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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 25
Author
Landslide Chimney Trip Report 28/11/08
Mish Mash
2/12/2008
2:52:52 PM
Last Friday I managed to convince a friend James to come up to the Blue Mountains for a day of
climbing. He mentioned that he was keen to get a little more multi-pitch experience and myself having
a bit of an infatuation with the cliffs around Katoomba (having climbed Ice, Echo crack and Wally’s
World in the past 12 months) mentioned that there was a nice chimney down near a popular climbing
cliff called Dogface (hehe) that would be good fun and possibly offer a bit of protection from the
predicted thunderstorms. In retrospect I think I was sandbagging on much more than one level.

As we drove up from Sydney the skies greyed but we kept trying to reassure ourselves that the bad
weather was over to the North of the highway, we would be fine. As contemplation of a nice day of
sport climbing set in we fought it off, deciding to drop into Paddy Pallins in Katoomba for a quick squiz
at the guide book (very roughly 100m+ up grade 18 was about all we got from the description) and a
weather check (afternoon showers still on the way).

It was wonderful for the good people of the Scenic Railway to provide us with free all day parking.
Before any second thoughts set in we were harnessing up, sorting out the rack and stuffing apple
Danish’s down our throats like we would never eat again. We had the usual groups of tourists to
negotiate to begin the walk in but after we had beaten them off with my 1980’s Camp size 11 hex we
were away. The amount of water on the track in worried me a little (drawing out vague memories of
the strength of wet sandstone) but already we had walked down more steps than I would like to have
to walk back out, there was only one direction to head.

After a nice stroll around the national pass, scouting out possible lines along the way, we got a view of
what we were in for:

The mighty Dog Face


The face is awesomely intimidating in its steepness and height. Gigantor just looks amazing splitting
the cliff. I would really love to come back and aid it (if I ever end up learning how to aid). The view left
us with a strong sense of awe and respect for the visionaries that first climbed this face.

Now I had been under the impression that Echo Crack was the line of lines, but I mean, as if 100m of
gardening, offwidthing and tight chimneying is not more impressive than a simple hand to fist crack:

The line of lines:


The first pitch is about 40m leading up to jan alcove just below the obvious roof. Gingerly I began
leading up the slabby start. This involved smearing on damp moss about 1cm thick that somehow
stuck to the sandpit underneath it. There was nothing to trust apart from faith in God as the first pitch
steepened with occasional wrist size tree for protection. Already holds and rocks were breaking and
flying off left, right and centre. The belayer has nothing to worry about though, all these rocks seeming
combusted on their way down and just left James with a steady shower of sand.

As the pitch steepened the style of climbing disintegrated to shear desperation. Anything went to
simply get up. At one point I was smearing on vertical wet moss from which I pulled myself up on a
very loose shrub in a desperate lunge for a chicken wing in a head size crack. With all my weight on
this and my feet kicking in space I unraveled myself from my slings and launch these over a
chockstone as I repeated to myself “please Mr Ingham, I will never speak ill of your chicken farming
policies if you just let this wing stick”.

Just below the belay you are required to layback and jam up a steep hand crack. Here you realize how
much the rock (I use this term lightly) is moving, bending and groaning in your hands before a
desperate move to grab another tree and pull in to a small alcove. Here there were 2 bolts that had
rusted to about 3mm diameter and one nice new looking bolt. Does anyone know when this was placed
and who by? Although I am sure this route has not had many repeats, I feel it is warranted to say that
every ascent is a FA as we launched what could be described as genocide on the key holds.

James Topping out on pitch 1


From here the real fun begins, a 50m pitch of chimneying between two moss covered walls that
constricts down to “helmet” width at which point you can only look in one direction.

The 2nd pitch


With more than a shadow of doubt I launched into what can only be described as an epic battle against
the loose bowels of this horror known as Dogface. Every inch was a fight, there was no Geneva
convention for this warfare. I wormed, chimneyed, knee jammed, swore, chicken winged and pushed
my way up for what seemed like an eternity only to look down and realize I had made about 5 vertical
metres.

Start of the 2nd pitch


Piece by piece I began to drop gear down on a long sling underneath me in order to fit through the next
constriction. I am not even sure why I brought the rack, there was no hope of placing anything. Out of
shear terror I kept moving deeper into the pit, groveling and fighting up. At about the 10m mark I
spotted an old rusted carrot, about 10m to my side near the edge of the crack. With great reluctance I
traversed across to the little ball of rust, clipped it, then dived back into the chasm as if it had become
my storm shelter.

Which it actually had as a few drops sprinkled down from above:

As the storm hits


15m above the carrot there are a few chockstones that kept me sane as I climbed. These, I kept
saying over and over in me head, will keep me safe. Just below these the chimney widens to an
uncomfortable width at which you do not feel secure, yet it is not wide enough to chimney with back on
one wall and feet on another. Again with a few words to the God I was keeping busy that day I
squirmed until the chockstones were in arms reach and grabbed on to them with a sigh of relief.

Except that they were basically sand wedged in a crack and my fingertips began to gauge claw marks
through them. The logical conclusion was to rotate my body horizontal to a point where my hips were
wedged before inverting to some sort of sick-minded mantle on the rapidly decaying chockstone.

The rest of this pitch followed in similar fashion. Your mind slips into a mad frenzy in which you
trust nothing, but you know you have to use what you have before you if you ever want to escape this
jungle of despair. Then you see the light. A little hole appeared before me and was my goal, my aim,
my purpose.

James followed me up this pitch as if he was working as a demolition man. Which he kind of was as
he found this oldschool helmet in the depths of this Blue Mountains Mordor:

Helmet found:


Does anyone know what I.C.V.U. stands for? I thought it left James looking very much like a member
of the Village People:

James


Despite having escaped this nightmare, the short 3rd pitch did not offer any nice face climbing, no
pleasant hand crack, nope. It was straight back into some heel and toe shuffling up another tight
chimney. I swung the lead over to James who completed it in fine style:

James on pitch 3


There was not much flat rock on the summit for a victory photo with the self timer, but here it is
anyway.

Summit Photo


I impressively managed to leave my camera at the top out without realizing until I got back to Sydney.
The next morning my whole body was in agony as I dragged myself out of bed to head back up and
grab it. I never realized how many different muscles chimneying uses, or that I even had these
muscles. I am still seemingly finding sand hidden about my body and clothes.

Overall I can highly recommend this climb, especially for those after a little adventure. We are still
trying to work out why it didn’t get 5 stars in the new guide hehe. Has anyone been on Fingal or
Gorgon?








psd
2/12/2008
3:00:47 PM
Hilarious - tidy work. Thanks for a great TR.

nmonteith
2/12/2008
3:22:48 PM
On 2/12/2008 Mish Mash wrote:
>Already holds
>and rocks were breaking and
>flying off left, right and centre. The belayer has nothing to worry about
>though, all these rocks seeming
>combusted on their was down and just left James with a steady shower of
>sand.

Classic line!

Macciza
2/12/2008
3:33:47 PM
Excellent Effort - Climb and write up - Congrats . .
Would you be surprised to discover it has had a few very recent ascents . . .
>Has anyone been on Fingal or Gorgon?
Yeah - Done both - Gorgon is more solid, Fingal a bit sketchy - Both about 22 . . .
Gorgons had lots of ascents - Fingals had 2 free ascents - Try Gorgon . . .


DaveN
2/12/2008
6:06:49 PM
Good report :-)

I can remember Tom Williams climbing it in the 70's and his verbal report sounded very similar to yours.

Dave

Capt_mulch
2/12/2008
6:44:31 PM
ICVU - Iron Cove Venturer Unit - how's that for a bit of Google sleuthing!! BTW - great trip report. Ahhh, the Bluies.

wallwombat
2/12/2008
6:53:56 PM
I hope there wasn't an Iron Cove Venturer underneath it.

Macciza
2/12/2008
8:07:43 PM
On 2/12/2008 Capt_mulch wrote:
>ICVU - Iron Cove Venturer Unit - how's that for a bit of Google sleuthing!!
Damn - I thought it might be Intensive Care Vertical Unit . . .
rod
3/12/2008
12:17:51 AM
Excellent TR and photo's...chimneys are desperate at the best of times, this one sounds like a real corker.
widewetandslippery
3/12/2008
12:26:45 PM
Thats the best thing I think I've seen on chockstone. You did good.

wallwombat
3/12/2008
12:30:12 PM
On 3/12/2008 widewetandslippery wrote:
>Thats the best thing I think I've seen on chockstone....

You just like it because it looks like you could fit your newest piece of gear in there.
mikl law
3/12/2008
12:31:54 PM
choss sandstone is definately chossier after a few days of rain.
widewetandslippery
3/12/2008
12:35:33 PM
I took the 6 camalot fishing last night but all I caught was flathead. Go figure.

wallwombat
3/12/2008
12:45:06 PM
On 3/12/2008 widewetandslippery wrote:
>I took the 6 camalot fishing last night but all I caught was flathead.
>Go figure.

So, since the 'tripping incident', I take it you set up a belay now, when you go fishing.

Good idea.

hangdog
3/12/2008
12:55:05 PM
Good job guys although i am not sure why you did it.
Have routes like Landslide Chimney become some sort of Climbers right of passage.
It seems like each generation of climbers has a shot at this route and come up with the same conclusion. The route is a choss pile, a long epic choss pile but a choss pile none the less. Over the years generations have climbed this thing and surprise surprise they find wet vegetation loose rock and rusty bolts. I mean do people read the stories of these epics and go "maybe its gotten better over time. Maybe the rock has solidified the bolts ceased rusting and the vegetation fallen out" You know after all these decades it ceased being a pile of crap and its now viewed as a classic route. What did those old farts know we are the new breed dont listen to those old stories. I bet these guys reckon its a pile of shit now and never go back to it ever. And in ten years time the next breed comes along and goes "what did those guys know Maybe the rock has solidified the bolts ceased rusting and the vegetation fallen out"
Anyway the story was great and yes james does look like one of the Village People.

evanbb
3/12/2008
1:01:38 PM
Hangdog, I don't think you're giving these guys enough credit. Looked to me they went in with eyes wide open, knowing it was an awesome pile of cheese. Like a lot of things people do, they were just wondering what it would be like, and if their body/mind was up to the task.

There's a lot of fun to be had off the beaten track, and some incredibly memorable experiences. At the end of you life, what are you going to look back on more fondly;
1. Wrestling and swearing your way up an epic choss pile and emerging winner
2. Dogging your way up Madge or some other main stream 'must tick'

I'm all for it guys. It looked like excellent fun to me. I'm buying a footy jumper and getting stuck in.

hangdog
3/12/2008
1:23:52 PM
On 3/12/2008 evanbb wrote:
>Hangdog, I don't think you're giving these guys enough credit. Looked to
>me they went in with eyes wide open, knowing it was an awesome pile of
>cheese. Like a lot of things people do, they were just wondering what it
>would be like, and if their body/mind was up to the task.
>
>There's a lot of fun to be had off the beaten track, and some incredibly
>memorable experiences. At the end of you life, what are you going to look
>back on more fondly;
>1. Wrestling and swearing your way up an epic choss pile and emerging
>winner
>2. Dogging your way up Madge or some other main stream 'must tick'
>
>I'm all for it guys. It looked like excellent fun to me. I'm buying a
>footy jumper and getting stuck in.

I am speaking from experience on this one although nothing prepared me for how much of a choss pile it actually was. I didn't beleive the stories either. you dont when you 16 . Certainly an experience though! Forget the footy jumper though unless you have an old one the new ones are not tough enough and too expensive. A pair of King Gee overalls would be the hot set up.

evanbb
3/12/2008
2:10:58 PM
On 3/12/2008 hangdog wrote:
> A pair of King Gee overalls would be the hot
>set up.

Cracking idea! A slightly oversized pair, taped wrist and ankle would be the business for granite climbing, in the horrible sizes (bigger than feet but smaller than ankles).

wallwombat
3/12/2008
7:25:29 PM
On 3/12/2008 hangdog wrote:
>The route is a choss pile, a long epic choss pile but a choss pile none the less.

Yeah, it may be a cheesy pile of choss but as mish mash points out, "what a line!".

It cries out to be climbed.

WW&S and me had a go at a big chossy , roof-capped corner on the opposite side of the valley from The Crag That Doesn't Exist last summer. It cries out to be climbed. It looks fantastic (from a distance).

We walked out to TCTDE and then down a spur with all our gear, crossed a creek and bush bashed up a spur on the other side to get to the cliff. On arrival we checked out the cliff and racked up underneath the line. We climbed one pitch to the base of the main corner and realised our biggest gear was no way near big enough and it was an enormous choss fest.
We beat a retreat back down and up the other side, vowing to get some bigger cams and some helmets and return.

We have the cams and the lids but haven't got back there yet. I intend to return.

When completed (if it hasn't already been) it will never be a classic climb. I doubt it will even be a good climb. But it is an amazing line and when you view the cliffs from the otherside of the valley, your gaze is immediately drawn to it.

I believe that The Landslide Chimney is such a climb. There are lots of climbs like that and people will always climb them. I know I will. I am drawn to the lines. I am drawn to the big, distinctive cliff-splitting lines and I am drawn to the sinuous, snakey lines. I can sit for hours picking lines on big features and making plans that may never happen.

Well done guys. I'd like to say that one day I'll climb it but having now seen close up photos and read the description, I don't think that I will. There is a lot to be said about the power of the self-sandbag and now I know too much. The mystery has gone and I'm pretty sure I'd have a miserable time..

Nevermind.

There are plenty more big lines out there and my ability to sand bag myself should get me up at least a few. I can't wait. This weekend sounds good to me.

And

On 3/12/2008 evanbb wrote:
>Cracking idea! A slightly oversized pair, taped wrist and ankle would
>be the business for granite climbing, in the horrible sizes (bigger than
>feet but smaller than ankles).

Don't be a dick. I'm not climbing granite with you if you are dressed in a boilersuit.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
5/12/2008
12:13:35 PM
Excellent adventure and write up.
Unlike wallwombat I find the photos and description enticing and really had empathy with this bit ~
>The rest of this pitch followed in similar fashion. Your mind slips into a mad frenzy in which you trust nothing, but you know you have to use what you have before you if you ever want to escape this jungle of despair. Then you see the light. A little hole appeared before me and was my goal, my aim, my purpose.

If you keep this attitude, you will go well when/if you ever return to aid the face.

Well done, and thanks for sharing the experience you had.

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There are 25 messages in this topic.

 

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