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|Weekend TR: Rosea, The Stinger Variant
Trip report from a lazy day at Rosea, Saturday.
Mt Rosea has a huge expanse of rock along its left-hand side that isnít well known to climbers. Having only managed a handful of routes there as research for the Grampians Comprehensive Guide Iíve been keen to go back and climb a few more. Saturday was perfect weather (although cool) so I picked out The Stinger (**15, but with an alternative grade 18 finish) from the new guide and we headed off. Sorry, I forgot to pack the camera.
The starting corner is very easy to find but the start is disappointingly fairly Ďgreení after winter, with a coating of lichen and some moss. Fortunately though the foot-holds were mostly clean so it was still climbable despite appearances. Bring a brush next time.
After a little thrutchy section the first pitch heads up a long steep corner with excellent but easy bridging. Nice. I belayed in a sheltered alcove and brought Paula up.
The next pitch is a steep wide chimney that claimed to be only 13. I was looking at its left wall as I belayed, picking out a few holds and wondering how to get past the half-way point. Paula led through, starting on the right wall then bridging across, but got Ďstuckí at that half-way point and decided she didnít feel right about it. With gear just below her feet she instead opted to clip a very rusty, very old piton (we assume 1964-vintage) at her chest level and lower off it.
It took her weight just fine but by the time Iíd lowered her about a metre the piton simply cracked to bits, falling apart along its shaft. The next thing I know was a smack in the head as she fell the additional couple of metres onto her last cam, pretty much landing on my helmet and whacking her ankle somewhere. Ouch!
There were quite a few complaints and curses echoing down the valley as I checked I could still see straight and could turn my neck. She was able to put weight on the ankle so we were basically OK but it could have been worse. Donít trust old pitons!
I took over the lead, finding it ridiculously tricky for 13, I assume grade 15 for now and hope you have long legs. Paula, around 155cm tall, fell off it seconding. Since she doesnít normally fall off anything below 20 that sums it up I guess.
At the next belay Paula led through, climbing about 10m up to a terrace where the original Stinger heads across right. However she was now at the base of the Variant and said it looked really good, so she brought me up so I could take a look.
The Variant has no stars in the original write-up and hence none in the new guide, but it's a ripper pitch, two stars from me. Itís a crack up a slightly overhanging wall with mostly good holds each side of the crack. Near the top, the crack widens and the holds run out, but a flake heads diagonally left across the otherwise-blank wall to finish. If it were located in Central Gully thereíd be a queue.
I led up the first section on good-enough holds to an alcove about 1/3 of the way which was a good rest. I continued up the top part to the flake, placed a couple of good cams but couldnít get comfortable for a rest before launching across the wall. I climbed up the crack a little to get better feet but that didnít work. Eventually I moved part-way along the flake where I could get straight-arms again, place a small wire and study the final moves. The sting, as they say, is in the tail. Thatís enough beta for you. Paula followed easily but complained about the pump factor.
The second pitch of the Variant is not well described (and wasnít graded) but we worked it out and I thought it was a worthy conclusion. The revised description for the whole route as we climbed it:
**The Stinger Variant 112m 18
1) 36m (15) as for Vosaxis/The Stinger
2) 22m (15) Climb the chimney above (as for The Stinger) but from the ledge continue up the first 10m of pitch 3 of that route and belay on the terrace at the base of the juggy steep crack.
3) 28m (18) Up the crack until it widens near the top, then head L on a rising flake to a tricky exit. Move up easy ground another 6m to belay.
4) 26m (16) Move 3m R to the base of an undercut L-facing corner. Up this, heading L up the steep wall on good holds to avoid a bush. Climb the rib on the L above until it becomes smooth then step R into a V chimney. Bridge up this to below a horizontal break then make a tricky move L back onto the rib and up.
Just one photo, of the former piton:
Yeah I wouldn't have clipped it, either. Oh well, cheap lesson.
Good one. There are certainly some great adventures to be had down the LH end of Rosea. The final pitch you did sounds rather like the old Digby Gotts Stinger direct finish. I have done it a couple of times and remember it is mostly climbed on the steep left wall and was certainly under graded at 14.
I have a couple of photos of Peter Cody on the second pitch and of the old peg when it was in situ [very dodgy looking] but I have no idea how to post them. Irrespective of grade those old fashioned steep chimney grooves make you work hard to get up them.
If you haven't done it I would recommend Raw Prawn for your next adventure.
There are 3 finishes to The Stinger, the Gotts/Watling finish is further right than the Peter Steane variant we did, and is still graded 14, but I haven't done it (yet).
You could email me the photos, I'd be interested to see them (and could post them for you).
Raw Prawn was my first choice until I decided the shorter walk to The Stinger made it more attractive.
I have emailed you some photos, they provide a bit of illustration for your report if you want to post them. Although on climb photos tend to be limited, particularly when you are in a deep chimney groove line.
Leading up the corner on pitch 1:
Scene of the fall described in the TR (the piton would have been near the leader's knee):
Hey great trip report!
It's prompted me to tell you about another multi-pitch experience last month at Bellfield Peak, namely "Slopover" (grade 14). This climb also features in your new book.
Anyway it was a freezing Saturday about 4 weeks ago, so we decided to have a coffee in Halls Gap before heading off - Mistake no.1.
By the time we had found the 60 m. rap point it was about midday. By the time I had unravelled the ropes that got stuck in every tree/bush/crevice on the way down and my buddy Jim had also descended it was about 12.30.
Welcome to the land that time forgot! I don't think anyone has climbed this route since 2008 - bushes everywhere, but we found the climb which is initialled and I began the lead on pitch 1 at 1pm - can you see where this is going?
The first pitch is correctly graded in my view and features loose rock, lichen, moss and some bushes, but I made it unscathed and Jim came up for the second pitch (crux).
This pitch starts off easy but has a very committing traverse with no feet and scared the hell out of me on second. I think it's grade 15. I lead the third pitch which features a slopey overhang and then a reasonable wall. However by this time it was getting to about 5-6pm.
There has been no traffic on this route for years which may explain how we managed somehow to lose the route as it became darker and darker. Luckily there was a full moon that night because after losing the route we were forced to aid climb up a horrible left facing crack. My head torch batteries ran out so when it became my turn to lead again I had to swap helmets with Jim. Finally we could see the top of the 110m. climb but I was stuck trying to climb over a horrible overhang - again with no feet. The alternative was a really difficult off width which I couldn't get into to even start.
So I bought up Jim and let him finish the route off, which he did by aiding the off width! Hooray!! It was only 10.30pm and by the time we made it back to the car park. it was midnight. We were both frozen, having expected to (optimistically) finish the climb by 6pm and not being dressed for an overnighter on a cliff face. Anyway we made it back and had a quick beer and bag of chips in the car with the heater on before crashing out.
The next day it rained which was lucky because we were both completely knackered!
Tip for anyone doing a multi pitch from "Central Grampians Comprehensive Guide" - give yourself plenty of time and if it's not "Debutante" or "Heretic" expect a lot of moss, lichen and loose rock!
Ah, excellent, love to hear of these old routes being repeated, especially under epic conditions.
One mystery I have in compiling the guide is that the painted initial of Slopover was fresh when I bashed my way down there to check it out a couple of years ago. I haven't found anyone that admits to having retouched it.
I did Drone Bee,, which follows The Stinger to half-height, many years ago and was glad that Robyn Storer led that nasty little chimney. She bluntly insisted on belaying immediately above it!
I thought Drone Bee was really good, though I pointed Noddy at it and he thought it was a horror-show. Mind you, Noddy had forgotten his rack and was climbing on spare bits and pieces that Norm and me didn't require for The Sloth (another great climb).
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