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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

Author
Berowra: Journos, jitters and jugs

Hans
17/05/2010
1:14:28 PM
This is my first trip report. I've only been climbing for 2 years or so, and have been reading Chockstone for about a year. I know that everyone bangs on about posting more stuff about actual climbing so I figured I'd give that a go - hopefully someone enjoys it.

The weekend just gone Josh and I trekked up to Berowra for a Sunday of climbing. We’d originally planned to head to the Blueys, but changed our minds for two reasons.
1. Josh was to be interviewed by my housemate. She’s a journo for the ABC’s (soon to be announced) news channel, ABC4, and is putting together a piece on several different voters and the issues that’ll affect their vote on election day. As a result we needed to stay closeish to town.
2. The predicted maximum of 13degrees in Katoomba. No deal.

Josh suggested Berowra as an alternative. I’d never been there before, but the promise of a short drive up to a short and sweet crag had me sold.

We started up late, stopping at Pierre’s Café in Turramurra for coffee and bakery treats. I’d never been there before, and the place had everything we needed: awesome black cherry danishes, croissants, pies, quiches, and discussions about whether the Sunday morning cyclists’ lycra was really necessary (verdict? No.). After finishing we scored a couple of baguettes and grabbed sandwich fillers from the grocery store and continued up to the crag.

Arriving at the end of Wideview St, the sky was clear and blue, the sun was warm, and the view from the top of the crag was beautiful - an outlook over hills covered in deep green bushland, the occasional house nestled here and there. Apparently Lantana was filmed up around that way? I can see the resemblence to the scene where the girl legged it over the edge of the cliff while running away from Vince Colosimo. Silly thing.

We rock-hopped down to the bottom and wandered along the base, figuring out which lines we’d like to get up for the day. I was surprised at how busy it was. I usually do shift work and head out climbing on weekdays when it’s pretty quiet, but I guess on the weekends waiting in line for a popular climb must be commonplace. Everyone was friendly and there was a gorgeous black kelpie X (Woofy) at the base of our first climb, so a good vibe was set for the day.

We started out on Comausminpab (Grade 18) for a warm-up, Josh tying in for the lead. The climb starts out with a small roof, then up over the lip to some slopey sandy holds, then pockets and jugs up above that. He managed to thrash his way up it gradually, hanging several times as he became ever more dubious about the grading. When he lowered off the top and it was my turn to head up, I could see why: I felt pathetic slipping and sliding off the lower holds, unable to get purchase on any of the slopers it seemed you needed to use to get higher. After 10 minutes or so of falls within 4 metres of the ground, I headed back down, defeated and embarrassed. Tough for 18.

Next we headed right to Mental Fatigue (18) and Josh headed up once more. This is more my type of climb – none of this “pulling the lip” or slopey rubbish, just a nice flake diagonally up to a fun bit of traversing, followed by a flat section to the top. He climbed it no probs, then pulled the rope and I led up on his draws. I climbed it clean which I was pretty stoked about – it’s a super fun climb and I’d definitely recommend it.

Third was Fox/Sox/Pox (18), which I roped up on first. This climb intimidated me, as when we’d arrived and walked past I’d seen a German fella trying and failing (on top rope) to pull the first proper move over the lip, and I didn’t like the look of the fall that could eventuate if I muffed it. And hell, if a hard-looking German dude can’t do it, what chance have I got? I tried the move unroped with Josh spotting to see how it felt, and managed it ok, so figured I’d give it a go.

I managed to get my feet on a ledge, lean back and get my left hand to the big edge over the top of the lip, and was reaching up with my right hand when the left popped off. I fell around 2m onto my feet, with my left foot safely between two ankle-destroying rocks. I initially felt ok (thanks to the German dude for checking if I was alright), but felt a bit horrible and sick afterwards thinking about how smashed my ankle would have been if I’d fallen badly. I’ve not taken any decent falls before and was a bit too psyched out to try the move again without any protection, so I untied and handed the rope to Josh who cruised the climb.
On my next go (with the first bolt clipped to prevent a repeat of the earlier foolishness) I was sweet – the move that I’d been packing it on before was easy, and I climbed quickly up near the second rebar staple (apparently they’re needed for the rock on this climb). When it came to clipping the second bolt, though, I was feeling a bit pumped, and thoughts of what would happen if I missed the clip and fell back to the ground started going through my head. I wimped out and grabbed the staple, clipping myself in to it, and then cruised the rest of the climb, pretty annoyed with myself for wussing out of the move.

We broke for lunch then, and the journos arrived, so we met them up top and sat looking out at the view as we ate. We were stunned with how long it took them to set up, and film, and re-take what would end up being a 2.5min segment. Josh spoke about his thoughts on climate change for a bit, then we headed back down so they could get some climbing footage for the piece. As we brought them past the other climbers, the mood seemed a bit darker, and even when I apologized for bringing journos, no-one seemed to keen to see them there.

Anyhow. Best ‘til last: the final for the day was Ladder of Gloom (19), an excellent climb involving an initial traverse across a minimally-featured crux, then a cool rock ladder up to the top. A Brazilian couple were on the route before us, making it look pretty easy, so we sat and watched as they finished up (and the camera got set up). Josh led first (with camera crew filming, and annoyingly asking him to repeat the moves again… and again…) and after lowering off pulled the rope. I tied in and got started.

The start psyched me out a little (another, higher, ground fall would ensue upon failure) but I found the traverse pretty easy and super fun once I took a few breaths. The rock ladder was cool and man the jugs up near the top were nice.

All in all, a really fun day, and I’m stoked that I led up a 19 (even if I failed on the much harder 18 that I initially tried).

rodw
17/05/2010
1:21:52 PM
Should have gone to Mt K, would have had the place to yourself...but perhaps Im biased.

Good TR.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
17/05/2010
1:38:15 PM
>This is my first trip report

Ah, it is good to see new blood in the Trip Report posting topic, so thanks for making the effort Hans, as it is good to hear first hand about areas that I have not climbed at.

It was an interesting combination of events in your day. I can feel the uneasiness that the other climbers would have felt about a film crew being there, after the ambience you described of the location earlier.

What general length are the climbs at this location?


cruze
17/05/2010
1:54:17 PM
And there I was just about to ask what everyone got up to on the weekend! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Interesting about the reaction of climbers to journalists filming at a suburban (?) crag.

Hans
17/05/2010
1:58:08 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I should have mentioned for those people interstate: Berowra is just north of Sydney (around 45min drive from town).
The climbs are generally pretty short, 10-20m. It's sandstone, with some neat features - one wall (Bullet-Hole Wall) is covered in lots of small pockets, thus the name.
f_ladou
17/05/2010
2:34:58 PM
On 17/05/2010 Hans wrote:
>Anyhow. Best ‘til last: the final for the day was Ladder of Gloom (19),
>an excellent climb involving an initial traverse across a minimally-featured
>crux, then a cool rock ladder up to the top. A Brazilian couple were on
>the route before us, making it look pretty easy, so we sat and watched
>as they finished up (and the camera got set up). Josh led first (with camera
>crew filming, and annoyingly asking him to repeat the moves again… and
>again…) and after lowering off pulled the rope. I tied in and got started.
>
>The start psyched me out a little (another, higher, ground fall would
>ensue upon failure) but I found the traverse pretty easy and super fun
>once I took a few breaths. The rock ladder was cool and man the jugs up
>near the top were nice.

I've got a real fondness for Berowra -- I did a lot of my early climbing there. Excellent winter crag but a searing fry-pan in summer. In fact, I almost ended up there on Sunday but elected to go a little further to Blackwall Mountain in Woy-Woy. Anyway...

Ladder of Gloom is such a classic. The traverse is intimidating and rather committing at the end when you try to reach the high hand-holds where the climb really starts. That is until you find the secret evil undercling that makes it real easy... Mwahahahaahhaha...

François

Hans
17/05/2010
3:46:28 PM
On 17/05/2010 rodw wrote:
>Should have gone to Mt K, would have had the place to yourself...but perhaps
>Im biased.
>
>Good TR.

I forgot to ask: do you mean Mt Kuring-gai? If so, I didn't realise there was climbing up there...

rodw
17/05/2010
4:20:07 PM
Yep you but just had to ask....:)

http://www.climb.org.au/index.php?page_id=10&action=crag&crag_id=322

citationx
17/05/2010
4:33:23 PM
On 17/05/2010 Hans wrote:
>2. The predicted maximum of 13degrees in Katoomba. No deal.
>

It was so hot at the 13 degree sunny crags on saturday that friends of mine left shipley at 10am due to the heat. we climbed in the sun at 4pm and we were sweating before we'd reached the top of the first 40m pitch. that temperature is only a problem if it's raining and/or windy.

Hans
17/05/2010
4:50:57 PM

>
>It was so hot at the 13 degree sunny crags on saturday that friends of
>mine left shipley at 10am due to the heat. we climbed in the sun at 4pm
>and we were sweating before we'd reached the top of the first 40m pitch.
>that temperature is only a problem if it's raining and/or windy.
>
Oh ok, cool. I'm from WA and usually get scared by anything less than 15degrees :) but I'll have to keep that in mind for next time - Berowra was a bit too hot when the sun was shining, too.
Bobic
18/05/2010
8:25:21 PM
I did Fox/Sox/Pox the other day. It was sandy, slippery and bloody awful. I don't think it's worthy of a star.
ausjames1
5/06/2010
2:38:59 AM
Hey Hans- i'm pretty sure i actually saw u there at Berowra...with the film crew setting up for ages for abc, lol.
small world


Hans
5/06/2010
10:46:21 PM
On 5/06/2010 ausjames1 wrote:
>Hey Hans- i'm pretty sure i actually saw u there at Berowra...with the
>film crew setting up for ages for abc, lol.
>small world

Hehe yeah I guess Sydney's scene is pretty small.
But man, if you ever get asked to be interviewed for TV: decline. So much time setting up and doing sound and lighting checks and all that rubbish for 2 mins of footage: time we could've spent climbing! Oh well,you live you learn.

There are 13 messages in this topic.

 

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