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Ant dropped by the house in McMansion Hills, and a short time later we were on our way up the big hill
to the blueys. He’d instigated the weekday adventure with the idea of repeating the well bolted Lief
Ericsson, but I’ve recently returned from a few months off the rock, and wasn’t feeling super confident
in my ability to pull down that hard for that long. So, somehow my powers of persuasion were enough
to convince him that a day out at Pierce’s Pass wandering up a traddy corner system were the order of
the day. After a couple of stops to garner coffee and a large apple pie from Bilpin we made it to the
carpark and saddled up in anticipation of wandering up My Kind of Bliss.
The wander out to the start, and the rap was as uneventful as anticipated, having been out to the area
a number of times in the past, and I was soon tying in below the start of the first pitch. It began
reasonably benignly, with fairly solid rock, easy moves and good gear up the initial corner, but had the
added spice of a small brown snake about halfway up the pitch. I was still feeling pretty confident at
this stage though so after watching each other for a minute or so, we each decided it would be best to
head in opposite directions – the snake slowly back into the crack and me out quickly onto the face to
the right for a few metres.
The next pitch and a half went without too many dramas, but just as I was about to get c--ky Ant
pointed out from the belay that dark clouds were a-gathering and heading in our general direction. So I
did a fairly shoddy impression of a speed climber and weaseled my way up under the big roof at the
top of the third pitch, set a belay and brought Ant up just in time for the first raindrops to begin, and the
thunder to start. No worries we said. We’ve been caught in Blue Mountains storms before, and will just
wait it out under our nice cosy roof, hoping not to get struck by lightning. Great in theory, but the storm
lasted two hours and completely soaked the rock, making the last 30 m to the walk off ledge a trifle
difficult, especially as the version of the guide we had with us was suitably vauge about where one
Just as we were about to give up on the idea of completing the route, three figures that appeared over
near the base jumpers launch, asking if we were OK. At this stage all seemed fine – we were dry & in
good spirits, and while not looking forward to the walk out weren’t too fazed by the idea. Turns out that
was a decision we’d later regret, as it was actually the police rescue group who’d been called out by a
concerned local who saw Ant’s car in the carpark, and probably could have thrown us down a line.
So, we bit the bullet and threw the lines down, and rapped back down into the valley to begin the walk
out. I’d previously walked in along the base of the cliffs, and wasn’t too impressed by that option given
how steep it is, and how damp everything had now become. Hence we started the walk down the hill to
the tourist track at the bottom of the Grose. It started slowly, given our shoes were with our lunch,
torch and car keys on the big ledge at the top of the route. It continued even more slowly
when we discovered the lawyer vine and other assorted spiky bushes lower down in the valley, and
drew to a snail’s pace as it got dark. We eventually managed to locate the right track back up to the
pass, but only after couple of hours frigging around heading in the wrong direction a few times, and
began to trudge back up to hill. The going continued to be slow, especially when we got to the
extremely dark, narrow section of the pass and had our night vision blinded by the glow worms, and
had to resort to direction finding by braile. We reached the car at about midnight, and I for one was
seriously tempted to break a window to access the spare shoes, torches and the apple pie inside.
Alas, it was more stumbling along barefoot on the stony path back to the big ledge, where we (re?
)discovered the new extreme sport of roped night-ledge-simulwalking in order to avoid plunging back to
where we had started our little trek. From there things improved, and Ant even managed to avoid
falling asleep on the drive home, which was reasonably impressive given the 4 am finish. I guess it’ll
be Ant’s turn to choose the next adventure.
Great trip report wombly. Adventure aplenty in it's many subtle forms!
Storms and lightning in the Blueys. Good stuff, and certainly brings back memories!
I wonder what the 'concerned local' may have thought when the vehicle was still there till midnight?
Re the small brown snake. From the homework I have done, it doesn't matter the size, as their toxicity is still the same. Their 'delivery system' may not inject as much, but if the toxicity is orders of magnitude more than enough to do the job, then even an inefficient delivery will still do you in, i.e. new born browns are as deadly as their parents.
>I guess it’ll be Ant’s turn to choose the next adventure.
Who's turn will it be to carry the daypack?
I hate climbing with shoes, but I hate walking out even more (but haven't had to do it yet). I have walked in twice. Around the base of the cliffs isn't too bad, there's 200m of slippery thrash around the base of Wall's lookdown, then you hit the basejumper's track and it's very quick.
it sounds as though you did the corner with the blank start then traversed left around the arete and were pretty much finished the difficulties?
Top pitch heads up and left. But not in the rain
And Big Trad Thing is better and more sustained. Get someone else to second the roof pitch
Were you out last wednesday? I took this photo from rigby hill about half an hour before the storm.
yep, that looks like me trying to wiggle in a wire, just before we realised we were about to get dumped on.
>Around the base of the cliffs isn't too bad, there's 200m of slippery thrash around the base of Wall's
>lookdown, then you hit the basejumper's track and it's very quick.
In hindsight this would probably have been the better option ... but seemed to be the riskier one at the
time. If I had to play the hand again I would probably have sidled off onto mirrorball and headed up that
>it sounds as though you did the corner with the blank start then traversed left around the arete and
>were pretty much finished the difficulties? Top pitch heads up and left. But not in the rain
Yep - had trundled up the corner, but parked up under the roof during the rain. Ant poked his head
around the arete after the storm, but it was too mossy/wet to be a sensible option for us. Looked easy
in the dry.
Excellent trip report!
Love those epic journeys consisting of 10% actual climbing and 90% ancillary crap. It reminded me of a very
long day up Benny Bucket Buttress which ended with a 4 hours bush-bashing in the dark trying to find our way
back to the car. Completely dehydrated of course and with a single cucumber to share between three of us.
The beer afterwards was the best ever.
was that trip which resulted in a video of you being ejected backwards at speed friom a sandy horizontal break?
Yep, that's it: classic footage shot in October 2006, just below the roof of pitch 6 with Alex behind the
camera. Exact same place where we quietly munched on our sandwiches waiting for the thunderstorm to
blow past the second time we did Benny Bucket Buttress in March 2008.
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