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
I spent 4 days in Val di Mello, and liked it a lot. There's a brilliant pizzaria in town which is run by an ex-climber. Actually, the whole village is really cool. The rock is bullet hard granite, not as many cracks as you'd hope for though. Lots of the routes are bolted faces and aretes, mostly pretty hard. The grades are old school tough, I thought 7a on the bolts there was desperate 25.........think Buffalo or Booroomba 25, not Shipley 25! Don't expect to find more than a couple of days worth of single pitch climbing under 7a.
I did one of the classic multipitch cracks, Luna Nascente (Wendy informs me that there's only a couple of routes in this style in the valley). 10 pitchs of mostly 17-19 crack climbing with a couple of bouldery cruxs about 21ish? Not a single bolt on the the whole route! I thought it was at least as good as the famous Grand Wall in Squamish.
If you like bouldering, the blocs look fantastic (avoid the annual festival, it must be a zoo)
Down the hill (20mins drive) you can find unspectacular but very good sport climbing on Gneiss, close to a supermarket and gelareria. (rock was dry on the day it rained up in the valley, but I wouldn't count on that every time it rains)
I will go back to Val di Mello sometime, though maybe in summer to sample some of the kilometer high granite spires which tower above the rim of the valley.
Here's a trip report written by some poms, has some good photo's of a few of the routes I did. Glad I'm not the only one who found the 7a+'s absolutely ridiculous......not even the same ball park as squishy 7a+ on French limestone!