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Buffalo Aidfest November 2014. 22-Jan-2015 At 9:27:14 AM IdratherbeclimbingM9
The on&off Trip Report; ... if it seems disjointed, then read between the lines, and reference the posts leading up to here on the Find Climbers thread as well as this thread...

aka Mt Buffalo Aid-climbing Weekend 22-23 Nov 2014.

Well; another has come and gone, and despite the adverse weather reports prior to the weekend, it once again turned out to be largely unaffected by the forecasted rain that was predicted.
The worst part of the adverse weather caught a party two pitches below topping out Ozymandias Direct while the rest of us were snuggled up in our warm sleeping bags, but that is another story...

There is a saying; ‘You don’t need a parachute to skydive, but you might want one if you are going to do it twice’; so in the spirit of the occasion the newcomers to the dark arts of aiding prior to this weekend, scoured the Australian countryside far and wide for gear they could borrow, buy, or make themselves; because their enthusiasm is such that they are bent on continuing to explore aid further than just this weekend now gone.

The mix of skill-base that attended this event was different to previous occasions, but once again re-affirmed that camaraderie of the rope transcends reputations won or yet to be won as I sensed the weekend vibe was infectiously positive the whole time with people sharing their experiences and trying new ways. No question was considered too trivial to elicit at least one helpful response, and indeed, I learnt a lot myself from the experiences of others who attended.

It never ceases to amaze me, just how many quiet achievers are out there.
Damo Milo appeared from Qld with his portaledge just to hang out some place with a bit of exposure and meet others of similar persuasion; and NealD turned up from Sydney, at our humble gathering in NE Victoria still fresh from a solo multi-day ascent of Tangerine Trip in October in Yosemite, to sample the less than perfect rock quality (by comparison), on obscure less than rope-length routes, and meet with others of like-mind.
~> I find this kind of commitment inspirational and humbling all at the same time.

Friday afternoon/night was a quiet affair, ... and as previously posted in the thread above, Monkeyboy and NealD enjoyed free-climbing Maharajah while waiting for others to turn up, and while I established my slum style sleeping arrangement in the usual spot amongst picturesque snow-gums.
The rest of the weekend contingent arrived at various times thereafter and introductions were had; other than Dave_S, who arrived after we had all bedded down for the evening, & his clean-camping ie hammerless tent erection style, was appreciated!

On that note; by about 10pm Phillipivan and Scott had arrived, met the others, had dinner, and departed! ... ~> to sort their rack for an early start on Ozy Direct the next day.
Hmm. I still wonder at PI paying for a communal campsite, then camping feral. ;-)
... Little did he know that we all intended shifting camp to the absquealers picnic prepaid site, to defray our costs even further, consequent the extortionate Vic Parks fee increase recently introduced.

Saturday summary.

PI & Scott got a daybreak start at climb-base on an OzyDirect sub24hrs ascent.
I also wonder about what Scott did in a former ice climbing mentorship role to PI, to deserve being a partner in grime in the absence of any hirsute women or M75 for that matter, for the task in hand?
Meanwhile Idra~>M9 and NealD indoctrinated the newbieaiders at Catani breakfast time.
A breakfast conversation quote overheard...
“You do know that the tap water at campsite is just Lake Catani water pumped up to a holding tank don’t you?”

I was particularly stoked about the obvious thought, time, and effort, that had gone into making cam hooks and belay seats by individuals prior to this trip (regardless of the success or otherwise of such items), as it reminded me again of the deliciousness of anticipation, ... because adventure experiences are made up of all the minutia that make up the whole, and it bespoke the mindset of the participants that had joined me on this occasion.

Someone asked at breaky re the upcoming days events, “Will we get into trouble?”
... and someone else, reminiscent of the initiating thread Poll option to this adventure, of, ‘Yes - and I like listening to young people cry’ – replied; ... “That’s how you know it is an adventure!”
~> Regardless; Monkeyboy led Thanksgiving Crack, abseil cleaned it; belayed NealD’s lead of it, then jumar cleaned it again, then asked if anyone else was going to lead it for him to clean again, just because he enjoys being a clean-aider/climb cleaner; ... nah, he just wanted to dial in jumar technique and come to grips with subtleties involved in creating triangulation space within a plethora of aid gear, to save effort in the cleaning process.

Simultaneously, DaveS led Cacaphonic Crack, then later led Thanksgiving Crack, both with TimP belaying; ... and this after TimP had jumar cleaned Cacophonic using the kieranl retired jumar technique! ...
The details of such technique are lost in antiquity, as someone was heard to say that even Idra~>M9 can’t remember back that far.
Idra~>M9 was heard to correct the situation by saying, “Oi TP, givusagander at the newfangle yellow model jumar thingies, when you get off the route please.” After which he was heard mumbling to himself about faded plastic catches blending in well with his grey model jobbies that are still up for the task, and not at all coveting the kl ones enough to upgrade to that model yet!

Meanwhile, Damo Milo reccy’d the Gorge area for future adventures, then set his portaledge a couple of metres below Wilkinson Ledge adjacent around the corner from the Lord Gumtree final pitches of Ozy Direct, in order to ambush PI & Scott when they appeared later that evening.

Stop and consider that kind of humour for a moment...

Image you are 16 hours into a long multipitch climb, and starting to feel fatigued.
It is pitch black dark, and raining.
You have one pitch to go before calling it done, but you are revelling in the solitude of your surroundings as they are in a lonely outrageously exposed location removed from the trappings of civilisation.
You are contemplating your aloneness at this penultimate belay while your partner is ascend-cleaning the pitch below to join you.
~> and then a gravelly voice whispers in your ear-

~>~> ... A vote was later taken; and it was a unanimous decision that DM had raised the art of sandbagging to a new level...

Back at Disabled Lookout, NealD having finished leading Thanksgiving Crack, was then inveigled onto The Cream Machine as Idra~>M9 was keen to get another informed opinion on its grade; and who better than a recent solo ascentionist of the VI 5.7 A3 (blerrie heck that is a mouthful of aidgrading nomenclature), Tangerine Trip to provide it?

Hmm grades.
As a generalisation for would be ascentionists of Ozymandias (at least in my experience, and kind of where these aid weekends often end up progressing too); ... the consensus is that if you can get up Cream Machine, then you should be able to get up Ozy using the time involved to scale out to the Ozy objective; though grades when looked at closely, are all over the shop; ... however there are specific historical reasons for the differences.

Cream Machine when originally done was graded M3 and Thanksgiving Crack was M4, not the other way around as it is now.
This was back in the days when both ascents were nailed, and Thanksgiving required a greater range of pitons plus a bolt to topout the climb as the crack dissipates to a short wider-than-piton groove, and so effectively was a blank section for the first ascentionists at that point, hence the additional grade.

Chris Baxter was on the first ascent of both cracks, leading Thanksgiving but seconding Cream Machine a day later with Chris Dewhirst, his partner of Ozymandias a year earlier.
(Ozymandias is M5, ... but note that the later ‘Direct’ aka Gledhill portion was graded M4).
I wonder somewhat if Chris Dewhirst, did not downplay the grade of Cream machine due to not only it’s straight-forward (thin knife-blades) nailing, but also it’s short length* when compared to such things as Ozymandias, which would have still been fresh in their memory... ...
(* Exposure and sustained nature of the climbing being part of the Ewbank Grading System).

Subsequent guidebooks downgraded Thanksgiving to M3, possibly because subsequent ascentionists already had the bolt in place to top out, and hammered aid climbing was no longer vogue with advent of nuts and clean-aid techniques, plus (I suspect), there no longer being enough repeat ascents in that style to establish any other grade for it anyway, as it takes medium nuts easily.

These gradings carried through to the 1996 Mt Buffalo Guidebook; ... but at my behest the 2006 Guidebook upgraded Cream Machine to M4, while deliberately leaving Thanksgiving Crack at M3, as recent interest (at that time), in clean-aiding of those lines confirmed at least a grade difference between the two lines.

So; back to NealD’s grade opinion for Cream Machine, and I quote him verbatim; ...
“On the first six metres of Cream Machine the moves looked terrible, but better higher.
I kept climbing, and then when I looked ahead the moves higher up looked terrible*!”
(*Remember that this was the first impression of a VI 5.7 A3 climber!).

~> He agrees with me that Cream Machine is at least a solid grade harder than Thanksgiving Crack, and probably another grade harder again if done only on nuts (read smallest RPs), rather than modern clean-aid equipment like peckers, bird-beaks, or similar.

When asked to compare the moves to those he experienced on Tangerine Trip he informed me that TT has hard (thin), moves too (hooks and heads), but not straight off the deck like CM, ... so one has time to mentally adjust to them, along with the consequences of not getting them right!
“Oh, and TT is a cleaner route due having more traffic, but the slab final pitches are particularly runout, especially if wet.”

As an aside, I also note when perusing recent Yosemite aid climb topo’s, that many pitches now have dual grades e.g. A2 / C3; and also dual free/aid e.g. 5.11a / C3; along with specific beta like, sawn-offs required here, etc.

As mentioned in a post higher in this thread, NealD pinged his helmet twice while bounce testing peckers in placements that he had already deemed insecure for the smallest of RPs. Herein is a subtlety that may yet to be fully appreciated; that being that not every pecker placement need be ‘bombproof good for a fall’, ... otherwise how would M8, M9, M10 etc, get their grades?

Some other quotes aka highlights of the day...

DaveS; Re hooking to the right of Cacophonic Crack after the big gear ran out...
“The second hook moved popped and I caught myself with a layback, and down-climbed to the last hook, but couldn’t get a foot into it’s ett due the angle it was laying...”
~> A pensive moment for sure, when considering one’s aid future?
Heh, heh, heh.

DaveS again, re home-made Leeper-style cam-hooks...
“I bent it so badly on the first move of Cream Machine, that I didn’t bother testing the second one that I made”.

monkeyboy (Owen) regarding his highlight of the day.
“I dunno. Believing that RP’s will actually hold your weight? ~ A definite milestone, ... also using a cam-hook that I didn’t know existed till today!”
“That jugging tired me out”.
(Hmm, ... wait till he jugs on Ozy!)!

“Who wants to buy a belay seat?”
Oy Owen, incorporate this into your jugging system and you will be able to rest whenever you want to!”

DaHittyman to an absquealer, re the industrial dispute in front of a crowd of tourons at the lookout...
“No, no! You are supposed to clip the safety tether rope BEFORE you exit the PV safety rail gate, not afterwards!”
Hmm. I wonder if he was paying attention when the absquealer had earlier indicated prior experience that included absquealing Defender Of The Faith; ... and so felt comfortable on relatively flat ground while holding on to a PV over-safety-certified railing?
In the dictates of officialdom, thou shalt not play hoppy-scotch unless it is prescribed accordingly, ... as a bad idea makes much more sense if the sun is shining.
Hitler, I’m pretty sure, only marched on Stalingrad because it was a nice day for it.

Later another absquealer was heard that day to say, “I thought that DaHittyman said that a Munter Hitch was slow? I am finding it much faster than a Hydrobot, and there isn’t any water on this absqueal”...
~> Live and learn glasshopperz; ... and wait till you find yourself wearing a water-laden backpack while absquealing on a wet rope in a canyon using a Munter for the completion of the learning curve!!!

Scott quote; (Remember he has never aided before and his first aid-ascent is Ozy-Direct in a day); “Highlight for me was using Leepers and RP’s, and seconding the main roof”

PI quote; “Pass the scotch”.

Saturday Night shenanigans.

After frivolities the hirsute feminine attendees retired to the absquealers picnic where festivities continued unabated, ... unlike at the Aidfest which was lacking the aidwtf touch of stugangs enlightenment.

PI&Scott’s sms text update of progress was duly ignored, as retribution for the ignorant buggers ignoring our Morse-code head-torch signalling from the south side lookout to them while checking on their progress during the last two pitches of their adventure.

sf’glknasdfg’lknaddfg’lkaddfg’lkmaddfg’lkmadfg’lkmadfg (this bit to satisfy the non attendance of stugang, despite his teasing us with that possibility)...
If anyone understands the gibberish, then please inform stugang so that he too is enlightened!

Sunday, on a weekend now far away.

Breaky time arrived, but the indoctrinated had had enough of such by this time, apart from one inquisitive absquealer.
Instead, getting out onto the vertical was deemed a better option for those who remained, though monkeyboy and Damo Milo had other engagements to attend, so bade us farewell.

PI’s resilience has improved markedly since his last-year one day ascent of OzyDirect where all he wanted to do afterwards was sleep. Bit of a pity for Scott though, as he was dragged off to recover by climbing Maharajah!

NealD was led onabushwhack by Idra~>M9 to access Liftgirls Lament so he could run toprope solo free-climb laps on it, then recovered by doing the same on Agrippa, as preparation for future projects.

Meanwhile TimP led Thanksgiving Crack with DaveS belaying, and got to extend his repertoire by using hooks on it. After this they both furthered their jumar experience by abseiling into the overhanging Country Road to jumar out and recce it for a possible future ascent. At the same time I got the novel chance to burn pixles on DaveS’s behalf (of his jumaring), with his camera. I like it. It might be time to upgrade my camera from emulsion...

Overall it was another great Aidfest with a positive vibe that was inspirational for future adventures.

Well, thereyago. That is my version of the 2014 Aidfest-weekend, and in the mentality of the ringbolteverywhere climbing brigade, if you don’t like it, then you don’t have to clip read it!

Post edit:
On 25/11/2014 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>Am still in process of writing a slander up, but if other participants
>want to pre-empt being slandered, then post up photos and your version
>to this thread; as fragmented reports are harder to find in years to come
>for any future participants to get a gist of what goes on.
>As a teaser, there was only one fall taken this trip and that was on a
>successful 17 hr ascent of Ozy-Direct; though there was an interesting
>moment had on Cacaphonic Crack...

Ahh. Forgot to include this detail in my Trip Report, hence the edit now.

The fall was taken by Scott on the 2nd pitch of Ozymandias when a hook popped. The pro that caught the fall was a #2 nut, left welded insitu due nil hammer to remove it...
... and no pi, I am not calling you a prostitute.
Belayer is different, but if the shoe fits etc!
Just watch out for M75 on your next outing as he has a shoe fetish I am told.

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