Located in the Melbourne suburb of Burnley, underneath the City Link/ Monash Freeway, is one of Melbourne’s hidden bouldering gems. It’s the finger burning, forearm aching Burnley bouldering wall. Bouldering has become increasing popular, especially in Melbourne. The Burnley climbing wall offers a 100% free training playground. With a friendly atmosphere, that’s welcoming to beginners.
What is Bouldering?
Bouldering is rock climbing at its basics. Instead of climbing high cliff faces, bouldering climbs are at a lower height. Though this can offer some more complicated climbing problems, you do leave behind climbing gear, such as ropes, harness and the safety of your belayer. It’s still preferable have a spotter (a person to help guide your fall) and safety gear such as bouldering mats.
The fun with bouldering is the challenge. Each new climb, offers a new challenging and technical route (bouldering problems). To complete each bouldering challenge, the climber needs a combination of strength, balance, technique and will power. You can see the problem in front of you and the solution is your own body. Having to twist and balance as you muscle your way to finish each new climb.
Another great benefit of bouldering is the social aspect. You tend to stand around trying to figure out problems with other people. Most of the time with complete strangers, all with a common goal.
Burnley Bouldering Wall 1
The Burnley Bouldering Wall 1 is vertical. Generally considered a beginner to intermediate wall. It’s also a good wall to warm up on. Even thoough this wall is not the most popular as the other walls, Wall 1 does offer some challenging climbing problems.
Burnley Bouldering Wall 2
The Burnley Bouldering Wall 2 is set on a 30 degree incline. Wall 2 is by far the most popular wall. Offering a good range of traversing and bouldering problems to conquer.
Burnley Bouldering Wall 3
The Burnley Bouldering Wall 3 is set on a 45 degree incline. Wall 3 offering some of the harder bouldering problems. Offering a good range of traverses and boulder problems. Wall 3 is suited for the more experienced climber.
How Burnley Bouldering Wall Works
There are three separate bouldering walls. Each wall is set at different inclines: vertical, 30 degrees and 45 degrees.
You will notice that all the plastic hold on the walls are different colours. This is because each colour represents a different climbing problem for you to solve. Generally, there are two types of problems paths:
1. climbing problems going along the wall are known as traversing.
2. climbing problems going vertically.
Each problem is graded. On the end/side of each wall is a chart showing the different paths and grades of each climbing problem.
A simple overview of bouldering climbing grading is that the traversing problem are graded using a number system 0-30 and the vertical problems are graded on the bouldering system V0-V15. As the numbers get higher so does the difficulty of the problem.
When to go to Burnley Bouldering Wall
Burnley Bouldering Wall is open 24/7. Lights come on at night time, so having a climb after work is not a problem. Plus the cooler nights in summer time are the best for socialising. As it’s completely undercover by the City Link/M1, bouldering at the Burnley Bouldering Wall is always available no matter what the Melbourne weather conditions are like.
Cost: 100% Free
It’s recommended to have the following:
- climbing shoes
- climbing Chalk
- bouldering mat
Burnley Bouldering Wall Facilities:
- 3 bouldering walls
- 1 bouldering mat (although this is quite old)
- some gym equipment
- finger board
- picnic table
- chairs and sofa
- no water onsite
- no toilets. The closest toilets are in Barkly Gardens (a park) on the corner of Mary Street and Barkly Avenue, about a 5 minute walk.
Burnley Bouldering Wall Safety:
- apart from the old bouldering mat, the ground is hard.
- the area is unsupervised, so mind your own belongings and kids.
Burnley Bouldering Wall Rules/Guidelines:
- no bare feet. Don’t leave your Tinea for someone else.
- give way to the other people on the wall if someone else started climbing before you. Then they have the right of way.
- don’t take over the wall when its busy, let everyone have a go.
- don’t get underneath climbers unless you’re spotting someone – they fall!
- don’t take equipment and gear from the walls.
- it’s pet friendly
Burnley Bouldering Wall Address
The Burnley Bouldering Wall is located between Mary Street and Barkly Street in Burnley Victoria. It’s underneath the City link/Monash freeway and situated along the Yarra Trail bike path.
How to get to the Burnley Bouldering Wall
To ride to Burnley Bouldering Wall, take the Yarra trail to Burnley. It is located under the Citi Link/M1 between Coppin Street and Mary Street. A small island called Herring Island is on the opposite side of the Yarra River.
Take the number 78 tram and hop off as close to the Church Street and Yorkshire Street intersection. Follow Yorshire Street east until you turn right onto Mary Street. At the end of Mary Street take the tunnel and then turn left at the Yarra River. You will find Burnley Bouldering Wall in about 200m.
Drive along Swan Street in Richmond and take Coppin Street south (towards KFC). At the end of Coppin Street turn left onto Barkly Avenue and in about 80m you will see a road on your left. Follow this partly gravel road (partly gravel) to park your car outside the Parks Victoria entrance. Walk down towards the river, then take a right and cross over the floating pontoon bridge. The Burnley Bouldering Wall is basically at the end of the pontoon bridge.
Short History of the Burnley Bouldering Wall
Since the 1990’s a climbing wall of some type has been present in the Burnley area that was used as a training area for climbers that’s close to the Melbourne CBD.
Although in 2003 the wall was removed, deemed a risk to public safety. Victorian Climbing Club, City Link management and Parks Victoria then came together and in 2006, with the support of the Melbourne climbing community, constructed the Burnley Bouldering Wall. This soon became a great climbing and social hub for the Melbourne climbing community.
In 2010, due to upgrades on the City Link, the walls where stripped down while work on the freeway was completed.
The wall wasn’t rebuilt until 2011 but with upgrades such as lights and superior climbing walls to the previous climbing walls.
The coloured holds where donated by Hardrock Climbing Gyms. Now, the regular management of the walls is under the care of the Melbourne climbing community, Victorian Climbing Club and Parks Victoria.