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Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 35
Buffalo Oysters ~ feasting on passion.

9:46:14 AM
O Oysters, come and walk with us!
The Walrus did beseech.
A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
~ ~ ~
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings.

~ Lewis Carroll; (excerpt; Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. ~ 1872).

… The above quote sets the scene for observations by an ordinary rock oyster of good climbing in a grand location; … and a risk taken by others of being slandered, due to leaving the Trip Report for me to write up.
An excellent site containing some photos associated with this Trip Report.

It has definitely been too long as this trip has been the better part of 12 months in the making for one reason or another, which goes for both intended outcomes planned within it’s few days as soon described. After much PM’ing & a bit of gear packing, Andrew & I left the hot lowlands for the cooler destination of Mt Buffalo. It was good to be back with climbing gear in tow. My obligatory overview checking of the Nth Wall of The Gorge was savoured, then we adjourned with binoculars & guidebooks to a specific lookout to reccy our proposed new line.
"Not as bad as I remember it", seemed to sum up the present flavour upon checking it out again. Bit of a bugger that it has a common start with another climb, but as a result we can surmise that our line will be hard, otherwise the old school would have snaffled it already due it being a more direct line to the top.
While we were memorising features of the climb another tourist arrives at our lookout but I pay little attention due to spying other climbers approaching their chosen destination on another part of the Nth Wall. Watching them set up to abseil into it, the tourist beside me strikes up a conversation and it is immediately apparent that he is not a normal tourist but instead a climber associated with the others over yonder. We talk the usual climber talk while continuing to watch the others, & during the course of conversation I am blown away by this individual pointing out 'our line' to us!, as a proposed good line that would go!! I reply something to the effect that if it was any good it would surely have been done already, while carefully maintaining a poker face. The experience reinforces in my mind that we definitely need to get on it as soon as possible.

After checking Catani for vacant campsites for Will and his tribe we text the result to him, then sojourn to Camp Feral. Later Mike arrives and we discuss set-up options for photogging tomorrows activities.
Next morning the 3 of us rendezvous with Will early & proceed to rig the abseil into our 1st objective for this trip. Will carefully sorts his 'light and fast' rack, setting aside half the stuff he wanted to borrow off me to ensure he had enough pro for the task of 'doing free' the line of Ozy Original from 'big grassy' on up. Mutterings about aid climbers & their penchant for gear, slide off me like water off an oyster; perhaps assisted by my lack of hearing due the synthetic ‘bauble sound’ in my earpiece as Andrew had set me up with half of his new walky-talky to assist shenanigans.
With too heavy a day pack, I test the abseil by descending with 200 m of static back-flaked in a canvas rope-pack dangling off my whaletail. At the only non-vertical section of the upper part of Ozy Direct, the static spills uncontrollably out of its bag and turns naturally into a spaghetti snarl halfway down the overhang below. Bugger. So much for careful rope management! Thinking it is a good thing the others who are a bit less familiar with such long-rope abseils are not having to deal with this clusterjam, I forgot the walky-talky had been left on in hands free mode, so Andrew cops an earful of my grumbling as I roundly abuse the tangle that tends to grow as I try to free it.
The effort was considerable & midway through this caper I notice that my ribcage hurts quite a bit, but attribute the pain to probably managing to jam the walky-talky against my ribs under the shoulder strap of the day-pack. Of more concern at the time was the fact that although I had additional friction added to the whaletail, I had allowed my bare forearm to contact the back of it, & sustained a minor burn in the process. After managing to free the snarls I continued without heat glazing the rope-sheath, to my destination of 'big grassy', where I threw the remaining rope off it to allow it to un-spiral. I measured its length when I pulled it up again as being near enough to 60 m, mentally noted this trivia for possible future use; ie this would reach the next belay down if I ever needed to do so from above.

Will joined me and before leading off commented on how out of climbing condition the line was due to lichen growth etc. Sports coddled climbers I think!, as I point out how much more overgrown the adjacent line of Lord Gumtree is. His eyes followed that line, & I further pointed out Holden Caulfield where it breaks the main roof. Upon noting his eyes widen as he saw the scabby flake involved I grinned; knowing that I had just confirmed in his mind that ye olde style aid climbers are indeed a mad breed of oyster.

He set off and made relatively easy work of the Gd 24 climbing, which soon engrossed him sufficiently that murmurs of appreciation for location, drifted down to me. Meanwhile I too was thoroughly enjoying the experience of being here at campsite 35 with a climber capable of getting me out of this location to the top in a day, which is quite a change from the previous times I had been here. Relatively new also to me was belaying a very competent climber, and I appreciated the poetry in motion. Spaced pro-pieces were placed rapidly on the first attempt, and the clipping of same was a short and very smooth affair. None of the double-time drawn out stuff of dragging rope and feeling for a clip; this was precision in action. I was conscious after being caught out on the 1st clip, of not creating rope-drag for him at such times by firing slack into the system as needed. I mused his mastery only comes with mileage on rock and it was good to see first hand. I also found myself wondering if others ever noted similar about my crusty ability to finagle obtuse aid placements?, though the timeframes involved are obviously very different.
Meanwhile Mike had abseiled to below the main roof and was hovering on the static like a bird of prey waiting to swoop his quarry with a lense. Looking upwards the rock architecture was magnificent from my perspective and seeing him up there suspended well out from the rock gave further perspective to the size of the corner, and the scale of the roof on Ozy Direct. It was worth being here again for that view alone.

Mike on photog duty above first belay after Ozy Original/Direct divergence.

Soon enough the call came that the rope was fixed and I could follow and clean the pitch. Will informed me when I arrived at the hanging belay that the pitch just cleaned had a fixed wire on it, but as I was unknowing of this I already had it, so it now adorns my rack as booty!

Perspectives. Interesting things really.
I mean the next pitch is a grade 22, but to my 'low grade' eye the climbing looked equal to the last pitch only cleaner. It was certainly straightforward and follows a magic layback corner to a belay out of site due to an angle change near the top.
Given the grade was less, I was somewhat surprised by the more methodical style of climbing that Will was now demonstrating. He was placing gear much more frequently and I wryly noted that indeed it was more closely spaced than it would have been if I had led the pitch on aid! The factor 2 onto a hanging belay was well covered. Placements were so good that they were tempting him to do so, but he was beginning to tire and grow the dreaded lactic acid pump. When he was about half up the pitch I anticipated his need for rope to clip his latest placement and gave further slack at the same time as he was pulling slack ready to reach up for the clip. One reef up, two ree-
What the ?? Will was rapidly filling my sky.


He pulled up short not far above me as I was lifted about 2 foot (50 cm for the young’uns), upwards at my end tight to my daisy. Good thing too, as I was just starting to wonder why he wasn’t stopping knowing I was directly in his path and already had him locked off.
A piece of low gear had pulled due oblique force and dangled on the rope below him, but everything else held, … save the missed clip! There was a full krab of nuts still dangling from the high point, which bespoke an interesting sequence to his climbing method.
It was a good clean 8 metre whip & Andrew's enthusiastic hooting from a south side lookout was still crackling in my earpiece! A green alien is now Wills favourite piece! but unfortunately Mike missed it on camera due to spiralling towards another view on his rope at the time. Wills finger was sore as it was the last thing to dislodge at the time of departing contact with the rock. I felt tired/pumped on his behalf looking at the distance to go on this pitch, given his effort to get to the high point so far.
Will asked to be lowered further to retrieve the pulled piece to re-use it higher. I was intrigued by the fact that as I lowered him instead of him moving, it was me who moved down till my daisy again took my weight below the belay rather than above it; at which point an equilibrium was established and then he lowered as I continued to pay out rope.

The rest of the lead was uneventful but the interest for me again peaked on this pitch when Will asked me as I arrived up high, how I was going to follow his unprotected traverse out of the corner to a belay he had set up on the blunt arête forming the divide between Ozy Original and She Wall. Eyeing it up I reckoned on following it free rather than back-rope-pendule-lower out. This was accomplished in a few balancy moves despite my feet still being in etts and now getting sweaty hands. All up a spicy end to an excellent pitch with the sudden onset of sweaty palms reinforcing to me a hint of the possible emotions that Will may have experienced while leading it.

The next pitch is also graded 22 but is of a vastly different character to the open dihedral of the last done. I was particularly looking forward to reliving history and eagerly anticipated looking over the arête down and across 'She Wall', and upwards towards Crystal Brook Falls, as Chris Baxter had done many years earlier when he seconded Chris Dewhirst on this pitch. I was not disappointed. The sound of the waterfall assaults the senses, as equally does the open panorama along with the change of rock colour to combine for an increased sense of height.

Zoom shot of Crystal Brook Falls from Ozy Original.

The climbing proved interesting and varied, even to follow on etts! It was a good lead though Will admitted to struggling on it, and I am looking forward to returning to lead it myself as an aid climb. It has many fixed pitons and although the lichen/moss is testimony to the amount of moisture there at times, they are still sound*; which is quite amazing given the time (Oct ’69), they have been there.
(*I verified each as I passed by tapping them with a hammer and noting its sound/re-bound qualities).

The 45 degree rising traverse pitch graded variously as 19 to 21 (!), across She Headwall signifies the beginning of the lesser grade pitches to finish the climb, but not the end of fun times to be had there.
We had taken an average of two hours per pitch, and had picked the plums of the line so when we found the photog rope intersecting the line, it was too hard to resist when we got to it. Will may have been feeling a bit spent by then, but I know for sure that my rib-cage was giving me heaps. I was not unhappy about leaving some mystery for when I return, and so we took the easier option of jumaring out.

Trigger plants and snow grass on a 'ledge' near Ozy Original.

Dinner that evening was a pleasant affair and I found it intriguing that Wills mum commented on his climb mostly in regard to the hanging belay above 'big grassy' as "What are you doing Will? ~ There is not much space there"!, ~ rather than his whipper!! If she ever accesses that location she would certainly be confirmed in that view, though for me it simply evoked visions again of my sky filling with Will at a rate of knots.

Next morning I had opportunity to see good technology in the form of Mike’s camera up close. For the uninitiated like myself such items as image stabilisers and ability to change ISO settings to outrageously high numbers 'on the run' are fancy indeed. Definitely good kit for those with the idle thousands to invest in such.

The other objective for the trip was the new line Andrew and I had spied last season, and this climb is proving as interesting to me for it’s ethical evolution as much as the climbing involved on it.
Being old school I am generally of the onsight ground up persuasion, but feeling pressured by the latest guide seemingly making obvious the 'blank' areas yet to go in this part of the world, and the comments of a random climber met at a lookout; … combined with the luxury of having more than one vision in the pipeline, I have taken the ethical shortcut of pre-inspecting this climb on abseil.
It did not start out this way, as we initially abseiled in to do the line.
This tends to fit well with the fact that it breaks out of an existing climb a considerable distance off the deck, and as such is the first time I have done such a line that is not fully independent.
Before I set the first hanging belay it was obvious to me that we had misjudged and bought the wrong size gear with us to do the climb, even though it seemed we had everything with us including the kitchen sink.
My ribs still hurt, but I regarded that as a minor distraction and tended to agree with Andrew that "pain is just weakness leaving the body!" We were primed and ready to take it on.
The first shock was Andrew finding an empty bolt hole, near where the crack becomes less defined on the upper pitch, and the second was another ancient and unnecessary carrot on the lower pitch. No other sign of passage has been detected however, and judging by the adjacent lines and the vegetated state of the climb it is apparent that this area has been neglected for a considerable time. It makes me wonder at the circumstances that cause abandonment of projects, and it is intriguing that many years should pass before others such as ourselves should pick up the thread and continue to weave the tapestry.

Due to the heat we had waited till the wall fell into shadow, and as a consequence we decided that time was now against us obtaining the necessary gear and returning this day, so the next day became the new shifting goalpost.
It saw us at the lower hanging belay and it was decided that I should lead the first pitch.

Two rock oysters clinging to the rising tide of change.

Appearances are deceptive.
The flared crack turned into a dry water runnel up higher and by the time I had got to the bolt that was visible to Andrew from below while on belay, but which was invisible to me being right in front of my eyes! I had already finangled good gear adjacent to it so did not use it.

About this time I was placing the next nut and managed to drop the majority of nuts off the racking krab they were contained on. The placement held and I caught two of the falling wires. Andrew caught one as he was showered by them, so we had four remaining out of the 9 or 10 originally contained.
I was mortified, as this had never happened to me before in 40 odd years of climbing.
Looking ahead it was deemed worthwhile to abseil to the deck and retrieve them since we had plenty of additional rope with us, and it was obvious they were needed for progress up higher.
I clipped in hard to two pieces and Andrew cleaned up my sorry mistake, since they were his nuts after all, (heh, heh, heh!).

Higher up the line broke through a minor roof to the next hanging belay, again consisting of natural placements. The rock at this point is highly weathered and the available protection slots are scant.
A number one hex held me for a considerable time before the inch long (25 mm), protrusion containing it at a cracks end broke off, releasing it and me into the care of the lead rope and Andrews capable belaying.
Regaining my high point I managed to get in an upside down black/blue hybrid alien at the next placement. It too held my weight for a period before releasing me into the care of my spectra daisy still attached to my last piece that was level with my second top-step of the lower ettrier.
Static fall-arrests are supposed to be a no, no.

I get a No ¾ technical friend to stick, and confidently step on up again. While searching for another higher placement, this too blows out, and again my spectra daisy (with lead rope to spare at my waist), catches me.
Blerrie heck this is hard on the ribs …

Regaining my high step point, I inspect the powdered placement where the friend had been. This rock is just too weathered to hold what should be good gear.
My feet are under the overhang and too far out from the wall to brace off, so I am forced to lever upwards on a fifi while knee-barring the roof off an ett step, to gain a crucial couple of inches (5 cm) of height. This enables me to re-obtain the blue/black hybrid alien placement (still with powder from scored rock visible in it), and another identical but more flaring placement nearby that would not hold bodyweight earlier due having cams tipped out.
I equalise the pieces. No point in testing them as nothing else is available and they either hold combined or they don’t. I hold my breath as I ease up. They are holding so I quickly fifi to the equalising krab and get a good No 2 camalot into a solid placement that was earlier out of reach above. Before I have the chance to fall again I am yarding on the camalot till I am fully standing, then fifi myself in and clip the lead rope to it. Orrighht! This pitch’s back is broken now at definitely M6 and possibly M7 for grade.
I did not bother back-clipping the equalised baby-aliens but made another placement above to move up to the next belay location instead, where we had our static available to jumar out.

An old rock oyster at the end of pitch one of a new route yet to be completed.

By the time we both got off the climb we were pretty much wasted, as Andrew's elbows were shot due to re-aggravating old injuries while jugging, and my rib cage was bad to the point that it hurt to breathe. X-rays the following day confirmed the Drs diagnosis that I had traumatised an intercostal muscle, ~> Not as bad as cracking a rib but much the same flavour for comfort value!

I reckon the next pitch will also go on clean aid, and because it has at least one obligatory sequence of three high-stepping hook moves in a row, combined with marginal protection in other spots, I expect the grade to be solid M8.
Given the rock quality, it will be an interesting re-match.

Organ Pipe
11:29:25 AM
Awesome TR M9.

The thought of M8 scares the #$%^ out of me! Consecutive highsteps on hooks!!!

11:52:35 AM
Nice TR Rod. Thanks for the pic Will.
The hanging belays were quite spectacular with views extending out into the valley.
Whilst easter egging for the dropped wires I was quite astounded at how well camoflaged one particular wire was. The wire was sitting on a clean slab of rock in full sun, and the glare off the rock totally blinded me. It wasn't till I had given up and started down climbing that the wire came into view with a change in perspective and in deed the wire had been right next to my hand (2cm away) the whole time!
It truly was an adventure and I look forward to going back to complete what will surely become a modern day classic and potentially one of the more consistent hard aid climbs on the mount.
Thanks Rod for sharing the spirit of adventure.
Mike, thanks for "hanging" around and taking cool pics over that weekend. Thanks Will and family for the good company and climbing inspiration. And to Milly, thanks for the seal of approval after inspecting my cookware and the lessons in percussion.

11:55:26 AM
On 15/01/2008 Organ Pipe wrote:
>Awesome TR M9.
>The thought of M8 scares the #$%^ out of me! Consecutive highsteps on
I know what you mean OP, that's why I handed the "easy" lead to Rod as soon as i hit the belay!!! I've also decided to "let" him take the crux lead as well ;)
12:47:53 PM
Thanks Rod, a great and enjoyable read.

12:48:03 PM
Great Trip report Rod, you really scored a good line there, I hope the intercostal heals up soon!
The TR itself really puts you in the mood to break out the ets and have a crack at some blank face.
I've got a theory that the trend for hard trad, after the bland sanitised bolt clipping has reached saturation
point in some climbers, is just a precursor for another shift in the trend towards hard aid!
My theory comes from having instructed an unprecedented number of future aid climbers in the fine art of
thruch and dangle this last year (2007) about 30 aspirants altogether so far! (about 1/3 solo aid)
I hope that this will also be a move towards using the guide as a tool for looking at the blanks, as
opposed to looking for the stars.....BP

4:58:30 PM
There ya go WM; ~> trip report is posted and I did not slanderously mention your pretty pink rope once!


Heh, heh, heh.

bp wrote
>I hope the intercostal heals up soon!

Thanks. Dr reckons I should notice significant improvement after two weeks, though others may say 'Whats the point? as it is no doubt taking me a while to get over aid climbing'!

>My theory comes from having instructed an unprecedented number of future aid climbers in the fine art of thruch and dangle this last year (2007) about 30 aspirants altogether

... Many are called but few are chosen!
It will be interesting to see the pendulum swing back as I have noticed cycles within the game.

>have a crack at some blank face.

... There is still plenty of adventure left out there for those that want to find it.

OP wrote;

... I still have yet to do that hook sequence!
Although I have already done similar elsewhere I consider this climb as part of a grander plan of working my way up through the grades and consolidating each one as I go.
The truely scary stuff is still calling me from a distance :)

On that note; I am impressed by your recent commitment/s to 7th Pillar and identify with 'the calling' that you experienced.

Phil Box
5:37:03 PM
Yes, I agree, there is still way plenty of adventure left. There are huge expanses of unclimbed rock on Mt. Warning going begging. We have scoped out a line that I reckon will go. I can't wait for the weather to cool down again.

9:51:22 AM
Inspiring TR Rod!! %-0

> There are huge expanses of unclimbed rock on Mt. Warning going begging

Count me in if you need a belay slave Phil! I'm a North Coast Old Boy and find the environment at Mount Warning magical. You've got to watch out for the little black wasps though when swimming neked with the hippy chicks in the creek (or was that just a mushroom flashback? ;-) )

Which reminds me, has anyone had a go at Nimbin Rocks?? (sorry for the hijack - mushroom/bush bud flashback free flowing thought association).

10:28:09 AM
Nice TR.

Yikes that (nimbin rocks) looks pretty nice.

Phil Box
10:46:55 AM
Brad C has been doing some exploring around Nimbin Rocks. He has permission from one of the land owners to go exploring the possibilities there.

Belay slave, too right, it is always a mission to get through the magical enchanted broccoli forest that is haunted by trolls. Having extra sherpas along is always a must.
11:17:22 AM
On 15/01/2008 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>There ya go WM; ~> trip report is posted and I did not slanderously mention
>your pretty pink rope once!

it's a better way to "get in touch with my feminine side" than by growing man boobs ... eh M9?

11:44:11 AM
Nice one rod, sounds like you had a good time!

12:23:51 PM
On 16/01/2008 WM wrote re using a pink rope;
>it's a better way to "get in touch with my feminine side" than by growing man boobs ... eh M9?

I don't know, as I have only managed to grow a chocolate’n’alcohol-gut.

I'm not sure why you are concerned about the issue, being the wisp (not carrying any excess weight), of a lad that you are!

You shall have to tell me if it works.

As a fashion accessory I am reliably informed that green aliens go well with pink ropes, and 8 m whips have got nothing on them!

Heh, heh, heh.


Organ Pipe
2:04:14 PM
On 15/01/2008 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>On that note; I am impressed by your recent commitment/s to 7th Pillar
>and identify with 'the calling' that you experienced.

Cheers Rod! I definetly feel the aid calling.

I hope BP is right about a change being in the air. Pretty soon I'll be drilling a hole in my Gri-Gri and heading off solo. My wife would shudder if she read this! : )

2:30:22 PM
More to it than just drilling a hole! PM me for the full tech specs on modification.

Organ Pipe
3:35:16 PM
On 16/01/2008 bomber pro wrote:
>More to it than just drilling a hole! PM me for the full tech specs on

; )

Yeah I know, back when I was first getting interested in the idea / theory of aid climbing (long before I tried it) I read your piece on solo aid, modifying the Gri-Gri for solo aid / lead, and remember seing some pic's.
10:59:53 AM
I remember an article in Thrutch many decades ago about people visiting Nimbin to go climbing. I don't recall if they got up anything but i do remember that they started popping Asprin so that they wouldn't seem conspicuous.

11:13:37 AM
> they started popping Asprin
??? That's a weird way to refer to sucking on a great big Nimbin scoobie!!!
And there's no way to be 'inconspicuous' in Nimbin, as with all small country towns, everyone knows who everyone else is, and knows their stories - I won't get into the twisted world or relationships and who's related to whom...
Stoned local staring out the front window of the Freemason's Hotel, sucking on his first beer of the day: "Who are those guys over there with the Subaru?"
Other stoned local, on his third beer, and up to date on today's goss: "Those guys? Oh, they're just some f@#$ers who climb!".

Eduardo Slabofvic
11:48:28 AM
Nimbin and it's environs was the area where Brizvegas and Armidale based climbers climbers would all
have their secret crags (circa mid 80's). There were a number of strange meetings which involved fleeting
looks and lots of running away....but then those Armidale types were a strange lot.....and where they got
that second head, no-one knows.

I never knew anyone who wrote up their ascents, but then it wouldn't be secret if they did.

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