Belayer vsn of Ozy Direct -roof.
Excerpt from I. K. diary; (being a different perspective of the same event); My eternal thanks to him for sharing the adventure with me ...
After joining me at the belay, and exchanging gear, Rod commences to lead what I feel will be the most exciting and challenging pitch (rope length) of the climb. Pitch 7 runs up the arete on bolts for 4 to 5 m and then breaks through the roof on fixed gear. Once out through the lip of the roof a magnificent corner shoots up to a hanging bolt belay called the Gledhill Bivvy. (Named after the Gledhill brothers who pioneered this line through the golden roofs).
It is mid afternoon when he commences leading and he quickly gets up to the roof but then has difficulty with the traverse out under the roof. The sheer amount of gear he is carrying (due to the unknown above) on his chest harness slings is causing him to topple over backwards. This forces him to hang on with excessive arm force and he is becoming fatigued. He manages to re-clip his gear loops and thus prevent them from swinging him down while clipping the next piece. The time ticks away !!!! After using the three fixed pieces in the roof he finally makes it to the lip, but as he is stepping up to clip the first piece in the corner his protection rips and he falls. This caught me by surprise even though I had him locked off instinctively. The climb had progressed so well that falls were few and it was easy to become bla-se. I constantly had to discipline myself that I was on belay duty and to stay alert for any such incidents.
The fall shook me up a little. I was concerned for him injuring himself but as it was a fall into free air this averted any impact with the rock. I constantly thought of how I would cope if I had to evacuate an injured partner off a wall. I hadn’t as yet practised any rescue techniques on rock. It looked totally outrageous as he swung off the fixed wire in the roof with nothing but 200m of clear air to the ground beneath him. This incident only set back his lead further and after gathering his thoughts he commenced leading once more. This time negotiating the lip of the roof with no problems and began to plug away at the crack leading up to the Gledhill Bivvy. For me the most sought after and anticipated belay spot on the entire climb. Probably the whole of the North Wall for that matter.
I settled back into the routine of paying out rope, locking off, waiting, listening, waiting, adjust the body position, look for any upward movement in the lead line, waiting, stretch the aching legs, check the belay, all ok, look around enjoy the view, adjust the body position, waiting, pay out some lead rope, lock off, and so it went for what seemed like an eternity.
Back to Mr A5's fall, having been through that roof a couple of times myself (led once, seconded once) I can identify with the scariness of the situation. Whew.
On a related note (I think), anyone have any beta on She? I'm wondering what other lines on the highest part of the north wall are worth doing. Lord Gumtree looks a bit chossy in photos.
(Feel free to direct me to a more appropriate thread and I'll repost, but we seem to have some momentum here ..)
>> On Neil's suggestion I've moved it to Mt Buffalo Aid Routes and Radios. Doh.
I need to SCEEEEEEEAMMMMM !!! , I can't ! - - Is this real ?! or is it one of those dreams where Hexy has moved it to Havachatwithhexy...
For the original content please see mousey post on page 4 of this thread, where it has subsequently been posted back to its original thread title.]
i like it Hexy! Some serious acid munching ideas.
Thanks Neil--- it's my cyber-peace-pipe with you an' da Chockstone-crew !
On 15/04/04 , A5 wrote : ' ...you are indeed a true hex...(multi faceted / dimensional ) '
HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYY !!! --- ' The HEX ' is hip again !
A5 --- now that I have been semi-redeemed, we can gingerly move from nugde&wink to the occasional cryptic-banter --- maybe...
19/7/4 : Oi ! ,psst !, etc,etc,etc : Take ya sweet time , dude ...
On 5/07/2004 HEX wrote:
> A5 --- now that I have been semi-redeemed, we can gingerly move from
>nugde&wink to the occasional cryptic-banter --- maybe...
Am behind in my reading of posts so am still catching up, but taking mental (cryptic) notes for self to comment on, along the glass-hopper way ...
The big boys Pt 1
We had met a few times in the gym. His c--ky attitude had got to me from the start but I tolerated him - climbing partners are hard to come by these days. I played the game - spotted him on his problems, asked for beta on the problem I had been working and looked on in admiration as he completed the moves. "It's all about footwork" he minced as I envisioned ramming the finishing jug deep into his arse. Since I lost one digit on Dhauligiri in 1989 my sport climbing abilities have been compromised. However the tiny stump that remains is only a minor hindrance on most routes, least of all on slabs....Which was where we were headed on the weekend.
The road to Booroomba was muddy from the previous nights rain. I assured him the North-west-facing North Buttress would catch some early morning sun and would be dry by the time we arrived. We walked in past the carpark campsite and I could hear the laughter and the crackle of the campfire from years gone past. We headed up the track - a zen arcade that many greats had passed through since the early days. He was telling me how excited he was to climb at Booroomba. "I want to climb a 22 today" he had told me sternly. I smiled in mock respect of his youthful exuberance - appearing to play the role of the wise old salt steering the youth onto greatness through the well worn path of master and apprentice:
>>You consider me the young apprentice
>>caught between the Scilla and Charibdes,
>>hypnotized by you if I should linger
>>staring at the ring around your finger.
>>I have only come here seeking knowledge,
>>things they would not teach me of in college.
I suspect that he had privately selected me to be his mentor and had all the hopes that I would indeed steer him to greatness:
>>I will turn your face to alabaster
>>when you find your servant is your master
>>and you'll be wrapped around my finger
The place had humble beginnings. Some forgotten bumbly from the Canberra Bushwalking Club thrashed his way up an offwidth in the mid 1960's. However, by 1970 Peter Aitchison and Peter c--ker had climbed Integral Crack in hard boots. Good hearty stuff.
A hard day on the granite is very satisfying. Like rough sex with a less than satisfactory partner. No complaining, just getting on with it. The sharp hand jams in the cracks and sparse protection on the slabs separate the men from the boys.
I first made my way up to Booroomba in 1981. I was 16 and my Mum's boyfriend had promised to take me climbing if I promised to turn up at school. I had been hooked from the first day, leading the second pitch of Possum with two runners - loving the freedom and exhilaration of vast space below my feet. The nervous apprehension on the frog-march up the hill to the crag, blood and sweat, male bonding, these were the things I loved. I served my apprenticeship with the local gang. Mike Law-Smith, Tony Barten, Richard Watts were the heroes of the day. I tried to emulate their feats on the boulders near my Mum's house as my muscles started to grow and my finger-tips hardened. While my friends tuned into the State of Origin on television, I was in the backyard doing pull-ups off the roof. On the weekend, I would sit around the campfire late into the night listening to stories from the past. Smart, Thomas, Lassman and Muhlen were the standard fare.
We arrived at the top campsite at about 7:30 am. I was relieved when we arrived there. My grip on the nut tool in my pocket relaxed as he quietened down to put on his harness. I wondered what sort of noise he would make with the nut tool sticking out of his arse. Unfortunately I had forgotten the guidebook.
I would find an appropriate route for him to lead.
We headed over to the convergence of the Northern and Central Slabs to one of the less known and travelled routes. Immaculate Deception is a 35 metre grade 22 that was put up by Roark Muhlen in the early 1980's. It was originally graded 24 but the advent of modern climbing shoes with their "sticky" rubber had tamed some of the difficulty of the delicate friction moves.
He stepped off the ground confidently and climbed with the explosive exuberance I had observed at the indoor climbing wall. He started to look a bit nervous at about 5 metres up. He was still 15 metres from the crux. "Where's the pro on this route?" he asked anxiously. With a smile I assured him that the worst was over and a break above held solid gear. He tentatively made his way up. At about 10 metres from the deck his calves started to shake uncontrollably and he was sweating profusely.
He had stopped climbing by now and began frantically looking for protection. I shouted encouragement "you'll be right mate". He didn't reply. "Just trust your feet!" With my encouragement he set off to attempt what was actually the crux of the route, 20m off the deck with the rope trailing, unhindered, directly to my belay device.
It is a very delicate smear for the left foot and the right foot sticks on a tiny edge. A beautiful and elegant move where the right hand must smear on the rock while the left reaches up for a little bump. That's where he froze.
Flapping like a fish on the hook. Slapping wildly for holds that aren't there.
His face was all screwed up and one foot kept slipping from the rock because his leg was shaking so much. He tried to reverse the move but couldn't.
I took a relaxed breath, relishing the commitment of the situation and observing his movements, now very primal and motivated purely by survival. The veins in his lower leg were clearly visible through his lycra climbing tights - elevated cortisol levels and a soaring heart rate would be surging blood throughout his body - the body's 'fight or flight' stress response.
The cheerful demeanour and trusting eyes were long gone as he eyed the talus below, like a cat looking for a landing from high up in a tree. Not a patch of even ground among the pile of angular granite boulders eagerly awaiting at the base of the climb.
Not much there I'm afraid.
"I thought you said there was protection in a break - it's actually a dyke not a crack" he screamed down at me, face contorted with anguish and incomprehension. Eyes wide with terror. He was flapping good style.
Now you're playing with the big boys.
I shifted the belay.
Remind me NOT* to go climbing with you Damien.
Cracker (clacker?) of a 'story' though!
(* or at least to beware of your sandbags) ...
totally awesome! thats the sort of good shite i wanna read in Rock mag.
Note to self, wear chastity belt to prevent nut tool rammage if going climbing with Damien who seems to be preoccupied with butts.
Yeah well written.
Great story, catches the Booroomba style nicely.
There's a fossil that's trapped in a high cliff wall
That's Damo's soul up there (*)
There's a dead salmon frozen in a water-fall
There's a blue whale beached by a spring-tides ebb
There's a butter-fly trapped in a spider's web
That's Damo's soul up theeeeeere...
Damo --- you will always be the ' King of pain ' ; you are so beautifully , arrogantly vain ; we can only but gain ; everyone contribute to this creative train !
Your ever luv-ing HEX (with backing vocals by sting,andy&stew-art)...
Another true story ...
The darkness was complete due to a new moon at the time.
It came again all too quickly during the remainder of the lead, and caught me much further from the belay than I had expected to be. I continued by headlight and my belayer worked in the dark to conserve his own battery.
I was still only half a haulrope length from him when my headlight went out.
I was on a #3 RP… my fourth thin piece in a row. I had already eyed up the next placement which looked like being a decent small stopper, but hadn’t yet stepped up to organise and place it, for I was in the act of engaging my fifi-hook when it happened. I considered groping in a short-thick ‘lost arrow’ piton and cold-welding it with my hammer, as the prospect of spending the night at this spot on thin gear was extremely unattractive.
I was experiencing the standout scariest moment of the climb thus far, which was in stark contrast to enjoying the headlight climbing. I found the sudden loss of light combined with my tenuous position unnerving, though my mind was greatly focused.
I remember thinking…
“Is it the wiring ? .... or, just the globe ?”
“What if I fumble the piton placement, and drop it? ... I only have one this size and need it to get safe, in order to work on the headtorch”.
“How much shifting will the RP take ?? ...
I don’t want it to fail now” !!
This anxiety was a product of having committed to this piece without thorough testing, as I knew the next placement was a much better one, and I’d simply intended to ‘just get there’, in order to speed things up.
I yelled to my blayer that my light had gone dead. Communication was not good due to the regular gusty evening breeze, and I had to repeat it a couple of times.
I was aware that my throat was dry and my voice was edgy; and that this was not a result of my usual thirst.
In the dark I found my body position relative to the piece I was on was OK, so after communicating my intentions I used the haul-line to obtain my belayers headtorch in order to fix mine. It’s pretty amazing how darkness and a precarious position, enhances your awareness of body-english. I found myself mindful of not allowing too much upper-body movement while manipulating the retrieval rope, in case it precipitated the failure of the placement I was on.
I even tried to breathe lightly!
The bulb appeared OK so I checked the wiring. That also appeared OK, so I changed the globe anyway while taking extra care not to touch the halogen spare with my bare fingers.
It worked …. HOORAY !!
I started to relax in the comfort of the somewhat bright light. After checking the piece I was on and the time, (about 2200hrs), I returned belayers headtorch to him. When he looked up in my direction I noted with headiness the faint arc of light essancing out from the lip of the bottomless corner well below me,.
It was good to relax again…
I continued to climb and five metres higher darkness grabbed me again !!
... I could scarcely believe my luck and was simultaneously torn between thinking;
“bugger, ... I hope my partner has a spare globe”; and …
“at least the piece I’m on this time is reasonable”!
Turning my head towards the belayer caused the globe to rattle in its bezel !
Instantly hope sprang to mind that the globe was OK, and had simply come out of its normal position.
I managed to replace it in the dark without dropping anything, once again by wrapping it in my handkerchief. I guess that I had simply overtightened it in my anxiety last time, causing it to finish at the point of re-engaging its thread…
How many climbers does it take to change a lightglobe ??... I think I know the answer now, … but at the time it wasn’t funny.
On 26/07/2004 A5iswhereitsat wrote:
>It’s pretty amazing how darkness
>and a precarious position, enhances your awareness of body-english. I found
>myself mindful of not allowing too much upper-body movement while manipulating
>the retrieval rope, in case it precipitated the failure of the placement
>I was on.
>I even tried to breathe lightly!
yep - you summed up the wierdness of hard aid with that comment!
Loved ' em, A5 & Hex (retro-edited, sorry bout that Hex)
Damo --- I true-ly appreciate the heart-felt comment/thank-you, you posted yesterday, re' Hex's contribution ( which you deleted today --- fear of association etc,etc,etc )
You have fallen into one hell of a gnarly sexist crevass today --- I hope you can ex-trick-ate your-self from it's insidious depths, before the grinding, groaning,cracking,crunching walls etc,etc,etc...
Damo--- thanks for the retro-edit : ' Loved 'em A5 & Hex (retro-edited,sorry bout that Hex ) ' --- no wuckers, dude...
On 29/07/04 Mikl wrote : '...I want a ground-swell of popular emotion...loads of wierd articles from the back blocks...'
Start typin' , dude --- you're the next cab off the mank !
If it's seacliffin'
It's the next crab off the mank, thanks
If it's slabbin'
It's the next scab off the flank