|Cul de Sac (31), Waterfall Area, NarrowNeck.|
A light breeze, low humidity, a pumping westerly blowing up the Megalong . . .
NarrowNeck has always felt like home to me; free climbing DogFace horror shows or exploring other forgotten lines that have become out of vogue over the years.The inspirational John Ewbank was forging some of the most improbable bad arse looking lines ground up, hammer and trowel gardening on the go! He almost seems lost climbing without his hammer still to this day.
I first got drawn into freeing old Ewbank aid lines climbing Gigantor on DogFace with Macca - an awesome gut churning atmospheric sandpit of a cliff, routes are constantly changing and strength does little for uncertainty, if you cant stop your wheels spinning it can often be a stressful pursuit.
I can see why John spent so much time there, although I have always been attracted to the physical aspect of climbing, combining hard boulder problems high on a beautiful natural line, protecting it naturally seemed like an obvious challenge. So when Macca pointed out the Cul de Sac, a soaring overhanging corner crack first ascended by Ewbank in 1968, my palms became sweaty . . .
It looked big dark and somehow intimidating - its on the west side of the 'Neck tucked in between a waterfall and Devils Hole, a wild route with devious obscure moves. The crux is throwing for the top of the cliff - a potential heart breaker finish! Over the past six years I have fallen from the last moves so many times I have lost count . . . Plummeting, venting, hanging pumped limp, stuck in space!
It's logistically epic to work but on the first day of spring I started cleaning the closet, sending this beast of a line, being a personal best for me mentally and definitely a progression in my climbing. How hard?? I think 31 seems fair due to its devious nature and hard mandatory climbing, but only time will tell. Zac Vertrees, Spring 2012.