Kitten Mittens Project

Kitten Mittens Project

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Going Native

I’m jumping on the long overdue blog update bandwagon. I had a little thing I had written about fun adventures I’d had in the past while, but then Ben updated his long overdue blog and so my update would have been outdated and surpassed in every other way! Not wanting to reheat old stories and tell them in a far less eloquent way I sat steady. Waiting for something else fun to ramble about to ya’ll.

The arete project
I can’t, however not mention what Ben, if any of you have read his blog, which if you haven’t you should, as it is great, has written in his last two posts. The bouldering in the Ukulore Valley!! It’s the ace of spades for sure! All time greatness within 5 minutes of your home, depending on where you live. There are quite a few areas now all with some of the best bouldering you could hope for. Honestly I think some of the problems would give the Grampians classics a run for their money! Am I allowed to say that?? Well it’s true!

Ben and I have been tramping down there with a reasonable amount of regularity lately and have been brushing, chalking, building landings, forging trails and of course playing on the boulders far past sunset. Very romantic! There are quite a few established problems now, ranging from V4-V11. It was, in some ways, slightly annoying the amount of mega awesome projects we had found. Where were you to start? Seems a funny thing to complain about; too much good climbing!

In the last couple of weeks Ben and I have put up the following:

  • The old reach around – V11, a tricky blind around the corner throw.
  • Jack to the hobos – V11, I managed to get up it 2 days after Ben. This is surely a contender as an all time classic anywhere in the world.
  •  Squatting in a slitted trashbird (name not yet confirmed) – V10, very cool footwork and hand sequence to a big throw and a commiting tall slab out.

Ecker's tears
  •  Beyond the glory hole – V8, Ben nabbed the 2nd ascent a couple minutes after me. This is a very fun and pasty corner problem.
  •  Ma Crow’s choice – V5, very cool high ball on the right arête of the iced vovo boulder.
  •   Ecker’s tears – V7/4, Sit start and stand start. The sit starts on a left undercling on the lip of the low roof and a right hand cartoon hold. Do a couple of tensiony moves to get yourself to the two good edges where the stand start starts. Then make your way up the arête on the amazingly sculpted holds.
  • Ma Crow's Choice. This photo doesn't give the boulder any credit for its size
    Ben on beyond the glory hole

    Ben on beyond the glory hole
A cool drain down in the Ukulore the cane farmers use to cross the road. The season is just about to start again so we will be seeing more of them soon.

Then there are all the radical hard projects to do as well. However you all have busy lives and I don’t need to bore you with too many details.  I could go on for hours! Just know they are rad!!
Ben brushing up 'and the ass saw the angel' project. This picture dwarfs the real life thing.
It is just the sweetest thing!

So now we get to the new story I get to tell you. I did my first first ascent of a route I bolted yesterday!! Wow o wow it was good. Not just in a quality of rock and moves way, but in a whole process way. This wasn’t the first route I bolted, 4th actuallyI have done a few first ascents before, however I had never bolted any of them. They were ether existing projects, link ups, direct starts or alternate finishes. Most of the time they were a known quantity and weren’t necessarily a huge adventure. This was an adventure though, in a sport climbing kind of way. It was so much fun to rap down a virgin cliff and start sinking my dynabolts, checking out the holds and seeing where a line might go. I spent days and days cleaning off loose rock, scrubbing off mud and gluing in my ring bolts. There may be a few of you who are reading this who have bolted before so you’ll know how much fun it is. Either that or you’ll know how much I’m hamming this up and will think I’m just some glory hungry upstart bolt clipper =).  Anyway, when I finally had the chance to try the route for the first time it was the best. To feel how the holds actually felt with a chalky hand and climbing shoe clad foot. Some of the sequences I’d thought would go didn’t and others I was bang on. Quite a few of the moves were even more outrageous than I could have imagined!
I had an attempt at Macarons. Not as good as the real thing
I tried a couple weeks later! They are yum!!

me catching a sick left
On a side note, surfing has recently peaked my interest again. Surfing was the thing I was most psyched on before I started running around in the dust at the base of cliffs. I have always loved the beach and, sorry for the wankiness here, it’s where I feel the best. After heading up to Brisbane in July for my birthday, I returned with one of my old boards! Dusty and covered in cobwebs, the poor thing hadn’t been near the water in years. Since coming back I’ve bought myself another board, a wet suit that actually keeps me warm and I’ve been charging down to the surf as much as possible. My daily website perusing now involves a little too much time spent pouring over any surf related material.

Julian's best attempt at gettin up
Thom has also gotten his hands on a surf board and so now we have joined the Blackheath surf brigade. There are actually quite a few Blackheathens who enjoy a surf. Thom, Julian and I went down early yesterday morning for sneaky morning session. We pulled up at the car park and it was looking fairly flat. Bummer. There was enough to make getting wet worthwhile though. Ten minutes after getting in they started to pick up a bit to about 3ft on some of the bigger sets. A very fun size without much washing machine consequence if you tumble into the frothy stuff. I spent the morning carving it up and looking like a pro. Not quite, but I managed to get a metric shite ton of them it seemed. Towards the end of the session I could barely paddle back out my shoulders were so worked! After a little false start on his new board Thom found his feet and got up on a couple of swish lookin waves. Julian, however, looked like someone dressed a baby giraffe in a wetsuit and plopped it on a board. It was entertaining to watch. In the end though we all had a cracker of a day with many waves in the bag.

Thom and I doing a few ding repairs on our quiver 
Getting the boards down

Now we cross seamlessly back to rock climbing. After the surfing Thom and I were still psyched to play. So we headed back up the mountain for some rock climbing. We went straight down to Elphinstone, Gay Paris wall. Gay Paris wall for those who aren’t familiar, is a cool new wall that completes the triangle of glory of the three cliffs that make up Elphinstone. Nory, Thom and I have bolted a few routes on it, all of which are all time, none of which had been climbed.
First Mango of the season. Gosh I love em

Thom and I did a little track work around the base of the cliff, cutting out some steps and laying pavers so as to make the Gay Paris experience an enjoyable one for all you merry travellers. After a little hard labour we got bored and started climbing. I went up and put the draws on my Shame at the Anvil project. It certainly is a cracking route. It would weigh in at around 40+meters and you can break it into two sections. The first half being fairly steady climbing for 15-20m at around grade 30. You get to a stonking rest and you can get most of it back. Then crank up through the top half without so much of a rest and turn the lip of the cliff via a leap and a skip. Thom had a go on his new line too. This route will be a super thing!! Moderate and from the looks of things very gymnastic and funky climbing to a 6ft dyno that looks extreme. Following that madness it’s a further 20m of trickiness to the top.
Thom bolting his route on Gay Paris wall

After Thom had his play I strapped myself in again. I got up higher than before and well and truly into the business. After nearly fluffing it a couple times and forgetting the top slab sequence between the last bolt and the anchor with a deep pump, I got to the top. Jugs. Heaps of fun!! So yeah, the Gay Paris wall cherry has been popped! Get on it and give it a tickle.

My new machine as of today!! It's the end of an era with the Iced Vovo (1986 Volvo GL).
The castle on wheels was just getting too expensive on fuel.

Protective stuff you have to wear working in a caustic tank
Bolting at the top of a 170m chimney
Rosie practicing his skyhook aiding

check out gay paris!

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