Seeing as I’ve been sitting around at home with a sick little one – and not feeling so crash hot myself – I’ve been going through a lot of old photos and videos. I’m mostly trying to get a little film/slideshow cut together from our Moab trip earlier this year, but got sidetracked with our climbing trip to Tonsai Bay, Thailand, way back in February 2004. So here’s a mix of photos and footage from that trip! Jack Johnson playing in the background because that was the only CD that the bars along the beach ever seemed to play, and … Continue reading Blast from the climbing past
Unfortunately this time the jinx did not take itself out on me, but my hapless climbing partner. We drove to Haffner Creek, changed into boots, loaded ourselves up with climbing gear, hiked in to the climbs, picked a likely looking first climb, climbing partner racked up and started leading. The ice was quite hard, the climb was very vertical, and climbing partner started to get pumped and shaky, attempting to place an ice screw that just wouldn’t bite. Front bail of one of climbing partner’s crampons popped off, and climbing partner rapidly went from being a few metres up on … Continue reading perhaps my ice climbing trips are jinxed this season?
The next day it stopped raining and all the Stumpy Tailed lizards (a.k.a. Shinglebacks) came out to play in the sun. And so we climbed a long climb, which was all good until on the second pitch Pete started complaining about how it was difficult to think over the noise of the bees. Then he realised there was a beehive a metre from his head, so he rapidly chose another course. It’s generally unpleasant coming up against creepy crawlies on a cliff face – you invariably have very few escape options available to you.
Ignoring the forecast of rain, I figured that it would probably be dry anyway. After all, it never rains at Arapiles. However, I had forgotten to take into account that with the change in government had come a change in weather patterns – since Kevin Rudd broke the drought, it just hasn’t been the same. The bare dirt has gone, to be replaced by actual green stuff growing from the ground – the paths to the climbs are festooned with daisies! And the cliffs themselves seem to be developing a healthy amount of foliage. But anyway, it rained. … Continue reading climbing in the rain at the arapiles
A visual diary of my afternoon/evening: I am at work. I look at Mount Bourgeau. I am at Mount Bourgeau. I look at work. I go from Mount Bourgeau back down to work. In between, I look around at the mountains and the yellow aspen, and listen to the wind blowing through the trees, and I climb and do not fall despite the strange slanting of the rock which gives the disconcerting sensation that the mountain is casually shrugging you off.
While the snow continued its attempts to sneak down into town, the sun won out today. The cloud was burnt off by mid-morning, and most of the overnight sprinkling of snow on the surrounding mountains had disappeared by afternoon. Perfect climbing weather. In this case, being lazy and going to the nearest crag to town – surely no-one else will have had the same idea. Warm weekend at Grassi Lakes – climbers, blue skies and snow on the backdrop mountains The top section of the Grassi Lakes climbing area has been opened again for a couple of weeks … Continue reading summer again!
The weather’s taken a turn for the unpredictable recently – weather forecasts keep looking promising, then turning to scattered showers the day beforehand, and the day in question ends up being miserable and rainy. And that’s exactly what happened when I tried to finally climb at Lake Louise. Views of Lake Louise (ski resort), Lake Louise (chateau) and Lake Louise (lake – filling up with people in canoes) There was low cloud lurking through the Bow Valley, and all the way along the drive there. “It’ll be fine!” we said. “At least it’s not raining!” we said. The … Continue reading lake lousie
Lovely Summer day climbing at Heart Creek. Warm sun, cool creek, gentle breeze, plastic dinosaur. All in monochrome. Not a lot of climbing was done, though we did find the waterfall at the end of the creek – the trail leads all the way to it, but then to actually see the waterfall you have to scramble around some polished rock. From the looks of the bolts, there used to be chains going round, so everyone could get there. I guess most people just have to be satisfied with the noise of the waterfall these days. … Continue reading it doesn’t look a bit like a heart
Grassi Lakes – it lurks on the edge of town, with its soft grades and its buckety holds and its tendency to always be ok to climb at even if it’s threatening to rain. The outdoor gym crag of Canmore, with shiny ring bolts on sport climbing routes as easy as 5.5 (and up to 5.12a, but I may have had to check the guidebook for that number), nicely set up stairs and flat areas to stand on, and a lovely view. There’s even the kiddy wall section of Gardener’s Wall, where precocious children can learn to lead climb on … Continue reading after-work cragging at grassi lakes
I started off just planning to have a look for any descriptions of the Milford Track, or the Routeburn, or one of those other tracks in New Zealand that are so well known – just to get an idea what they’re each like, how long they are, and how busy they are. Then I turned up a National Geographic list of the Best! Hikes! Ever! And then I started reading about the Kungsladen in the far north of Sweden… “In the extreme north of Sweden, a hundred miles (160 kilometers) inside the Arctic Circle, hides the last remote wilderness in … Continue reading the internet is a terrible place
The Bugaboos – a group of inspiring granite towers clustered in the Purcell Range of British Columbia, and the site of my first proper mountaineering/alpine rock experience. Also the place where I learned that anti-balling plates on crampons are a really good idea. Arriving in the carpark, the first step after getting gear ready was to critter-proof the Jeep. Apparently porcupines and other wee beasties like to nibble on rubber and brake linings and other car parts, so all of the vehicles in the parking lot were encircled by chicken wire, held at the top by the logs, … Continue reading the bugaboos
It was 8 o’clock in the morning and we had thrown on our backpacks (heavily laden with mountaineering boots, crampons, rope and axes) and leaped on our trusty bicycles. The bicycles had been rescued from the fence outside our house just a few days earlier, after sitting in the snow and ice all winter. It took a while to cut through the locks, but in the end we were rewarded with bikes of … well, dubious quality, but at least they went. After meeting Jody in town and we confirmed all bikes were in working order (although in an attempt … Continue reading the silliest adventure in some time
Because standing in a snow and ice filled gully receiving no sun is a perfect place way to spend a negative fifteen degree day. Even the glacier worms were finding it cold
All right stop collaborate and listen … Erm, so I went ice climbing. Nine in the morning and we were strolling along a packed snow path up to Mt Stanley Headwall. Two hours later, and we’d completed the final slog up through deep fluffy snow, arrived at Sinus Gully, and were strapping on crampons. In my case they were a pair of antique crampons that attached to my ski boots via a mechanism involving a couple of trusty leather straps that were probably just as good as they were when the crampons were originally purchased (in Kathmandu in … Continue reading ice ice baby
Despite the fact it had been raining all morning, and we had to run to the car in the middle of a heavy downpour, we still decided to go climbing. It was a good decision, even without the yummy Malmsford bakery it would have been a good day – and dry too. The attempts to find Wabbit Wocks were in vain, so we just headed to Dog Rocks – we had the place to ourselves all day, except for the man who wandered past just before sunset and told us he ‘admired our spirit’. Cath on Little Bo Peep (21)
A hot weekend at Arapiles saw us baking in dry 40oC heat in the Pines. Swimming in the fire dam, somehow avoiding death by rope swing, and not catching any fish And hiding in nice cool caves (well I did anyway). In conclusion: lying on cool shady rock on a 40oC is much cooler than sitting in my un-airconditioned apartment on a 40oC day. Climbing in the sun is not the coolest option.
Commencing trepanning in 4 seconds…. First time on rock in over five months (aside from a brief flirtation with the You Yangs for the sake of some advertising material; however, as that involved nothing more than standing around and looking like climbers, it doesn’t really count for much). It was a weekend of nearly full moon, no night climbing, but some night photography. Time spent lazing in the sun, climbing rock, watching other people climbing rock, and getting hungry due to the impact of the global shellite shortage on the Wimmera area supermarkets. The photo below of the Plaque and … Continue reading lagonda flamethrower
A long (long) Easter weekend was spent at Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains. The weather and climbing were both lovely, and the old house we rented for a week was interesting, particularly with 15 people staying in it. A sample of our adventures in the photos below. As per usual, when the most climbing was being done, there was no photographic evidence. Conclusion from the trip – Sydney climbers have it pretty good when it comes to quality rock nearby (also some other conclusions about Sydney being warmer, but Melbourne being a nicer city to live in, or something like … Continue reading the blue mountains is a lovely place
A warm sunny weekend was spent at Arapiles, as we took out a heap of beginners to play on the rock, and come multi-pitching. Nothing quite like sleeping outside in the Pines campground, watching satellites before you fall asleep, listening to the guys in the campsite next door talk about their epics on past climbs, and having possums run all over the campsite, and over you in your sleeping bag, as they hunt around for food. And then getting woken up by the rising moon, before falling asleep again, and getting woken by the sun the second time around. Clear … Continue reading minions to carry the cowbells
No, I’m not actually going back to Tasmania. Well, not at the moment anyway. But here are a few more photos from the trip, just to prove there really was some climbing, and I wasn’t just touring around notable Tasmanian climbing locations. Most of the places we climbed at, we were the only people there. Boer heading up Cordon Bleu (15) at Freycinet I second up after Boer on Cordon Blue – damning the stuck nut. Bouldering on the beach at Honeymoon Bay. This rock was actually thoroughly manky, and swathes of sand and debris would come off … Continue reading back to tasmania