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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion
General Climbing Discussion
Fifteen minutes to toast time - I will be doing it with the time honoured climbing tradition of cheap red goon bag...
Cheers M9, kuu and CaptainMulch and the others who, either attended or marked the event in their own way.
I managed to just make it to the Mt Solitary event after rapping in at 2:30 or so the night before to set up the ledge , stay overnight, sleeping till 9, jug ug out for coffee and drinks , miss the 10 assembly at gGolden Stairs, finally rap the Dog again at 11'ish to pickup pitons and then absolutely punch it to do the 4 or 5 is to Solitary, making it with 5 minutes to spare, perfect, I'm glad I didn't take any of those possible 5 min rests, and that I did not need to go any further.
My return was a bit as lower but finally got to the pub for few drinks and catch up with some of those from the DogFace group.
More later when I have my glasses, which are still on the ledge to be collected along with gear at the bottom and 100 m of wet rope. Should be fun, once I get to the wet weather gear at the ledge...
Cheers K, C_m, & M, plus any silent ones.
1300-ish hrs I emerge from the shed with a selection of large angle pitons, lost arrow pitons and a bong, plus some thin hero-loop to thread them with, so that they 'tinkle' at a louder volume...
The striker-piton was a booty original off an old Ewbank era route at Mt Buffalo. The sounding re-strike board is a rock sculpture in the courtyard.
My wife says "what are you doing with the climbing gear?"
"Getting ready for a ceremony." I reply.
"I wish you would put as much time into doing more important things around here." she says.
"This is important." I reply.
"Why?" - wife says.
~> I explain who John is/was and the significance of it.
"Ok." she says...
Watch the watch and count down.
~> Cut loose with a piton cacophony!
Also had a beer toast at that time too. This did not negate the later whisky tribute...
~ John (as well as WW&S), would be proud! Heh, heh, heh.
Think to myself later while packing away the long-time unused pitons. That wasn't a bad sound effect...
~> Inspiration germinated to re-invent them into a Ewbank-wind-chime...
Vale John. I enjoy/ed your routes, grading system, legacy of 'going for it' adventure style, and showing us what was possible at the time...
19 people made the trek out to the ridge below Mt Solitary for a fitting and moving tribute to John followed by the scattering of his ashes. Friends, acquaintances and admirers of John's, old and new, listened to music that inspired him (Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen) and one of John's own songs ("Saved") that he recorded two days before he died.
Bruce Cameron organised and led the gathering, and there were spoken tributes from Bruce, Dick Smith, Giles Bradbury (who at 12 years of age was taught to climb by John), Adam Darragh, Macca and others. Stories, laughs and tears. Amongst the others attending were Everest summiteer Greg Mortimer, long time SRC stalwarts Barbara and David Darmanin, Simon Mentz and guest of honour was John's daughter Jane (21), who travelled from New York. An impressive young lady and a chip off the old block.
The weather could not have been better to show Mt Solitary, the surrounding valleys and the sandstone cliffs in all their beauty. Jane said that, having seen the location, she understood why her dad wanted to be laid to rest there.
Glasses were raised to John in the Gearin Hotel in the evening. Somehow I don't think he will be forgotten.
Rod Smith (proseyr) might post a photo or two of proceedings.
For me the hi-lites were -
Finally getting to meet Jane - I'd done the 'Dad' talk with John whilst on the Dog with him . ..
Dick Smith attending, despite his very busy life, to walk out and say a few words. A true testament to John and also to Dick, they are truly both remarkable men.
If you don't already get any DickSmith products I would recommend trying them. Did I mention it was a 3.6 km walk going down about 200m at the start and up 200m at the end. Or that Dick is 70ish . . .
And then to meet the enigmatic legend Valarie Kennedy at the Gearins later, Valarie was a partner of Johns on many climbs and FA's from DogFace to the Wolgan to Tas. They don't seem to make young women like that anymore . . .
Other notable attendees at DogFace that I am aware of are
Lucas Trihey, Bryden Allen, Kevin Westren, Harry Luxford?, & Ben Ryan and dad Bob? - who did the original bolt route on DogFace before John eventually chopped it and put up Titan instead.
Apologies for any I may have missed . . .
Here is a picture of the team at the Landslide Lookout - on top of Dogface at the finish of Colossus.
Climbers (and others) in the photo were Michael (friend of JE)Bryden, Bob Ryan, Kevin Westren (kuu) Lucille W, Chris Perry (who brought Bryden along - thank you) Michael (yes he climbs),Valerie K (kneeling) JRC, Barbara, John, Heather, Sandy, Luke Trihey, Chris J, Pleasance (who knew John in NY) Harry Luxford and Bob's son with Harry's dog on top of Macca's Dog!
It sounds very special. I'm way too young to have known John Ewbank, but I read his "Ironmongers of the Dreamtime" essay that was linked on the last page, it was honestly amazing and I hope gives me an idea of who he was as a climber and person.
If you haven't read it, do it, Vertical Life preserved a good version here http://www.verticallifemag.com.au/2014/03/john-ewbank-ironmongers-of-the-dreamtime/
His music is available on Spotify, some of his songs are very good, I often put it on on the drive up to the Blueys now and explain who he was to any passengers.
Belatedly, here are a few pics from John Ewbank's farewell on Mt Solitary.
The American Alpine Journal has published an obituary for John in the 2014 edition.
It can be viewed online at:
Their Editor initiated it. I can't imagine many Australian climbers have been honoured in this way.
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