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Crag & Route Beta

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VIC Grampians (General) (General) (General) [ Grampians Guide | Images ] 

Beta on Passport to Insanity?

The Blond Gecko
5:28:02 PM
I've been thinking for a while about having a go at Passport to Insanity (aiding the roof, but hopefully free climbing the first pitch and headwall)... I'm planning to make a trip out there in September or October, when the weather's improved somewhat. However, I don't currently have much more info than what's in the Selected Climbs guidebook. I know that getting there's an effort in itself, and there are issues about descent (memories of a story involving a 50m rope-stretching rap into the top branches of a eucalypt during a thunderstorm spring to mind), but I don't have many specific details. Can anyone help with a bit more beta?


10:05:37 AM
try neils website... it has a trip report of his epic on it
9:26:42 PM
Hey do you want to have a go at freeing the roof, I would be heaps psyched to try it.
9:40:57 PM
If you want a gallery for this let us know what weekend you're going as I was planning to take my kids there hiking in Sept/Oct/Nov.

The Blond Gecko
4:09:57 PM
On 10/08/2003 Joe wrote:
>Hey do you want to have a go at freeing the roof, I would be heaps psyched
>to try it.

Considering that I currently onsight at around grade 21, I'm thinking a free ascent of the roof would probably be a little beyond me right now. One of these days, maybe...

I had a look at Neil's report - believe it or not, it was one of the inspirations for me to get out and try it. A little short on details, though...

11:24:08 PM
ok - here goes some beta.

Approuch is not that bad providing you can see the mountain! From the road below it is only a 2 hour walk up a steep hill - from above it is less an hour of mostly flat walking providing you have a 4WD to get close. Both walking approuches are along well defined tracks.

The first pitch is desperate rope stretching offwidth action. Steal lots of big cams (size 5+) off your mates - you will want them. You can get good gear is little horizontals and cracks on either side of the crack. This is not an easy grade 20 pitch! The roof is easy to aid (i did it mostly with hexes as a challange!) but make sure you have someone who is competant in cleaning 8m roof aid pitches. 70m off the deck is not the place to learn how to use jumars! From the end of the roof pitch you are on a small ledge which has no rap anchors. Even if you do decide to rap you won't reach the ground (you will reach the top of the gum trees!). The last pitch is wandery and not that great. Good position though. From the summit you will have to set-up a tyrolean traverse (lasso the spike on the other side). Again - this is not the place to learn new technique! Once across the 5m gap you have to get off the summit of the very spectaculr main Fotress. This is a major mission in itself - and is not advised after dark. Downclimbing grade 3ish rock is required at a couple of places.

My advice - spend a weekend up there. First day scramble to the summit of the main pillar and check out the tyrolen traverse from the opposite side and get sussed the descent. Maybe even lead the first pitch and rap back to the ground. On day two finish the route leaving at least 3 hours for the tyrolean and the descent. It is an amazing line - you will love it!

The Blond Gecko
9:34:02 AM
Thanks heaps for the info, Neil! We're really keen to do this in the next couple of months - I'll make sure the batteries in my camera are fully charged, so there'll be plenty of pics.
10:05:38 AM
Hi everyone!

This is my first post so I wanted to start by saying a really big congratulations to Mike for the fantastic job on the web site ó excellent stuff ó and also to you all who are contributing to this forum. I think itís great! Itís so nice to see an informed, positive and friendly discussion going on about Aussie (specifically Vic.) climbing. Keep it up everyone!

Beta on Passport: I had someone query me about this some time ago and I wrote the reply that Iíll post separately. Neilís comments are spot on. The only thing Iíd really add is that I set up the Tyrolean a bit differently Ė but perhaps this is because I came up the descent route (instead of climbing up the route) so that I could abseil down to photograph it. Instead of lassoing a spike, you can lower someone into the chasm, down about eight meters, so they can swing across to the other side and climb up (itís really easy but itíd be a nasty fall given youíre belayed from the other side of the gap). Neilís idea of setting this up beforehand and sussing out the descent is a very good one, thereís definitely the potential for an epic up there if you canít find your way off!

Have fun!
10:08:13 AM
Previous beta:
Öthe situation is a bit complicated. The thing is that Passport may be a three pitch route in its entirety yet most only climb the first two. First pitch is about 50m, about grade 20, and the second pitch - with the big roof - is the business part at 26 or 27ish, though maybe you're planning to aid that? Anyway, the second pitch finished on a big ledge just above the roof. I guess most people trying to free climb it don't bother with the third pitch as it's not the issue (I don't know how hard but assume it's easier than the first pitch). And as you can see it only creates hassles getting off - certainly it could be a real hassle for someone to try and follow the roof. So most climbers I know have done it by reversing the roof moves, after leading it, to clean the gear out, and then they just all rap down the first pitch. Pretty easy given you'd be using double ropes - and I think the anchors are good at the end of first pitch (don't think this is the manky bolt referred to as you'll never get back in under the roof - to this belay - if you've both climbed up to the ledge).

My experience of Passport is different to a climbers; I've gone in from the top both times I've photographed it. It can be tricky finding the way up (and down - especially if you haven't come up that way) and yes, you have to set up this crazy Tyrolean traverse to get across the void to the summit block. I don't know what it'd be like setting up the Tyrolean if you've come the other way (up the route) but assume it'd be OK. All this could take awhile so make sure you give yourselves heaps of daylight to get across the Tyrolean and find the way off the top of the mountain (I know that's not quite the right word - but the point is it's tricky finding the right way - indeed I'd say impossible in the dark and especially without a head torch and not knowing where you're going). Guess that's why they mention abseiling off. I don't know where they suggesting you rap but I'd have though it an OK option especially if something is set up for it; maybe take some extra slings for putting around bollards, and be prepared to sacrifice a few nuts to back up any dodgy anchors. At least you should be able to find a way down this way.

Don't underestimate it - it's an adventurous place; but very special.

10:28:44 AM
Yep - thats what we ended up doing - rapping down from the ledge above pitch 2 - although at the time i thought we were cheating. I didn't realize others did this as well. My excuse was it was in the middle of winter and it was dark and misty. I returned on a later trip to the area and climbed to the main summit and sussed the tyrolen. I had friedns who had a complete epic on it. They did the first pitch, then Adam led the roof. The guy who was supposed to second it coudln't get the roof sussed and Adam had to back clean it himself and then dboth of them made it to the ledge with jumars. They led the last pitch in the dark and Nicj met them on the othert side of the tyrolean at midnight to help them across. I can't remember exactly the details but they had to return the next weekend to get back some of the gear they had left behind on the route. It was a mega epic!

The Blond Gecko
12:38:51 PM
Cheers - thanks for your help, Simon and Neil!
10:21:31 PM
I think that on the first ascent by Noddy Lockwood and Joe Friend, they did two abseils in the chasm. The second was off a dodgy peg. Maybe a couple of decent rap anchors are called for

9:32:27 AM
On 21/08/2003 kieranl wrote:
> Maybe a couple
> of decent rap anchors are called for

I don't think I'd want to be the one who put them in. The Fortress is about as 'out there' as adventure climbing gets in Victoria. The fact that such a proud line as Passport is guarded by such dodgy access is surely part of its attraction - you *really* have to work for it.

Personally, I'd rather a solid rap station at the top of every route, but I recognise the place for areas and routes that require a bit more commitment.

Methinks you may have been taking the piss, Kieran.

11:47:34 PM
I am not taking the piss. I think a good abseil route down the chasm is justified. As to commitment, you have to climb the route before you can access the rap route.
I'm not commited to this, these are just throwaway lines to generate responses.

10:13:01 AM
On 22/08/2003 kieranl wrote:
>I am not taking the piss. I think a good abseil route down the chasm is

Fair enough. I can;t say that I have a concluded view either, but was voicing caution on the basis that while rap stations are no-where near as controversial as placing bolts, they nevertheless still have the capacity to alter the nature of climbs and cliffs. That said, I should probably say that the majority of bolts I've placed have been in fixing rap stations! Do as I say, not as I do... that sort of thing.

11:22:21 PM
Neil mentioned the epic had on Passport by our friends Adam and Dermet. This was the first serious aiding the boys had done - and the first time Dermet had used jumars. BIG MISTAKE. I went up there and climbed Quinkus Borba (sp??), grade 18 nearby, in a coupla hours. Then I spent the next 12 hours watching the epic unfold on Passport.

The Tyrolean is very easy to set-up by scrambling up the back of the main massif and lassooing the perfect bollard over on the passport pillar (Finding the scramble to the top is not so easy - takes maybe an hour). The Tyro requires about 20-25m of rope and some slings and trad gear.
Setting the Tyro after doing the climb would be trickier - as there is no firm bollard on the main cliff side to lassoo.
I highly recommend practice aid-cleaning an easier roof before embarking on this one.

It is a stunning piece of rock and a fantastic adventure climb.
10:11:59 PM
I must also talk to Noddy about a secure rap route in the chasm. I don't think he'd have a problem but I don't want a repeat of the "Wall of the Afternoon Sun" fiasco.

9:07:34 AM
I can do the bolting work if required.
10:39:44 PM
I'll get back to you on this Neil. The Net was going beserk last night and i'd thought that last post of mine had gone astray. I'll talk to Nod and make sure there is no problem there. I don't think there will be : it sounded like the second abseil was off a marginal anchor and I don't imagine Nod would have a problem with fixing that up as long as he is asked. I am happy to pay for the hardware.

The Blond Gecko
10:22:01 AM
Hmmm... maybe we could coordinate this? It'd be cool to see

The Boltenator

at work!

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