/ Climbing in Arapiles Australia

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Jones_88 - on 12 May 2013
I'm hoping to head there in November for 3 weeks.

Has anybody got the recent guide book Arapiles Selected Climbs published in 2008 that they would like to sell for less than the 37 that it's being advertised for online?

Also has anybody got any tips for gear and ropes to bring, how to do it cheap there or just generally any helpful information that you would be so kind to pass on to me?
I climb VS4c at the moment but am hoping to be able to lead HVS by the end of the summer if I put in enough time and effort if that helps you with any advice you may be about to give me.

cheers
wyn
joelc - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88: Been a good few years since I was there & my ex kept the guide book but I'll trawl my memory for some suggestions.

We hired a car in Melbourne that was fairly cheap; supermarkets not a million miles away & a climbing shop within range. The camp site is great but worth having a tarp as well as your tent & be prepared for cute, furry dudes nicking your food so maybe have some suitable containers. Unless you're a fan of miles of flat, featureless farmland then take some entertainment with you as you could get fairly bored if you're not actually climbing for a day or two (don't recall the local towns as being thrill-a-minute venues). Definitely have a platypus water rucksack thingy & make sure that you can also fit a bit of grub & the guidebook in (if you find one).

Kit: we had 60m doubles & wouldn't consider singles as you're dealing with 6 pitches or so (does that seem right? Really can't remember!!!). We had a few hangers for the carrot bolts that the Aussies seem to favour so do a bit of research on that. When I was there I bought a set of genuine RP's (brass micros) as the guy who makes them is a local; not sure if you can still get them but they're my most treasured toys ;-) Forgotten if we used cordelette or alpine slings for anchors but guess you could manage either way. There's one particular iconic crack route that I didn't have the time to do that (I believe) favours a few large cams that we didn't have but I reckon you'll be able to borrow a few bits off someone there. Apart from that I can't be of much help with kit suggestions as it's all a blur now.

One thing that caught me a little by surprise was that I found the routes to be a bit harder for the grade than I was expecting so definitely start on the gentle ones (I'd been climbing in NZ so it's probably just a national difference). And even though the book is expensive it's the sort of place that you could flip it open at any page & be confronted by climbs of world class standard at every grade. Jealous: think I might miss the place ;-(
Morgan Woods - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:

i think the guide book is $55 i.e. 35 quid at current rates. it's a bit pricey but quality is up to rockfax standards. a cheaper alternative if you have an iphone is this:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icrag-arapiles/id460930171?mt=8

can be quite handy on long routes since it saves on weight.

At your grades (up to 17/18 ish) there is heaps to go at. Lamplighter (14) and Watchtower crack (16) are two classics that spring to mind, not to mention loads of stuff at the Organ Pipes. You are certainly not going to run out of stuff in 3 weeks.

Protection is generally excellent so don't be afraid to push things a little. A double rack of wires and a good selection of small to medium cams will suffice for most routes. Most people in Oz use single ropes, although i tend to favour doubles for trad. There used to be a 45m abseil off Lamplighter (ie Pharos block) but this now has an intermediate anchor, meaning you can do nearly every abseil on the mount with a 60m rope. A lot of the time you can walk off quite easily.

I wouldn't worry about bolt plates, as bolts are few and far between and they can be slung with a wire if need be.

A car is handy but not essential.....there will be people around that can offer a lift in to town (Natimuk) for shopping. Probably best to stock up in Horsham before you arrive. Be prepared for a fire ban at that time of year and bring gas. Maybe buy a nice big tarp or two at the Kmart in Horsham before you arrive, as this will provide a bit of shade for your tent.
In reply to Jones_88: I got an evening and a day there during a family holiday just over a year ago. I found the rock quite intimidating at first, takes some time to get used to it. I had a very limited rack borrowed from a friend which at first didn't even have any nuts on it! My mate bought some nuts before we went back for the full day visit, but from my limited exploring I'd suggest double nuts, maybe even triple in some sizes and double ropes. If you need to climb on a single, have plenty of sling draws or longer QDs- I wouldn't recommend only having a bunch of 20 year old petzl spirits QDs, the longest being about 17cms!
barney800 on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88: Arapiles is ace - you'll have a great time! Don't miss Agamemnon. It's an easy classic and one of the best climbs I've ever done.

I second a lot of advice on here already - especially about bringing a double rack of wires. I don't think I've ever actually used a carrot bolt at Arapiles, but Wild Country Rocks are excellent for lassoing them if you don't have any bolt hangers. I tend to use a pair of 50m ropes on the multipitch routes as they can wander a bit and there are a couple of >25m abseils. I would aim not to buy any gear in Australia though, as it's way more expensive than anywhere else. The guidebook is well worth the money. It's as good as any I've ever used and hilarious to boot.

The Pines is a great place to camp. There is no treated water if that bothers you (but I've had no problems with the tank water) and be aware that it can get pretty cold at night in November. I've certainly got out the down jacket a few times at that time of year.

Check out http://www.chockstone.org/Arapiles/Arapiles.htm for more info. Chockstone is basically the Victorian equivalent of UKC and has an active and helpful forum, although be prepared to have the p*ss taken out of you if you post on there!
Father Noel Furlong on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:

Sooooooo jealous. Only spent a day there and would love to go back. Bard is classic at grade 12. Can't remember it's name but there's a brilliant single pitch 14 with a free hanging abseil from the top. I remember my guide asking was i ok climbing past someone else's blood who had fallen the week before!!!
Theeni - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:

As before I agree with most. Are you going to Araps for the full 3 weeks? I did a week in Nov and survived comfortably on a single 60. I chose that so that I could get to the Sport as well (but didn't bother in the end) to keep weight down and simplicity for the gf. I would say that although it may make a couple of routes a little less feasible there are so many routes you might just have to console yourself with a 2* instead!

On logistics, I notice you haven't asked but Araps is pretty isolated and worthy of consideration. We hired a van as it was part of a bigger trip and that gave us accommodation and transport in one. If you are taking camping gear you could probably get away without a car but you will lose a bit of climbing time waiting for buses/hitches to go shopping. Probably a good chance for some enforced rest though.

If you are a VS leader, you must do Watchtower Crack!
Father Noel Furlong on 12 May 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:

D Minor....although apparently 2 pitches.
Rog Wilko on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88: Hi Wyn,
I have the previous guide which I am willing to loan if you like. It would do you just fine as the new guide is very little different on the routes you are likely to be doing. It's also smaller so easier to carry with you on routes.
Three weeks should be a great spell to have there. If you're steady on VS trad you'll have a great time there. All the advice above is good (except you need to be competent on HVS in my opinion to do Watchtower Crack; I was lucky enough to be able to borrow an enormous cam which I kept moving up the crack with me).
Some things to whet your appetite:
Everyone does their first route on the Organ Pipes - do the same!
Muldoon - one of the best routes ever at about HS/MVS.
Eskimo Nell - a great easier route
Bard - lives up to all the hype - great steady climbing after the slightly worrying start.
Resignation - a VS through E1 terrain.
Lamplighter - the world's best VS (see UKC article of mine). This would be my absolute must-do route at the grade.
Siren - another great severe
Arachnus - unbelievable for the grade but take a rack of cams for the big horizontal breaks towards the top.
Lots of the 12 - 15 grade routes on Watchtower Faces are really great. Hot Flap is my favourite
If you're going well and can access a double rack of cams have a go at Brolga. It's really just sustained 5a and E1 without enough cams!
Don't imagine that the one and two star routes aren't good - most would be three stars in UK. One of the best of all the severe-ish routes I've done there is Beau Geste, only given two stars. Also, Dune, next to Eskimo Nell is a brilliant outing though only one star, and Xena, next to Siren, is at least as good but only one star.
My advice would be not to just go for the higher grades as many of the best days you'll have will be on long easy routes like Hurricane Cracks. I haven't done Tiptoe Ridge yet as I'm saving it for my dotage.
On the gear front I'd say two 50m half-ropes are ideal. Otherwise a standard UK style rack is fine and cams are pretty useful. Although RPs were designed for Arapiles rock you'll barely use them on routes up to 18 so I'd not bother unless you already have them.
If you trawl through some of the above routes on UKC database you'll find photos and some maybe half-decent beta if that's what you want.
You don't say if you're going with a partner, but there are always people as the Pines (camp site) looking for partners.
Have a great trip - just possible we might be there at the same time, so look out for a hobbling old git with a grey beard and good-looking wife.
MikeTS - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:

I'm sure it's cheaper in a Melbourne climbing shop. There's also A Rock Climbing Guide to Arapiles/Djurite by Louise Shepherd, pub by Victorian Climbing Clud. Mine's 1998, don't know it it's still sold but drop by & ask Louise who (I assume) still lives in Natimuk. (Ask anyone, esp at the General Sore/Post Office or the Nati Pub, it's a very small town)

Definitely do

Agamemnon
Resignation
Muldoon
D Minor
Libretto
Diaposon
Hot Flap
Sundance
Watchtower Crack !!!!
Brolga
The Bard
Tocatta

Take a good standard trad rack. This is a TRAD area. Even for belay anchors.
Nearest night life & decent eating is Melbourne, about 8 hours
Check the Victorian CC website whose name escapes me in a senior moment, and makes UKC seem polite and tame.

And Araps is great!!
Sam Ash - on 13 May 2013
In reply to MikeTS:
"I'm sure it's cheaper in a Melbourne climbing shop." It's not, cost me $60 when I bought it in December.

I'm out on exchange in Australia at the minute, and Arapiles is amazing. Don't really have much more to add to the info everyone else has given, there are so many climbs there are superb.
The Pines is a really nice campsite, and pretty cheap, only $4 a night. The rangers can be a bit arsey if you don't pay fees when you arrive though, I got a pretty big fine for not paying the day I arrived, so you might want to watch out for that. Other than that though, Araps is probably the best place I've been climbing ever, and with three weeks there, you should be able to get loads done.
nz Cragrat on 13 May 2013
In reply to Morgan Woods:

It's better than a Rockfax Guide !!
Jones_88 - on 13 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:
Thanks for all of the advice it's been quite helpful and pretty much made my mind up on going there now. It will be me and a mate going who both climb around the same grade. Somebody posted on this and offered to led me their copy but I can't remember who - thanks for the offer but I will try and buy one for myself as If I loose it I will only have to replace yours anyway.

Would starting off on the last week of October instead of the first week of November be a better shout to avoid the heat? Also we will be camping and I'm just trying to work out if it's worth hiring a car or not.
We will be climbing for all of the 3 weeks I reckon and possibly have an extra week for none climbing stuff if we want to explore ozz a little bit more.

thanks again for all the advice.
Morgan Woods - on 13 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:
> (In reply to Jones_88)
Also we will be camping and I'm just trying to work out if it's worth hiring a car or not.
> We will be climbing for all of the 3 weeks I reckon and possibly have an extra week for none climbing stuff if we want to explore ozz a little bit more.
>
> thanks again for all the advice.

A car is handy since if you have 3 weeks it would be worth checking out the grampians for a few days. Taipan Wall and Hollow Mountain are definitely worth exploring.
barney800 on 14 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:
> Would starting off on the last week of October instead of the first week of November be a better shout to avoid the heat? Also we will be camping and I'm just trying to work out if it's worth hiring a car or not.

I only have a year of experience to base this on but last year both October and November were fine, although I thought the temperature was a bit more comfortable in October. Plus, a lot of flowers were blooming in October making it a generally pleasant time to be around.

If you have the cash to hire a car it'll make life easier, although it will be mainly sitting around while you're at Arapiles. However, it makes it easy to check out the Grampians as mentioned above. I find that most of the good climbing in the Grampians kicks in a bit above VS (probably AU grade 18-20) but there are still some excellent easier climbs and at least one low grade sport crag that works in the rain. It's also a great place for hiking on a rest day, and has one of the best minigolf courses in the world!

One other thing that hasn't been mentioned in the cafe in Natimuk. It fairly recently changed ownership and operates as a bar/restaurant on Friday and Saturday evenings. It's well worth checking out as the new owner is really into his beer and stocks some great Aussie brews.

If you have some extra time in your trip I highly recommend visiting Wilson's Promontory. It's not worth going for the climbing, but the bush walking is superb and it's a wildlife mecca (and there are some decent granite boulders on perfect white sand beaches). It's definitely one of my favourite places in Victoria.
climber34neil - on 14 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88: I spent a month divided between arapilies and the blue mountains, arapilies was the best though and still one of the best places I have ever climbed in 25 years of climbing/travelling. It's a fair while since I was there but at that time there was a climbing shop in natimuk to get the guide book and dodgy baggy pants! I did it all by public transport with no problems, flew into Melbourne then got the train/bus combo to Horsham and from there the bus to arapilies ( took us right to the pines campsite) then hitched to natimuk whenever we needed to, also walked once but that took a while ! I then hooked up with someone else who had a car there and he let me borrow it on rest days which was cool, but there was then and I imagine still now plenty of people to hook up with, share lifts to different crags etc. as for routes I think it's all been said but d minor is great, Agamemnon is really cool and a bit bizarre , there is a nice easy route on castle crag but I can't remember what it's called and also throw yourself at pilot error, one hard move , rest is easy but in a great position! Have fun
turtlespit - on 14 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88:

Regarding heat - you should be fine in November. I've climbed at Arapiles/Grampians over Xmas and it got to 35 some days. Had to climb early, then find shade in the middle of the day or rest, then climb later.

Apparently there's a bus from Melbourne airport to Horsham, then another bus that leaves Horsham and heads past Natimuk (closest town to Arapiles - 9km away) where you can request a stop at Arapiles.

Definitely double set of wires. Hexes with a sling are handy since you can use the sling around 'chicken heads'. I've got some DMM brass offsets and IMPS, but they're not really needed below grade 20 (E1). Though there's lots of nut placements, there's also a lot of cams. Rope length - you can easily get by with a single 60m, though you'll do longer walk offs instead of abseiling back down.

The arapiles mountain shop rents boulder mats. Lots of boulders scattered around arapiles, and some great bouldering in the nearby Grampians.

Since you're there for a while, I'd recommend checking out the Grampians. Sport, trad and bouldering to be had, though you'll need a car to get there (40 mins drive from Arapiles, but goes through horsham which you'll need to do occasionally to stock up on food).

For Grampians trad, start with Summerday valley (lots of good S-HVS climbing, all single pitch - http://www.climb.org.au/index.php?page_id=10&action=crag&crag_id=380). For sport climbing, tribute lower (http://www.climb.org.au/index.php?page_id=10&action=area&area_id=212) and upper have single pitch routes F5/+ to F7b. The Sun Deck/Wave Wall has some really fun sport F6a-6b+ (http://www.climb.org.au/index.php?page_id=10&action=area&area_id=926) and some harder stuff at the nearby Cave Cliff.

Grampians bouldering - lots around Mt Staypleton with an entire bouldering guidebook. Worth walking up to the top of Hollow Mountain where you'll see the Hollow Mountain Cave and great views of Taipan Wall.
turtlespit - on 14 May 2013
In reply to Jones_88: I was also going to mention some of the other Australian climbing spots...

Nowra: about 2.5/3 hours south of sydney, and almost all sport. Does get humid outside of winter though, so probably not a good option later in the year.

Blue Mountains: 1.5/2 hours west of Sydney. I'd say it's a must do if you're going to visit sydney anyway. Primarily sport climbing as the rock is much softer than Arapiles/Grampians. There are trad routes, but if that's your main thing, stay at Arapiles instead.
pecheur - on 14 May 2013
In reply to barney800:
>
> Check out http://www.chockstone.org/Arapiles/Arapiles.htm for more info. Chockstone is basically the Victorian equivalent of UKC and has an active and helpful forum, although be prepared to have the p*ss taken out of you if you post on there!

Seriously if you ask what rack to take to Araps on chocky, EXPECT to have the p*ss taken out of you. Do a search first, there's about a dozen threads on it already ... Also another dozen on how to get there / what to do around there. Use the search button in the left pane, the one below the forum list is bugged.

PS at the grades you're climbing, there are some classics at Gramps if you want to climb on different rock, but Araps has far more that are much easier to access. If you're going to the Bluies, beg, borrow or steal half a dozen or more bolt plates.
MikeTS - on 14 May 2013
In reply to Morgan Woods:
> (In reply to Jones_88)
.]
>
> A car is handy since if you have 3 weeks it would be worth checking out the grampians for a few days. Taipan Wall and Hollow Mountain are definitely worth exploring.

Agree. Gramps is a good and easy day trip.

Also at the Pines there is nothing, even Nati is a drive away.
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nz Cragrat on 22 May 2013

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