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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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HELP: places near melbourne to climb
4:51:28 PM
On 16/06/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>On 15/06/2012 Wendy wrote:
>>Of course, if he chose Vancouver or San Fran, he'd have to write off
>>the year that the crags were under snow .... at least Gramps/Araps has
>>year round climbing.
>Bullshit! If araps has amazing year round climbing, how come all the Nati
>climbers bail out of there for a couple of months every winter?

Only a few big cold wusses amongst us ... And did I mention that I spent 3 weeks in Squamish last year in July? Last time I looked, July was mid summer over there. It rained beyond any contemplation of climbing anything on about 10 days. We climbed on wet rock for about another 10 days. There were maybe 2 days in the whole trip I'd have started up the Grand Wall on. No matter how close you live to Squamish, you're going to get a shiteload more climbing done around the Gramps in mid winter.

>>In fact, a tiny bit of recollection brings to
>>mind it's basically 3 hours to the valley from SF - and 1 1/2 hours Vancouver-squamish.
>> Advantage minimal???
>Ummm, if you live in north Van as all the keen climbers do, you can be
>at the nearest awesome crag in 45mins (and at the ski hill in 20mins).
>Melbs to araps? 4hrs. Advantage minimal? Are you on some sort of pre-op

Go on, if you lived in NW Melb as all the keen climbers would, you could be at the nearest awesome crag in 1 1/2 hours ....
>>Having said that, Araps and the Gramps are fantastic. You won't regret
>>spending a year leaving down the road from them even if it does take
>>few hours to get there.
>Being a melbourne climber sounds fuking dire! They have no life outside
>of work, commuting to the gramps, and training on plastic.

I'm sure there are no gyms in Vancouver. none at all. There's just no market for them when there's such convenient climbing and good conditions around the corner.

>>He's coming from the UK, Damo. Climbing in the UK isn't that flash (putting
>>helmet on now), really, Buffalo is mindblowing compared to most of that
>I recently got a facebook message from Fish Boy, who gave up being the
>keenest Buffalo climber around to go and live in Squamish...........he
>says "every single pitch I do here is better than any pitch I've done at

He's on drugs too. Let me take a random 5 star route from Squamish. St Vitus Dance. The first pitch is a haul up mud, wet rock and polished trees. The second, a grotty wet crack. Ok, the 3rd is fantastic, particulary if you have a thing for 50m of crack that starts at gold cam and just gets fatter. There's another good pitch in there, then a few trees to negotiated before it eventually rambles up a slab to finish not even at the top of a cliff. How can this possibly be better than Sultan or Maharajah or Initiation?

Anyway, I was saying Buff was mindblowing compared to the UK - Squamish is on a different continent Damo!
>The end (of deluded bullshit about how melbourne is good climbing city).
>At the very least, Sydney, Wollongong and Canberra (and probably Hobart)
>are better places to climb from.

Mwhahahahaha ... I've got an idea. May as well move to Ballarat or Bendigo. They've got equally awful local crags to Sydney and Wollongong and are equally as close to any world class destination. And lets face it, Araps and the Gramps are way more world class with way better weather than Blueys and Nowra .... B and B would also win out over H and C with weather and proximity to world class climbing. When was the last time someone travelled around the world to get snowed off the organ pipes in Feb? Or drag some crusty Canberra climber up all long avoided mossy cracks around his home town? Did they give you some good drugs too?
4:54:22 PM
On 16/06/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>Yeah, I wouldn't say that canadian crags are better than ours. However,
>if you live in Vancouver your summer after work crag is world class, whereas
>if you live in Melbs, your summer after work crag is a piece of shit.

And summer after work at that lattitude goes until 10pm.
But it's raining .... again.
5:18:08 PM
goes to 10 pm in nati too ... i'm so glad everyone has countryphobia. It's dull as dishwater out there. don't do it to yourselves. cragging from sydney, wollongong anad canberra is way better.
Karl Bromelow
11:28:16 PM
Hi Max,

I don't know how keen a climber you are but if you are very keen, and by that I mean you climb as often as you possibly can, live in the North of England and have many crags within an hour of your home in all directions, then I guarantee you will be disappointed by the climbing easily available if you're living in Melbourne. Melbourne is simply not a good city to live in if climbing is your passion. That is a simple truth. I come from Northern England (Yorkshire) but have lived in Victoria for 5 years now and for much time before migrating. No regrets, I'm enjoying life, I surf and live on the beach south east of Melbourne. I'm not bagging Australia. It's a good place to be. But climbing from Melbourne (I did live there for a year many moons ago) is frustrating. If on the other hand you only climb casually and occasionally then you'll probably be ok in the city. The quality of the climbing several hours away from you is irrelevant, I'm afraid. I've just spotted you come from Yorkshire. Well if you're at Caley, Almscliff, Ilkley and Brimham 5 days a week you will find living in Melbourne quite hard, I would suggest.

Genuinely trying to be helpful as my perspective may have been similar to yours.

Good luck whatever choice you make.

Cheers, Karl

11:47:13 PM
If you're moving half a world away just to climb than yeah there are probably better spots to go than Melbourne BUT, if you're moving out here for school with climbing as a bonus than take the weather with you and enjoy yourself. Or as Karl said get into surfing and enjoy some world class waves...
12:11:56 AM
canberra has good study options and like the gong close to many a good crag and a couple of hours from great beaches
One Day Hero
12:17:35 AM
On 16/06/2012 Wendy wrote:
>goes to 10 pm in nati too ...

Have a look at the relative latitudes of Vancouver and Nati, then have a think about what that does to length of days.

Google maps tells me that from North Brunswick (the most north westerly suburb I could think of where I'd want to live), is 3:40 to Stapylton and 4hrs to Buffalo..........where is this fabled "good climbing" 1 and a half hours from the city?
One Day Hero
12:23:44 AM
On 16/06/2012 Karl Bromelow wrote:
>Nya nya Wendy, One Day Hero is right and you're hepped up on goofballs!
Karl Bromelow
7:07:44 AM
Yup. One Day Hero is spot on Max. Although I don't know Wendy and have no direct evidence that would suggest her involvement with mind altering substances. When I lived in Melbourne I lived in the Northern suburbs and close to the fast roads out but the trip to the Grampians or Arapiles was still a hefty one and you wouldn't be doing it with any regularity. Closer alternatives would be like driving to the Lake District from Yorkshire and you don't do that every week do you? If you consider Glasgow close to Leeds then it'll be nothing but you won't be jumping on your pushbike and heading out for some fabulous bouldering after college every evening. Far from it. This topic comes up with monotonous regularity on Chockstone, Max. Often poms like myself finding it hard to believe that Melbourne is almost devoid of climbing of any worth. Well you have to believe it. It's absolutely true. I'll PM you about what little there is. Why do you want to study in Melbourne, out of curiosity?

Cheers, Karl
Karl Bromelow
7:16:34 AM
Just looked again at your profile Max. Seems you only gym climb and sport climb. Well, unless your cranking out 7b's and beyond at Malham and Kilnsey I can only assume you don't climb much outside in Yorkshire. If that is the case you may be fine in Melbourne. If you are cranking out 7b's and beyond at Malham and Kilnsey then everything I said before still counts only more so!

Cheers, Karl
Karl Bromelow
7:49:35 AM
Not related to Nick Harms are you?
12:27:42 PM
Have to say I disagree with Karl and ODH. Firstly, I think all of the capital cities in Australia are worthwhile to live in from a climbing perspective (the only ones I am not so sure about are Perth and Darwin).

Melbourne is the closest capital city to the best cliffs in the country in Arapiles and the Grampians. And that counts for a lot. From the northern suburbs of Melbourne it is a 3.5 to 4 hour trip each way to Mt Arapiles (the Grampians are slightly closer). It is very manageable for weekend trips as the route is direct with low traffic and low stress (unlike driving through much of the UK). Climbers regularly go weekending at either Araps or the Gramps so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a lift. Camping at Mt Arapiles and the Grampians is cheap and straightforward and pretty safe for leaving your stuff (unlike the Blue Mountains).

Melbourne's local crags are also worth a visit - Camels Hump, Werribee Gorge, Ben Cairn, the You-Yangs, Mt Alexander, the Cathedral Range all have routes at a variety of grades that will keep you amused for quite a number of day-trips.

And with a number of good climbing gyms as well as the free bouldering wall under the freeway at Burnley and numerous bluestone walls (ie. Richmond Bridge) also offering good free training, then if you can't have a good time living in Melbourne and doing a stack of great climbing, then there is something seriously wrong with your approach.

PS. I note Karl mentions he now lives near the coast south-east of Melbourne. It is no wonder he has a negative spin on things. The Mornington Peninsula or anywhere towards Phillip Island adds well over an hour of driving to any worthwhile climbing (including Melbourne's local cliffs).
Karl Bromelow
4:09:59 PM

I get what you're trying to say and I'm trying not to be too much of a doom and gloom merchant. I was just trying to give Max an understanding of what the situation would be compared to what he might have experienced in Yorkshire. Obviously I know both well. I am a long way from rock now, here on the peninsula but as I said earlier I did live in North Melbourne for a year in the mid nineties and found the lack of close by good rock frustrating then too. I was one of those sad arses that pull on blue stone bridges and mantle any boulder approaching or over chin high in the Merry Creek. Not even many of them. So it's relative Simon. The Grampians and Arapiles are fabulous but 3.5 or 4 hours is around 12 times as long as it might take to get to a great crag from the centre of a Yorkshire city by car. That means weekdays are out and weekends require much dedication to bitumen. That is why people keep trawling the web and Melways and finally Chockstone for something that will remain eternally the stuff of dreams. Any kind of great climbing truly close to Melbourne.

Just as an aside and in defense, once again, of my home country, the drive for me from my home in Leeds to superb gritstone edges would only involve maybe 10 minutes of heavyish traffic if in rush hour. Thereafter the rural roads would be much quieter and certainly not congested. Melbourne roads are very congested and there aren't too many places Max might end up living in that would see him in open countryside in 10 minutes. My house in Leeds was such and was in an area popular with students and in fact inside one of the campuses. The drive from my house to the Lake district or Limestone Dales was made along roads that are virtually empty. These are facts Simon, not imaginings based on brief encounters or stereotypes.

Look, I really do enjoy living here. Love my big garden with fruit trees and walk to the surf. But yes I miss being close to rock and think you might not realise how much a climber from the North of England has to recalibrate when he moves to the edge of the vast volcanic plain that lies west of Melbourne.

Max, make what you will of all this. You're young and will probably be chasing other pleasures during your uni years and not too fussed about the lack of high volumes of quality rock nearby after lectures.

Cheers, Karl

7:32:49 PM
What Karl no rock close by to Melbourne? ;-[
You might just have to get on ya bike again hey!

8:35:25 PM
On 15/06/2012 Max Harms wrote:
>hi, i am wondering if anyone could help me with locations for sport and
>bouldering near melbourne as i am thinking about moving to australia in
>a few years to go to uni at melbourne university. but dont know much about
>climbing around here, i know the arpperlies and grampians are near but
>thats about it.
>thanks for any replies,

Well, since everyone has written a novel, I'll keep it simple. Sport climbing in Victoria, let alone around Melbourne is pretty much non-existent and pretty bloody hard when it does exist. Bouldering around Melbourne is pretty much non-existent and limited and far apart when it does exist. The Grampians and Mt Arapiles are friggen awesome, but you will need a weekend.
Karl Bromelow
9:18:59 PM
On 17/06/2012 skegly wrote:
>What Karl no rock close by to Melbourne? ;-[
>You might just have to get on ya bike again hey!

Hey Mick,

Every time I think about getting up there to you I get some virus from my boy. Heck, I've never been so crook. Just had to call off a pleasant evening with friends after a coughing fit.

My point, though, is that to a fella from Yorkshire or Derbyshire or Cumbria etc, the distances you fellas seem to think of as close are, to us, not close. Max is from Yorkshire. Nobody in Melbourne would regularly drive to Mount Alexander after work during the week to climb. It's just not close. Granted it's closer than Proxima Centauri but ....... well you know what I'm saying. If you want to climb regularly more than a couple of days a week on real rock through the year, Melbourne isn't a good choice of residence. Harcourt or Natimuk would be a good choice.

Soon as I stop coughing I'll give you a call.

Take it easy, buddy!

12:12:48 PM
I still don't get it. The fact that two of the world's best climbing areas in Arapiles and the Grampians are easily commutable for weekend trips makes Melbourne a pretty good city for climbing. If you have kids, or have a partner that doesn't climb, then I understand that four-hour drives and weekends away might be unreasonable. Otherwise, leaving Melbourne at 6pm and arriving at Arapiles at 10pm is not that horrendous given that you will wake up with two full days climbing at the one of the world's best cliffs.

Hitting the rock solidly over two days and using the rest of the week for recovery and training is a pretty damn good schedule. I would argue many climbers train more more efficiently and get more climbing done when they are based in Melbourne as opposed to living in Natimuk. It simply depends on your approach.

When I think of my time climbing in the UK, I think of a lot of crap weather and very few places to camp near the cliffs. I think of a lot of smaller cliffs (with good quality climbing) but certainly nothing that even comes close to Mt Arapiles for sheer variety at all grades, shorter climbs/longer climbs and bouldering.
4:03:26 PM
On 17/06/2012 One Day Hero wrote:
>On 16/06/2012 Wendy wrote:
>>goes to 10 pm in nati too ...
>Have a look at the relative latitudes of Vancouver and Nati, then have
>a think about what that does to length of days.
>Google maps tells me that from North Brunswick (the most north westerly
>suburb I could think of where I'd want to live), is 3:40 to Stapylton and
>4hrs to Buffalo..........where is this fabled "good climbing" 1 and a half
>hours from the city?

God, do i have to even explain when i bag you out??? Vancouver goes a long way north. Melb goes a long long way nw ...

Anyway, just run it by me again why Canberra is such a vast improvement on Melbourne? You have Kambah and Red Rocks that are reasonably close. One of them has 5 routes and the other is closed 5 months of the year. Everywhere else we went was 40min drive followed by 40min walking. How's that better than Melbs? Then to get to actually really good climbing you'd travel the world for ... it's still 4 hours to the Blueys.

And Karl, I've climbed on several of those crags around Yorkshire. You probably don't want to know what I thought of them. And I remember Jackie saying she basically did no climbing when she lived in the Peak district becuase the weather was too bloody awful. No amount of greater proximity to a variety of questionable quality crags is going to change the end conclusion that living in Melbourne is far more conducive to a greater number of hours on good routes on good rock in good weather than England over the course of a year (I'll profess that over Vancouver as well, Damo). Maybe it's more conducive to a few hours after work if that's the only time you have. I'll sacrifice that bit. I never understood this fulltime work, children and nonclimbing partner business. It really does get in the way.

Max is a student. If you can't organise to spend at least 6 months of the year actually at Araps or the Gramps climbing as a student, you've really organised your timetable badly. I was at uni in adelaide from 91-94, and although that's even further from Araps than Melb, i spent most of my time there.

Eduardo Slabofvic
4:40:40 PM
I spent an English summer living in Sheffield, and climbing mostly in the Peak District, with occasional forays into the Lake District, and a few trips to Wales. And I grant you that distances and times to crags from Sheffield are relatively short, but one over riding consideration needs to be kept in mind when comparing this to the drive from Melbourne to Arapiles which is that you don't have to live in England.
One Day Hero
4:53:13 PM
On 18/06/2012 Wendy wrote:
>God, do i have to even explain when i bag you out??? Vancouver goes a
>long way north. Melb goes a long long way nw ...
If you live in North Van, you can get to the city in a 25min bike ride, and the world class climbing area in a 45min drive. If you go "a long way NW in melbs" you'll still be hours away from buffalo while making the city a distant commute by car. What you're writing doesn't make any sense.

>Anyway, just run it by me again why Canberra is such a vast improvement
>on Melbourne? You have Kambah and Red Rocks that are reasonably close.
> One of them has 5 routes and the other is closed 5 months of the year.
> Everywhere else we went was 40m drive followed by 40m walking. How's
>that better than Melbs? Then to get to actually really good climbing you'd
>travel the world for ... it's 4 still hours to the Blueys.

Firstly it rains a lot less. Even through winter there's usually 5 days a week of sunshine. Red Rocks is only closed 4 months of the year, and I think its better than all the Melbourne crags.

Look, what you really want to know is which crags are after work, which are day trips, which are w/e's, and which are long w/e's.

I think half an hour commute is sensible for after work, 2hrs drive for a day trip, 3hrs for an easy w/e (4hrs makes it a tiring w/e), and 5 or 6 hrs for a tiring long w/e.


after work; Red rocks, Kambah, Chapman Ridge boulders

day trip; Black Range boulders, Gibralter, Booroomba, Orroral Ridge, Bungers, Nowra

w/e; Point Perp, Blueys

long w/e; Buffalo, Bungles (ok, bungles is pushing it, but I've done a long w/e up there)


after work; utter shit quarry bouldering

day trip; Werribee, You Yangs, other pox

w/e; Gramps, (Araps and Buffalo at the upper end of how far you'd want to drive for a w/e)

long w/e; ..............nothing
Here's another thing. Climbing on a winter w/e, canberran's have 4 good areas to go to which all get different weather, it's very rare to have rain at all of them. If one day is rainy, a good daytrip is still on the cards. If the july forecast for araps and the gramps is sunshine on a saturday and pissing rain on sunday, what do the Melbourne climbers do? If they have a party in town on saturday night, what do they climb?

>Max is a student. If you can't organise to spend at least 6 months of
>the year actually at Araps or the Gramps climbing as a student, you've
>really organised your timetable badly.

If you have 2 weeks off, you can go to araps from Canberra too. 4hrs or 10hrs driving makes very little difference to a 2 week trip.

I don't even know why this is being discussed. Melbourne having shit daytrip climbing and the worst climate of all the south-eastern cities is established fact. You wouldn't live there yourself wendy, why try to sell it to someone else?

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