17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
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|Bob's Hollow, Margaret River
||Friday, 11 December 2009 At 9:54:44 AM
|I didn't know you can pull on limestone chicken necks in Australia, and I thought stalactites and tufas were confined in caves
here and there. No so. Three hour south of Perth, near Margaret River, there is this little corner of paradise called Bob's
Hollow. Take a look at this:
Contemplating the turquoise Indian Ocean, on a clear blue sky day, you could think that you are back on Tonsai Beach. Of
course, you have to abstract out the gum trees and dream up some variety of Thai kookaburras. It can be done.
Alex and I (Dominik had to work, some people must) walked the 3 km of 4WD track leading from Caves Road down to the
coast line in about 1/2 hour. At the point where it crosses the Cape to Cape walking track, you should turn South onto it and
follow it along for about 10 minutes. I'm given you these details because the guide West Australian Rock is unclear and the
temptation to go directly down to the ocean is almost impossible to resist. We lost precious climbing minutes (say 45) doing
so. That being said, even lost, the coast line is truly magnificent. Talking about the guidebook, although the pictures of Bob's
Hollow are great and seem useful, we could not make head or tail of the route descriptions. So we climbed what we thought
The main feature of the Bob's Hollow is the hollow (who was Bob anyway?): a large limestone cave with contorted stalactites
in its left side. The right hand side has recently collapsed (I'm talking geological time here) and still has a featureless roof. The
large limestone blocks on the cave floor reflect the "No Entry" sign pointing to structural instabilities. That being said, there is
a least one bolted violently overhanging route in there. Temptation.
So basically, the routes are on both sides of the hollow. Altogether, the crag is not large and is probably worth two days before
you've covered most routes. To bring a sleeping bag, no tent needed, and to watch the sun set into the Indian Ocean is
probably a great idea. Bring a loved one, why not. Should have done that.
The "Left Side" (referred to as 'The Hollow' itself) is fairly overhanging with excellent routes ranging from 17 to 26. By fairly, I
mean about 4 meters on 15 meter routes. So these a pumpy little numbers with good holds (even stalactites!) protected with
beefy ring bolts. Amongst others, I think we did "Black Lung" (15m, 21) and "Dependence Day" (20m, 22), both excellent.
Also, worth mentioning is that this side of the crag is somehow protected from the prevalent wind on that day. Sounds too
The "Right Side" (i.e. Southern End) of the hollow is probably twice as high: high enough for two pitch routes, e.g. "Mixed
Grill" (50m, 22, 20). We ran out of time to get on that one but we did two excellent short routes probably "Juggernaut" (25m,
17) and "Unknnow" (15m, 19). At least, that's what I think we have done but the topo is sometimes contradictory, sometimes
So no epics, no tall tales. Just a nice day facing the Indian Ocean. It doesn't get any better than this.
P.S. And here are a couple more pictures
Alex leading "Juggernaut" (25m, 17) or is it "Unknnow" (15m, 19).
Alex lost on the beach. Things could be much worse...
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