Every now and then people come into your life that lift your soul or make you laugh or both or sumfink so when the chance came up to skive off work and do such an awesome canyon with 3 of those people I thought why the hell not
Kylie told me she had a licence to get out of dodge. She also mentioned she’d never been through Hole in the Wall so we concocted a plan and I took a day off. It just so happens Madie and Leo also had the day off so we met up at the ZigZag railway and set off to test out the bypass that would get us around some clean up work that currently had Waratah ridge rd blocked.
In the end the bypass was pretty straight forward and we were shouldering packs and heading off into the glorious sunshine, spirits high and smiles wide.
The usual banter and catchup chatter had extra depth and post lockdown feels that ate up the walk in and before we knew it we where suited up and heading into the confines of the upper section.
But first we needed to get past the gate keeper
and then we were into it
And because the day was early we then head to the Dam cliffs to hang off more cliffs for fun
Surround yourself with awesome people. Experience Awesome things
Last year Madie threatened/promised to drag me up Bunny Buckets Buttress. It’s kinda the big easy of the Pieces Pass area. A mega classic grade 18 that wonders up 310m of the Grose Valley clifflines.
Unfortunately I had a series of tendon injuries and just felt I’d be a liability.
I haven’t done a lot of climbing lately but was starting to feel good again. I mentioned to her that I’d be keen once I get a bit of endurance.
OK we are doing it Saturday, Says Madie. You and me on Bunny Buckets, Leo, Lucie and Felix will go up next to us on Randy Rabbit Ridge (a grade 20 that basically parallels BBB)
OH shit!! I’d done 8 pitches of climbing in the last 6 weeks. Bunny Buckets was 8 pitches one after another, 5 of which were right at my climbing limit at the moment. Not to mention most of the pitches were longer than any pitch I have done lately…
I admit I had a bit of a anxiety attack at the thought of not being up to it. I lost sleep worrying about it. I’d hate to be one of those people who claim they are better than they are then ruin everyone’s day by not being as good as they thought
Shut up brain. Suck it up! This is an awesome opportunity. No more excuses. I’m in.
I tend to get real nervous leading up to a trip right up until I get out of the car and get walking but after a crappy day at work on the Friday I slept like a log and I woke up feeling calm and excited for the day
The car park was packed. Don’t they know how cold it is? There are a few abseil routs down, We pick the fastest one and pass one group on setting up on the other. We then meet Lucas and Ben at the bottom, they graciously let us go first and somehow weren’t put off be my floundering about pretending to be a rock climber.
I’d have to say I had a moment halfway up pitch 3 where I was struggling with a move and started second guessing myself and it took Leo shouting encouragement/threats from across the void to convince me to push on. I tried again, got the move easy and continued on.
In the end I hang-dogged the first 3 pitches, took a swinger on the traverse where had to resort to ascenders to get back on route and, I climbed ugly but I got up with out needing to be hauled (TBH I think Madie was taking a lot of my weight at times) and I couldn’t be happier.
The second last pitch was a glorious vertical wall. Once again it was right at the upper end of my skill level but more to my style than the lower pitches at that grade. I was shot, muscle fatigue had well and truly set in. I’d struggle up 2 or 3m clip my safety to the bolt and hang, resting for what seemed an eternity then I’d go again. But I loved every minute of it.
My mates really are awesome.
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” -Anonymous
Surround yourself with awesome people, experience awesome things: Flynny
For one reason or another I find myself picking up Madie and Russ and pointing our wheels south to meet up with Jez and Aleasha for some climbing at a popular little crag near Mittagong.
It was a perfect winters day and for a while we had the crag all to ourselves.
Madie, Russ and I set up on a nice looking 14, Selective Cleansing. It was a nice way to warm up
It was a short climb so we each have a lead and move around the corner for another 14, Open toPublic Scrutiny. Basically 1 smeary move down low and a walk up the wall
Again Madie places the gear, then we pull the rope and each have a lead and leave the gear in place to swap routes with the others
Mean while had Jez and Aleasha set up on a more ambitious 21…. Crimp a Buttock They both have a quiet, smooth style. They are nice to watch.
Jez would eventually follow her on lead while Madie and Russ manage the direct route on top rope.
Feeling confident after the top rope we decide to have a lead on something a little more challenging, 17 or 18 would be nice… A slight miss read of the guide saw Madie leading up Silver Fox, 20
Now a just a few weeks ago we dragged each other up a 15 on top rope and were over the moon…. Well, I’ve never known her to back off a challenge and bang, she leads her first 20. While Gibbo and Aleasha are quiet and precise, The Mad One is pure determination, power and self belief, oh and a “little” more vocal 🙂
The challenge is out and I surprise myself by following her to bag the hardest climb I’ve done in over 20 years.
But that would pretty much be my last win for the day. With blown forearms I attempt to follow the others up a few more routes but fail.
Still stoked for the day. If you’d have asked me on the way down I would have said I’d be happy if a managed to second a 17. Bagging a 20 (with pre-placed gear) was a pleasant surprise.
Mt Alexandra is such a cool crag. Interesting routes on nice rock with a good mix of grades. No doubt we’ll be back.