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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 2 years ago - Edited about a year ago

Seasonality

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Description

Easy to get to with a few decent routes.

Possibly the best climbing area within walking distance of Halls Gap, the Watchtower offers some good single pitch mixed sport and trad routes, easily accessible on a 40m high outcrop. The area is shady and the grey rock provides some slabby to near vertical terrain. Just a heads up, local guiding companies frequent this site and often use Flat Tack, and the easier climbs to the left of it, as well as the Beezlbub/ Nerds Day Out area.

© (jgoding)

Access issues

Track is in dire need of some TLC.

© (jgoding)

Approach

From Halls Gap heading to Stawell turn left immediately before the bridge onto the dirt road (Halls Gap-Mt Zero Rd) follow it for about a 1km until a car park on the left is apparent opposite paddocks. From car park follow track up hill for about 5mins the first line on the seen from the track is 'Flying Buttress'.

Routes are described from the far left (i.e. upper left terraces) to far right (i.e. separate pinnacles and upper terraces).

© (jgoding)

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.

Tags

Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)

Routes

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Grade Route

FA: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

FA: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

Set: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

Set: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

FA: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

FA: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

FA: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

FA: Luke Baxter & Grant Baxter, 2019

(Possible repeat?) Located on the next terrace up and L of Hickory's Handle gully. Up crack system in centre of wall L of corner, veering L to arete and up block. Scramble to find belay amongst the scrub. Walk off: up and R to area above Jugular Pulse, then scramble down to start of Jugular Pulse.

FA: Paul Geil & John Beckwith, 2 Mar 2014

Located to the far left of the Watchtower; walk left from when the base of cliff is reached, passing 2 terraces. This opens to Hickory’s Handle Gully. Comprising of a pocket of easy to moderate sport routes including “Flat Tack”, “Jugular Pulse” and “Silvertop”; this area is favoured by local guides such as Absolute Outdoors as well as sport climbers alike.

1 13
2 14

Bring full rack of wires, cams to BD#2, and lots of long slings.

  1. 25m/13. Follow easily up on minimal gear until ground steepens. Weave on and upwards until ledge at 25m.

  2. 10m/16. Very balancy moves on wall above ledge until top. Hardly any gear.

Descend via tracks at top: walk up and leftwards until faint trail goes left down gully

FA: Grant Baxter, L Baxx & Stephen Baxter, 18 Sep 2016

Located on the arete at the bottom of the third terraced area/gully uphill and L of main cliff. Start at arete, up steep juggy section to small ledge. Traverse 2m R, then up to a ledge. Move into the gully/groove on the R and up.

FA: Aiden Banfield & Chad Banfield, 1989

Sport route 10m L of Jugular Pulse.

FA: Neil Monteith & Kent Paterson, 2013

Starts R of HH and 5m down L of Jugular Pulse. Up flakes to rooflet below top. Finish up the L side of the flake that forms the rooflet.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Chris Baxter, 1991

Looks like the linking ring bolt on this has been chopped. See Chockstone for the diatribe.

Located on a platform high on the third terraced area/gully uphill and L of main cliff. LH line passing through mini rooflets then up to anchor trying not to escape L. Optional trad between first two bolts.

FA: Mike Law, Chris Baxter, Tim Burke & Stephen Hamilton, 1991

Grey streaked line just R of Jugular Pulse. Shares anchor with JP.

FA: Mike Law, 1991

Breaks R after second bolt of Silvertop. Continue R up rising traverse to anchors. Crimpy Goodness.

Seam just R of the arete opposite Silvertop.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Stuart Imer, 1992

Up LH crack opposite Jugular onto boulder, then up flakes on face to top

Left veering hand crack up flake 6m R of The Sky Is Crying.

FA: Peter Stevens, Tim Burke & Stephen Hamilton, 1990

Start at L end of upper tier of main face round right of In Step. R leading flake line.

FA: Tim Burke & Matt Darby, 1995

This terrace offers some of the Watchtower’s most popular trad routes with the landmark “Beelzebub” dividing the two walls. Whilst the left side offers easier routes with “Nerds Day Out” and “Empty Pockets”; the right holds residency to the harder “Mr. Ed” and “Wilbur”.

Note: the face right of “Beelzebub” is often utilised for commercial abseiling by guides and companies; making these routes somewhat clustered or inaccessible.

Located just R of the L arete of the Beelzebub terrace. Finish up and right after bulge. 3 bolts and trad. Stick clip first bolt to save your ankles and take a medium cam or two for above the last bolt. Trad anchor.

FA: Mike Law & Josh Holko, 1991

Start about 10m (?) R of Empty Pockets. Up and slightly R to a small stance at about 4m, up and through bulge 1m L of Negative Gearing.

It's hard (impossible?) to make sense of the above description: would be great if someone could update it or draw it on a topo!

FA: Campbell Mercer & Rob Pease, 1997

Slabby wall 3m R of Empty Pockets then step L and finish up crack. Probably not a good idea to make this your first Grade 17 trad lead, as there isn't a great amount of pro in the first 8m or so.

FA: Chris Baxter, Stephen Hamilton & Ben Holko, 1991

Crack system 2m L of Beelzebub.

FA: Aiden Banfield, 1988

Up Beelzebub for 8m, L under roof and up wall R of Nerd's Day Out.

FFA: Stephen Hamilton, Zoe Foulser & Tony Maasakkers, 2003

Distinctive corner on the second terrace L and uphill from the bottom cliff.

FA: Dave Witham & Ian Ravenscroft, 1985

Up 'Beelzebub' until holds right past 'Wilbur'. Until bulge, then reach high for hold. Then left at 23 or right at 22. Then past bolt on 'Wilbur'. Then tends right to top.

Set: Grant Baxter, L Baxx & Stephen Baxter, 24 Sep 2015

FA: Grant Baxter, L Baxx & Stephen Baxter, 25 Sep 2015

Start as for Mr Ed but head straight up.

FA: Steve Chapman & Brian Gray, 2000

Start just R of Beelzebub, traverse up past BR and follow weakness up through overlaps.

FA: Edwin Young, Michael Hampton & Peter Woodfield, 1991

Start 2m R of original start then up.

FA: Bede Harrington, 1997

The first terrace after walking left past the main cliff holds two moderate grade routes. “Happy Jack” offers moderate grade mixed climbing, whilst “Boschanova” to the right is harder slabby sport climbing.

This mixed route is located on the first terrace/alcove (uphill and L of main cliff). Slabby seam L of chimney.

FA: Michael Hampton, Peter Woodfield & Edwin Young, 1991

The line of fixed hangers 1.5m right of Happy Jack. The anchor has only one bolt to lower off (until someone donates a maillon to the fixed hanger).

FA: Kevin l

The access trail meets the cliff line at “Flying Buttress”. These first encountered routes offer middle-grade trad climbing, making them accessible to most; whilst either side offer moderate to harder grade challenges for the more experienced. This sector of cliff doesn’t see as much climbers as the more popular “Hickory’s Handle Gully”, yet still offers some classic harder lines.

Mixed route located at the very L arete of the main cliff.

FA: Stephen Hamilton, 1991

Seam through bulge past FH to stance. Straight up flake feature to anchor.

FA: Steve Wilson, Steve Chapman & Robin Holmes, 2005

Clip second bolt, step right into purple haze to the sloping ramp that leads back with difficulty to the third bolt of TRD and finish as for that. These days most people finish up Purple Haze on trad... which still gets 24 for the start.

FA: Steve Wilson, Steve Chapman & Robin Holmes, 2005

Seam 5m R of CSTW past 2 bolts. Step L and follow crack L of obvious corner (which has been climbed at grade 17).

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Mike Law, 1991

Busts left after bouldery start on Slam Dunk. Sustained!!

Set: kp

Shallow, bulging groove 5m R of Purple Haze.

FA: Mike Law & Stephen Hamilton, 1991

Pimply bulging wall 6m L of the Flying Buttress detached pillar.

FA: Mike Law & Stephen Hamilton, 1991

Start at seam 3m R of My Friend Flipper (3m L of detached pillar). Up thin crack then directly up to the LH end of small roof. Up to incipient V groove above, climbing it and headwall above.

FA: Campbell Mercer & Matt Walsh, 1997

Obvious R leaning crack with short wide section 5m up. Finish up jugs on R.

By the description in Andrews' Mt Difficult Guide this appears to be Diagonal Crack finishing up Power Broker.

FA: Campbell Mercer & Matt Walsh, 1997

The corner L of Flying Buttress. Up corner, through roof and up crack directly above.

FA: Matt Walsh & Campbell Mercer, 1997

Alternative start to 'Power Broker' up 'Flying Buttress'

First route encountered on the main cliff from carpark. Thin crack on detached pillar, then slightly R and up. Active beehive 2/3 up as at Dec 2018

FA: Dave Witham & Ian Ravenscroft, 1985

Located on the small wall on top of the main wall above Flying Buttress. Swing onto LH arete from terrace and continue up line.

Located on the small wall on top of the main wall above Flying Buttress. Could be a repeat of Thumper. Start on arete 2m L of The Colour Of Greed, follow ramp up and around back R, then up.

FA: Campbell Mercer & Matt Walsh, 1997

Located on the small wall on top of the main wall above Flying Buttress. Thin crack a couple of meters R of Thumper and directly behind Flying Buttress.

FA: Matt Walsh & Campbell Mercer, 1997

Start 3m L of Mr Splat. Up slab, through two small overlaps and then up to the R facing corner at the R end of the roof. Step L at the upper overlap, up slab and headwall.

FA: Campbell Mercer & Matt Walsh, 1997

Up slabby shallow groove 10m R of the Flying Buttress detached pillar. Finish steeply up and slightly R. Poorly protected.

FA: Mike Law & Chris Baxter, 1991

Start 3m R of Mr Splat. Climb past 3 bolts (BR’s) and finish up crack. Requires bolt plates/brackets

FA: Mike Law & Stephen Hamilton, 1991

When the access track meets the main cliff line; walk right to join smaller track that weaves up to the right of the Watchtower. Heartbeat Pinnacle is encountered short after , stay right on the track as it splits to arrive at the base.

Located on a small pinnacle 15m R of the main wall. Obvious shallow groove up the middle of the downhill face. Not technically very hard but poor rock and suspect pro make for a trying lead.

FA: Stephen Hamilton, 1990

Start as for Heart Beat. At the start of the small R-facing corner head up diagonally R across wall to join the arete at the final bulge. Up. Rotten rock and dodgy pro on the traverse.

FA: Campbell Mercer & Rob Pease, 1997

Climbs the R arete of Heart Beat pinnacle starting just left of it. [Can be started direct with a wild swing]

FA: Stephen Hamilton, Chris Baxter, Tim Burke & Peter Stevens, 1990

Good climbing. Start up small corner on left side of face 6m left of All Along the Watchtower, starting from same ledge. Finish by climbing just on left side of arête.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Chris Baxter, 2004

Follow track up between R side of main wall and Heart Beat pinnacle, L up ramp to top of main wall above KY Valley, scramble R along ledge/terrace to start below weakness through small overhang. Up to and around overhang then continue up R-facing flake to ledge (belay possible). Up middle of wall above.

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Peter Stevens, 1990

Dedicated to WFG Armit. “Outstanding line; superb rock”. Climb water-polished groove down and just right of All Along the Watchtower to prominent, overhanging V-crack splitting the cliff. Climb this to ledge. Finish up easier crack (it’s not a chimney as described in the guidebook) above (as for pitch two of Voodoo Chile).

FA: Chris Baxter & Stephen Hamilton, 2004

“Sensational Arapilesian climbing on beautiful rock”.

  1. 20m (crux) Seam from tiny cave 1m above ground and 1.5m right of 'Voodoo Chile'. When this peters out, climb direct up grey face to steep, orange rock. Up this to prominent grey groove, then ledge.

  2. 10m Climb headwall midway between crack on left (VC) and small grey flake on Pump Up the Volume.

FA: Chris Baxter & Stephen Hamilton (alt), 2004

Although struggling to maintain its independence, involves good, steep climbing.

  1. 20m (crux) Start as for PUV. At 5 m veer up left to overhanging head wall 1.5m right of VC (and left of SCFF). Up to ledge.

  2. 10m right on ledge and up to pinnacle on The Things I Used to Do. Straight up overhang above.

FA: Stephen Hamilton, Chris Baxter (alt) & Pia Larque, 2004

More good climbing.

  1. 17 m (crux) Steep yellow seam 1.5 m left of Welcome to the Machine. Easier groove above to rooflet. Up left side of this to small stance on top, below undercut headwall.

  2. 10 m Pull up and right on to headwall. Up

FA: Stephen Hamilton & Chris Baxter (alt), 2004

Scramble up steep gully immediately right of Welcome to the Machine to belay on treed terrace. Traverse left to undercut, yellow corner-crack. Up line, which dog-legs right at top. (Last 4 m as for WM.)

FA: Chris Baxter, Stephen Hamilton & Pia Larque, 2004

FA: FTRA Aidan Banfield, 1988

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