The forests north-east of Gembrook contain a handful of short, widely scattered boulders hidden amongst the logging tracks. Some of the rock, while diminutive, is remarkably clean of moss, easily accessible and rather fun to play around on, for a quick top rope or boulder. On the other hand, many of the documented routes are vegetated, require a bush bash to their base, and look less than inspiring. Basically if you have time on your hands, don't need to travel far to get there, and want to do a little remote forest bouldering, or short top ropes, head for Ship Rock, then maybe Egg Rock if you're still motivated. However be warned, these spots are seriously disappointing compared to nearby Ben Cairn.
Okay, we are talking about a single, house sized boulder (pictured below), with a couple of smaller blocks leaning against it. On the plus side, it's within spitting distance of the car park, and has a delightful little stream that cascades down the nearby gully. Given it's size there are several routes, some with a single lead bolt, others just a high boulder problem. The rock is clean, and nicely textured, making the moves quite fun. You could probably fill in two or three enjoyable hours here working all the problems. However, beware that the huge anchors which used to exist atop this block have recently been removed, making getting off difficult, especially without a rope!
To access Ship Rock, take the Warburton Hwy to Launching Place, then head right down the C424 "Launching Place - Gembrook Road" for 13km until you see a small sign "Ship Rock Falls" on your right. Drive in, park, and the rock is just a little way down the falls track. (See: Approach Map).
The load stone boulder on the up hill side offered a
couple of really good looking short boulder problems:
This is a new area, so some of the routes are missing lead bolts, and there are no established tracks. It's basically a series of small bollards scattered about a heavily forested hillside. We loved the route called "Diamond" and wished dearly there was more than 6 metres of it's deep pockets. Just north of this boulder we also through-ally enjoyed working the short grade 26 with convenient top rope chains. The rest of the problems, however, were either covered with moss, or just plain uninspiring. A long way to go for two climbs. Never-the-less, for the avid adventurer, you might find something that appeals, possibly even put up yet another diminutive route, or at least do some bouldering.
To gain access from the aforementioned Ship Rock Falls turn off, instead continue down the C424 for another 3kms and turn left on Soldiers road and quickly right on Tentpole road. Brave the potholes for 1.7kms then go left up East Beenak Road for a further 5.5kms passing under the power lines. Park at the locked gate and walk up to the fire tower. "Diamond" boulder is hiding about 100m down into the forest from the obvious slab rock a stone's throw north of the tower. In the absence of a track follow the blue ribbons. (See: Approach Map).
"I finally went out to Egg rock on the weekend,
spurred on by the guide's comments on the area having the best bouldering
in the immediate vicinity! Well the other bouldering must be REALLY bad! I
found absolutely nothing which I would go back for. In fact I didn't find
anything I would pull the boots out for whilst I was there".
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