Warragul Rocks resides in the Tallarook State Forest, at Tallarook, not far from Seymour. Access is via very long and twisty dirt roads (See: Approach Map for details), that are suitable for the family sedan (at least in summer) right up until the last few metres where-in it becomes progressively more rocky. Beware those wombats, they are faster than you'd expect and can run out in front of your vehicle. "East Falls" road will eventually bring you to the summit, with an impressive view over looking the Goulburn River valley.
Access Note: The landowner wishes you to "Please ensure you contact me prior to accessing the rocks on the following number: Ron Milanovic mobile - 0413 402 744". See forum topic for recent access issues.
Directly below the granite cliff drops away, broken by a horizontal terrace that more or less runs the full width of the cliff. You can walk along this ledge to access the upper lines which are short, but fun, including my personal favourite "Champagne and Novocain", the 15m grade 21.
To gain the terrace walk left (as you look out into the valley), and circle around, or you can scramble in from the right, or just abseil in. To gain the very base of the crag and access to the longer, slaby, but often dirty routes below, hike down the left side descent and circle around, or just abseil all the way down the 75m from the terrace. Which brings me to another point: abseilers. Don't be surprised to be sharing the cliff with a guided party of abseilers who have bizarrely paid good money for the experience, though unfortunately not always equally imbibed with good sense. Sudden showers of rocks and debris from above is common, as their excited shrieks echo across the valley, and their supposed leaders jabber into walky-talkies and toss 100m static lines onto you.
Above Right: Adrian checking out the view from the summit, overlooking the Goulburn River valley. Above Left: Looking up at the cliff from the forest below. Routes such as "Stolen Car Descent" start at the very right of this picture.
For the real Warragul Rocks experience you have to start at the very base of the cliff and head up one of the longer, dirtier routes, like "Stolen Car Descent Route", the two pitch, 75m grade 15. The start of the line is marked by a cluster of car wrecks that presumably have been trundled off the top in some sort of post pubescent madness. The route heads up the thin crack line (pictured right) to a belay ledge at 35m. The ledge is sufficient to hold a party of three, though the belay consists of small trad gear in one feature, an undercling flake - not too inspiring considering the run outs required in pitch two above. P2, heads up past a rusty old bolt and on to a runout, shrubby slab finish, topping out at the aforementioned terrace above. The psychological crux is just before clipping this bolt, given the sometimes manky gear below. If grade 15 is something you're not confident on, or you suck at finding tricky trad placements, perhaps lead something else instead. If not, this is a stellar line, well worth the steep hike down to the base, and despite the dirt and moss that plague most edges and cracks. Okay, so it's not a gym climb!
Above Right: Racking up at the car wrecks,
and Adrian Leading "Stolen Car Descent", the 75m grade 15.
If you want to clip bolts, move a few metres right an do pitch one of "Clown Town" (pictured below right), grade 19, of which P1 isn't hard. Head up past 5 bolts to some handy double rings at the 18m mark, from where you can just rap back down. The pitch is well protected and very fun, though broken by a ledge strewn with dirt and leaves. The crux move is probably moving off this midway ledge.
Right: Me belaying atop of pitch one of "Clown Town" (pictured right).
Also at the base, just to the left of "Stolen Car Descent Route", you'll find "Wussle Slowe" the 35m grade 20, with three bolts. The guide gives it a star, and our Kent reports the lead as "rather run out, thin slab climbing on small edges. The equal crux's are directly after clipping the first bolt and exiting the final flake".
Significantly further left again, on a smooth black wall, the start of which resides upon a raised ledge you'll find Kent's latest creation, a bolted line called, "The Alan Parson's Project", which is yet to be graded. There is also 2-3 more ring bolted slab routes on the lower section left out of the guide. They're like 17 and 19 or something, possibly called "Just Crusing" and "Clown Town".
The main upper terrace, running horizontally along more or less the full width of the crag, contains a collection of steeper, cleaner and often more sporty routes. These lines are probably the most popular at the crag, and certainly the easiest to access. Starting on the right (as you look out at the valley below), you'll find two bolted 15m, grade 18 slab lines well worth doing. One has three bolts ("Trail Bike Yobbo Ride On Down"), the other only two ("Platonic"). They both top out at more or less the same spot. You can build a belay with a length of static running back to the trees. The routes offer excellent edges and, at least in my opinion, an easy tick for the grade.
Left: The tiger striped wall above the terrace. Below Right: Bret top roping "Champagne and Novocain", the 15m grade 21.
Possibly the most fun line on the upper terrace is "Champagne and Novocain", the 15m grade 21. It can be found on the left (as you look out at the valley below). A bolt protects the opening face climbing, then the line enters a short, fingers only, layback crack, before topping out on a smooth ledge below a set of chains. On top rope the crux is transitioning from the face to the crack, requiring a slightly funky move despite the huge jug at the base of the crack. On lead, the crux would probably be placing gear whilst negotiating the crack/smooth ledge top out. I haven't lead it myself, though it's on my tick list.
To the right and left, along the terrace are several
more bolted lines including a couple of grade 24's and some new lines that
aren't even in the old guide book. I haven't much familiarity with these
routes having only climbed this area a hand full of times. Hopefully after
a some return visits I'll have more pictures and info. Meanwhile if anyone
with local knowledge would like to contribute to this page, please feel
free to drop me an email. In
summary, Warragul Rocks is well worth the drive, offering both taller
adventure climbs and bolted sport routes. There aren't a great number
routes compared to other crags, but what's there is sufficient to warrant
more than one day trip. Climb safe and have fun!
If you want, do what we would do...From the final belay on CT, set up a rap directly down to chain at end of first pitch of CT. It is approx 42m to this point. Then thread the chain and get to ground. It saved the walk down, gives you a look around and you have a ready made belay to finish on at the end of the day! If you have not got enough gear for that there was a huge gum tree near edge just to the R (facing wall). It will do the same trick.
Just Cruising 17
We just jump on the established rope again to the R and rap back down for more. Doing it this way we could do 8-9 pitches in a day! Now that's fun. We did a couple more routes up there but I would have to look back on notes to remember what they were. Have fun up there, watch out for those yobbo rock throwing 4WDers. Oh I remember those routes at the top tier of the cliff, the ones on the R. They were all easier than the grades suggested, hence the 18's were like 16's. It really should have a couple of DBB to save the long walk back to some of the tree's. That's enough.
From Will Monks:
Platonic 15m 18
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