Mt Arapiles – Rock climbing around Melbourne. pt.1

Rock climbing around Melbourne:

Mt Arapiles

Traddie baddie, hex clangers can’t get enough of this place – and for good reason. Mt Arapiles is a world class, internationally renowned traditional rock climbing destination. Many monumental moments in Australian (and, really, world) rock climbing have taken place on this bullet hard sandstone. Wolfgang Gullich journeyed here in 1985 to climb the world’s first 32 – Punks in the GymThe mountain has been a bastion of dirt-baggery, and the focal point of a lot of discussions about rock climbing ethics. To bolt, or not to bolt…

Araps has it all. Easy, long, trad routes – pants-soiling, sketchy, run-outs – and, these days, cutting edge, hard sport climbing as well. Anyone in Melbourne who climbs – at just about any level – owes it to themselves to get out to the mountain and climb the classics, of which there are literally 100s, if not 1,000s.

Monique Forestier rock climbing on the route 'Kachoong' (21)

Monique Forestier climbing ‘Kachoong’ (21). Photo by Simon Carter Onsight Photography.

Trip report: Tom Gissing

Tom Gissing rock climbing in Mt Arapiles, on the route 'Muldoon' (13).

Tom climbing ‘Muldoon’ (13).

I’d been rock climbing for less than a year when I got the chance to road trip down from Brisbane to Mt Arapiles. I was travelling with a car load climbers (honestly, we were kind of gumbys at that point), but damn we were psyched. At the first site of rock, we parked up the car and ran over to get our first touch of stone.

The next few days didn’t really go as expected – other than the fact that the climbing was exceptional. I’d never climbed on a grade 10 that was so steep. Then I got shut down on a 14, necessitating a rather adventurous escape traverse. It didn’t matter though – it only added to the unique sense of adventure that Arapiles offers.

My resounding memories of the place revolve around a 7-pitch route Syrinx. The route overlaps with another multi-pitch climb at the second pitch, and there was a party climbing above us. The first pitch of Syrinx climbs a corner system, finishing on a wide, comfy platform. It was here that my mate and I waited for about an hour while the party ahead of us (a dad with 2 kids) to make their way through the upper pitches. We didn’t mind at all. There was no place I would have preferred to be at that moment that lounging about at the belay, looking out over the dry plains of Victoria below.

Mt Arapiles is a special, special place.


Keen to climb in Araps? is a free, collective climbing database with route information, photos, beta and more.

Check it out here.

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