Kitten Mittens Project

Kitten Mittens Project

Sunday, July 1, 2012

All tomorrows parties

It appears I have been a victim of time dilation. An off shoot of the theory of relativity. Time dilation looks at the relationship of gravity and velocity with respect to time. It basically states that the less gravity is affecting you, the quicker time goes by. With the bluies being at a higher altitude than Brisbane, time here does actually go quicker!! It doesn't feel all that long ago I moved down to the mountains, but it has been 8 months already! It feels like I haven't really had time to breathe lately. I've been working a fair bit in the last 2 months, which has been really good, but it has meant I haven't been able to climb nearly as much as I'd like.

Thom up high on Grasshopper
Having said that, since my last blog I have done some fun stuff on rock. Before Thom Samuels left for his big 2 year trip to see the world, but mainly Canada, he wanted to do Grasshopper, 25, out a Pierces Pass. He'd been frothing about it for months and months and really wanted to free it (he aided it a year or so back). A group of us went out early one morning and had a crack. It really is a bloody impressive line. A single pin scar which runs for 50m up an otherwise fairly blank face. I racked up and went for an onsight. I've not done a whole lot of trad and had never actually fallen on gear before. I felt there was a good chance I'd be loosing my 'no falls on gear' virginity on this thing. But after stalling a little at a crux at mid height, I got to the top clean and was super psyched to have climbed this amazing pitch. Ben had a lash next but after taking 2 6m gear ripping falls at the mid way crux he came down and handed the sharp end to Thom. Thom cruised on up, placing a little more gear between the few pieces I'd placed and flashed it easily. It was one of the most enjoyable mornings climbing I've had and got me amped for more trad!

Me mid-crux on Grasshopper

I've also got the Mechanical Animal off my back that had been on there way too long. I went through the full ups and downs of redpointing on this route. I feel I could have climbed it much earlier but due to brain farts, bad beta and a few other things it became a bit of an epic. Finally clipping the anchors on link was a great feeling and the journey I took on this route is one I'll remember.

View from the top of the proj at Sail Away wall
On a new front, I've been working a project down on Sail Away wall at Porters Pass. Those of you who have been done to Sail Away wall in the last few years would have for sure seen Vince's project out to the right. A bunch of long slings and burly moves take you all the way from the ground to the tippy top of the wall in one stellar pitch. Vince bolted it few years ago, over 5 days and invested a bit of time on it, gearing it up, chalking holds, finding sequences and putting moves together. The route has 2 very distinct sections. The first half of the route starts from the get go. Jump from a boulder at the base of the route to a good break then a high right heel, big lock off and reach up to a ledge then mantle. Easy enough climbing takes you up to a reasonable rest where you get ready for some powerful and balancey moves puts you at an obvious break. I think Vince half called this a route in itself and goes around 30, but the 'extension' is where its at! You get a good rest after this first bit of climbing, which you definitely need as you are about to launch into some serious business. After a few introductory moves on edges you get to quickly clip and bust up into a thin high gaston, a foot shuffle and a big throw to a horrendous slopper then pop again to an edge. Now you're under the big 45 degree headwall, pump is well and truely numbing your brain and you still have almost 20 moves left. Grab a few pockets and cross over to an edge and deadpoint to a crappy little crimp then a big hard move to a sloppey jug. Now just 3 moves on some pretty bad sloppey crimps take you to the lip and the tricky mantle. Do all this in one hit and you've got yourself a seriously wicked route. It feels like I'll have to invest a fair crack of time on these moves. A lot of fitness needed.

Another route with Vince's name to it, this time he was just the first to climb it, not bolt it. Baboon Banquet, 33,  at Bowens Creek. This is an absolute classic route on the far right side of the main wall. Right from the blocks this one kicks you in the guts. A few crimpy moves gets you to a very weird pouncey move out right to a sloppey edge then a heal toe cam in front of your face gets you through the next couple of burly moves. After a good rest you just need your burners to keep going through a pretty goey, but not too ridiculous last boulder. There's a potential heartbreaking left gaston move only a few meters from the top but I figure if I sing enough Achy Breaky Heart to it while I'm up there each time it'll get the massage and all will be ok and I won't come off.

The last route I've thrown myself at lately is Sneaky Old Fox, 34, at DF yesterday. Despite baltic conditions it was actually quite a nice morning out. I wrapped in putting the draws on and felt a few holds and chalked a couple things up. First lap on Hairline for a warm up I was having second thoughts about climbing out there. Numb Fingers and stiff muscles aren't nice to climb with. But after a second lap I was feeling good. Amanda, however, wasn't feeling so chipper. It was quite funny really. Despite 4 layers she'd still scurry off around into the amphitheatre betweens catches to defrost. Back on topic though, SOF is just awesome. It starts up Fantastic Mr Fox and does its crux, then a tough traverse up to the rest below Grey Area before launching into those classic 2 moves of GA. I linked a few sections together and worked out some good beta and am psyched to get back on it soon.

DF!! If you have a keen eye you can spy my blue rope snaking up the red and grey streaks of SOF

I don't think it'll be too soon though. Got a solid week of work, followed by 3 nights of nightshift over the weekend then Amanda and I pack the car up and go meet Grant and Bec down in the GRAMPIANS for some southern rock action. Pretty excited for Gramps. I've never been so I think I'm going to just try and get a taste of it all. Some bouldering, a bit of Taipan action and perhaps a little trip over to Araps for a dabble at the trad classics.

On a sadder note, recently we lost a very close friend. About a month ago Jay Trent was hit by a passing car on his way to work after pulling over and fixing something in the back of his ute. Although I've only known Jay since I moved to the mountains in November, he's been a big part of my life. When I first met Jay he and Thom had just walked in the backdoor after a day of climbing. He greeted me with his big smile and a 'gday mate, do you want to go grab some beers?' After getting back from the bottleo Jay, Thom and I all sat around having a few and joking about as if we had been mates forever. Over summer Jay had some time off work due to bad weather and we climbed and got up to all sorts of shenanigans together for a bit over a month. Thrown in there he and Ben Jenga did an express trip down to Tassie to taste the best of the apple isle. Jay was always psyched to get out and climb and have fun with his mates. He'd give everything on redpoint burns of his project, drive 12hrs to Frog just to climb for 2 days in the rain, look for new lines to bolt, multi pitch at Pierces Pass or almost throw up on his warm ups at Diamond Falls because he'd drunk waaaaay too much the night before. He'd do it all with a big goofy grin and a laugh.

Seeing Jay top out on Don't Believe the Tripe after weeks and weeks and weeks of  low points, high points, dummy spits and bad weather he walked up it. It is honestly one of the best feelings I've ever had in climbing. I'm glad I was there to see him finally climb it and in style.

Slackline action in Blackheath park
Jay in his finest hour
We are going to miss you buddy, but we are all better people for having had you in our lives. One and a half thumbs up!!

I'll try to keep on top of this blog a little more now. Stay tuned for some gramps photos and a trip report in the next few weeks.

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