No rest for the wicked – NT Climbers set off before dawn to battle the crag!
A flash of red veered left blurring as it entered a thicket. Out of the window, to my right, I saw a glimpse of white around a pillar of rocks. The three cars weaved in and out, around obstacles and over blackened mud, each seeking a path to the twin towers.
It was now 7am, and time to climb.
Left lay a scrappy pinch and a pocket. *bah*. My eyes focused ahead of me. The ledge. My goal.
Chalking my hands I noticed a series of tiny crimps veering off up to my right. Hmm decisions. I re-positioned my feet and moved for the left pocket.
*too shallow*. My hand retreated back to safety. Oh hardy ha. Pretend to be pocket. Damn you cliff. To the crimps then. Right, left. Yep yep yep c’mon!
Five minutes later, having gained the ledge, I hung awkwardly half stuck out of a small chimney like a cat caught with its head in the cookie jar. My rope was completely stuck and I was loudly cursing my luck. Meanwhile on the other side of the twin towers, Ryan and Fin had powered up and begun building a nest that would have made six tonne cuckoo jealous. Fixing the anchors, top ropes were thrown down and the beginners got to work transitioning from the gym onto real rock.
From then on, ropes were flung everywhere and numerous climbs conquered. Particular mention goes to the beginner team of Bree, Mel, Dan and Brendan who conquered the blunt aręte and to Bree and Brendan who then went on to successfully climb Al Colads, a tricky 17 on the left tower. Whilst all these shenanigans were taking place, on advice from Chris (Macca), I snuck around the back to find a future climb.
Imagine an almost blank face of rock, slightly overhanging the entire way, only marked by shallow scars and a few measly pockets. It looked hard. I tried the first couple of moves which were by far and away the easiest and it was difficult. Just looking at the sheer blankness and overhanging nature, leading would have to go at the deep 20s.
Whilst I was checking out this blank face, Macca (after decking out earlier due to choss holds) regained some of his self dignity by working out an impressive right hand variant on the aręte. This involved a nice overhang, previously avoided by the other climbers.
Climbing continued and our number was reduced as Dan, Missy (the climbing dog), Mel and Sam headed back to Darwin. With the day moving on, Fin and Ryan got busy leading the two climbs on the rear side of the tower. Unsure of the ratings, initial comments of “evil” and “@$%! Hard” lead me to believe it was about a 10.
Ok maybe a 20.
Skirting the tower I stumbled across a slightly diagonal crack that naturally flared towards the top. A bit of an overhanging start proved a concern but I was confident that I could successful trad climb this route. It was my first trad climb!
Left hand up.
Ok ok, gotta place pro.
How do I do that again. Oh right
Green one??? Nope… Gold one…. Yep. Pull pull.
Ok don’t want to fall on that one. Next hold
Right hand. Left foot.
Ok another piece. Oh crap I’m stuck.
I topped out. It was an interesting climb, not so because of the moves ( I knew I could climb it) but more so because of the mentality that goes with actually relying on gear I’ve placed. I hate falling on lead. It is a strange sensation the clash of forced calm and adrenaline.
With the sun beating down on our tired limbs we made haste towards Robin Falls and the unfurling of the slackline which was kindly donated by Climbing Anchors. The slackline, to summarize was pretty awesome. Strangely addictive for something which seems to have the sole vengeful goal of throwing you off, I couldn’t help wanting to keep having goes. A beer at the end of the slackline motivated Ryan to make an impressive run before he succumbed to the gibbon. With eerily resemblance to an actual Gibbon, Fin was the first person to make it across putting all us mere mortals to shame.
With our feet hurting and our egos bruised by the unforgiving slackline we headed back north and into darkening skies. Soon it began to rain, another reminder of the coming wet and the hibernation of outdoor climbing until the coming of the dry in April/May.
- Latest Trip Report provided by Scott Cann
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