Pulpit Rock resides very close to the little township of Tallarook in the Granite Highlands a good hour and a half drive north of Melbourne. The rock is mossy, the access (passing through private property) somewhat lengthy on a hot day, and the number of worthwhile routes very limited. To put it plainly, the nearby Warragul Rocks offers considerably more appeal. However, Pulpit does have at least one outstanding climb "Pinball Wizard" that takes an open book corner for 20 exciting metres of laybacking and finger locking fun. Still it's a long way to go for one climb.
Above Right: Pulpit Rock main face. In the bottom centre of this picture you'll see a semi detached block leaning against the face like a big tooth. This marks the start of "Grabber Gribble Groove" 25m grade 16. Pinball Wizard lurks out of shot, behind the trees in the far top right of the picture. Below Left: Looking down the valley from Pulpit Rock. Pinball Wizard is just out of shot on the right.
Driving up from Melbourne leave the freeway at the Tallarook / Yea exit. Just the other side of Tallarook bear right towards the hills (and Yea), travelling a further 3km, or until you see Pulpit Rock a ways up the paddocks on your right. (See: Approach Map). Head right down a dirt road, shortly doglegging left and right across a small stream. Park before a sturdy, locked double gate and continue on foot. We spoke to the owners of the private road beyond the gate and they seemed fine with us trekking across their land to gain access. In fact they seemed more worried about us not having enough water given the 40 degree heat. Brave the grass seeds and steep incline and head up to the obvious outcrop. The large slab on your left is not worth visiting, go straight for Pulpit Rock itself. (Reportedly there is also an alternate access via Ennis Road off the highway).
Once there, the easiest path to Pinball Wizard is to
suppress natural instincts leading towards the main face and instead
circle around the back of the cliff in a clockwise direction, descending
down and circling around to the base. This way you'll avoid all the unpleasant
grass seeds and scrambling. The route, an attractive corner
system clean of moss, though possibly marred by bird shit midway, is
blessedly in the shade during the morning. A good stance (pictured below
right) and small nut
placements can be found just before the more committed final crack
section, which looks thin from the ground, but actually contains at least
two bomber finger locks allowing gear placement from a secure enough grip.
A tad further down and around you'll note a
interesting angled finger crack (pictured below middle) leading up the
blocks. I believe this is
yet to be climbed. Looks good though with tricky feet. Back down on the
main face that was prominently visible on the walk-in you'll see a couple
of routes (see pic) right of the unclimbed, large orange,
overhanging wall. The
first crack that begins where a semi detached block leans oddly against
the face, is "Grabber Gribble Groove" 25m grade 16. The crack is
very vegetated. To it's right, the crack / loose looking mossy flake
system leading up is "Butternut Snap" the 25m grade 21 that the
guide gives a star. These two are probably the most obvious lines
when first approaching the outcrop.
Bring plenty of water for a summer visit. A wire brush might also be of use. We saw some birds of prey circling the cliffs all day, so if you encounter a nest I'm assuming it would be best not to disturb them. Pulpit is unlikely to appeal to the masses. Don't set your expectations too high. Like I said, Warragul Rocks is only a few minutes away and is a vastly superior destination for experienced climbers to beginners, non-climbers, and even abseilers.
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