WMSS Rock climbing trip – recap

April was the month of rock climbing adventures with WMSS from UniMelb and Monash! Our climbing trip this year was in Gariwerd / Grampians National Park for a weekend of climbing, bouldering, hiking and good company. It was a massive weekend! Thank you to Hangin’ Out rock climbing for guiding our outdoor climbing sessions. To find out more about this fantastic group see the link below

Hangin’ Out climbing tours

A chilly morning

At sparrow’s fart on a chilly, chilly morning we hit the road heading west out of Melbourne. The committee car was packed to the absolute brim with gear, climbing mats and WMSS merch. Soft snores and strong coffee wafted around the back seats as the car-pool sped into the sunrise. A couple of cars split-off for a scenic stop at the giant koala.

Selena and Risdon enjoying their visit to the Giant Koala.
Thanks for capturing this moment Caitlin!

Outdoor climbing

Guided by Earl and Brandon from Hangin’ Out, our group was fortunate to climb in Summerday Valley on the southern side of the range. Harnesses, helmets, ropes and shoes were provided for each person. Earl set 10 climbs over two walls, providing expert encouragement and advice for the harder moves.

Tom with the first climb of the day.
Image author’s own

Each climb was graded. Those more experienced among us, jumped on a 19, then a 24. Others settled for the view from the top of a 9, 13 or 16. I wonder if we have the next Tommy Caldwell or Margo Hayes among us?!

Earl and the team setting up the abseil, Summerday Valley.
Image author’s own

In between climbs, Earl explained that an ecosystem exists among the rocks. He pointed out sediment deposits and new growth on the flat rock surfaces.

Later, he shared what life is like as a local climber and explained how recent closures in the Grampians are affecting the climbing community. Areas of the park have been closed over issues of vegetation loss, graffiti and unsustainable activity that put local Indigenous artwork at risk.

Michael snapping the snaps on Mt Stapylton.
Thanks for the image Caitlin!

“Today we’re going to explore some flora and fauna and if we’re lucky we might see some plants and animals too!”

– Michael –

Find out more about areas of the Grampians open for climbing at the link below.

Park’s Victoria: Rock climbing in Grampians National Park

On the Southeast wall of the valley was an abseil. With encouragement and plenty of instruction, each group member gave it a go. It was particularly impressive watching friends fly down the rock face.

Looking good Heather! Don’t look down.
Author’s own

The afternoons were filled with bouldering. There were some very impressive moves thrown about. We split the group and some followed the locals to the Snake Pit at Mount Staplyton. The others stayed bouldering closer to the campground.

Impressive bouldering skills. We noted a lot of chalk graffiti at this site.
Image author’s own


View of Mount Stapylton from atop Mount Zero, Northern Grampians.
Image author’s own

In their spare time either end of climbing sessions, the group made the most of hiking the gorgeous trails around Stapylton car park. Mount Zero is an easy 1 hour return walk. The view from the top looks out over Mount Stayplton and the local olive grove.

Climbing the final few meters to summit Mount Stapylton, Northern Grampians.
Thanks Heather for the fab photo!

Mount Stapylton has more impressive views across the tops of the Northern Grampians and surrounding pasture to the North. The walk is moderate and takes 2-3 hours return. Initially easy-going, the track winds through a walled-in valley then follow the ridges to the summit. The final few meters requires some exciting rock scrambling and scaling steep rock faces. The view is well worth the effort and is truly breath-taking.

All smiles at the top of Mount Stapylton, Northern Grampians.
Image author’s own

Overnight camp

Team-base was Stayplton Campground, 10 minutes from the Summerday Valley car park. Spread over two group campsites, we had plenty of space to spread out of earshot from neighbouring campers.

Thanks to all who brought fuel for the fire and contributed to relaxed discussion, and fun times by fire-light at sundown. There were marshmallows roasting, chocolate passed around and Liam even pulled out a jaffle maker. The crash-mat folded into a make-shift sofa which made for a comfy seat to enjoy the warmth of the fire from.

In spite of grubby hands and harnesses in the wrong places, reports were of another great weekend in the great green outdoors. Thanks to all who contributed and made it possible!

Half our group spreading out atop Mount Zero, day 2, Northern Grampians.
Thanks for the image Emma!

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