Saturday, 5 January 2013

Across the Plains

The past few months have been rather hectic. If you read my last post you would remember that I was awarded a Gumby toy, for the most uncoordinated climber in Victoria. Falling off the top of a boulder, clutching desperately to a wire brush and my glasses was not the acrobatic phenomenon I had envisaged. With my busted ribs in tow, I headed back to Melbourne where aside from my thumbs (playstation) I wasted away.

Skip forward to October and the best conditions of the year. It seemed the Wimmera was alive with activity. Visiting rockstars from home and abroad created a real buzz around the plains. Pity I was relegated to the training room trying to get some 'omph' back. It never takes long to get back to my normal strength level, probably because I'm really a pumper pretending to be strong.

First thing I got back on, was the horse who bit me?? The boulder I brushed up and fell off at Araps. It is this awesome little prow behind Castle crag. So obvious that I'm astounded it hadn't been done before. Local legend Dave Jones, tells me he had seen it years ago, but it had been forgotten. Anyway this little gem took a little longer than the 15 mins of daylight I had allocated to it, and had to be done at a second sitting. I think its about V8  and have called it 'All the King's Men', an obvious reference to my relaxed attitude to sexual promiscuity ie. Easy as Eggs or Humpty. Take your pick it's a classic all the same.  

It seemed that this spring, Mt Arapiles was the where the buzz was maintained. Sneaky afternoons after work were spent at Uncle Charlies mostly, as thats where the belayers were. I needed some quick lessons on smearing again and managed to get up Ethiopia 29/30 without much drama. Next over to Punks. This obscure routes is actually rather cool. Don't listen to what they all say about it. I was able to get a pretty good feel for it within a couple of reconnaissance missions, however there was a one meter section above the 'bird bath' that gave me some grief. I was not able to find a sequence that flowed for me. I got frustrated, as I do (see Easy as Egg comment above) and decided to leave it for awhile.

With only a couple of weeks before heading back to Melbourne for a month of nail biting medical emergencies, such 2 days of constipation, bad dreams and stubbed toes, I headed down to the Grampians. I was chaperoned around a new bouldering area called the Bleachers near Halls Gap by Simon, Matt and Venessa. I didn't get up much - not unusual - because I was more interested in filming. I've started a little bouldering number that should be out sometime in the coming months. 
Rodeo Drive, 29 FA. Photo: Gareth Llewellin
On the new route front, I managed to clip the chains of a couple of things. Firstly, a roof at the Plaza Strip that I bolted in the depths of an Antartic Winter. It starts up a rippled Grampian's slab, then busts straight out back over itself through a roof.

The hardest moves turned out to be, holding on for dear life as I pounced (impossible to jump) out of a stretched toe hook position to gain a good pinch. With legs spinning wildly I must have looked like that white guy in the NBA who can almost slam dunk. I called it Rodeo Drive and its a classic 29.

Also in the Grampians I managed to send a project at Little Hands. It is a rising traverse that breaches the steepest part of the cave and is essentially a link up of the other routes that I bolted there. I had tried it on and off for a couple of years, getting no where fast as it is hard to find belayers in Victoria willing to go to areas where the warm up is a grade 28. I had been trying a super cool 9a sequence that stayed low and went into the crux of my Substance D, now considered 30. This as I say was nails, and it was only by chance that Alister Robertson suggested busting up a little earlier.

Afro Warrior, 30 FA. Photo Neil Monteith
A new sequence unlocked; a wicked throw out of a kneebar and the route was on. Not without dramas though as it turns out that roof slug thugging for 20m is tiring as all buggery. I fell several times over a couple days, attempting to clip the chains. Somehow Alister is still talking to me after an outburst to put Christian Bale to shame. That was one time I was glad no one else frequented this most wicked of caves. Well, I was able to do the route now named 'Afro Warrior', grade 30?, on a sneaky daytrip about a week later. I'm stoked to have done it, as falling with the chains in your face is hard to take sometimes, let alone 3 or 4.....I'd lost count by then.

Well 2012 felt like it went rather quickly and now the plans for 2013 are beginning to take shape. I've moved up to the Wimmera for good now, so no more back and forth from Melbourne. I have several specific goals for this year and in my mind they require me to be close to them and climbing lots; the only thing I can do well off the couch is drink beer and coffee. I've still got several projects I bolted ready to be attempted and I have also spent a bit of time looking at a yet to be freed line on Taipan. Hopefully more on that one soon. Trips are planned too, Tassie again if it hasn't burnt down completely and then hopefully to Europe for a month. Gotta start getting into shape again - if only the training room wasn't so hot!!

Yep thats 47.6 degrees in the shade!
Hopefully the new year resolutions are still kicking along nicely.

- Grosey

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