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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 1 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 45
Author
First Climb

zumojugo
24/10/2007
8:20:51 PM
I went to Arapiles for the first time this weekend. Although I've done a lot of walking in the Grampians
I've never done any serious climbing in the area. In fact the only climbing I've done, other than gyms
and bouldering around Melbourne, is a bit of top roping at Werribee Gorge (FYI it isn't located in
Werribee it's in Bachuus Marsh!).

Over the weekend I led three climbs, all on the first day. My climbing partner, who has some
experience of climbing trad., wanted me to lead first up. We started with Sunny Gully which is a grade
2. At first it was a little hard to take seriously because if is the sort of thing I've gone up before
unroped with a pack when walking (walking is like trekking but without the "Mountain Design"
equipment). This is a short easy climb with plenty of opportunities to stand around and fiddle about
with the gear. The idea was to place a fair amount of gear to get a bit of a feel for placing gear whilst
climbing. Obviously I had a good idea of the technical ideas behind placing protection - as much as
you can get from a lot of background reading - but no practical experience (other than setting up top
ropes) and there is a very big difference between the two! The first climb went pretty well and I spent a
while building the belay before my partner seconded it (we've set up top-rope's together before so he
knew I had some idea about setting up a belay). After climbing up he gave the belay the seal of
approval and a bit of feedback about placing gear then onto the second climb of the day.

The second climb was Hammer, a grade 3. This is quite a steep climb which immediately made me
take it a bit more seriously. I was surprised how much harder climbing is with the added consideration
of placing gear and the added mental element of considering your own protection. Something you
never give any thought to when climbing a fingery 19 on a top rope. I think I actually felt more nervous
placing the gear than I would have felt if I had had no rope at all. In placing the gear you actually
consider falling off which is not something I normally give a great deal of thought to whilst climbing.
I normally think about it beforehand and then climb. There was one section which bulged out a bit. I
spent a while trying to fit something good in below it and finally got a nut in which I was pretty happy
with but Iwas impressed with how much more real everything felt climbing the slightly technical bit
knowing that you must depend on your own placements. Climbing is definitely a lot harder when you
think about falling!

After an overly long lunch we went to Mitre Rock to have a stab at something a bit longer. We decided
on the aptly named Baptism which is a 10. The plan was that I would lead the first pitch, a 6, and he
would lead the crux pitch which was a 10. It was hot as hell in the afternoon sun and I started off
feeling pretty good. At first the placements were pretty easy, even to my inexpereinced eye, but once I
got a bit further up there were a couple of spots with no obvious moves and not much in the way of
useful placements. There were definitely placements but nothing that I felt really good about - I think
the more I thought about the move the less comfortable I felt about my placements. I made a
couple of hairy moves including a bit of a slip and grab and then moved on to easier ground. There
were a couple of spots like that, where the consideration of placing protection seemed to distract me
from the simple job of climbing. I completed the first pitch and spent a little while building a belay and
up came my partner. He was also a little surprised by a couple of spots on the climb and it didn't fill
him with confidence. He got to the belay ledge and, whilst still on Belay, walked over to the second
pitch, took a twenty second look at it and declared he wasn't happy to lead it. This immediately made
me think he knew something that I didn't and given my limited experience of climbing in the real world I
didn't feel like I wanted to take on the task. We ummed and ahhed about whether to look for an
alternative route or absail down. In the end we decided to see if we could traverse along and head over
to the walk out gulley over the back. After a long and tedious traverse he lead up a long shitty gulley
(maybe a grade 2?) to the top of the rock. This all seemed to take ages. We then looked around for an
alternative way out. The only option was either a blind down-climb or a short absail. As darkness set
in he set up the absail, backed it up with a cam and I absailed down. He then took out the back up and
abandoned a sling and we made our way off the rock. Walking down the rocky gulley in the darkness
the only thought going through my head was, this is f@#*ng awesome!!!

The moral of the story is, I'm hooked. Climbing outdoors on your own protection is fantastic, it's much
more challanging in every way than climbing on a top rope and it becomes a much more involved
committed experience. The added glitches to my first day also have given me some understanding of
the things that can arise in the process of climbing like this. I can't wait to go back and learn some
more. Instead of thinking I can climb a 20 I now know that I can climb a six and love it! I think this
gym monkey has finally escaped.

evanbb
25/10/2007
6:49:39 AM
Climbing outdoors on your own gear is the ONLY way to climb. It's a sign of your intelligence that you've realised this so quickly.

cruze
25/10/2007
8:48:33 AM
Awesome work - love the way you are thinking about things. Leading trad onsight is one of the most fulfilling experiences in climbing you can have.

Organ Pipe
25/10/2007
9:17:33 AM
On 24/10/2007 zumojugo wrote:
>...I was impressed with how much more real everything felt climbing the slightly >technical bit knowing that you must depend on your own placements...

Amen. It's so invigorating and powerful isn't it.

Great TR mate.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/10/2007
9:57:46 AM
Excellent TR.

It is always good to hear of others experiences and receiving them from new(ish) players is always a refreshing read imo.

Don't dismiss top-roping totally. It still has a place for improving technique/getting fit/socialising/etc; but obviously as you have discovered is hard pressed to compare with being on the sharp end.
Bob Saki
25/10/2007
10:56:38 AM
a great TR and reminds of that day 2 years ago I made the same decision to do it, the sense of life is amazing. - Top Work and best of luck

Agree with M9 on Top Roping I still love it as it allows me jump climbs with amazing lines I'm not able to lead and dream for that time I'm actually climbing what the big boys/girls power up and at the same time it provides improvement with safety

gordoste
25/10/2007
12:16:16 PM
i guess this qualifies as your first epic :)

zumojugo
25/10/2007
12:42:24 PM
On 25/10/2007 gordoste wrote:
>i guess this qualifies as your first epic :)

Oh, it was epic!

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/10/2007
1:38:53 PM
On 25/10/2007 zumojugo wrote:
>Oh, it was epic!

You have me curious now zumojugo with this remark coupled with your trip report.

... ?

Do you see a correlation with your comments on an earlier thread of;
06/09/2007
> I'm a gibbon trapped in the gym seeking escape. >How can you get started climbing outdoors when you have no rope and no idea? >Useful suggestions would be appreciated.

&

> Most details you will only learn once you've made a few mistakes of your own, as long as you know enough and think enough to avoid any major mistakes you should avoid any fatal errors. >Isn't that why people climb? >To learn mastery over self and something new.

&

>Some advice was helpful like join a club -- which realistically I can't do right now - but some responses to the idea that I go out and give it a go were both patronising and useless hence my move to sarcasm.
>I'm certain that that is exactly what many of you did and it stinks of hipocracy to think that it was good enough for you but wouldn't be good enough for anyone else. >I'm grateful for the warnings of the dangers of just having a go.

~ ~ ~

I take it you mean epic in the sense of 'awesome' rather than a 'near death experience', and on that assumption it seems to me (from reading your TR), that you may now appreciate the depth of our feeling (expressed allegedly as hypocritical/patronising); that being on the sharp end is not something to be taken lightly.

Lead climbing (imo) is often kind of unforgiving of even seemingly minor mistakes* ... & gravity is no respecter of ability!

(*BTW I have made enough to appreciate my surviving of them; and still marvel how easy it is to be caught out, even with some of this mystical thing called experience!).

:)

zumojugo
25/10/2007
3:20:21 PM
I mean "epic" in the sense of being very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale). *(To be clear I am comparing this with a toprope climb.) I assure you I never took the dangers of lead climbing lightly, I only wanted to experience them first hand.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/10/2007
3:49:14 PM
>I only wanted to experience them first hand.

... who knows where this will end up?

~ The outrageous places (like big walls), of this world await us my friend.

Continue to take care out there, and post us your exploits upon your return!

:)

westie
25/10/2007
4:27:28 PM
On 25/10/2007 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>>I only wanted to experience them first hand.
>
>... who knows where this will end up?
>
>~ The outrageous places (like big walls), of this world await us my friend.
>
>Continue to take care out there, and post us your exploits upon your return!
>
>:)

geez, we are getting misty eyed here aren't we.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/10/2007
4:35:32 PM
... gotta start somewhere.



I wonder if the Huber Bro's started out this way?

muki
25/10/2007
5:11:03 PM
On 24/10/2007 zumojugo wrote:
>I went to Arapiles for the first time this weekend.
Snip: Thats great, good to get out and discover somthing new.
>I've never done any serious climbing in the area. In fact the only climbing
>I've done, other than gyms
snip: With such limited experience you should have a friend that knows the ropes to show you how.
>I led three climbs, all on the first day. My climbing partner, who has some experience of climbing
trad., wanted me to lead first up.
snip: a really bad idea for you to do this on your first day of your first trip ever. seconding is a much
better and safer option, as you learn to see good gear then remove it all whilst climbing.
>We started with Sunny Gully which is a grade 2.
snip: these "easy" climbs are actually the most dangerouse to fall on, because of all the ledges.
>At first it was a little hard to take seriously because if is the sort of thing I've gone up before
>unroped with a pack when walking (walking is like trekking but without the "Mountain Design"
>equipment).
snip: I would take any climb of any grade at any area very seriously indeed, its your life on the line.
>This is a short easy climb with plenty of opportunities to stand around and fiddle about with the gear.
snip: these are the ledges that I was describing as being the main danger, that and the fact that all the
books on placing gear that you've read, don't tell you about rock quality, or cams in little flakes, or any
number of things that an experienced climber can teach you about.
>The idea was to place a fair amount of gear to get a bit of a feel for placing gear whilst climbing.
snip: This can be done much more safely by top ropeing and placing gear as you climb, this gear then
gets checked by an experienced climber, and you get to find out what was good and what was bad and
WHY!
>Obviously I had a good idea of the technical ideas behind placing protection - as much as
>you can get from a lot of background reading - but no practical experience
snip: this is not the starting point for a leader, as I mentioned earlier, seconding is much safer and
more educational, not just for the gear but also body position, and learning to recognise stances, as
these are critical to placing good gear from, not rushed slamed in junk cos you're too pumped and
desperate to place good gear the first time around.
>I made a couple of hairy moves including a bit of a slip and grab
snip: if the gear you placed was bad, and you did fall then the whole experience would have been very
different, I would say stay away from leading till you know every thing about it, from seconding lots of
climbs at all types of grades, the type of "easy" climbs you have led so far are by far the most
unforgiving to fall off, ie mitre rock fall off a grade 3, smashed hip broken femur ect ect
>up came my partner. He was also a little surprised by a couple of spots
>on the climb and it didn't fill him with confidence. He got to the belay ledge and, whilst still on Belay,
>walked over to the second pitch, took a twenty second look at it and declared he wasn't happy to
>lead it.
snip: This would lead me to think that the person you are out with does not have the experience you
give him credit for? combined with the fact that he let you lead on unforgiving terrain on day one!!!
>he lead up a long shitty gulley (maybe a grade 2?) to the top of the rock. This all seemed to take
ages.
snip Again not sounding good, should have had a back up climb or the descent organised before
setting off on the climb, not being able to find the way off mitre rock is bad route finding IMO, it's basic
>We then looked around for an alternative way out.
snip: Again, mitre is not a complex area.
>As darkness set in
The finale leading to most "epics" (this is a climbing term that means a bad series of events, or event)
Personally I would rethink your apprenticeship, to include the basic job of seconding climbs, with a top
rope lead here and there to check what you have learned, and then before leading, a course in falling,
the biggest part of leading is falling and hardly any begginers know how to do it !!! let alone well, it
means the difference between a broken bone/s and a few scrapes, big difference there !!!
Not trying to bring you down, just a reality check, BP
surfinclimb
25/10/2007
5:17:22 PM
I wonder if the Huber Bro's started out this way?

Nah probably not , I think those freaks started climbing by onsighting 20s with 3 pitons and there mums washing line in the Alps.
Well done Z, Ask Qs and continue to try and climb with crew who know a lot more than yourself until you have your gear really nailed.

zumojugo
25/10/2007
5:33:34 PM
So, BP, tell me about your first experiences climbing trad.

gordoste
25/10/2007
6:08:22 PM
On 25/10/2007 zumojugo wrote:
>So, BP, tell me about your first experiences climbing trad.

Don't take it personally he just can't help suggesting things. It's the pot calling the kettle black anyway, have a look around for the story he posted of when he got off-route on Auto Da Fe and ended up on a grade 23 slab with a 15m run-out. I guess he just doesn't want other people to make the same mistakes he made (to quote Billy J).

muki
25/10/2007
6:15:35 PM
Don't get upset, just trying to let you know the best/safest way to go about leading on trad, it takes
time.
You dont just jump on it and start working your way up through the grades, you have to get the gear
totally wired (excuse the pun) before you can afford to fall off a climb, with more experience
(seconding) you will have the skills needed to fall off with safety, as an experienced climber I fall off
on a regular basis if I'm pushing the boundaries, the big difference is A: not falling on the most
dangerous climbs ie the ledgy, blocky, "easy" climbs B: have good gear from many years of
experience C: when I do fall off, I know how to fall correctly, and therefore don't hurt myself, having
said this I am allways prepared for the unexpected, and try to wear a lid if I think that there is loose
rock, other parties above me, or the chance that my rope will flip me.
I try to allways climb with an experienced climber, so if I need rescue I can get it, I do guiding so it's
beginers on belay sometimes, that means that I have to solo the climb trailing the rope cos I can't
trust them to catch me if I fall !!!
But if you really want to know how I started climbing on trad then here it is........
I got the bug as a kid, and free climbed all the local cliffs, then had a big fall and gave it up, after that,
I rediscovered climbing whith ropes and harnesses much later, and would set up a top rope sysem, rap
down a waterfall cliff in far northern NSW then at the bottom I would tie in to one end and push a jumar
off my harness ahead of me on the other end of the rope, barefoot climbing really teaches good
footwork, after doing this for a while I found out about gear and frog buttress, I borrowed some gear
from some mates who had moved on from climbing, and whent up by my self to live at frog for a while,
I would second anyone who would have me, finding out about how the gear works and how to tell
between good and bad placements, this took a while, and when I felt that I had served my time I tried
to lead some stuff with a toprope at first to get others opinion of how my gear was going, then when I
got the green light on my pro, I whent for it full tilt.So I'm not being a hypocrite, or trying to bring you
down, just tying to keep you alive a bit longer, hopefully long enough to get the big picture on gear,
falling, and partnerships, good luck BP

Capt_mulch
25/10/2007
6:28:43 PM
So Bomber, when you say "far northern nsw" where are you referring to? I've spent quite a few years in the vacinity of Nimbin Rocks and have looked at those walls with an unnatural desire...

muki
25/10/2007
7:40:16 PM
OK, hidden in a remote valley on the old forrest rd out the back of fox rd is the doughboy just near Uki.
this is an extinct vent from the Mt Warning volcano, but don't climb Blue knob opr nimbin Rocks, these
are aboriginal sacret sites and are off limits to all but the godiechy of the tribe! also check out some of
the big waterfalls they have amazing rock faces, and there are some big walls in the same valley as the
doughboy on the fox rd side of the valley, amazing climbing, I did'nt record any of the climbs I did there
cos I wanted the same feeling of adventure to those who whent there after me, lets just say that the rock
is bullet hard, the crack systems are intricate and long and the cliff is multipitch in hieght! nuf said. BP

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