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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Author
Classic photos of outdoor adventures in the 60s
FatCanyoner
19/03/2014
8:19:31 AM
G'day folks,

I've just posted an amazing collection of colour photos from bushwalks, canyons and climbs in the 1960s, as taken by former Sydney Uni Bushwalker Graham Wootton.

I particularly though the image of Athol Abrahams and Wendy Butler (daughter of Dot Butler) on the first ascent of the west face of the Castle in the Budawangs in 1966 might be interesting to folks here (see below).

Graham has also written some of his recollections about canyoning in the era. Particularly interesting are the details of the incredibly basic technical gear (and techniques) they used. The idea that two rope burns across the left shoulder were a mark of experience seems extraordinary!

Anyway, you can see the full collection of photos, and read about Grahams adventures, here: http://fatcanyoners.org/2014/03/18/sixties-bushwalking-and-canyoning/

climberman
19/03/2014
11:08:13 AM
Tim - could you link to this over a the backcountry forum on www.ski.com.au? It would be well received.

Nice collection.

The first ascent of The Castle is particularly wonderful - I have tried (and retreated) from one of the Castle routes (even this seems long ago now, close to 20 years!). They are large, intimidating, VERY old school and the rock is, err, closer to sand than stone in many areas! Starting well off the valley floor two moves up appears to be a hundred pitches in the air. After we pulled a number of large pebbles/stones from the sandstone we determined something about discretion and valour and retreat.... Still fun and I recommend as worthwhile to those of an adventurous spirit.
FatCanyoner
19/03/2014
11:57:26 AM
Thanks for the great feedback.

And I know what you mean about the rock around the Castle. It's pretty unique stuff. I can't say I'd be too keen to climb it -- or too trusting in any protection I placed!

I'm not a member of the ski.com.au forum, but I'll try and get to it tonight. Of course, if someone who was already a member there wanted to share it... ;-)

IdratherbeclimbingM9
Online Now
19/03/2014
12:12:22 PM
On 19/03/2014 FatCanyoner wrote:
>G'day folks,
>
>I've just posted an amazing collection of colour photos from bushwalks,
>canyons and climbs in the 1960s, as taken by former Sydney Uni Bushwalker
>Graham Wootton.
>
>I particularly though the image of Athol Abrahams and Wendy Butler (daughter
>of Dot Butler) on the first ascent of the west face of the Castle in the
>Budawangs in 1966 might be interesting to folks here (see below).
>
>Graham has also written some of his recollections about canyoning in the
>era. Particularly interesting are the details of the incredibly basic technical
>gear (and techniques) they used. The idea that two rope burns across the
>left shoulder were a mark of experience seems extraordinary!
>
>Anyway, you can see the full collection of photos, and read about Grahams adventures, here: http://fatcanyoners.org/2014/03/18/sixties-bushwalking-and-canyoning/
>
Many thanks for posting the link and the historical Budawang photo FatCanyoner.
Re that particular photo:
Interesting to see the waist-belay technique involved (note the gloves!), the ledge-fall potential of the runout, the use of the face rather than the offwidth beside it, the minimalist 'rack', and although leader appears to be using friction boots (hard to make out), though confirmed in other photos from the link, the standard climber-de-rigueur use of Dunlop Volleys!

One of the comments associated with the link, marveled at the nature of the undertakings, especially given the primitive gear of the time, and another wrote "Itís amazing that people without the gear, technology, maps or information now available were going on adventures far tougher than what most modern bushwalkers attempt." This, along with noting the photo of home-made gear, is an interesting perspective of how times change, as back then I used to marvel at the real pioneers who with far less, did rugged undertakings, before my early days involved in such pursuits.

Back in the period mid 60's - mid 70's, the gear in use was considered the best available / state of the art(!), and we reckoned Paddy Pallin's production of multifunctional items born of experience/need, to be the best things invented since sliced bread! An example being the rubberised japara groundsheet-raincape, cut to a pattern that would also enshroud your backpack to help it being waterproofed(!), as visible in the pic titled 'The morning after, SUBW recovery walk, November 1969', which entails a novel use of it!
I still have, and use, one myself from time to time, though it should be noted that a wide brimmed hat used in conjunction with it, is essential to complete its rain-cape ability.

~> Idra-M9 exit stage right / enter kuu (or ?), stage left...
Heh, heh, heh.
lacto
19/03/2014
4:48:53 PM
Love the tents in the last photo , the every day A frame with lace up ends and at the back the most upmarket Paddy tent the South Wester with the walls, storm guys and only one end opening .The yellow was the light weight material and heavy duty was olive green no floors or poles of course. The A frame packs rather than H frame and of course the only drink of the 70's walking scene -- STONES GREEN GINGER WINE . try some and you'll so realize how tough these people were . The laid ropes were hard to manage and very few ropes were longer than 120 ft
FatCanyoner
19/03/2014
11:15:06 PM
I love that I shared this on the basis that the old-timey photos were so foreign and exciting, yet most of the responses are from people who seem to have first hand knowledge of the gear and techniques in use... I guess it just confirms that old climbers never die, they just sit at home using online forums! :-P
BA
20/03/2014
2:55:56 AM
On 19/03/2014 FatCanyoner wrote:
>yet most of the responses are from people who seem
>to have first hand knowledge of the gear and techniques in use... I guess
>it just confirms that old climbers never die, they just sit at home using
>online forums! :-P

In Victoria, in the late '60s - early '70s, the climbing footwear of choice was cheap 'gym boots'. I trashed many pairs before importing some EBs from France.

If you didn't have a lot of gear what use was a long rope? I had 5 slings, three of which had nuts (home made from brass hexagonal stock). Use one sling at each belay and that leaves 3 pieces of pro per pitch (if you could find placements for them) and the ropes were made in Australia at Kinnears rope factory in Footscray. An abseil on the ropes (over the shoulder - hence two rope burns on the neck) would get the twist out of them. And yes, my first tent was a Paddy Pallin. Walled, with ties for the doors at either end so it could be "Abdulled".

And no, we don't sit around at home using online forums, this fat old fart is currently sitting in a hotel in Oslo (and it snowed this morning).

There are 7 messages in this topic.

 

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