Some Information about the Grampians
Back from a short rock climbing trip in the Grampians in Australia, you will find here some information if you want to make the trip too. Internet is full of information already and I don’t have the ambition (not do I have the time) to redo better what has already been done very well by others. So you will mainly find here links to other sites, guide books references and few tips based on my own experience.
There are several topos about the Grampians
- Grampians Climbing (2002) ; authors: Neil Monteith & Simon Carter ; (2002)
Very visual and detailed topo with lots of information (shadow, sun exposition, rain protection…) and useful. The one we used the most.
- Grampians Selected Climbs (2002) ; authors: Simon Mentz & Glenn Tempest ; ISBN-13: 978-0958733144 ; editor: Open Spaces Publishing
A bit old and not very visual with drawings not very clear, but routes descriptions are generaly accurate and compare to the topo above it introduce routes in the Black Range (outside the Grampians) and Mount Rosea
- Grampians Bouldering ; authors; David Pearson & Chris Zebb Parsons ; ISBN: 978-0-9806946-04 ; editor: Open Spaces Publishing
For bouldering as the title says
3 hours drive from Melbourne, the best solution (only solution?), if you go directly to the Grampians from abroad is to land and rent a car at Melbourne.
Following recommendations we were given, we didn’t rent a SUV but a regular car to save on rental and gas. True, a SUV is not necessary. The proof is that we managed to do without. But driving on dirt roads at 20km/h for 15~30 minutes in a car that keeps on vibrating all the time is everything but pleasant and a real waste of time to reach some crags. For example to reach the Victoria Range from Halls Gap we had to make a very long detour by the road to reduce the distance spend on dirt road which is much more direct. On top of that, the rental contract for such normal car usually specifies that you are not allowed to drive on dirt road. So if you have an accident/trouble on it you will not be covered at all by the insurance. I recommend to do what I will do next time: rent a SUV. The savings are not worth the pain.
Except if you only focus on one crag/area (like Hollow Mountain) and camp near by, you won’t get away with having to drive at least 30 minutes if not more to the crag. Halls Gap being in the middle of the Grampians is I think the best place to stay if you want to explore all multiple crags. Halls Gap has a lot of vacation rental and a camping ; information are available on Visit Halls Gap.
Some useful information
Halls Gap is a small village in the center of the national park There is just the minimum “downtown”: a small supermarket, a gas stand, 2 coffee shop…
The small supermarket will help out, but you will be better filling in supplies at Ararat on your way from Melbourne. There is also a decent supermarket at Stawell, located 20 kilometers from Halls Gap, the best is to plan resupply while coming back from climbing in the Hollow Mountain area North of the Grampians ; it will just be a short detour.
There is a sport shop, but don’t count on it to get climbing gears. There’s almost nothing ; maybe some chalk and even that is not guaranteed… The only thing that you will probably not have and will need to buy locally are carrot bolts hangers which you will find in that shop. You’ll also find there maps of the area with all the dirt roads ; pretty useful to access some of the crags. For the rest, bring all the gears you need.
The biggest danger might be all the venomous wildlife.
Climbing wise, I almost didn’t find anything to say about the bolting of the routes we climbed despite that some routes can be a bit exposed or bold. But for us foreigners, the most scary part might the Asutralian “carrot bolt”. Although it seems a lot of them have been removed, you can still find some, especially on the classic routes and it is better to learn how to use them as safely as possible (see links below for tips).
Web sites about the Grampians
- http://www.chockstone.org/chockstone.asp web site about Australia crags (not just the Grampians)
- http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6954 article in UKClimbing about climbing in the Grampians
- http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/ Victoria state national park
- http://www.visitgrampians.com.au/ Grampians tourist information
- http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Grampians Victoria state tourist office
- http://www.visithallsgap.com.au/ Halls Gap tourist information with accommodation information