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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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VIC Arapiles (General) (General) (General) [ Arapiles Guide | Arapiles Images ] 

Jenny Wren
Cam McKenzie
10:58:25 AM
Does anyone know the history of the finish to Jenny Wren. I did it years ago following the old guidebook description, and it mentions a diversion into Quo Vadis up high and then back onto the arete to finish.

Did it again a couple of weekends ago, and noticed that a new bolt has appeared that keeps the climbing on the arete without the diversion into Quo Vadis. The new guidebook also has no mention of the detour.

Seemed a grade or two harder than 20, certainly much harder than the original finish.

8:10:24 PM
Cant help you with the finish, but I think Mikl can help with the new bolts. Climbed itvia direct start in April shortly after new bolts added (I think theres a new bolt for the direct start as well). Didnt find the finish hard, though my climbing partner made it look hard. I think I found a good hold somewhere amongst the moss. Thought the crux was the start with a tricky section in the middle.It was a good route and was happy to have the new bolts as the gear was a little marginal.
8:55:04 PM
Cam is referring to the crux section, a long reach up and left off a sharp sidepull to clip the 3rd bolt (after the pin), then gain a crimpy rail. I can't imagine I was off route, the bolts led the way, just hardish for 20.
However Cam recalls heading right a bit when he did the route some time ago.
8:58:32 PM
Just noticed in the ACA guide:
Jenny Wren 21
Traverse out R to arete and up it past a crap BR. You can optionally step R for a rest in QV.
Cam McKenzie
8:33:47 AM
Who knows. Anyway, good route. Direct start had 2 new bolts I believe.
4:07:00 PM
This is what Michael Stone said when I asked him...Kinky is Mikl

The original finish to JW basically followed up just to the left of the arÍte(so far as I can remember). The only reason that I moved into Quo Vadis was to belay. We stepped straight back left off the belay to start the second pitch. I presume that it is now done in one pitch which would obviate the need to move into Quo Vadis. I donít know what Kinky has done re bolting, but if it was him that did the re-bolting itís probably right because he led the second pitch on the first ascent. On looking at the picture in the new guide, I may be wrong in saying that we climbed on the left of the arÍte. That may only have been the last couple of moves. Before that it looks to be on the right of the arÍte. This may not be much help, but as I say I seconded that pitch, and was up it like a rat up a drain and so wasnít paying much attention to it. I certainly didnít think that it was the crux. It wasnít well protected, but then neither was the first pitch. Still, nice to know that it still gets a few ascents.
Cam McKenzie
4:17:21 PM
Thanks Jen,
Good route regardless of where it goes.
5:18:56 PM
unfortunately i have absolutely no memory of this route, but rapped down it last time I was down south and it looked hard, vastly improved by a few bolts i reckon.
5:22:48 PM
You don't need a memory, you have the Internet instead.
11:44:15 PM
The retro-bolting of Jenny Wren...

The original route started up an easy chimney and then traversed out to a poor bolt and a peg and continued up the arete with shitty protection. This meant you needed to step into Quo Vadis to find protection and avoided the arete at this point. The route then stepped back onto the arete which it followed for a while with no further worthwhile protection. The easiest finish (given the lack of protection) was up the wall left of the arete.

A short while later Mike Law came back and added the bouldery Direct Start (21) which had no worthwhile protection.

My experience with the route was about twenty years ago when I led it (minus the direct start). I thought the climb was very flawed. The pro was seriously crap (including the fixed gear) and the route wandered around avoiding some of the best bits of the arete. I have also never heard of anyone repeating the direct start.

I had always wanted to go back and check out Jenny Wren and see if it could be improved. Unfortunately I never got around to it. Whilst working on the second edition of the Araps guide I simply wrote a vague description along the lines of '...a variety of fixed gear (most of which has been replaced)'. I figured I would re-equip the route once the guidebook went to the printers.

Unfortunately I got sidetracked (probably something to do with renovating a cafe) and Jenny Wren remained in its original state after the guidebook was published. I then heard about a climber leading it and having a rather terrifying experience as a result of the protection on offer. I then had an attack of the guilts and recruited another local to come with me and suss things out properly.

After top-roping the route we then placed two bolts in the direct start, another three bolts in the arete and rap-anchor at the top. The original bolt and peg are still there (with a new bolt between them).

The end result is a vastly improved route. Despite the extra bolts, the climb still feels pretty run-out. The Direct Start is now the standard start (and is considered solid grade 21). The step into Quo Vadis is eliminated and the climb remains on the very arete with some more exciting moves at grade 20. The climb then finishes directly up the final part of the arete (instead of escaping up the left wall) with moderate but spectacular climbing above the last bolt.

The chain at the top allows you to rap back down to Blockbuster Ledge and is easily accessible from any of the other climbs that finish at the top of the Bluffs. A 25m rap will land you at some very easy scrambling just a metre or two above Blockbuster Ledge and is great if you want to also climb Quo Vadis, Scorpion etc.

Jenny Wren (21) is arguably a two-star route now. It follows the arete all the way and still has that run-out element to keep you on your toes.

Cam McKenzie
8:01:47 AM
Thanks for the clarification Simey
9:56:31 AM
Simey - emailed you.
11:27:45 AM
On 9/11/2010 simey wrote:
>The retro-bolting of Jenny Wren...

Bro, your sh!t is funny.

So what would you call this then - a future retro bolt or a pre-published post bolt?

Another half dozen of your bolts that need chopping.
11:36:21 AM
On 10/11/2010 robertsonja wrote:
>Another half dozen of your bolts that need chopping.

I would much rather read your posts if you were capable of presenting some rational argument.

11:48:28 AM

Once upon a time, simey wrote; in relation to dangerous testpieces;
>I'm all in favour of a few such routes, but they want to be the exception rather than the norm.

Will there be any left after the safety-sanitisation process is finished?
(No heh, heh, heh's this time, as it is a serious question!!)

Chuck Norris
7:04:23 AM

Q for you (and for once my tongue is not in my cheek): why didn't you just replace the old crap fixed gear (maybe with repositioning?) and put another one in to avoid the move into quo vadis, and leave it at that. (please don't say something like the FA'ist said OK)

More importantly - i've just been upgraded to the presidential suite in a hotel in Frankfurt. Coming off the hallway is a guest bathroom, drawing room and lounge. The main bedroom has, of course, a dressing room and the mini bars (there are two of the lounge and bedroom) only consists of full bottles of scotch, vodka and remy martin. Pity I'm only here for one night.

7:40:38 AM
On 11/11/2010 stugang wrote:
>Q for you (and for once my tongue is not in my cheek): why didn't you
>just replace the old crap fixed gear (maybe with repositioning?)
>and put another one in to avoid the move into quo vadis,

That would be 4 pieces, a lot of work for a route that still wouldn't see repeats. They put in 5 to keep people onto the better arete so they didn't wander all over the left wall like a drunk, like i did. The move into Quo Vadis was for a belay, we liked short pitches then

Chuck Norris
8:52:10 AM
Marginality of 5 v 4 bolts - fair enough.

Improving climb by stopping people wandering around like a drunk - fair enough could almost (though i don't believe in this kind of bs) that it is a new variant direct direct start.

Only thing i question is the sentiment behind "lot of work for a route that still wouldn't see repeats" as I reckon popularity should be about number 10 of the list of considerations before retro bolting something.
8:57:51 AM
On 11/11/2010 stugang wrote:
>Q for you (and for once my tongue is not in my cheek): why didn't you
>just replace the old crap fixed gear (maybe with repositioning?) and put
>another one in to avoid the move into quo vadis, and leave it at that.
>(please don't say something like the FA'ist said OK)

Actually I didn't ask the FA'ist (Mike Stone) which was a bit cheeky of me, although I have got a vague memory from many years ago of asking Mikl Law (who established the Direct Start) about bolting that section.

I should have found out more about the first ascent details because I do believe if a route was led in good style (ground-up and without rap inspection) then their efforts should be shown more respect. However if a first ascentionist has rap inspected the route, thrown in a couple of dodgy fixed pieces and then climbed the thing and avoided some sections... well then I don't think they can lay claim to how that route stands for ever and a day.

I must admit I made the assumption that Mike Stone had rap-inspected and rap bolted the route, although it is conceivable that this is not the case in which case it would have been a pretty amazing effort.

As for our decisions regarding each bolt placement. We placed two bolts in the Direct Start (crux - grade 21). If we had only placed one bolt you would end up facing a groundfall at some point. We then placed one bolt between the original bolt and peg. The original fixed gear is still there. Our aim wasn't to keep the climbing thoughtful and exciting but reduce the chance of a ground fall. The bolt at least gives you one solid placement between you and the deck, but it is a long way below you when you are making the moves past the peg (the original crux - grade 19). The fourth bolt avoids the step into Quo Vadis and allows you to make some exciting moves straight up the arete (grade 20). The fifth bolt allows you to finish spectacularly up the final part of the arete (grade 17/18) without wanting to escape onto the left wall.

If I had been bolting this route as a first ascent I definitely would have placed a few more bolts. As it stands I will still place whatever gear I can find between the bolts. Bolder climbers will probably just clip the fixed gear.

9:27:52 AM
On 11/11/2010 stugang wrote:
>Only thing i question is the sentiment behind "lot of work for a route
>that still wouldn't see repeats" as I reckon popularity should be about
>number 10 of the list of considerations before retro bolting something.

A route doesn't have to get loads of ascents to be justifiable, but I think most bold routes should be of a status and quality that many climbers will at least aspire to do them. I honestly believe that Jenny Wren didn't fit into this category. Having led the route in its original state, I simply found the climb to be dangerous and annoying. Over the years the climb seems to have dropped out of favour even more.

The new version offers more direct and better climbing. It is still run-out, but at least you are unlikely to die on it. I think a lot of climbers will aspire to do it.

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There are 51 messages in this topic.


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