face, past the overlapping flake and horizontal (medium cams) to the thin curving seam on the RHS of the major overlap. Thin climbing across the slab and up to the next thin vertical seam. Step left again and up the final face. Run it out over easy ground (RPs available) to a big ledge. Belay and descent via the Preacher Rap is possible from here. Otherwise continue over the next overlap (small cam) to the larger treed ledge to the start of the pitches on the "Chooks" block, or scramble down the gully on the left.

FA: Martin Jackson, 19 May 2018

A good second pitch for Blessed Be The Fruit. The start can also be accessed from above, by scrambling down the gully on the south side of the "Chooks" block. Descend either side of the summit via rap station

Belay as for the second pitch of Feed the Chooks on the large ledge at the finish of BBTF.

Up to the left end of the obvious horizontal break. Steep but straightforward hand traverse right, past the first bolt, then up the line. Finish up the left side of the summit face using the arete to get started.

FA: Martin Jackson & S. Toal, 31 Oct 2018

10m right of The Preacher. Can be done as one pitch. Pitch one makes a nice short climb in its own right.

  1. 12m 17. Up the slab past a FH to the overlap. Through this at the obvious break and up the slab past 2FH to DBB.

  2. 12m 18. Layback wildly up the overhanging offwidth corner [3FH]. Abseil rings to the left.

FA: P1. Philip Armstrong, Peter Cody, Isabel Hanson, Isaac Hanson 18/2/2017., P2 Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 18 Feb 2017

Takes the upper buttress between The Preacher and Son of a Preacher. At the top of pitch 1 of Son of a Preacher clip the FH around to the left of the belay bolts. Thin moves left onto the nose, then up more easily [trad gear on the easy ground if needed] to abseil bolts.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 5 Apr 2017

The next buttress right of The Preacher [about 15m right]. This buttress has an obvious big groove up its centre. Open Range is the bolted line R of this groove. The upper wall is good fun. Start up a short smooth slab with a FH. Continue up easy crack [medium cam] to below bolted wall. Up wall, at the fifth FH step out R and up to a hidden flake edge. Up and L to sixth FH then up more easily to lower off chains. Alternately continue up to the large ledge and finish up Free Range to abseil off the bolts above Male Bonding. Note: There is a large flake out R of the third FH, it may be quite solid, but it is probably best to avoid using it. It is possible, but a bit harder, to climb direct from the 5th to the 6th FH. Getting past the first FH near the ground is a bit reachy. To keep the grade reasonable the vertically challenged might want to chin on the first bolt!

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 7 Sep 2016

Takes the right edge of the Open Range face. 5m right of Open Range is a short right curving seam. Up the seam, then pick your way up to and up the right arête finishing at the rings.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 6 Mar 2017

From the ledge above Open Range. Head up and left to the deep crack. Up this.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 7 Sep 2016

The steep right facing corner crack system up and right from the trees above Open Range. From above the overhang at the end of the difficulties it is possible to continue straight up in the crack line or step right and up another easy crack system.

FA: Philip Armstrong, 21 Jan 2017

Start up the chimney at the right hand end of the ledge above Open Range. There is a shallow flake crack on the right wall about 7m up. Chimney out next to this to a ledge on the arête. Move up and right about 2m to a concealed crack. Up this and the easier ground above.

FA: Philip Armstrong & David Lia, 21 Jan 2017

Can be done as a second pitch to Open Range. Quite airy and interesting. From the RH end of the ledge above Open Range. Step out right and climb up just right of the arête for about 7m until level with a traverse line across the middle of the wall. Traverse right to the second crack. Up this passing an unusual pillar, through a small overhang and on up easier ground to belay. The abseil chains above Male Bonding are just 15m to the right.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 13 Oct 2016

Nice climbing but a bit obscure. Gains the crack on the face right of the finish of Free Range from the gully right of the wall. From the abseil chains above Male Bonding abseil down 18m heading for the treed ledge in the gully on the left. Belay at the trees. Climb the short, steep crack and flake on the left side of the gully to a stance around the arete. Up the crack above. Can also be accessed by walking left along the narrow ledge above the initial crack on P2 of Male Bonding.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 23 Apr 2017

Good sustained 2nd pitch. The grade is very dependant on how well you can jam. 25m right of Open Range is a flared crack leading to a ledge.

  1. 15m Easily up crack to ledge.

  2. 25m Crux. The attractive diagonal crack, then slightly L over ledges to climb seam and tiny R facing corner. Finish at the abseil chains. 40m abseil to ground or 25m to ledge and treed ledge on Male Bonding.

FA: Mike Wust, James McIntosh & alts

FFA: 1993

An alternate 2nd Pitch to Male Bonding. Start just L of P2 of MB. Mantle up to small ledge 2m up, then up flake to ledge. Finish up line 2-3m L of the corner/seam of MB. The start looks fierce and unprotected.

FA: Jeremy Boreham, Mike Wust & James McIntosh

FFA: 1993

Up diagonal crack as for P2 of MB, step R at top then directly up face via thin seam.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jeremy Maddox, 2005

The bolted line just right of the first pitch of Male Bonding finishing at rings.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 5 Apr 2017

Old fashioned. A deep chimney/crack line 20m right of Male Bonding forming the left edge of the Silent Reach buttress.

  1. 25m 15 The chimney and the shallow corner on its right to ledge under overhang.

  2. 30m 13 Up the gully on left for a few meters to a tree on the right hand side. Up the crack behind the tree. Stay in the crack line and when it runs out continue easily to the top of the pinnacle. Short [7m] abseil descent from bolts.

FA: Peter Cody, Philip Armstrong [alts] & Jerry Maddox, 29 Oct 2016

A steep R facing corner near the right hand end of the lower tier. About 30m right of Male Bonding Quite good first pitch once you get past the mossy start.

  1. 25m Crux. Right under the overhang and up the groove to a steep exit past a slightly suspect block. Up and L to ledge.

  2. 30m 12. Up and L on flakes then up the wall above to the top of the pinnacle. Descend pinnacle [Short abseil from bolts] then head left for 30m to the abseil chains above Male Bonding

FA: Chris Baxter & David Gairns, 1988

Quite nice but spoilt somewhat by the alarming block on the first pitch.

  1. 30m Crux. Start 10m R of Silent Reach below an overhang. Pull up and L onto ledge. Follow shallow grooves and seams up R edge of face moving carefully past large detached block [second tried to remove it but it seemed surprisingly stubborn] to ledge. Over bulge and up to small tree below attractive crack.

  2. 20m 14. Crack to top of pinnacle. Short [7m] abseil descent from bolts.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 2006

This pinnacle is just up and left from the top of Silent Reach. It can be easily reached from the top of any of the routes on the Lower West Face. The best way off of the pinnacle is for one climber to abseil down over the Here's Trouble crack into the gully behind the pinnacle. Then tie the rope to a tree in the gully so that the rest of the party can abseil on this tied off rope down the front of the pinnacle.

Best approached from the top of Silent Reach. An excellent steep crack climb if you can find it. The climb is on the back of the next pinnacle immediately uphill from SR. Descend a short distance down the gully behind SR, then up and L in the next gully to the foot of the clean crack.

FA: David Gairns & Chris Baxter

FFA: 1988

There is a short wall just left of the Here’s Trouble pinnacle. The surprisingly strenuous and awkward little crack on this wall. Scramble leftward through the cave behind the climb for the quickest descent.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 11 Jan 2017

On the L front of the Here's Trouble pinnacle. Climb the steep corner and crack.

FA: Paul O'Byrne & Mark Schroeder

FFA: 1992

Start as for Joe for PM. Up the short steep crack on the right. Up the ramp to the thin flake. Up this and the shallow groove above.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 11 Jan 2017

This is the cliff face 2 tiers above the Pale Rider block. It is best approached by climbing NATO after doing a route on the lower walls. A neat collection of lower middle grade trad routes on good rock with good protection. The abseil chains above NATO are the best descent. It is possible, but much longer, to walk in to this area via the Terraces Fireline 4wd track. A large distinctive split block sits in front of the left end of the face.

20m uphill and slightly right from the top of Pale Rider. A flake crack on the face to the left of an obvious crack. A good connecting route between the lower cliff and the upper walls. Up the flake and the slabby face above passing 2FHs. Finish up the right edge of the face to abseil chains [24m abseil]. Billy Goat Point is the cliff behind the abseil point. Descending from here requires 2 abseils. The first one gets you down NATO. From the foot of NATO head down and right [looking out] to a large cairn. The abseil chains are just below here. [25m abseil]

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 16 Nov 2016

The major crackline just to the right of NATO is surprisingly awkward and sustained. Finish up the headwall as for NATO

FA: Peter Cody, Philip Armstrong, Kathy Matic & Jerry Maddox, 28 Nov 2021

An easy climb on good rock in a nice position. The arête forming the left hand end of Billy Goat Point. About 5m left of the split blocks.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 25 Jun 2016

Behind the detached split block and about 5m left of Brexit are some large blocks leaning against the face. Up the right edge of these to a ledge. Traverse out right on the narrow sloping ledge to a thin crack. Up this to the bushy ledge. Up the cracks on the undercut arête.

FA: Jerry Maddox & Philip Armstrong, 6 Oct 2016

About 5m R of the large split block there is a short right facing groove with a couple of stacked blocks in it leading to a ledge. Up the groove to a ledge, follow thin crack to horizontal break, over bulge and up.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 25 Jun 2016

Sustained and interesting. Up Brexit to the ledge. Traverse right to the next thin crack. Up this to the horizontal, step right and up line in headwall.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 25 Jun 2016

The deep crack 6m right of Brexit. Up the crack for about 6m to a large foothold on the right. Step out left to an obvious foothold on the face. Up to the horizontal break. Finish up the headwall via the thin crack.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 6 Oct 2016

8m right of Credibility Gap. Balancey moves up to a ledge below a thin crack. Climb the detached flakes at the left end of the ledge. From the top of the flakes step right and up the thin crack.

FA: Jerry Maddox & Philip Armstrong, 6 Oct 2016

About 10m right of Lifters and Leaners. Start near the right hand edge of the face and head up a featured slabby wall to the thin cracks in the middle of the headwall. Up these [small wires and cams] to finish up short groove.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 25 Jun 2016

This is the face above the Open Range and Male Bonding faces. The face can be easily approached from the top of those buttresses via the climb Annie Oakley. Alternately approach as for the East Face along the Terraces fire line. At the saddle overlooking the dam wall head towards the left hand end of the East Cliff area. You will eventually pick up a rough walking track which comes up from the valley floor. Follow this first to the South Lookout then continue on to the top of the Western Lookout. A magnificent vantage point on a sunny day looking over Lake Bellfield to Mt William. Descend down right [looking out] to get to the foot of the face.

This route is good for access to the climbs on the Western Lookout after doing a climb on the West Face. The wall directly behind the finish of Restricted Range and Range Hood. Up the seam in the middle of the face passing 3FH. Some small cams can be placed. Abseil bolts up and right 3m at the top.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 18 Feb 2017

Start 8m right of the LH end of the cliff. Climb the short crack and its right wall.

FA: Peter Cody, Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 17 Jul 2016

There is a cave formed by a large boulder leaning against the face. Walk through this. Start on a boulder 4m R of the cave exit. Head boldly up to a prominent jug, then continue up the featured wall above.

FA: Jerry Maddox, Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 17 Jul 2016

Start 8m right of the cave exit, 2m right of and below an obvious flake crack. Climb the tricky face to a break. Layback excitingly up the flake then follow cracks and features slightly leftward to the top.

FA: Peter Cody, Philip Armstrong & Jerry Maddox, 17 Jul 2016

Up Turkish Coup to the break. Traverse right to the crack line. Up.

FA: Philip Armstrong, Peter Cody & Jerry Maddox, 17 Jul 2016

In the gully behind the Western Lookout is a short wall with a clean cut crack towards its right hand side. Lovely rock and tricky jamming.

FA: Philip Armstrong, Peter Cody & Jerry Maddox, 17 Jul 2016

Around the RH end of the cliff is a major corner-chimney facing the valley. Use the native pine tree to make an awkward entry into the line. A bit of a thrutch.

FA: Chris Baxter & David Gairns

FFA: 1988

The orange walls facing the Terraces Fire-line walking track and best approached from that side [see approach details].

This is at the LH edge of the very LH buttress just L of an obvious crack in the headwall [Ponderosa]. Climb thin L leaning seam to ledge. Step L and up headwall past the block with a crack behind it.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 20 Mar 2016

Good clean crack climb. At the far LH end of the east facing blocks is a block with an obvious crack/groove in its upper wall. Start at the short steep corner down and R of this. Up corner, L under bulge, up awkward crack.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 20 Mar 2016

About 20m R of the Ponderosa block is a large orange block. [Gerrymander takes a line on the RH side of this block.] At the LH side of this block is a short chimney between the face and a detached boulder. Chimney up to the chockstone. Step onto the wall and head up across a R leading ramp line to finish up the headwall. Head R to descend.

FA: Peter Cody & Philip Armstrong, 20 Mar 2016

Excellent, sustained face climbing. Towards the RH edge of orange wall, 20m R of Ponderosa. Gain the flake, climb it, mantleshelf then step L onto the wall [carrot bolt]. Move L and up.

FA: Paul O'Byrne, David Dodemaine, Tiggy Forrell & Mark Schroeder

FFA: 1992

The RH edge of the Gerrymander block has a big chimney/corner. Up this with some interesting moves near the top.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 20 Mar 2016

Down and R of Bonanza about 15m is a thin crack up the L side of a slabby wall. Nice moves up this crack, step L and up steep thin crack in headwall.

FA: Philip Armstrong & Peter Cody, 20 Mar 2016

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