by Ashley List
Kalbarri is located 600km north of Perth and is quite the drive when you consider the usual climbing that can be found when heading south to Margaret River for a short weekend. The driving aside, the climbing is well worth the trip as long as you’re feeling strong as many of the routes are steep and demanding.
There is a good range of both trad and sports routes, up to 120m high, ranging from grade 14 to 26+, if you’re that skilled. The inclement weather nearly put an end to the trip, though a few dedicated souls did make the journey. The multicultural group consisted of members from Spain, France, England and good old Australia.
The Friday was a bit too wet to climb; nevertheless most people went to scout out the climbing areas in the hope that the weather would improve, and with luck running our way, we were climbing the next day.
The majority of the first day was spent in and around the Tourist Wall while we waited for the rock to fully dry out. Top route of the wall would have to be Keith Goes Blank a 3 star climb, though I would recommend it as a 16/17, not 15 as it is in the guide book, as a novice leader at that grade would quickly find them self out of their depth. On
the other hand Telegraph Line at the same area would be a good introduction to the wall for new
On the second day the morning was spent tuning up people’s trad leading skill on the partly developed wall to the right of Tourist Wall. Later in the afternoon we started to migrate towards Adventure Wall and the Promenade area. The routes found in this lower area are somewhat steeper and more committing, though twice the fun!
There are a number of good face climbing routes in the area, with Sports Climbing Ethics and Peanut Butter wall being recommend, though I did not have the chance to climb
them. As for warming up I would recommend
Due to all of the excitement at being in the Kalbarri Gorge for the first time, there was a minor miss read of the guide book, with various unnamed members starting what was initially thought to be a grade 15 route that turned out to be a 15m project! He he!
The Pros of the trip, Remi and Lecki, were making short work of the routes on the Promenade, with what seemed like most of the routes there being ticked.
On Monday morning we went scouting out Hawks Head. Though not as picturesque as the main gorge it’s well worth spending the morning there on the way home. Given its position, it would catch the sun and dry quickly when rain makes an unwelcome visit to the area. The crag can be easily seen from the lookout (look right when facing the river) and is only a short walk.
Give time was sort and we were tired we only managed to crack two 14’s, Molasses and Hornets Nest. Both good routes and tougher than they look. Think Stanage Edge in the Peak District, for those lucky enough to have climbed in the UK!
Would I recommend a trip to Kalbarri and Hawks Head? Hell yes! But I would recommend that you spend a good few months gaining strength and stamina as there is so much to do. If you can get the time spend a good week there.