Mt Arapiles Arapiles, AUSTRALIA
Climbs ? – Rocktype Sandstone (hard) – Altitude 268m a.s.l – Faces ?
One of the best trad crags in the world! This crag is home to a few thousand routes, about 90% of which would get a three star rating for quality anywhere! From easy beginners through to grade 30 plus. Very few bolted routes in the easy grades as this is the perfect place to indulge in good old fashioned trad. Gear is almost always "Bomber". About 12 draws, 4-6 slings, Two sets of RP's or Brass micro nuts, two sets of wired nuts, at least one full set of Cams (2 sets are better), a few hexes in the middle ranges and about 4-6 bolt brackets for the notorious Aussie "Carrot" bolt should set you right. Double ropes are ideal on the majority of routes but you can get by on a single. Climate is ideal but like anywhere in Australia can be very hot in high summer although there are several gullies that stay shaded. The rock quality is something to behold. You may find yourself depressed when you get home to your hallowed Grit as you quickly realise very few of your local 3 star classics would get a star here. Sorry! There are some excellent boulder fields all over the place as well. Camping is excellent but beware the hoards from Melbourne who come up every friday night and are still bashing in tent pegs at 3am! Camping now extracts a fee however. That doesn't mean everyone actually pays and the honesty box has been glued up by several characters overs the years on more than one occasion. Your fees will go into the upkeep of the park however. Campfires are banned from Nov 1st-30th April as a total fire ban is in place so stoves will be essential at that time. There is a row of rubbish bins, a phone box and two toilet blocks. A standard affair with a notice board were you can find partners or lost gear or find out when film nights and such are on at the excellent "Climbers Cafe" in Nati, and an eco-toilet which can get pretty rank after a few hundred schoolkids have been dragged up all the easy routes by the numerous guiding companies in school holidays or heavy traffic weekends.....but no showers! Buy a solar shower from the camping shop in Horsham! The Billabong used to be good for a swim but recent flooding (2011)has made it into a quagmire and you will at best get out stinking worse than when you got in and at worst get yourself a middle ear infection so you have been warned! Instead befriend any one of the local climbers who now make up a fair percentage of the homeowners in Nati and scrounge a shower at their place or trek into Horsham and pay $2 at the swimming pool. For the poverty stricken there is often work picking vegetables of all sorts at the Sudholtz farm. Very limited potential for new routes however. A car is pretty much essential these days to get in to Natimuk for groceries etc, though you shouldn't have too much trouble hitching if you are young and pretty (Male or female). Natimuk is a climber friendly village with gear, chalk, resoling and climbing instruction all readily available through The Arapiles Mountain Shop. Have a chat to Phil there. A Great old Pub with new owners who are much more friendly than the last ones. Great for Pool and BS over a few "pots" and there is a solitary internet booth. It's not too far from the Grampians where many more thousands of fine routes exist and limitless potential for new routes still abound, both trad and sport.....
Drive 300km from Melbourne along the Western Highway to Horsham. take a left onto the Edenhope Rd for 25 Km to Natimuk then another 8km to a right turn up Centenary Park Rd. A few K's up this and you will see the entrance on the left into The "Pines" camping area. Pitch a tent and go for an awe inspiring walk up and down the crag looking for classics or projects then come back and take a walk on the numerous slacklines strung up in the Pines.
Sublime Climbs (2011), Arapiles Selected Climbs (2008), A Rock Climbers' Guide to Arapiles/Djurite (1998)
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