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Crag & Route Beta

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VIC Grampians (General) (General) (General) [ Grampians Guide | Images ] 

The Navigator (21) - Any/All beta wanted

1:35:40 PM

Looking for any beta on The Navigator in the Mt. Stapylton area. Any info appreciated on quality of the pro, how the climb felt for the grade and overall quality/style of the route.

1:49:27 PM
I reckon Glenn and I will change the write-up for this route when we do the next Grampians Select Guide. I only climbed it after publication, so my initial write-up wasn't based on first-hand experience.

I feel the route is more like a three-star experience at grade 18 (not 21). Unfortunately what mars the route is the move at the start of the second pitch which is desperate for shorter folk (I've heard some people reckon this section is desperate at 21). I don't really know a good way to avoid this section, so it is a bit of a pity.

I'd appreciate other people's comments as well.

3:25:12 PM
The Navigator is a great route and Simon is right, most of the climbing is only grade 18 to grade 19. The first pitch is just a short bolted slab and you could climb any number of neighbouring routes to get to the same ledge.
Pitch 2 is where the fun starts but the first move is kinda hard. I'm pretty tall (~6") and I could only just do it. If worst comes to worst just stand on your belayers shoulders. After the bouldery start it turns into a nice long slab with just enough gear to keep you reasonably happy. I'd definitely recommend climbing on two ropes as you wander around a lot.
Pitch 3 looks intimidating but is not really that hard. The hand traverse first left and then back right is very memorable.
Pitch 4 is a bit of a non-event although some dubious rock makes it a little more exciting.
Pitch 5 is shared with Sweet Dreams and is your classic Grampians bulgy corner crack thing. Lots of gear, nice position and good three dimensional climbing.

9:13:36 PM
Gents- Thanks heaps. Plan on having a crack at it next weekend. All the best.


8:31:51 AM
I've not done the route but I have been to the huge first belay ledge. It looked to me like the hard start of the second pitch could be aided by stick clipping the bolt (fixed hanger) and bat-maning up the rope. Can anyone who has done th route confirm this?

James Mc
5:52:06 PM
I guess you could but that wasn't the idea (I hate stick-clips). The crux is reaching the bolt and there's a bomber #3 Friend protecting it. It also won't help you to get off the ground as the first break is gained well to the left. I'm not sure whether it's getting off the ground or making the move to the bolt that stops people. I have to do a little udge to get off the ground (I'm 5'10" with short arms).
Anyhow it's a good idea to travel light for the start (#3 Friend or equiv, drawer for the bolt, #3.5 Friend and maybe a small cam for the rest on the left after the bolt. Pull the rest of the rack up from there; second rope is handy.
Many parties do it in four pitches, continuing up the corner above the roof rather than belaying on the right after the traverse. This would be a good way to do it but I've always stuffed up my ropes on the roof and been forced to belay. If you do belay on the lip the last two pitches can also be run together but you'll need to remember not to leave all the big cams in the belay.
1:25:47 PM
I agree with what most people have said - its not that sustained - but it is a well concieved route that goes through some interesting an varied territory. Perhaps not worth 3 stars
5:47:30 PM
Did this route on Saturday - was an ambition for several months.
My 2c worth on the comments and more complete beta for anyone who is interested.

P1 is about 18, small cams before the bolt then after the bolt the runout slabbing is easy - run it out or tie off the bush as the only pro (if you like flora as runners).

p2 - there was a small cairn at the base to allow shorter climbers to reach the horizontal break. It's not much, but I was happy to use it. Otherwise as Kieran said, an 'udge' might be needed to reach the holds. Once in the break you hand-traverse right to a good #3 friend but you're on steep ground, then a hard move gets you to the bolt. Basically once the bolt is clipped the drama is over.

In response to the suggestion about 'batmanning' up the rope, I'd reckon if you can't get this section free you won't be able to get up p3 either. You could stand in a sling on the #3 if you really had to, and if you can't get as far as placing the friend then my advice is: the rap chains are back at the top of p1.

The rest of p2 I'm unsure about. I got a green Alien in a bit higher, then I think the guide says to head left but it looked gr 18 slabbing with no runners at all, and groundfall potential. I headed slightly right and up which seemed the logical line anyway, you get some gear in a horizontal break before traversing left then up to get onto the "bushy ledge". I didn't place any pro here to avoid rope drag, 2 ropes would have been better.
Most of the pitch is easy slabbing with one gr 18 section.
Belay from a FH and a rusty carrot - you can climb 2m higher to tie off the next FH as well if you're feeling mortal. Also be careful when belaying the second as, with 40m of rope stretch, any slack will probably allow them to deck (softly) if they fall from the crux.

p3 - no move on this is as hard as p2 but it is steep and there's a long sequence. Generally we felt it earnt a 20 or 21 grade as indicated in the Select guide. Nice slabbing with 2 FH's leads to the steep section and the fun bit is the handtraverse after the flake - steep wall with no feet. Rope drag can be shocking, again 2 ropes is recommended.

p4 - slabby corner, seemed fairly stiff for 15 (Select guide), I thought 17 would be closer. Small cams go in the crack and you get a great thread runner in a horizontal break about 1/2 way up.

p5 - Sweet Dreams (19) - a large cam was handy at the roof, but after you commit and pull around you can get smaller stuff in.

Overall this is quite an adventure that probably still deserves 3 stars, the main criticism of the route is that the slabby sections separate the harder steeper moves, so you feel like it is a bit "on again, off again" - slab, then wall, then slab, then steep, then slab, then roof.
2:54:39 PM
On Saturday was up on the terrace at the base of pitch 2 for the first time in many years. I'm a bit disappointed at the size of the cairn that's been erected to start the pitch. I'd envisaged a couple of cheat stones to help people get going but it's a fairly major construction that would be a pain to demolish if you wanted to do the start as it was originally done. Personally I'd rather see people use combined tactics to reach the first hold here rather than use a cairn though that might make it difficult for a short second.
One of the things I liked about the start was that you didn't have the option of feeling the first holds from the ground. My feet had to leave the ground before I knew what the holds were like and everything had to be done on the fly, as it were. Now you just stand on the cairn and drop your hands into the break so you start from a stable body position. End of whinge.
5:49:25 PM
This thread reminded me of when Rog the pom and I did this route a few years ago. We'd rocked up at the base to find some old farts starting up it. Us young guns didn't really want to spend the day stuck behind a slower party so we waited around to see how fast they were. Seeing them start up the second pitch we considered finding another route - they took a little while to work it out. We started up anyway as the route looked amazing from the ground. By the time we worked out the start to the second pitch (and probly took longer than the old farts), they were almost finished the route as they moved really quick. We met them later on in the decent and had a bit of a chat. Turns out one of them was US legend Jim Donnini - worked it out after seeing him in the parallelojams movie.

A great route, I think worth 3 stars.

There are 10 messages in this topic.


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