Goto Chockstone Home

  Tech Tips

      Sponsored By

Chockstone Photography
Australian Landscape Photography by Michael Boniwell
Australian Landscape Prints

Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

Three days in the Gramps

12:22:47 PM
With forecasts of morning fog and cold evenings for the next few days, it wasn't hard to make the decision to postpone our departure until Saturday morning for what would be three days cruising in the Grampians.

Arriving at Hollow Mountain carpark around 10:30 we were pleased to see glorious blue sky and little wind. Trotting up to Amnesty wall area, we saw a couple of friendly chaps getting on with it chucking laps on Tyrant's Grasp. The ease with which they were pulling the obviously familiar yet steep moves made me feel that my sense of the vertical was strangely misplaced. So we headed on to the warm up aręte of Amnesia. We gave the left hand variant a go the week before, so decided on the right hand variant this time. In hindsight I would say that both variants share the same crux and that 21 might be a stretch, but they were both fun so no complaints. Meanwhile, back on Tyrant's Grasp, another couple of fellas had taken up position so it was off to find another climb. Airplay (21) beckoned. For those unfamiliar with the route it takes an appealing line up lovely looking tortoiseshell rock – reminiscent of the climbing at Hillwood, Tas. Slightly overhung at the base and finishing vertical it didn't look too taxing from the ground. Mid-route I realised how wrong I was. I soon found myself in a gear wonderland. Wires here, wires there, wires everywhere! Too many great placements to bypass I found myself literally one move from the top and NOTHING left in the tank. Shaking out hurt. We have all been there… My fall (rather slump) from grace was both disappointing and enlightening. One of those climbs that punishes the wary. Sometimes it is better when the gear is really good, to place less and climb faster. Also, as we were to find out one of those climbs where cleaning the wires on second was probably more taxing than the lead! Great fun. We shuffled off after lunch to the sunny Flying Blind area and tolerated (well my partner did, I just got annoyed) the HUGE crowd of Scouts yelling 'Don't drop me!', 'Not yet!', etc etc on the nearby slabby wall. If it weren't for the fun moves on Who was that man in the mask? (18) I probably would have started throwing rocks. Just one slightly committing move, then on up the fractured rock and through the juggy mini-roof. Our day at Hollow Mountain finished with a walk through Summerday valley to check out a few routes which will have to wait for next time. Into the car and off to Black Ian's Rocks to camp for the next two nights. We first stayed there a month ago and loved it. Having the place to ourselves and watching one of the nicest Wimmera sunsets (including a beautifully silhouetted Mt Arapiles) was a highlight.

I would have liked to say that the next day dawned bright, but it didn't. It was foggy, windy and COLD until about midday. Actually it was cold the whole day, which meant that the warm-up (Habeus Corpus, 14) didn't quite do its job. So next we sought shelter in the corner of Subpoena (17). Slightly warmer down the bottom, but the crack was pretty cold. Soon forgotten however – what a climb! Great fun, nothing too taxing and continually thought-provoking. Thoroughly recommended. Belaying at the top in the wind and without sun in a long-sleeved T-shirt alone is not recommended. Looking down on our warm tent the whole time just made it worse. I guess I am just a wuss. After the simple walk-off we headed down the 22 m to the shelter for lunch and thought about calling it quits for the day. But what a waste that would be! We decided to top-rope something to put the belayer out of the misery so headed over to the top of OK, I confess (23). Classy bit of climbing that. Techo and tensiony. A few oozy moves (really cracking out the lingo here) with a steep bit to a good rest then one more move and you are home. Would recommend the climb, although the moves through the crux would only be protected by only OK RPs would be my guess. Back to the shelter for dinner and to bed by 9.

The next morning was very cool. I mean the sunrise was. You know those lovely red, orange sunrises which break through to illuminate the Grampians sandstone? One of those. We packed up and headed off, through Wartook towards Halls Gap. Stopped in at MacKenzie falls which were flowing nicely and on to Bundaleer. Never been there before and were interested in checking out The Olgive (…not to climb). Quite impressive. Otherwise the majority of the routes (basilisk, gerontian) that we were interested in climbing were seeping/dripping heavily so we decided against. I off-handedly asked my partner whether she was interested in having a crack at Blimp (20). I was surprised to hear her permission forthcoming. Now I just had to psyche myself up for it. It looked long and steep, and it didn't look like it would be a bridging climb (irrespective of the guide's description) with a smooth steep face on the right offering little in the way of respite for the weak… When we lived in Canberra we climbed twice a week indoors and even then our endurance was only probably average. having lived in Melbourne for one year I could honestly count the number of 'training sessions' (read a bit of climbing indoors) we have done on one hand. Our endurance is sucky. Anyways, many of you that have done the climb know that I say the above as an attempt to hold my head high after pumping out on this fiend of an excursion, and in many respects you are right. I pumped out twice (one at that bolt – why is it there?, and once below the roof because I was mentally drained) on what was an altogether incredibly satifying experience. I didn't deserve to get it clean. I probably placed too much gear (about 13-14 pieces would be my guess), and wasn't fit enough to deserve the onsight. I will definitely be back though. It is an awesome climb and doesn't have any hard moves really – just a pumper. Having the whole cliff and valley to ourselves is certainly one of the best ways to spend a Monday. Drove on to Halls Gap for lunch with about 20 magpies and currawongs eyeing off our tuna and crumbs, before back to Melbourne to watch people making their way home after work.

What the weekend taught me was that: a) the Grampians are worth exploring (we have just started); b) I need to get more confident placing good gear and moving above it to overcome my lack of endurance (I am not recommending that beginners do this); c) there is no such thing as failure in climbing (well maybe total anchor failure leading to death but that is another thing…)

12:34:58 PM
>are worth exploring
Sums it up nicely.
Very entertaining read cruze. I strongly suspect that aspects of your experience strikes a chord in many of our hearts.

For me, I am not sure about moving above good gear overcoming lack of endurance. My endurance sucks, even above good gear ...

4:28:15 PM
I agree with you cruze - subpoena is a fantastic climb! it was my first 17 on trad and i really wasn't expecting such a blast / almost spanking!

6:11:16 PM
cheers for the TR! always good to break from uni study and let the mind wander to where i'd rather be!

1:33:13 AM
OK A. rub it in why don't ya! You guys suck. I spent the weekend gardening. Good to hear you had fun... but I should have been there - especially now that I have a pooffy jacket to keep me warm.

8:42:18 AM
Yeah no questions there E, there was a great deal of poofiness going down at night. I mean of the goose variety... Actually, I better stop now before I make things worse.

There are 6 messages in this topic.


Home | Guide | Gallery | Tech Tips | Articles | Reviews | Dictionary | Forum | Links | About | Search
Chockstone Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | Landscape Photos Australia

Please read the full disclaimer before using any information contained on these pages.

Australian Panoramic | Australian Coast | Australian Mountains | Australian Countryside | Australian Waterfalls | Australian Lakes | Australian Cities | Australian Macro | Australian Wildlife
Landscape Photo | Landscape Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Fine Art Photography | Wilderness Photography | Nature Photo | Australian Landscape Photo | Stock Photography Australia | Landscape Photos | Panoramic Photos | Panoramic Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | High Country Mountain Huts | Mothers Day Gifts | Gifts for Mothers Day | Mothers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Mothers Day | Wedding Gift Ideas | Christmas Gift Ideas | Fathers Day Gifts | Gifts for Fathers Day | Fathers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Fathers Day | Landscape Prints | Landscape Poster | Limited Edition Prints | Panoramic Photo | Buy Posters | Poster Prints