CLIMBING TASMANIADestination Guide
TASMANIA CLIMBING GUIDE
Earlier this year, Pro Team athlete Uisdean Hawthorn explored the various climbing opportunities that Tasmania has to offer over a three-month period. If rugged terrain and isolated mountains are what you seek, then Tasmania might just be the climbing destination for you.
With over 65 kilometres of trails, this landscape is best described as Tasmania’s answer to the Cuillin Ridge, with a little natural forest thrown in amongst the rock.
BEN LOMONDNorth East
Rock Type: Dolerite
Top Routes: Barbe Di Vendetta, 17 | Rajah, 18 | Ramadan, 19 | Defender of the Faith, 22
For a Tasmanian mountain crag, this is fairly easy to access, involving only a 20-minute bolder hop. However, unless you are a crack climbing master, as soon as you start climbing things quickly, things will become a lot harder. The climbing is brilliant, hundreds of splitter cracks from finger to off width up to 100m high. Another thing that makes Ben Lomond so unique is that there are no bolts.
There is only one downside to climbing at Ben Lomond, and that’s back at the campsite which has mosquitos that are bad enough to equal a light midging.
FREYNICET PENINSULAEast Coast
The Freycinet Peninsula is an area of incredible white sandy beaches but with some striking mountains that rise straight out of the sea.
The best way to enjoy this area is to run or walk around the 30km trails which take you right into the hills, ideal for escaping from the more touristy sections surrounding Wineglass Bay. During the Summer the climbing at low grades is excellent. Although I found that the higher graded climbing tended to be a little too hot and humid to be fully enjoyed.
TASMAN PENINSULASouth East
Rock Type : Dolerite
Top Routes : Totem Pole : Deep Play 24, The Free Route 25 | Mount Brown : Time goes by 23 , Talk is Cheap 24 | Moai : Sacred Site 18, Burning Spear 22 | Paradiso : Offender of the Faith 24, Too Tall oxen 22
There are lots of great climbs to be done in this area, but the main and must do is the Totem Pole, the world-famous rock feature really lives up to the hype; and that’s not something I often say. The feeling of adventure goes from nothing to very high as soon as you start abseiling into the deep cavern to get to the base. It feels really exposed down there as you swing around trying to get across the raging sea and hold onto the bottom of the pole.
The feeling of exposure only increases as you climb two pitches of mind blowing quality to stand on top of the tiny tip. By the time you do the Tyrolean back to the mainland your brain will be so overloaded it doesn’t feel quite as exposed as it looks.
Only a 30-minute drive down the road and you’ll arrive at the Mount Brown main cliff. Providing great climbing up to ten pitches long on both Sport and Trad, or a in true Tasmanian style a bit of both. Right next to this, The Paradiso. A Sport crag with 40m routes on massive jugs up a continually steep wall, all above a perfect wide ledge just above the sea with spectacular views towards Cape Raoul. According to some friends, you may even be lucky enough to see Whales swim past too.
WESTERN ARTHURS RIDGE TRAVERSESouth West
WESTERN ARTHURS RIDGE TRAVERSE
Despite spending the least amount of time here, this was my favourite area. The entire South West quarter of Tasmania has basically no roads and a lot of mountains! The only downside is that the weather can be quite bad here, so be prepared.
A traverse of the Western Arthurs is a must do. Over 65km of mountain trails on what could be best described as a longer version of the Cuillin Ridge, but on grass and thick natural forest compared to all rock. We did it in one very long 17-hour day, which I would only recommend if you are fit enough.
If you’re looking to spend a little extra time on the trail, leaving a tent at Junction Creek would allow you to do most of the steep scrambly ground in a 40km day with a day either side to walk the first and last 10km in and out.
Alternatively you can take your time like many do and spend eight days walking, and taking in the views from the ridge of the complete remoteness which is hard to find these days without going to the greater ranges.