Elevation: 985 ft
GPS: -36.757, 141.843 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 104,219 total · 653/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Jan 12, 2007
Admins: Nate Ball

Organization

The areas are arranged from south to north. Each area contains all of the crags logically contained within it. This logic mirrors the guidebook. Within each area there are more areas, as the crags are often broken up by gullys and/or have different orientations that make sorting routes impossible. This has all been done in an effort to make routes intuitive to find. Please let us know if this is not the case.

Description

Mount Arapilies, aka Araps, aka the Mount, aka the Piles... aka The Best Crag in the World. Perhaps it is! ...although it certainly doesn't look like much from the drive in, a rather unimpressive stretch of convoluted cliffline perched out in the middle of the Wimmera Plain - one step removed from the Outback. You won't find the size and scope of Yosemite, nor the striking lines of Indian Creek, but if you take the time to explore it's folds you will find a wealth world-class, fantastic trad climbs of all grades. Arapiles is stacked! There are several thousand climbs all within a 15 minute walk from the campsite. The rock is a very dense quartzite/sandstone, ocher-red in color with streaks of grey lichen. Many face features, baby-bottom slopers, and intermittent cracks make the area highly climbable and generally highly protectable; great face climbing and steep and overhanging terrain are typical. Wires are indespensible here and, in fact, the RP, named for inventor Roland Pauligk, was created specifically for protecting the Mount's small cracks.

The Mount was the real birthplace and heartland of Australian climbing, but it has also seen two significant "tours" by visiting international climbers -- specifically Henry Barber and Wolfgang Gullich. The early and mid sixties saw the first major wave of development of both easier free climbs and some aid routes. In the late sixties many of those aid lines started going free and the early seventies brought in more young talent. In 1975 the 21 year old Henry Barber single-handedly revolutionized climbing at Arapiles by freeing many of the Mount's hardest aid testpieces. His bold style was unmatched and many of his climbs were done barefoot and onsight (in fact, if he was unable to free a route first go, he would retreat and move on -- who knows what he would have accomplished using modern redpoint tactics!). This visit, although initially humbling to Australian climbers, ushered in "The New Wave" which included the likes of Mike Law, Chris Peisker, Greg Child, Glenn Tempest, Kevin Lindorff, and others. Many new hard lines went up, and when the super fit and dedicated Kim Carrigan showed up in the late seventies, the difficulty leapt ahead yet again. The eighties were dominated by Carrigan, Law, the Shepherd siblings and Mark Moorhead, and were punctuated by Wolfgang Gullich's visit in 1985 to put up Punks in the Gym (5.13d), at the time the hardest climb in the world. Since then development has slowed but not stopped; there is still plenty of virigin rock at the Mount and new routes go up each year, but perhaps the best of lines have been done. Although The Inquisition, the last great aid climb of the Mount, remains to be freed by future talent.

The camping scene is excellent -- there are two main campgrounds, the Pines, and the subsidiary Gums. The Pines is named for a growth of fir trees that were planted by early explorers in the area, and although they are gradually dying/being phased out by the park, they do provide a homey feel and a bit of relief from the blazing sun. There are two sources of running water near the camp -- both of which are bore-water and may or may not be safe to drink. Consume at your own risk. A small bathroom is also located nearby. Beware of the fire restrictions which are often in effect during the warmer months. A tarp is an essential item for shade, a hammock for rest days, and a good sized jar of Nutella will make you a lot of friends. Fees, as of 2004, were $3 AUD per night -- unenforced but worth the price. Basically the place feels a lot like a smaller, more quaint and welcoming version of Camp 4.

The nearby town of Natimuk (5-10 minute drive) has a dive of a pub, a fantastic gear shop, a milk bar, and lots of local climbers. The closest real town is Horsham, another 20 minutes past Nati, which has petrol stations, two major groceries, a hospital, a public swimming pool (although there are various swimming holes near the Mount, some within walking distance), banks, stores, restaurants, etc. During my extended stay I would usually make it in to Horsham once a week for supplies (including water).

Rest day activities generally consist of swimming holes, hammocks, eating and socializing, lounging around watching people fall off "Have a Good Flight," and other miscellaneous "can't be bothered" activities. For a fun challenge, try the post game: circumnavigate the entire Pines, hopping from post to post, tree to tree, without touching the ground (there's even an integrated slackline!). If you're (un?)lucky you might get invited to a climber's party or disco in the bustling town of Natimuk. Perhaps a better bet is to take your car, or befriend someone with one, and convince them to go to the nearby, and astonishing, Grampians... or at least for a swim at the Horsham pool. By the way, the pool is a great place for cheap showers as well.

Be careful of leaving food out unattended -- the possums and Kookaburras will find it. There are plenty of mostly harmless kangaroos around, and possibly venemous creatures but I never saw them.

When staying at Arapiles remember that it is a special, special place. Take care to leave it as you found it, if not better.

Getting There

300 km northwest on the Western Highway from Melbourne brings you to Horsham. Follow the Wimmera Highway for 30 km west out of town, through Natimuk, until reaching an obvious and well-signed turn on the right that leads northward to the Mount.

182 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mount Arapiles

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
 14
Tiptoe Ridge
Trad 4 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
 20
Agamemnon
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 24
The Bard
Trad 5 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 26
Muldoon
Trad 2 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 26
Watchtower Crack
Trad 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13
 15
Missing Link
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 12
Scorpion
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 32
Kachoong
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 15
Thunder Crack
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 12
A Taste of Honey
Trad
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
 12
Auto Da Fe
Trad 2 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 10
Scorpion Corner
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
 13
Orestes
Trad
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
 4
Despatched
Trad
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13
 4
Have a Nice Flight
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Tiptoe Ridge (7) Watchtower… > Pinnacle Face
 14
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a Trad 4 pitches
Agamemnon (1) Southern Crags > Atridae
 20
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13 Trad
The Bard (4) Bluffs > Bard Buttress
 24
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 5 pitches
Muldoon (1) Southern Crags > Atridae
 26
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Watchtower Crack (7) Watchtower… > Watchtower Faces
 26
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 4 pitches
Missing Link (4) Bluffs > Bluffs
 15
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a PG13 Trad
Scorpion (4) Bluffs > Bluffs
 12
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Kachoong (8) The Northern Group
 32
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Thunder Crack (4) Bluffs > Bluffs
 15
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
A Taste of Honey (8) The Northern Group
 12
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad
Auto Da Fe (7) Watchtower… > Watchtower Faces
 12
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R Trad 2 pitches
Scorpion Corner (4) Bluffs > Bluffs
 10
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
Orestes (1) Southern Crags > Atridae
 13
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13 Trad
Despatched (4) Bluffs > Bluffs
 4
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13 Trad
Have a Nice Flight (1) Southern Crags > Atridae
 4
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a PG13 Sport
More Classic Climbs in Mount Arapiles »

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