Rob Wall's Blog

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New Stirlings route “Castle on a cloud”

Posted by robjwall on May 4, 2022



Follow ridge walk from Ellen Peak to left (East) of South Face of Pyungorup until you are almost under the giant detached tower of this route. (“The Black Bishop”)
Walk 50m up and left on steep slope through sharp reeds to flat rock ledge and obvious line to top of tower 120m above you.

View of route with me on unclimbed future 5th pitch – PHOTO CREDIT LIDMAN

Take 10-12 quickdraws

  1. 28m 18 climb up easy ramp and right to wall with some tricky moves to BLO on ledge
  2. *crux 28m 21 move easily up on good rock to short steep crux, then up easy headwall to BLO on ledge
  3. ** 20m 18 pull joyfully up jugs to improbably easy steep and exposed section to a BLO on small ledge
  4. 18m 16 follow arete and move slightly right on slab to BLO

Rap route on 60m rope


Foreshortened view from based of route

There is a castle on a cloud
I like to go there in my sleep
Aren’t any floors for me to sweep
Not in my castle on a cloud
There is a lady all in white
Holds me and sings a lullaby
She’s nice to see and she’s soft to touch
She says Cosette I love you very much
I know a place where no ones lost
I know a place where no one cries
Crying at all is not allowed
Not in my castle on a cloud

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Cape to Cape

Posted by robjwall on June 1, 2020

Mikes write-up of our recent Margaret River sea kayak trip.

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Potsdam to Wittenberg

Posted by robjwall on May 24, 2020

A Sunny Sonntag ride from Potsdam to Wittenberg (106km) in May, through the green fields of Northern Germany.

This was a great day out on two wheels, and the first 100k ride on the new road bike. We got lost and had to walk though some sand at one point, but ended up in a small village for lunch. The shops were Corona-closed, but they had a BBQ set up in the street and were selling Bratwurst. Tasty. Really tasty ūüôā

By luck we ended at this church. I poked my head in and heard 5 minutes of the most incredible pipe organ. (I could almost see gods, but it may have had something to do with 6 hours in the saddle?)

This church door was apparently where, in 1517 Luther posted his ’95 theses’ challenging the Catholic Church, and starting ‘The Reformation’. In a nutshell he questioned if it was moral for the Church to sell forgiveness.

And like all good travels in Europe it ended with a train ride (and you can buy beer on the train…)

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Kalbarri – routes in Stellar Wall area

Posted by robjwall on October 15, 2019

Its amazing to live somewhere with so much unclimbed rock (even if the Golden lines were taken by visiting Victorians).  We climbed two new routes this weekend:


Kalbarri Bronze, 20m, grade 18.¬† Trad (one bolt at crux), Head up the really obvious blocky steep crack opposite Stellar Wall to bolt belay.¬† EDIT – JUST FOUND OUT THIS WAS DONE GROUND UP BY KATE SWAIN AND FRIEND IN THE EARLY 2000s WITHOUT CLEANING – MAD BASTARDS – ANYWAY NOW ITS CLEAN AND HAS A BOLTED LOWER. OUR ASCENT: R Wall, K St√ľbner 13th Oct 2019 (pretty sure this is a new route based on the fact that it took 4 hours to clean the loose blocks and sand off). The line is amazing, with fun steep moves – it feels more like a gym climb than a crack.¬† The rock is not quite as bad as it looks…

Kalbarri Bronze


Lone Gum, 18m, grade 15, Trad.¬† Approx 50m L of Stellar Wall, head up the shallow corner/crack on clean orange rock; traverse slightly left to follow the easiest line to the beautiful white tree. FA R Wall / K St√ľbner 13th Oct 2019 (unless someone has done it?!)¬† The rock is solid with quite good small cams and wire placements. Rap off the tall white gum.¬† (If this route gets any traffic I’ll put in a lower-off).

Lone Gum

We also repeated Owen Davis’ classic Hollis Crack (16).¬† A #5 Camalot makes this route a pleasure.¬† I’d like to clean this and put in a lower off.


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Melz medal in U/23 C1 Teams event at World Champs

Posted by robjwall on July 23, 2019

Bronze Medal for Australia On Opening Day of Junior & U23 Canoe Slalom World Champs

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Alpine climbing July 2018

Posted by robjwall on August 13, 2018

The warm up was a weekend of crack climbing at Ettringen in Germany.



Then a week later Konstanze and I headed to Switzerland.  We used the excellent “Schweiz Plasir Sud” guide to work out where to go en-route to Ivrea.  Intially this led us to Freggio in the Italian part of Switzerland.  We attempted to find a (~16 pitch, with a walk off after 10 pitches) route called “Via del Pivello”.  The first pitches of slab seemed a lot harder than the book suggested,  and then the route ended after only 3 pitches.  After an hour of bush bashing including the slippery fern slide pictured we think we found the actual route and traversed in about 4 pitches up, and completed it to the end of pitch 10.



The rock was good, and the views of the valley extremely pretty (if not the noise from the Autostrada).


Looking down “Via del Pivello”

The next day we climbed some single pitch routes in a great little crag area called “Valle di Gorduno”, then travelled to Ivrea to see Kira, and watch Demelza race in the Junior World Slalom Canoe Championships, (where she made it to the U/23 C1 Semifinal) and eat a lot of nice food :).



Demelza and Kira at Ivrea

During the kayaking event K and I climbed 8  pitchs in the sun in Valle d’Aosta to climb “Bucca d’arancia”.  This was lovely but I was very happy to get back in the shade, and made me think we needed to plan to climb at much higher altitude.  Another day we did a couple of pitches at “Traversella”, where Demelza joined us for a great walk and very refreshing “swim” on the way back.



Refugio above Traversella


Secret swim spot

After the Kayaking was over we drove across to France and the wonderful Ailefroide climbing area where I had been two years previously.  On the first day we did a great ~7 pitch bolted 6a next to a waterfall called “Petits meutres entre amis”. I wish all routes had waterfalls – it was a constant debate to work out how much water to carry.


Petits meutres entre amis.


Happy climbers.

Nearly all the climbing to this point had been on bolted routes, and we both were feeling fit, so we wanted to push ourselves a bit and test out route finding and gear placing skills.  So we headed further up the valley above Ailefroide to the Glacier Blanc hut for a few nights.  (An inexpensive hut with good food!).  We managed to get slightly lost walking up the trail to the hut in the evening, we were not meant to cross this stream.


Lucky its summer!

The next day we were up early and walked an hour to Pointe de Cineastes to climb the 200m “Chasses Croises” 5c (obl), which was a mix of bolts and traditional pro.  The descent was to down solo half of the “Arete Sud Classique” (3a) which was probably the sketchiest thing we had done so far.  Cineastes had a real remote Alpine feel with tricky route finding and less than perfect rock.  A lot of the pro is to put slings around rock spikes.


Pointe des Cineastes

The second day here we attempted to find a crack line (“Eperon Ouest”) on the left side of the Cineastes, which was supposed to have bolted anchors.  There was a forecast of afternoon storms, so we wanted something we could retreat off.  After several pitches we never found a bolt, but the weather was ok, so we decided to ‘fail upward’ to the ridge at the top of the route and pickup the abseil line from the more popular ridge traverse.  The last long pitch (60m) up to a spire was magnificent exposed alpine climbing about grade 5a, with enough stable rock to sling little pinacles or place cams from time to time.  This was one of the best pieces of climbing we did on the whole trip (and its not impossible it was a new route!).   The descent was a really dirty couple of abseils and then some fun snow sliding off the backside.  We took no camera.  That night I was tired, and it was raining so we had another hut meal, and walked down the following morning in gorgeous sunshine and saw a few Marmottes.




Really, a Marmotte




Chamonix Aguilles from the town (Peigne on R).

We ‘rested’ a day or so (pack, drive, unpack…) and headed to the Refuge Plan de L’Aguilles above Chamonix which is only a 10 minute walk from the cable car middle station.  The weather on the first day was *perfect* so we left the hut at 3pm, and started a route “Eperon Nord” 6a? (chosen from my old Piola guide)  at 4.30pm.  Not best alpine practise.  The weather continued to be warm: perfect golden sunshine with no wind, so we were lured up going almost to the top of the excellent 8 pitch route.  Oddly there were bolts on the first two pitches only, and after that we found no anchors!   I was really enjoying being acclimatized, having perfect conditions, and being on this magnificent Chamonix granite, — it felt like I was just floating up it.   Just before the top Konstanze led a long, and quite loose left traverse to attempt to find the bolted Abseil line used by some more popular routes.  She found it, and we completed the abseils and down-soloing just as it got really dark, and, sharing our one head torch got back to the hut at midnight.  It was probably pretty close to a forced night out.  (I don’t *think* it would have been too cold, but I’m glad I didn’t find out!)

DSC01360.JPG The next day it rained, so I ate cake while K went for a walk, and then Andrew Mitchell arrived in the evening.

The following day (Sunday) we were out from the hut from 6am until 10pm completing the magnificent  “Voie Contamine Vaucher” on the Aguille du Peigne, which at 15 pitches (400m alt gain) was the longest route we did.


Andrew on one of the early pitches


Pretending to be scared


Looking up the line from about 5 pitches up.  We are heading for the giant ‘razor’ and chimney


Konstanze leads the incredible chimney pitch


Near the summit


All we have to do now is Abseil for 3 hours, go down the snow and walk back to the hut for DINNER


Looking down one of the many rapells



Andrew shows us the poses in the fading light

This was a great climbing day.  We did the route in good style despite getting lost quite a few times, and we all enjoyed every move.  My personal favourites bits were the airy 6a traverse under the roofs (crux), and the 6a layback protected by  stuffing cams into the moss, lower down  (you will never find that, we were off route!).


The way down –  9pm


We were all pretty shattered to be honest,  but the following day K and I went back onto the “Eperon Nord” and completed it properly this time AND made the 6pm cable car (we were only 30 min late so it was still running).

The final route of the trip was a few days later at Barberine: the bolted 8 pitch “Magician d’Oz”.  I was really struggling for energy and happy to have bolts.

Thanks Konstanze for an inspiring trip, and for calmness and route finding.  And thanks Andrew for making a 3, and sharing your confidence on the Contamine.  Salut.

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Albany Sea Kayak

Posted by robjwall on January 29, 2018

Albany Sea Kayak. Jan 26 to 28 2018.

Rob, Indi, Bryan.

Day One (click for map – then choose google on down arrow bottom right, then satellite on top left)



We left Emu Point at 9am after staying in the Caravan Park which was annoyingly almost but not quite at the put-in (we should have just slept on the beach).¬† This day had the best weather forecast of our planned 3 day trip to Waychinicup, and it turned out to be perfect paddling weather — calm and warm, but not hot. We had thought to start at the whaling station, but transport logistics made it easier to start at Emu Point, so we paddled across Frenchman’s Bay past a tiny island (“Seal Island”)¬† for a very short rest, then to the northern end of Flinder’s Peninsula. (I think there are or will be 2 or 3 really good looking Trad climbs here¬†that I am keen to check out another time).¬† The next leg was to Michaelmas Island where we paddled along the rocky seaward shore, very aware that this would not be so friendly most of the time.¬† Today we saw lots of the most wonderful large grey sea-birds with very slender wings.¬† They would swoop and glide along the sea surface coming very close to us.¬† I am pretty sure I have seen them before, but not in such large numbers, and I don’t know what they are called.¬† ¬†This was definitely a highlight for me!


The amazing sleeping rock

There was nowhere to land a kayak on the south side so we rested on the leeward  (northern) side for a bit and had a swim from the boat. The last leg was across to a very small east facing beach on the mainland at the western end of Nanarup beach where we had a decent sized lunch.  We contemplated the long crossing of this beach to take advantage of the good weather, but thought it was better not to overdo it on the first day although we all felt pretty good after about 25km of paddling in just over 3 hours. I slept under this amazing rock in case it rained, but insects were a problem!  I also had some fun making a barrier to the waves like I used to when I was ten.

Day Two (click for map)

The forecast was for 25 knot S to SW winds by noon so we got our shit together and were paddling by 745. On the first 12k¬† crossing the wind picked up to 20 knots or so and was an almost tail wind. This made it pretty easy going, but I found it hard to keep directional control at times.¬† It would have been hard (impossible?) to going into the wind. We stopped briefly in the shelter of a cool rocky island with *amazing* cliff jumping potential (Tarky), and then scurried for the shelter of the headland, where the wind continued to be extremely gusty varying from nothing at all to 25 kts. We stopped at the first beach we could which is apparently called “Waterfall Beach” and setup camp just as it started raining.

Waterfall Beach

Another amazingly beautiful un-spoilt campsite with clear warmish water, perfect white sand and rocks to cook on.¬† Paddling in it was disappointing to see a large resort building – jarring in this otherwise remote feeling location –¬† but at least it was out of sight of our camp. A bit of napping was needed after a quite tiring paddle. 22km, 4:15 in the boats.

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Routes at Secret South Coast Spot…

Posted by robjwall on January 1, 2017



Kira Wall on the FA of “No Hoes”.

Crocboating Area:

The following 3 routes share a two bolt anchor on top of the “Croc Boat” boulder. ¬†The starts are all normally ¬†separated by fresh flowing water! To get off, leave crabs on the bolts or solo off via a tree on the back (easy but exposed)

Left. Croc Boaters 10m, 3 bolts  (grade 17). Kira Wall April 2011

Middle. Just a couple of crimps 11m, 2 bolts (grade 18). Rob Wall April 2015

Right. *No Hoes (grade 18, easier if you stay right?).  12m, 3 bolts. Kira Wall April 2011.

The next route is on the face of the big boulder to the left (downstream). ie in the Chimney.

**Aladeen 12m, 3 bolts (grade Aladeen, but harder (prob Aladeen) if you don’t lean back on the Croc Boat boulder). ¬†Tarky Wall April 2011

Further down the creek on the right side is an excellent bolted arete/chimney 12m  (grade 20???). **No name.  FA by S.

On the other side of the creek is a really good hard short 7m finger crack (grade 21?)  *Crime.  FA Rob Wall April 2011.





Magic Faraway Tree area


Rob Wall near top of  Sandcrawler, 20

To get here walk past ‘Crime’, uphill on river left (ie East bank) on a sort of track, under a tree and over some rock to an obvious cliff about 80m uphill. ¬†You know you are in the right place when you see the most amazing tree (and some bolts shhh). ¬†From right to left the routes are


FA of Magic  19


Bolting team hard at work.


Bolt man

Sandpeople 13m, grade 17, 3 bolts to rings. Starts on top of the flake/block. FA T Wall Dec 16.

*Sandcrawler 18m, grade 20, 5 bolts to the same rings.  Sustained. Bring spare fingertips.  R Wall Dec 16.

big blank section then:

Magic 15m,  grade 19, 3 bolts to a two bolt belay

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Posted by robjwall on January 12, 2016

We are in Tasmania for a  couple of weeks again so the kids can compete in the Canoe Slalom National Champs.

We (Kira, Tarquin, Alf and I) started with a couple of days mountain biking in Derby (see¬† and this 2nd visit confirmed it really is one of the best areas in Australia. ¬†All the trails (mostly blue) are worth riding – it was especially good in the morning cool. ¬†You can also swim in the river, camp for free, and buy good coffee. ¬†Its worth the longish drive. ¬†This is Tarky’s edit showing why you should use a camel back not a bottle…



Next was a 2¬†night bushwalk up to the ‘Walls of Jerusalem’ which is the name given to a whole area of interesting alpine terrain.


We parked at the signposted trailhead near Lake Rowallan and started walking up at about 7pm.  This late start turned out to be a good idea, as it was a very hot day and the first 2k is a steep uphill.  After about an hour or two we camped on Lake Loane  (the first lake on the right fork (less people)  past Trappers Hut).

Ttrappers Hut.jpg

Alfie at Trappers Hut


The water is of course great for drinking and swimming (its Tas.) but we did get eaten by Mosquitos and probably should have taken a tent instead of the Tarp.



On the 2nd morning we walked along to the hut on Lake Ball (restored recently) and spent the ¬†last afternoon of 2015 reading and relaxing on the Lake shore. ¬†“Gorillas in the Mist” is my holiday read – I am in awe of Dian Fossey’s intelligence and determination. ¬†It was an extremely beautiful place to camp (but also had Mosquitios).


Camp on Lake Ball

On the third day we left the (‘right fork’ on map) ¬†trail we had followed and walked around Mt Moriah to the “Damascus Gate” for Lunch One. ¬†Some of us did the half hour return trip up to “Solomons Throne” for the view (and phone reception). ¬†From there it was a fast couple of hours back to the car and the start of Slalom training (with Demelza!) ¬†at 4pm. ¬†Kira and Tarky ran ahead and rode down the road instead of driving!

walk out.jpg

Walking near Mt Moriah


The Canoeing on the Mersey was great with many medals inluding  Demelza and Alf doing C2 together and getting a Bronze.  Now Kira is looking very likely to be selected for the Australian Jnr team for Poland,  being ranked 2 of 3 for both C1 and K1 after 2 of the 4 selection races.


Alf Dead after C2


See too.



I manged to come last in the K1 mens slalom, but was actually happy to get down the tricky course getting all the gates!  I also did rescue for Slalom and DR and was actually able to help one girl in DR who was sitting on a rock in the middle of the river after coming out of her boat.


Tark preparing for his C1 race at the Forth

It was then more paddling on the lovely Forth river with Alfie while the big kids went to Brady’s Lake before joining us for the ‘schools’ slalom competition on the Forth ¬†river. ¬† Tark and I had a fun MTB at Penguin one day also. ¬†Alfie did amazing well to¬†do an almost clean C1 run (he has only been in C1 on flat water a couple of times) – I¬†think Demelza has a video of this


Thanks to Paul Black for lending me his slalom  boat, and to these guys for lending me a car; finally thanks to all the volunteers who make the Slalom races possible.

Last night I caught up with Owen Davis for a quick Tronsight (a new word he taught me) of Neon God  [


View of the ‘pipes from Reg and Jen’s house


23]  L1 and another 23 (?) on Mt Wellington .  In true Owen style he ran up it on lead in  mist, semi darkness, and some light rain. It was great!







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Lower Murray!

Posted by robjwall on August 28, 2014

melz play boat

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