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Buchan Limestone
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  Quick Stats
Climbs *** ** * Hardest Longest Rock Access
50+ 0 2 3 28? 66m Limestone Variable

The Amphitheatre (Armchair Flat / Slunt Wall)   Push For The Summit  [By Will Monks]

The Word  One of Victoria's wimpy limestone offerings.
Best Route(s)  Avignon (** 20), Le Sud de Vic (*** 27) - both marked in the photo below.
Sun/shade  Shade until 1pm-ish.
Wet weather options  If you can brave the wet walk-in, there's a chance some routes might stay dry.
Style of Climbs  Mainly sport, but bring a rack.
Grades  15-28

So you want a limestone hit and think this is it? Think's not limestone at it's best. But worth a visit, especially if you're in the area anyway. It's not a bad little wall, though the routes seem over-starred to me. Beware sharp edges when lowering off. There's good camping at the caves campground in Buchan itself, and once your climbing enthusiasm runs out there's also caving and wonderful alpine scenery within cooee. (Incidentally this probably should be called Slunt Wall, as there can be little doubt that the route "Sheiss" was in fact climbed earlier and called Slunt.) Approach View

Access: 15min walk plus a wade, or a 25min walk. It's a 5min drive from Buchan along the Orbost Rd, ~4hrs drive from Melbourne. Drive 6.2kms from Buchan towards Orbost, where a wooden bridge crosses the Buchan River. You will have already noticed the crag off to the right across the fields and the river. You can walk from the closest point on the road direct towards the crag, which requires wading the river (which flows strongly after rain - not recommended). For this access, ask permission at the farmhouse on the left just before the bridge for permission to cross the land on the road side of the river, AND ask at Amberley Park (3kms past the bridge on the R), for permission to enter the land on the far side of the river. Alternatively, you can avoid the wade by parking just over the bridge and walking 25mins back up the river (initially staying high to avoid some scrub), which takes you past Englishman's Castle. You only need permission from Amberley Park this way. Either way you'll have to dodge some blackberries, jump a few electric fences and greet a few cows. Armchair Flat, with 4 routes marked (Click To Enlarge)

Above Right: Here's the view as you approach from Buchan. Englishman's Castle is hidden, directly behind the outcrop. Described L to R, facing the cliff. Right: Armchair Flat, with 4 routes marked (Click To Enlarge).

Verdonesque (9m 24)
Looks sort of ok but a total misnomer - it's pretty pathetic in comparison to the real thing, given it doesn't have the massive exposure, great views, perfect rock, or 10 more pitches! (It's the left arÍte of the main wall, marked in the photo below).

** Avignon 12m 20
A lovely steep sustained stemming problem, overhung by about 1m. Not sure why the guide would give it 22 - that's way off. Start just L of the central corner of the crag, then step R to start stemming below the second bolt and up you go. The lower off is badly positioned and pinches your rope against the rock - extend it if others are going to follow. My rope is visible on it in the photos on the R and below.

* Vous les Vou 12m 19Here's another view of the crag, showing how steep the right end is. Too bad the holds have all come off...
Marked in the photo on the R. One star at most. High 1st RB (#1.5Fr possible below), then step up L onto the bulge and meander up the thin arete above past several uninspiring holds. A nice steep juggy finish is all that earns the star.

Sheiss (aka Slunt) 12m 15
The warm up - unfortunately its very ordinary. Start as for VlV (clip its RB if you like), then trend R up the slabby crack with good pro to the small bush. Mediocre wires on the R protect the moves up the small corner above to the lower off. The route description for Slunt on Slunt Wall matches this route perfectly (except that I'd give this route 15 rather than 14) - see the 2002 Eastern Victoria guide p335.

Above Right: Here's another view of the crag, showing how steep the right end is. Too bad the holds have all come off. Below Right: Nick on Vous Le Vu (19).

Additional: Armchair Flat [ From Neil Moneith]Nick on Vous Le Vu (19)
Access to this cliff was fairly dodgy. Four barbed wire fences (one electric that I found out the hard way!), a waist deep creek and quite a few nettles finally get you to the cliff. It takes about 20 minutes to walk in. The area is very rural. Instead of natural bushland itís all weeds and cow manure with the occasional rabbit. The limestone wasn't the greatest quality and some of it crumbled quite alarmingly. Matt seems to have done an excellent job of bolting the routes, all being ringbolted with rap anchors. There is NO potential for new lines on this small cliff. All the routes are about 15m high on slightly overhung rock. By far the best line there is 'Verdonesque' 15m 24. If you were giving stars to routes only at Buchan including the Pyramids than this would get three stars. Its an excellent knife edge arete on small pockets and edges. I thought 24 was a sandbag grade. More like sustained 25. The route 'Avignon' was also quite good, but it was much closer to grade 20 than 22. Nick and I found it no harder than its neighbor Vous Le Vu (19). Amadeus (21) felt about right with its grade. Overall itís a nice little area with shade in the morning and some nice green grass to chill on. It would keep you entertained for a day at max.

The Pyramids, Murrindal
   Push For The Summit  [By Neil Monteith]370km, 8 Gates and numerous sheep we finally got to the Pyramids, the so called 'best limestone in Victoria'

After opening and closing EIGHT gates on the private road to get this area we finally got stopped by a locked gate with a Private Property sign. We got permission (reluctantly) from the owner and walked across his flat to the base of the hill. The lower cliff had very little potential for new routes but did contain the greatest amount of waspís nest I have ever seen. We then thrashed our way up to the Pyramids proper (is there a track???). The area was nice and tranquil with a few good lines. Nothing really stood out apart from the Carrigan routes described as 'hand cracks' in the guide. They are more like subtle finger crack weaknesses. You certainly wouldn't be jamming up them! Nick and I both had a go on Matt Brooks 'The Egyptian' 26/27. The line is well bolted in a great position but the rock is very bad. Nick and both took plummets from exploding hand and footholds and it only seemed to get worse the higher we went. NOT classic climbing. The grade seems suss also. More like 25. The loweroff ringbolts at the top are not in a safe enough position to be used to rap off other routes on this pillar.

The secret sinkhole crag located behind the Pyramids. Three hundred metres of head hieght stinging nettles guard its pleasures.Above Right: 370km, 8 Gates and numerous sheep we finally got to the Pyramids, the so called 'best limestone in Victoria'. Below Right: The secret sinkhole crag located behind the Pyramids. Three hundred metres of head hieght stinging nettles guard its pleasures. Below Far Right: Nick on the The Egyption (26), a crumbly sport route at the Pyramids.

We then went and checked out the Sinkhole crag located directly behind the Pyramids. Matt Brooks has been hard at work here also it seems. There are three ringbolted bolted projects about the same vintage as 'The Egyptian'. It looks like he just bolted them, and has not been back to try them since. There still seems to be a fair bit of loose rock around. The bottom of this area is INFESTED with head height nettles, which makes this a far from pleasant area to climb at. We wore full-length pants and tops and had to beat our way in with big sticks. We spotted a few more good hard lines on nice rock but by then we had had enough. No ones going to visit a cliff 370km from Melbourne, with eight gates to get there, a 30min slog up a weed infested hill and completely filled with nettles. The caving is good though!

Englishman's Castle   Push For The Summit  [By Will Monks]
Englishman's Castle

About 500m downstream from the Amphitheatre, these two outcrops look deserving of some more attention.

Farm House Wall, Murrindal   Push For The Summit
  [By Will Monks]
Drive 10mins N out of Buchan, turn R into Shaw's Gully Road. There's more crags downstream but the private property access gets more problematic. This shot shows Farm House Wall, which is actually visible from the main road anyway. Looks quite ok from a distance.

Wilsonís Caves   Push For The Summit  [By Neil Monteith]

This popular caving area seems to have been visited by some deranged bolter who has 'established' at least six routes on the rocks walls on the outside of the cave entrance. Since there is a large sign stating 'It is illegal to damage caves or karst features' just above the cliff this seems quite bad. The routes arenít even that good and are very small and over bolted. The routes on the lower wall are particularly pathetic offerings. All of 5 meters high, they are easily bouldered with a crash mat. The bolts are excellent and very new looking (a year old?). Glue in rings and European expansion bolts. The slightly better routes are actually located INSIDE the entrance to the main cave. These are on good rock and have some bolts that look about 5-10 years old.

Climbs At Buchan, Murrindal & Surrounds   Push For The Summit

Armchair Flat Height Grade Stars
Verdonesque 9 25 2
Le Sud de Vic ? 27  
Avignon 12 22 2
Vous Le Vou 12 19  1
Systematic ? 17  
Sheiss 12 15  
Amadeus ? 21  
Rednecks ? 28  

Englishman's Castle Height Grade Stars
The Goblin 20 15  
Black Wall 25 16  

Wave Wall Height Grade Stars
Wave Wall 30 12  

Slunt Wall Height Grade Stars
Slunt 24 14  

Farm House Wall Height Grade Stars
Cliff Dweller 35 16  
Hillbilly Cat 60 17  

Python Wall Height Grade Stars
Bombardment 40 20  
Biggus Dickus 35 10  

The Cauldron Height Grade Stars
Aqua Asolo's 25 M4  
Grisaida 20 19  

Balley Hooley Ridge Height Grade Stars
Animal Noises 20 17  
Buchan Rocks Height Grade Stars
Erogenous Zone 7 13  
Homecoming 9 16  
Romancing Robyn 10 13  
Morning Sickness 10 16  
3 1/2 Months 10 16  
Choss Corner 15 11  
Working Holiday 10 13  
Lazy Days 10 9  
Shades Of Death 10 21  
Death 10 23  
Orrible Off Width 10 14  
Mistress Of Squeeze 10 16  

The Pyramids Height Grade Stars
Pyramid 1
Da Flake 14 10  
Original Route 15 Easy  
Mountain Dog 20 14  
Nu-Root 17 12 1
Contrived 15 16  
Constant Fear 15 22  
Under Fire 15 23  
The Egyptian 20 27 1
Tip Toe Through The Tree Tops 20 15  
Pyramid 2
The Bowels 17 13  
Silicone Snake 20 12  
Off N'over 20 11  
Un-named 18 6  
King Tut 20 17  
Strawberry People 25 18  
Pyramid 3
Three Pins 15 16  
P3 ? 23  
P2 ? ?  

Tuloch Ard Height Grade Stars
The Homeless 66 17  
Like A Rolling Stone 46 13  
Single Combat 30 18  
Ramble On 30 9  
Ramble On Variant 10 10  
Place In Line 40 12  


Further Reading:
Eastern Victoria - A rock climbing guide, edited by Michael Hampton, Robin Holmes, Paul Martin & Others, and available from local climbing shops, or the VCC.
Will's Climbing Pages - Same details, from the original source.
Neil's Trip Report - Details, photos, etc.
Buchan Caves Reserve - From Park's Victoria's web site.

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