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Seven Acre Rock, Powelltown
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Climbs *** ** * Hardest Longest Rock Access
11 0 1 3 21 35m Granite 5 Min

Kent topping out on Ralph The Snail, grade 20.Seven Acre Rock resides deep within the Yarra State Forest about an hour and a half east of Melbourne. There are a limited number of routes, most involving friction slabbing. Many, dare I suggest most, of the climbs have their fair share of moss, so bring a wire brush or just stick to the cleaner lines such as "Ralph The Snail", which on our visit still needed some gardening of the crack. The area is certainly beautiful, with a picturesque view from the summit block, and an "enchanted forest" easy approach walk. However the remote, somewhat dirty, short and quite limited climbing with difficult top rope access, and a wild bush bash to the base might be "too much mucking about" for climbers used to "spoon fed" crags such as Werribee Gorge.

Right: Kent topping out on Ralph The Snail, 35m grade 20.

To get there, head east out of Melbourne to Yarra Junction, then take the C425 heading towards Powelltown for 14.8kms. Turn right up the unsealed "Learmonth Creek Road" for 8.5, maybe 9kms to a left turn onto Bunyip Road at a T intersection. See: Approach Map. (Do not be lured by either of the two preceding lefts). Nip down a bit, and you'll quickly see a picnic area, with a marked foot track leading off on the right. Follow this pleasant forest walk to the lookout 600m away. To get to the base, reverse back down the path a bit, then bush bash steeply down along the right (looking out) of the crag via an overgrown scramble, circling around as you go. In other words, you're plunging down into the scrub with your left hand almost touching the rock, but well and truly on the forest floor (and not down climbing blocks or anything silly like that). 

Alternatively, (and to set a top rope on Ralph The Snail), from the very summit, you should be able to almost discern a trail of sorts plunging directly down the face, just on your left as you look out at the view. If you very carefully pick your way down here (stick to the scrub, no down-climbing blocks is required), you'll be able to lasso a couple of sturdy trees and toss a rope directly down the upper slab section of Ralph The Snail, easily making the base hidden from view. Note however, that a belay from above in this manner (pictured above), will invite something of a pendulum should your climber fall while negotiating Ralph's undercling traverse.

Cleaning Ralph The Snail.Top Rope of Ralph The Snail, Pitch Two (Crux).
Above Left: Kent attempting to clean Ralph The Snail's initial crack of debris. Above Right: Top roping the second, crux, pitch. Kent is jamming the headwall crack.

"Ralph The Snail", 35m grade 20 is by far the best climb at Seven Acre Rock, seeing as how it's a trad route on some of the only clean rock. Shimmy up the low angle slab following the vertical crack system (grade 10 cruise), to a steep headwall. Traverse left about 4m on nice underclings, to a vertical jam crack. Launch up this to find no less than 5 rusted carrot bolts clustered together. You may want to set a hanging belay here (there is a stance of sorts on the right), or bail off the bolts, since the next delicate, smears only, hard friction slabbing is completely unprotected. And I do mean zero gear. Instead of drilling 5 bolts into one spot, it beats me why they didn't place just one to eliminate the run out above. Leading it would be as scary as all hell. Eventually you slab your way up left into a vegetated crack and easier terrain, with the aforementioned trees for a belay. A very fun top rope or a very scary lead, take your pick.Supersonic, 20m grade 17.

Right of Ralph, you'll find another route worth mentioning if smears only slabbing is your bag. "Supersonic" 20m grade 17, with three bolts, of which you can lower off the last fixed hanger (then retrieve your bail biner on abseil). I personally found the slabbing more difficult than the grade suggests.

Right: "Supersonic" 20m grade 17

Nothing much else really appealed to us in this area, though a bolted, undocumented route on the arÍte left of Ralph, looked interesting had we the motivation to continue exploring. Most of the other routes were covered in a layer of moss, at least on their lower sections. I guess we were just too spoilt by the quality crags closer to home to get into the spirit of Seven Acre Rock. "Yeah, Seven Acres of crap" was a comment uttered at least once this day, and I guess it is in comparison to the excellent and nearby Ben Cairn. Still, those who don't have to travel so far, will likely be less disappointed.

Climbs At Seven Acre Rock   Push For The Summit

Name Height Grade Stars
Weenie Meanie 25 17M1   
Jerry's Crack 25 17   
Second Of December 30 21 1
Loading Zone 20 14  
Ralph The Snail 35 20 2
Natural Progression 35 20 1
Slipstream 15 18 1
Striding Edge 20 14  
Supersonic 20 17  
Supersonic Direct 20 21  
Prime Cut 8 19  


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.
Yarra State Forest - Department Of Natural Resources page on the area.
Bunyip State Park - Park's Victoria's page on the area.

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