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Moving to Victoria - need some tips
6:34:35 AM
I just landed a job in Melbourne. Queenslander that's been living in the Texas in the US for the past 2 years or so. As I plan through the move, would appreciate some tips as I have to make a few decisions in the coming weeks.

I'm predominantly a sport climber, will boulder if it's good, and in the process of learning trad. After spending heaps of time on thecrag sussing out the Melbourne area, it looks like I'll probably end up spending the most time at the Grampians. Here in TX we have to drive 3-4 hours just to climb 30 foot limestone, which we do every other weekend, so not afraid to make the haul out there pretty regularly. I've read the approaches can be long, especially by US 'sport crag' standards, and that a 4x4 can come in handy for getting around the park. I have to decide what car to buy in the next couple of weeks so just wondering to what degree of 4x4 do you need to actually drive these tracks in the Grampians? Can you get away with a Rav4 or another city 4wd or maybe a Subaru, or would you need to go full hog, raise something up, change out the suspension etc. etc. Are there many other climbing destinations within driving distance of Melbourne that you need 4x4 for?

Secondly, trad gear. Things are cheaper here and we'll be throwing a few things in a shipping container so might as well get what I need. Currently I've got a set of C4's, C3's, X4's and a set of stoppers. After a bit of reading, it seems that I'll need a couple of sets of RPs to climb up in the Arapiles. Anything other trad gear I should get while I have the chance?

Last question. I'll have a hangboard at home, and will probably build a 30 degree wall in my garage, so realistically just need somewhere that has a bunch of auto-belays to jump on for endurance training, then a campus board would be a bonus, but I only use that a handful of times a year anyway, so really just need auto-belay aka traxxion (not sure what they call it in Oz). Which gym is best for that?

8:06:02 AM

You don't really need a 4x4 for the majority of the crags in the Grampians, but it's a bonus as there are a handful of roads to less popular crags that you could use some extra clearance. The other quality Victorian crags, buffalo and arapiles, don't need 4wd and neither to the majority of the smaller crags closer to town.
The new gym, gravityworx in coburg, boasts the most auto belays. Theres also a great bouldering gym not far from there (northside).

8:06:35 AM
climb at araps. limestone and sandstone are for girl scouts.

get some extra sets of shoes i the US

8:20:39 AM
I'd get a second set of wires before I got RPs (or potentially IMPs now - does anyone know if RPs are still being made?) especially if you're just learning trad. Go clock up the miles on all the easy routes at Arapiles and you won't need to place a single RP. Sure, they'll go in on a few routes, but there's usually larger/better options.

Ropes are generally expensive over here. Bouldering pads are also expensive. If I was shipping a container over I'd probably fit a pad or two in. Shoes too, especially if you like something at all different or have large or small feet.

8:28:18 AM
Oh, and It's Mount Arapiles, not The Arapiles. It's a single mountain, not a range like The Grampians. ;-)
9:05:08 AM
Thanks. Yeah, adding a rope and 3 or 4 pairs of shoes. Thanks for the tips on the gear.

Limestone is for masochists and pocket enthusiasts.. at least the limestone here in TX anyway.

Bouldering pads - isn't there a local manufacturer down there?

9:47:15 AM
Training wise for endurance I wouldn't fk around with autobelays at a gym just head to burnley. And there is a bouldering mat there that you can take away for free as long as you promise not to return it.
11:16:00 AM
Ahh, that looks pretty sweet, and would be closer to where I'll be working - plus saves on gym membership.
3:37:09 PM
I'm with Andrew on the RPs. I almost never place mine (and I live at Araps). Maybe grab a few of the smaller ones (my 4 and 5 have never been placed) on the assumption that at some stage you will climb some of the harder stuff where they are occasionally necessary, or just wait and see what you think. I never leave the ground without a double set of wires and rarely without a double set of mid range cams (purple-yellow camalots). Double ropes can be nice but have been terribly out of fashion for a while, rope drag is in.

I've never had a 4wd in the gramps and the only place I have been in one is the road on the top of the victoria range, which only accesses crystal palace and the top way into the fortress. You could make some of the walk ins a bit shorter with one, but most of the really popular climbing is completely 2wd friendly and a little vigorous persuasion of a 2wd gets you to most of the rest. The climbing in the Grampians is way, way better than anything around Melbs, so if you are used to driving every weekend anyway, I'd keep it up. And don't get sucked in by what thecrag calls a sport route around Melbs. Lots of them are flithy slabs with an old carrot or 2 that just don't happen to have any trad gear.
4:02:22 PM
On 11/02/2017 ajfclark wrote:
>Oh, and It's Mount Arapiles, not The Arapiles. It's a single mountain,
>not a range like The Grampians. ;-)

To be fair it's more of a hill than a mountain. Or maybe a mound, Mound Arapiles.
4:09:02 PM
Thanks, second set of wires it is.

Yeah, I know we'll put a lot of mileage on the car so I prefer to go frugal on the vehicle if possible. I had a brief look at the You Yangs, Camels Hump, Black Hill etc. - looks like there may be a few things of interest, but will probably burn those places out after a few months. TBH after nothing but 30 foot limestone, anything is better than nothing.

Do a lot of people do the Melbourne to Grampians trip for two day weekends on the regular?

5:11:33 PM
I used to drive from Melbourne to the Grampians or Arapiles every fortnight through autumn, winter and spring. Summer I used to take a fortnight off work and go to Buffalo.

These days I live between the Grampians and Arapiles, but climb significantly less. :-)

Oh, and on the subject on wires, I noticed you said stoppers. Do you mean BD stoppers or wires generally? Of the 4 sets of nuts I have, 2 are BD and 2 are DMM. I find the curve on the DMM ones far more useful at Arapiles.
12:54:41 AM
Thanks, I'm a trad noob, I thought stoppers was another word for wires?

I have 1BD set of nuts. I could throw in a set of the DMMs. Not too worried about having too much gear, figure it wouldn't be hard to sell in Oz and get 95% of my money back.

Andy P
11:49:24 AM
Can I suggest a darn good book to help while away the long-haul flight from TX and get you properly psyched for some great Araps & Gramps cragging?
It's called 'Virgin on Insanity'. Heck, no, I meant 'Punk in the Gym'.
Have a nice flight y'all and welcome in advance to Melbourne.
3:18:34 PM
Hi Jackson,

I think you will be very uninterested in Melb crags. The granite is a total disaster compared to anywhere else in the world. Camels and Werribee are fun for a few days max.

Most people drive to gramps & Araps. You really want a car with clearance and all wheel drive only ( Subaru or RAV4 are good) to get to crags in vic range and dreamtime. A standard sedan will get you to most places, but will be trashed quickly by the corrugated dirt roads.

If your not good with run outs I would invest in a stick clip. The sport routes have pretty big run outs here. Some are bolted badly. Unfortunately combined with the long drive it can sometimes get tedious as you spend a lot of the time not climbing. Still best rock in the world and worth the hassle imho.
8:11:01 AM
Climbing granite like I think Camels and Werribee is... for me is like binge drinking - I do it occasionally to remind myself why I don't do it more regularly :) How is the bouldering within an hour of Melbourne though?

Yeah, we have a stick-clip, that's pretty common here in the states.

Eyeing a used Subaru at the moment - think we'll go along those lines.

Thanks for the help.
8:28:56 AM
Make sure you have a compression check done on the subi, they're a bit notorious for blown head gaskets.
8:30:08 AM
Ha ha! I'm well keen to read that book Andy, but it seems that it would come on the slow boat from London and wouldn't arrive in time here in Texas. Might have to get it on the kindle, but then, how will everyone know how cool I am without that fluoro thing sitting on my coffee table!? Plus, I'd have to buy a kindle.
8:33:23 AM
Thanks for the tip. Just had a quick look, seems if I go post 2010 then they have dealt with the issue. It needs to double as a work car (get a car allowance), so has to be somewhat 'respectable looking' - i.e. I think I can get away with a 2014 model or so. The less I spend of that car allowance on car, the more that goes back into the climbing slush fund...
9:59:35 AM
Camels and Werribee Gorge isn't granite. The former is Trachyte and the later sedimentary / conglomerate.

Bouldering within 1 1/2 hours is reasonable but an acquired taste...

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There are 30 messages in this topic.


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