Next stop on our Top End road trip was Litchfield National Park. We spent a couple of days here mainly swimming and bouldering. One of the most interesting places we visited was the Lost City, a weirdly-shaped assortment of sandstone pillars dotted about the open sandy bushland. This place was a real gem and the bouldering was excellent. The rock is as good as the best you’ll find in the Grampians and reminded me a little of Stapylton Ampitheatre (although nowhere near as extensive!). The Lost City doesn’t have much in the way of overhanging caves but there is plenty to keep you occupied for a day or two at least. There are also possibilities for maybe 20 or so short climbs (15-20m max) and I’m sure the Darwin locals have picked over the place. To reach the Lost City you will need a 4WD and there is no camping in the immediate area. One of the highlights of climbing here is that Florence Falls, Buley Rockholes and Wangi Falls are all nearby and offer good camping as well as some of the best swimming holes you are ever likely to experience. Litchfield National Park is situated 120km southwest of Darwin.
Last Wednesday, on our long drive up to Darwin, Karen and I dropped in to the Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles) Conservation Reserve. It was much more interesting than I expected so we decided to spend the rest of the day (and the following morning) exploring and bouldering in this remarkable area. First impressions upon driving into the reserve was that it looked like a geologically interesting place but the rock appeared to be crap for climbing. Rounded granite boulders shedding exfoliation flakes like onion skins didn’t give me much confidence that we would find any worthwhile bouldering. Surprisingly I was wrong. The rock is pretty coarse (a bit coarser than Mt Buffalo) but is remarkably solid. Even the flakes were much more solid than they looked. In the end I did a bunch of really enjoyable problems, none of them were particularly difficult but all were full value (and often pretty high!). There are literally hundreds of boulders in the area. Face climbing on flake edges is pretty much what is on the menu but there are also a few excellent cracks and aretes to play on. There are a few fun short climbs as well (15m-high) but nothing to get too excited over. There is a good campground in the reserve (situated right in the middle of the boulders). A small fee is charged ($3.30 per person) but you will need to get in early as it packs out with grey nomads and their caravans. The Devils Marbles are on the Stuart Highway, 105km south of Tennant Creek.
We took advantage of the very last day of daylight saving and got up early and drove over to the Victoria Range in the Grampians National Park. Even though it was Easter I was surprised that at least a dozen cars were parked at Deep Creek, the start of the trail. The walk is one of the more remote in the Grampians even though it isn’t particularly long. The Victoria Range is very different to the much busier Central Grampians. There is a lot of sand about, the vegetation is shrubbier and there is a drier, almost semi-arid feel to the place. Like many Grampians trails the walk isn’t particularly well signposted nor is it well maintained. There is an old sign, however, warning that ‘strenuous walking is involved’.
The current issue (March/April 2010) of Australian Geographic Outdoor has an article on Australian Pioneers. One of those pioneers featured was our very own Glenn Tempest. Australian photojournalist James McCormack (http://actiongoat.com) interviewed him here at our Melbourne office late last spring. In the interview Glenn recounts his first ascent of Kachoong at Mt Arapiles with his then climbing partner Kevin Lindorff. Glenn had just turned 19 at the time and led it without much of the modern equipment most climbers today rely upon. Today Kachoong is regarded as one of Australia’s most famous and iconic rockclimbs. You can grab a copy of the mag at the newsagent or order it from www.magshop.com.au/Australian-Geographic.
These corrections have been listed by page number. They have been provided mainly by Simon Mentz and Glenn Tempest as well as various other users of the guide. If you have any corrections that you believe are relevant please send them to us at email@example.com. Please note that these corrections have been taken care of in the new 2017 edition of the Arapiles Selected Climbs guide.
p47. Sunny Gully (grade 3) is more like grade 2 and shouldn’t have a star.
p57. Sausage of the Century is more like grade 19 instead of 21 and has quite reasonable protection to start.
p66. That Man Again (grade 21). The line is drawn incorrectly on the topo.