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Northern Cliff

  • Grade context: AU
  • Ascents: 1

Access: Climbing restrictions may apply

ACAV Note: Parks Victoria has advised that rock climbing restrictions may apply at certain locations. Formal advice has changed several times during 2019.

Please refer to the following link for PV's current advice:

https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/grampians-national-park/plans-and-projects/rock-climbing-faq

For a list of crags in SPA areas see:

https://savegrampiansclimbing.org/the-ban/closed-areas/

See warning details and discuss

Created about a year ago - Edited 5 months ago
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Description

This is the huge towering orange wall directly above the Mt Abrupt walking track carpark. On the far left hand side is a wide cave / overhang (unclimbable choss), and on the R of the wall is a steep v-gully. The wall itself is very mossy, but much of the rock is quite solid, with lots of horizontals.

Long, difficult, access has been made slightly easier since the landslides, and a 'track' has been cut through the scrub at the top, so although long and steep, the access isn't too bad... at least until it grows back. Whether the climbing is worth the approach, is another matter; but there is still plenty of unclimbed rock for the adventurous.

Descent from this wall: Rap from a large tree on the RHS of the top of the gully (looking out), down for 35m to another stubbier tree below. Then it's 55m to the base of the wall (will land you at the start of Luftwaffle). Once at the base, it's still an awkward scramble through scrub; but you could do another short rap (to the south side) to get back down to the 'track' or ledge where you can walk along the base of the Northern Wall. Alternatively, if you can carry all your stuff to the top of the cliff, you could walk down the tourist trail, but that won't get you back to the base of the cliff.

Access issues inherited from Grampians

ACAV Note: Parks Victoria has advised that rock climbing restrictions may apply at certain locations. Formal advice has changed several times during 2019. Please refer to the following link for current and detailed advice: https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/grampians-national-park/plans-and-projects/rock-climbing-faq

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

Start up the summit walking track for several hundred metres, looking out for 2 large boulders on the walking track. 30m past the 2nd boulder, head 15m uphill to another boulder that marks the end of an avalanche gully. Walk straight up this (and into another gully) for about 300m until it ends. A roughly cut track then heads left for a long way, and contains some tricky scrambling sections. Should be mostly marked, with green tape and cairned. When you're more or less under the RHS of the main wall, drop down from the top of a boulder, then walk the rest of the way to the middle of the wall, where the track meets the cliff proper (and the start of 'Civilization').

Ethic inherited from Grampians

Grampians access issues have emerged due to potential damage to the environment and cultural sites. Climbers need to be aware that there are significant Aboriginal sites in the Grampians, especially in cave areas. Leave no trace and treat everything with care.

The following is a basic list of things climbers in the Grampians need to be aware of. For more detailed information visit https://www.cliffcare.org.au/education

Climber’s Code

Find out about and observe access restrictions and agreements.

Use existing access tracks to minimise erosion - don’t create rock cairns or leave marking tape.

Do not disturb nesting birds or other wildlife.

Vegetation, even on cliff faces, is protected. Wire brushing to remove mosses and 'gardening' in cracks and gullies is not permitted. Use slings to protect trees while belaying or abseiling if belay anchors are not provided.

Large groups can create problems of crowding and excessive damage around cliffs. If you plan to take a group of ten or more people climbing, you are required to register to ensure there is space.

Respect sites of geological, cultural, or other scientific interest. Don't climb near Aboriginal sites

Vehicles must stay on roads open to the public; off-road driving is illegal.

Do not leave any rubbish - take it home with you.

Keep campsites clean.

Avoid all risk of fire - do not light campfires outside of official campground metal fire pits.

Dispose of human waste in a sanitary manner (bury, or even better pack it out) Do not pollute water supplies.

Respect established climbing traditions in ethical matters such as the use of chalk, pitons, bolts etc.

Avoid indiscriminate or excessive use of fixed equipment.

Responsible climbing will protect cliffs and ensure continued rockclimbing

History

View historical timeline

First visited in around 1990... see the SE Gramps guide.

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Routes

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Grade Route

At the left end of the Northern Cliff is a large cave Start up the right arête of this cave where it meets the main face.

  1. 40m (17) Up through short crack and overhang, step left to belay, good ledge.

  2. 25m (17) Step right and up to roof move through on right, up and left to belay.

  3. 35m (15) Step right up to hand traverse under large roof at 15m up at its right end up to big ledge under large roof.

  4. 10m (17) Exit through weakness in right side/end of roof, gymnastic.

FA: Joseph O'Connell & Ramon Francis (alt), 1999

On this climb, moss is a renewable resource; but the climbing and gear is good, with very little in the way of loose rock. Start right where the track finally meets the middle of the cliff, just R of 2 distinct cairns. Could link the first 2 pitches. Bring double ropes, plenty of long slings and cams to size 3.

  1. 15m, 19. Straight up wall (poor pro), and over tricky bulge to a ledge.

  2. 10m, 15. Trend L up the wall for 10m, to semi-hanging belay in short shallow corner.

  3. 45m, 20. Climb up R from belay, heading for weakness through the overhangs at the base of the corner system. Scoot around to the R and up exciting wall above, traversing R, then straight up. A bit more R to hanging corner and up to belay, watch for rope drag.

  4. 30m, 20. Awkward around bush leads straight up to nice line / corner. Tackle on the L, and straight up past bushes to increasingly difficult L facing corner (save a #3 cam for the top of this!).

  5. 25m 17. Up series of ledges, walls and overhangs (more or less straight up), finishing just below top of cliff (watch out for some loose blocks at the top). Escape out R.

FA: Goshen Watts & Abby Watkins, 18 Feb 2016

The first ascent of this cliff, long and wandering climb. Starts 50m L of Vertical Groove in R of face, near a small (now dead) tree close to the cliff.

FA: Peter Treby, John Cayley & JPW, 1980

Considerable loose rock mars a strong line culminating in a spectacular position. Almost directly above the carpark is what appears to be a gully, but is the large vertical groove on the RHS of the main wall.

  1. Crux, From the base of this, climb the left wall and enter small R facing corner which leads to a bulge. Step L to a ledge.

  2. 25m, Pull over bulge and follow the line to a ledge on the R below the final roofs.

  3. 25m, the line above - exciting. The abseil tree is just to the R.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Chris Baxter, 1990

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