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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

Author
Freshwater Beach

sbm
28/08/2011
11:25:10 AM
Again, a bit pathetic compared to all the lucky people in Africa and the Karakoram, but the Sydney sea cliffs are always a little exiting.

Not quite sure how a "relaxing saturday morning of easy climbing" turned into "let's go to this obscure Sydney sea cliff with two recorded routes and try and climb something" but it did.

Freshwater is a pretty nice beach. The surf was 2 foot and offshore and the sun came out just as we reached the foot of the headland.

To get to the top of the cliff, first you scramble up to a big halfway ledge from the beach. There's the ruins of an old house there, complete with rusty plumbing everywhere and a tiled floor. After walking over the foundations of this old house you come to a concrete platform that must have been the balcony. It doubles as a fantastic belay ledge, and it's been liberally furnished with a couch, graffiti and plenty of broken glass by the locals.

The prospects for leading were a bit suicidal, so we decided toproping was in. We did another tricky scramble up a short corner to get to an overgrown path and old steps that led to the top. Once the path starts running along the cliff top, it's a matter of guessing where the top of your line is, tying off a couple of trees, and forcing and post-holing your way through five meters of extremely thick vegetation to throw down the toprope ("next time we're bringing a machete").

Once back on the old balcony, you climb down to another vegetated ledge that is the starting point for one of the recorded climbs 'Gawkers'. It's covered in broken furniture, trash, and more broken glass. Stay classy, Manly.

Once I actually start climbing though I started having fun. We toproped the wall to the right of 'Gawkers', and James finally spotted the rusty carrots on it after something like four trips to the crag, which must be some kind of record.

The next climb we did was the arete between 'Gawkers' and 'Damocles'. We started right from the bottom at beach level, and getting off the ground was fun. After trying to grovel through a waterfall of greenery on the right, I went way left and managed to do a big reach over a blank section of rock and mantle onto a sandy ledge. Then I traversed out to the overhanging base of the arete and climbed it to the next ledge, before finishing up the layback crack and headwall of 'Damocles'.

It was great and varied climbing, but with an unbelievable amount of dirt and sand. When I was walking around trying to find a start, the toprope was brushing off massive clumps of dirt and dead leaves, covering everything like snow, until we just had to laugh. Good times.

James scrambled unroped around way to the right and traversed in from the start ledge of 'Gawkers', then tied in at the base of the arete. He broke off one big horn, but stayed on, and made it all the way until the last headwall until breaking off another big hold, and came off that time.

So in between screwing around we got a couple of fun topropes in in a fantastic location. Good training for North Head. And if anyone wants to lead the arete, there were a couple of terrible thread runners that didn't break off immediately...

We had the gopro so here's a pretty video.

Freshwater Beach Climbing from Sam May on Vimeo.


IdratherbeclimbingM9
29/08/2011
3:06:24 PM
An interesting trip report sbm, which brings back ancient memories of a few times I climbed there (once in the late 70's and again a couple of times in the early 80's), on nuts and hexes.

It sounds like the broken glass and ruins aspect of climbing there has not changed, but from viewing your video it seems to me that the feral plants overgrowing the cliff have increased quite a bit.

Back then leading was de rigour, so that is what we did, even though the location was considered 'practice climbing' by us at the time. I remember the non-event of climbing the crack/corner to your right on the first visit, but what stands out most in memory was doing a line a long way seaward from your video location, that took steep territory to a topout in someones back yard! Although it was a clean line, it was mostly memorable for us being shat on by cormorants who were drying their wings on a ledge at about half height on the climb. I can attest to it being vile stinking oily stuff that is difficult to get off your clothes and rope!

It sounds like you had a good time, and I am stoked that people still find a bit of magic on nondescript rock even if it is in an urbanised environment.

Thanks for posting the report, ... and maybe in 30 or so years time your memory will be enlivened by reading of the next generation discovering it for themselves!
;-)

Capt_mulch
29/08/2011
3:49:03 PM
The bouldering on the big blocks on the north side of the beach isn't too bad either.

sbm
30/08/2011
8:42:37 PM
> The bouldering on the big blocks on the north side of the beach isn't too bad either.

Yeah they looked pretty impressive, I bet the headwalls are exiting.

On 29/08/2011 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>An interesting trip report sbm, which brings back ancient memories of a
>few times I climbed there (once in the late 70's and again a couple of
>times in the early 80's), on nuts and hexes.
>
>It sounds like the broken glass and ruins aspect of climbing there has
>not changed, but from viewing your video it seems to me that the feral
>plants overgrowing the cliff have increased quite a bit.
>
>Back then leading was de rigour, so that is what we did, even though the
>location was considered 'practice climbing' by us at the time. I remember
>the non-event of climbing the crack/corner to your right on the first visit,
>but what stands out most in memory was doing a line a long way seaward
>from your video location, that took steep territory to a topout in someones
>back yard! Although it was a clean line, it was mostly memorable for us
>being shat on by cormorants who were drying their wings on a ledge at about
>half height on the climb. I can attest to it being vile stinking oily stuff
>that is difficult to get off your clothes and rope!
>

Much respect, leading anything ground up on gear on that cliff would be bit sketchy! The hexes were probably more secure than the cams would have been with all the sand in the cracks. Next time I'll try to not be chickensh!t and bring my leading pants.

>It sounds like you had a good time, and I am stoked that people still
>find a bit of magic on nondescript rock even if it is in an urbanised environment.

Rather climb a grotty seacliff without a guidebook, than queue up for some polished 'classic' with so much magnesium carbonate plastered on it it's actually precipitated a layer of limestone on the holds.

>Thanks for posting the report, ... and maybe in 30 or so years time your
>memory will be enlivened by reading of the next generation discovering
>it for themselves!
>;-)

Cheers M9.

shortman
30/08/2011
11:01:30 PM
On 29/08/2011 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:

>but what stands out most in memory was doing a line a long way seaward
>from your video location.......Although it was a clean line, it was mostly memorable for us....being shat on by cormorants who were drying their wings on a ledge at about
>half height on the climb. I can attest to it being vile stinking oily stuff.......It sounds like you had a good time, and I am stoked that people still find a bit of magic with nondescript rock even if it is in an urbanised environment.

Didn't think you were the type M9?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
31/08/2011
10:59:54 PM
On 30/08/2011 shortman wrote:
>Didn't think you were the type M9?
>
?
For what, nondescript rock or an urbanised environment?

Maybe to answer both possibilities, I can tell you I grew up in a northern beaches suburb, and learnt my climbing skills on Sydney seacliffs.
~> As a consequence I am still often amused when people refer to certain locations as having 'poor quality rock', because back when I was a lad we-

Duncan
1/09/2011
1:14:04 PM
There's good climbing on the northern beaches. Why would you climb on obscure sandy choss?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
1/09/2011
3:43:39 PM
On 1/09/2011 Duncan wrote:
>There's good climbing on the northern beaches. Why would you climb on obscure sandy choss?

Early routes at Barrenjoey were put up by the NBCTT (Northern beaches cliff training team), of which I was a part, so yes, I know the difference between half OK Sydney sandstone and sandy choss. The BJ routes were all done prior to Harbord routes too, if I recall correctly.

I enjoy variety and climbed other Sydney seacliffs with much worse rock than Harbord, however going there was more a convenience thing as I worked nearby-ish at the time.

I still enjoy climbing choss from time to time, ... which is why many of my routes are not written up, as no-one would bother to knowingly seek them out! Heh, heh, heh.
Duncan
1/09/2011
4:21:49 PM
Harbord doesn't exist any more, M9. It's Freshwater now. Did you ever do anything around Dobroyd Head/Crater Cove?

IdratherbeclimbingM9
2/09/2011
12:42:10 AM
On 1/09/2011 Duncan wrote:
>Harbord doesn't exist any more, M9. It's Freshwater now. Did you ever
>do anything around Dobroyd Head/Crater Cove?

Harbord has gone eh? The more things change the more they remain the same, ... at least in the minds of some! Heh, heh, heh.

You are not thinking of becoming a choss chasing climber now are you Duncan? ;-)

No, though I have heard of some good lines done there, and would expect that a modern day adventure could still be found thereabouts, by those interested in such.

Capt_mulch
2/09/2011
7:31:37 AM
On 1/09/2011 Duncan wrote:
>Harbord doesn't exist any more, M9. It's Freshwater now. Did you ever
>do anything around Dobroyd Head/Crater Cove?
Problem with Dobroyd (my old and current stamping ground when I am in Syds being a Clontarf lad) is that it is national park- the cliffs around Dobroyd tend to have a pile of crap at the bottom of them, with only > 10m of decent stuff on the top - the best potential is for some Pommy style sea cliff traverses - I've done a few around there (crater cove to Washaway probably the most challenging) with just boots and chalk bag so as to not attract attention. And who's complaining about choss? Toughen up princesses!!!! :-) My favourite bit of exercise when I'm staying with the oldies is to run to Grotto Point lighthouse, then run/rock hop back to Clontarf along the waterfront and try to do as many traverses as possible along the way - there's a few good ones there with only sandy bottomed water to fall into.

There are 11 messages in this topic.

 

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