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Pulpit Rock, Tallarook
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Climbs *** ** * Hardest Longest Rock Access
14 0 0 2 21 25m Granite 35 Min

Pulpit Rock Main FacePulpit Rock resides very close to the little township of Tallarook in the Granite Highlands a good hour and a half drive north of Melbourne. The rock is mossy, the access (passing through private property) somewhat lengthy on a hot day, and the number of worthwhile routes very limited. To put it plainly, the nearby Warragul Rocks offers considerably more appeal. However, Pulpit does have at least one outstanding climb "Pinball Wizard" that takes an open book corner for 20 exciting metres of laybacking and finger locking fun. Still it's a long way to go for one climb.

Above Right: Pulpit Rock main face. In the bottom centre of this picture you'll see a semi detached block leaning against the face like a big tooth. This marks the start of "Grabber Gribble Groove" 25m grade 16. Pinball Wizard lurks out of shot, behind the trees in the far top right of the picture. Below Left: Looking down the valley from Pulpit Rock. Pinball Wizard is just out of shot on the right.Looking down the valley from Pulpit Rock.

Driving up from Melbourne leave the freeway at the Tallarook / Yea exit. Just the other side of Tallarook bear right towards the hills (and Yea), travelling a further 3km, or until you see Pulpit Rock a ways up the paddocks on your right. (See: Approach Map). Head right down a dirt road, shortly doglegging left and right across a small stream. Park before a sturdy, locked double gate and continue on foot. We spoke to the owners of the private road beyond the gate and they seemed fine with us trekking across their land to gain access. In fact they seemed more worried about us not having enough water given the 40 degree heat. Brave the grass seeds and steep incline and head up to the obvious outcrop. The large slab on your left is not worth visiting, go straight for Pulpit Rock itself. (Reportedly there is also an alternate access via Ennis Road off the highway).

Once there, the easiest path to Pinball Wizard is to suppress natural instincts leading towards the main face and instead circle around the back of the cliff in a clockwise direction, descending down and circling around to the base. This way you'll avoid all the unpleasant grass seeds and scrambling. The route, an attractive corner system clean of moss, though possibly marred by bird shit midway, is blessedly in the shade during the morning. A good stance (pictured below right) and small nut placements can be found just before the more committed final crack section, which looks thin from the ground, but actually contains at least two bomber finger locks allowing gear placement from a secure enough grip.
Kent on Pinball Wizard, 20m grade 18.Kent leading Pinball Wizard, 20m grade 18.
Above: Kent bouldering the start of and then leading Pinball Wizard, the 20m grade 18 corner crack. In the right most picture he's about to enter the crux.

A tad further down and around you'll note a interesting angled finger crack (pictured below middle) leading up the blocks. I believe this is yet to be climbed. Looks good though with tricky feet. Back down on the main face that was prominently visible on the walk-in you'll see a couple of routes (see pic) right of the unclimbed, large orange, overhanging wall. The first crack that begins where a semi detached block leans oddly against the face, is "Grabber Gribble Groove" 25m grade 16. The crack is very vegetated. To it's right, the crack / loose looking mossy flake system leading up is "Butternut Snap" the 25m grade 21 that the guide gives a star. These two are probably the most obvious lines when first approaching the outcrop.
Candiate the 20m grade 14Unclimbed Angled Finger CrackKent bouldering.
Above Left: Candiate the 20m grade 14 wanders up the line of weakness on the left of this shot. Above Middle: Kent bouldering the unclimbed angled crack. Note this route is vertical with little or no footholds - possibly the reason why such an otherwise attractive line is still unclimbed. Above Right: Kent investigating an overhanging boulder.

Bring plenty of water for a summer visit. A wire brush might also be of use. We saw some birds of prey circling the cliffs all day, so if you encounter a nest I'm assuming it would be best not to disturb them. Pulpit is unlikely to appeal to the masses. Don't set your expectations too high. Like I said, Warragul Rocks is only a few minutes away and is a vastly superior destination for experienced climbers to beginners, non-climbers, and even abseilers.

Climbs At Pulpit Rock   Push For The Summit

Name Height Grade Stars
The Crunge 15 17  
Grabber Gribble Groove 25 16  
Butternut Snap 23 21 1
Slimy Green Breasts 12 8  
Candidate 20 14  
Lazy 10 7  
Preludin 12 16  
Kaleidoscope 17 18  
Endplay 23 21  
Kashmir 11 20  
Pinball Wizard 20 18  1
Flash Jack 8 15  
The Whistle 17 18  
Spelean 16 18  


Further Reading:
Eastern Victoria - A rock climbing guide, edited by Michael Hampton, Robin Holmes, Paul Martin & Others, and available from local climbing shops, or the VCC.

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