Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports
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Hello? Anyone still here? Well, I've been experiencing some nostalgia so I thought why not, I may as well have an old-fashioned spray on Chockstone.
I've been on-and-off with climbing for the past 5 years or so. Am I even really a climber these days, or just a fan of climbing? Frankly, it's probably taken about that long to fully recover mentally from ending up in hospital after being dropped by an incompetent belayer. But, the dull ache in the elbows after every gym session certainly didn't help. I've wasted time in a lot of fun ways, mostly bikes of various types, but also that glorious year I joined a table tennis club and got really into table tennis.
I got invited climbing outdoors a few times after 2020 and realised it was still great, many of my old friends were still around, and once I switched up my elbow physio and started getting good results I was off and away again.
I experienced the shame of having to bail off of climbs I had previously flashed, and the wonder of a genuine Alzheimer's onsight. We did Prologue at Wirindi/Mt Piddington all the way to the top, and had a great time getting lost and doing sketchy traverses over rocking blocks, overcamming gear, and was all ready to log it on theCrag as an onsight when I saw I had actually previously ticked it! I have literally no memory of that - although I do remember climbing Ballrace next door, apparently we must have climbed the first pitch of Prologue as a warmup.
I also experienced the truth of the saying "I have forgotten more about climbing than you've ever known". Quite a few years ago I did aid up a Buffalo Gorge route after attending M9's Buffalo aid festival, and I actually don't remember any of that stuff about hauling, aiding, or even where all that gear came from or disappeared to, or how the hell I was keeping myself fed while camping at Lake Catani! Now, I would rock up at Queens Park or Frontlines or some other crappy Sydney bouldering spot, and chat with some bright-eyed boulderers graduating from a 9 Degrees franchise in their first or second year of climbing. "How long have you been climbing for?" "Oh...a little while now". Also, they think you're crazy for bouldering without a mat, even if it's just a little warmup circuit on unnamed easy stuff.
The Mountains is certainly a very cozy place for us these days. Warm beds, favourite cafes, the market, Blackheath Renovator Syndrome, free copies of Eleanor Dark biographies from Varuna, the latest gossip on the Rhododendron Society, and endless beta spray for any climb you want. Seems that way for a lot of climbers. Even with all the rain and the whinging on Blue Mountains Facebook climbing groups, there were more Queensland plates than NSW ones in the Pines (though we speculated this might also be because all the unroadworthy rust buckets are registered in Queensland and South Australia to avoid mechanical inspections?)
But we decided we needed a real climbing holiday, and to pull the fiddly stuff out of the back of the cupboard, and go down to Dyurrite and re-learn how to do clean climbing on routes that are actually easy, safe and quality, and it was a wonderful week. I just forgot how absolutely great the rock is. I feel maybe NSW folk subconsciouly avoid the place a little - sure everyone complains a bit about the drive, but really we're worried about getting nasty intrusive thoughts like OH MY GOD is the Blue Mountains actually terrible and I've wasted my climbing life on choss? (I have, at least, sworn off seacliffs forever now, and my life is much improved)
And of course camping at the base Dyurrite with the climbs within walking distance all around you, is so perfect that it can be a little dreamlike. Perhaps the "worst" thing is that the harder climbs seem like a lot of work, perhaps even a bit contrived, so you just end up crusing jugs up the line of least resistance all day.
We also allowed ourselves some luxuries like a hotel room in Albury and a splurge on a new "Pro" nut tool that has a built-in lanyard! There's some seriously convienient and fancy stuff these days. How about those autoblocking adjustable rope tethers Petzl will sell you? Or all these shockingly expensive extendable stick clip devices? I will reaffirm a previous public statement - I swear to god if I ever pay $150 for a bloody purpose-made stick clip I *will* run a lap around upper Shipley in my underwear.
So we started with Revolver Crack and some stuff at Bushranger Bluff, then went to Mitre Rock and did Hells Bells, Exodus and Serpent. The locals will find this hilarious, but we topped out from Serpent instead of rapping off, and I didn't actually check the descent. Directly off the back of the summit, there's a large slab boulder bridging a gully with a tiny gap underneath. I got mixed up in my head that there was a "squeeze hole" on the descent of Mitre Rock (!!) so I dropped down and thrutched through it. My partner correctly diagnosed this as ridiculous and wandered off left to the easy scramble descent.
Even more embarrassingly, I later tried to order a schooner in the Nati Pub.
What else did we do, Lizard Procrastination, a couple of things in the Organ Pipes, Charity Buttress, we did some bouldering and I climbed Golden Streak (no mat), and I did Moby Dick as the one moderate lead of the trip. I could have chosen better really, it is seriously almost a mirror image of Flake Crack at Wirindi and a bit Blue Mountains in style, so it felt familiar. I should have tried to do more of a face climb. Nice crack though. I got the rope a bit stuck trying to abseil off a bollard and muttered a bit about just putting in some f***cking rap bolts but of course that is silly talk and it is EXTREMELY refreshing to be trusted to make a bolt-free scramble descent or natural abseil.
Anyway I have decided I have not yet spent enough time in the Wimmera, I'm already about to put in leave for another trip, and I hope to finally get around to climbing Tiptoe Ridge in daylight this time.
There's rap bolts above horrorscope on the other side of the pinnacle to Moby Dick. :D
Or at least there were.
Nice TR Sam!
Thanks so much for the TR. We are heading to Dyurrite on Wednesday, after too long away, and due to pernicious and persistent bursitis in my shoulder, I am planning on being overjoyed if I can get up any climb at all. But very much looking forward to having my fingers on that rock again.
Pictures or it didn't happen...
On 6-May-2022 ajfclark wrote:
>There's rap bolts above horrorscope on the other side of the pinnacle to
>Moby Dick. :D
>Or at least there were.
Ah that's hilarious, spot check fail there. I had the 2008 Mentz/Tempest Selected Climbs guide.
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