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 Page 1 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 69
Noblesse Oblige retro of best easy route @ Buffalo
mikl law
7:12:54 AM
There were rumblings that Joseph “Grollo” Goding , with the best of intentions was going to retrobolt Noblesse Oblige, something I’d also been planning to do, though probably with many less bolts.

I drove down to Buffalo Friday night and slept in the pine forest for a few hours, and met Geoff Gledhill (the other first ascenionist) at 8am. We left one car at Mackey’s Lookout and drove to the gully at the base of the route (as was suggested in the VCC update I found). We bashed up the gully for 15 minutes (not 45 minutes that the VCC update said) to the base of the slab, it would be much better to walk up the ridge about 50m further right I think, and avoid all the death scrambling which Geoff oozed up in Five-Tennies which I slithered down in my hiking shoes. We got onto the slab too high and had to solo down the first pitch back to the belay.

Geoff soloing back down Pitch 1, the black streak the route follows is visible over his shoulder higher up

The problem with (even well written) route descriptions is evident once you’ve used a few topos, we ignored the description for a second and picked out the obvious line (the black water streak) after which the description made more sense. Imagine if we hadn’t put it up originally! Starting on the right edge of the slab, Geoff went up a thin crack to a flake, then headed, too fast for me to belay easily, left and up to a big dish, where he belayed on a few hexes in a drummy flake.

I followed the pitch, checking out 2 good runners and placing a bolt runner to make it all obvious safe super family fun, about grade 6 or less. OhMyGod! these stainless Trubolts are fast and bomber, and expensive too. I also added a bolt to the belay and lead another easy pitch with some cams to the next big dish at the base of the black streak proper, and placed 2 bolts on the belay.

The next pitch is the steepest on the buttress and Geoff ran up it in his Five-tennies, there were only 2 slings on this so I added a bolt before the hard section. It’s hard to grade, but somewhere between 8 and 12 maybe? Geoff had a bush belay and I added a bolt.

Geoff in sandshoes on the crux pitch 3, heading up to a poor sling then towards where I placed a BR

The next pitch (P4) looks blank but the angle has eased a lot, one bolt runner, then up the slab to a traverse right to a big jug and sling belay that I added a bolt to also.

The next pitch (P5) is easy rambling up the groove; Geoff drilled a bolt runner and belayed off a bollard and a bolt.

Geoff drilling on pitch 5, the angle is nowhere as extreme as it appears

From here pitch 6 followed an easy diagonally traverse across a few cracks and flakes leading onto the next buttress and then followed another black streak past some more placements to a good ledge and bolt belay (by this time the angle is so low that I was happy to hang off a single bolt).

Geoff seconding P6

A random hex on pitch 6

Geoff ran up the next pitch with no gear (though I stopped for a breather and found a few placements, on this sort of climbing you don’t need chalk, you need an oxygen cylinder) to another scoop and placed another bolt belay. From here the climbing angle eases further, I ran diagonally up another pitch past a bush and across 2 streaks to a bolt belay and then Geoff and I simul-climbed on easy ground with lots of bushes for another 100m till we stepped flat-footed onto the Great Walk, about 30m from my car at Mackey’s Lookout.

The route is an absolute classic, certainly the best easy route I’ve done at Buffalo. I’d like to get a consensus on the grade , I think it’s somewhere between 8 and 13, has reasonable gear at the crux, and 10m runouts on climbing that is 4 or 5 grades easier than the crux climbing. Any more runners would spoil it, but one could equip the top 3 belays with a second bolt. It took us 2.5 hours, including a bit of cleaning and placing 13 bolts, so is a nice quick route. With sticky sandshoes and in the afternoon (shade), you wouldn’t need to carry water or shoes if you were fast. All bolts have fixed hangers.

9:01:47 AM
Excellent work Mikl, and a great community service by the sound of things. Sounds in a similar vein to Sunstroke at Booroomba, another classic easy ramble.

How long does the drive from the Blueys take to Buffalo?

mikl law
12:08:41 PM
Much better than Sunstroke IMHO

Sydney to bufflao is 7 hours only
12:36:13 PM

Nice work Mike, on the bolting and on the detailed description that gives enough explanation of the climb, the gear and the belays to show why Grollo-style property development (ie gridbolting) is not necessary on this climb.

Perhaps with such clarity bearing down on the interested parties, the back and forth over Mackey's Lookout will be given a rest.

2:48:34 PM
Haha the first sentence made me chuckle a lot after I had heard John Schwerd's opinions on Joe's work!

Can't wait to get up there and do it. I must say you are doing quite well to get there in 7 hours.

I also agree with you - some retrobolting is great news on these routes but there is such a thing as overbolting. I believe you've struck a good balance.
8:44:15 PM
Nice work Mike and Geoff, This sweet looking route will definately see some crew on it and I will be one of them.

On a slightly different note, there was NEVER going to be any retrobolting of Noblesse Oblige by anyone and definately not by Joe, That I can Guarantee. We never intentionally retrobolted any lines at Mackeys and if anyone climbs the routes that we did bolt ( that does'nt climb 20 already) they will realise that they have'nt been grid bolted and are fun friendly routes.
Im not interested in starting anymore cr#p with these comments I just dont want anyone to get any wrong ideas about whats happened up there.

10:21:14 PM
Just a quick public thank you to Geoff and Mike for making this route more accessible to the general public by adding a few bolts.

I look forward to repeating it, as well as hopefully hearing a lot of nice tales of beginners having their first Buffalo experience on this fantastic looking route.

10:58:55 PM
On 2/03/2008 surfinclimb wrote:
>On a slightly different note, there was NEVER going to be any retrobolting
>of Noblesse Oblige by anyone and definately not by Joe, That I can Guarantee.

errr - that's not the impression I got from the emails I received from Joe just before xmas last year. He was super keen to "sort out the 330m grade 13, Neglobliese Oblige".

He decided against retrobolting it when Geoff Gledhill and Mike Law decided they wanted it to still be a bold route.
mikl law
8:11:52 AM
On 2/03/2008 surfinclimb wrote:

>We never intentionally retrobolted any lines at Mackeys

Geoff Gledhill told me that he backroped the 2 'new' routes there and that the 2 parallel routes which are very close together start from near the first belay on Stilleto. Between them have effectively retro-bolted the second pitch and part of the third pitch of Stilleto. One of the routes then crosses the fourth pitch of Stilleto. He said they offered quite nice climbing, but he only bothered clipping a third of the bolts. I agree with your statement that this was not intentional.

A bit more research may be required before further 'new' routes are produced here. Bolted routes are well defined, but older bold routes sometimes get pencilled in where a guide book editor thinks they 'should' go, any subsequnt bolted routes then obliterate them, these routes were quite pleasant and did see a few repeats.

I know it's hard to define lines by talking on emails etc, sometiems a vist to a crag with the local expert is required.

8:26:13 AM
Thanks Mike and Geoff. I did N.O yesterday and thought it fantastic. It was easy to find and the bolt spacing was exciting. I recall a comment made by Mikl to the effect of "It would be hard to fall off". I totally agree. We started in the middle of the day and even in high 20s heat the slab felt stickier than my armpits. I like the bolts at some of the belays and felt the bush belays to be adequate. Thanks again to Mikl and Geoff.

P.S. We did it in 2h50mins and I am blown away to think that Mikl and Geoff did it in 2h30mins and placed the bolts!!!!

10:38:04 AM
Thank you mikl and Geoff for maintaining the adventure standard at one of Australias premier adventure climbing destinations.

11:01:23 AM
nice to see you making the most of your time left andrew... did you do anything else?
12:24:25 PM
Spent a few hours on this yesterday arvo too, got onto the rock at about 4 ish - perfect timing as the sun disappeard over the slab. Was with a first timer, a fantastic introduction to adventure slabbing at buffalo, pretty convenient access too compared to similar offerings on other parts of the hill.It might even become popular. The bolts were certainly appreciated.

1:24:02 PM
On 3/03/2008 gordoste wrote:
>nice to see you making the most of your time left andrew... did you do
>anything else?
Yeah, the grand finale of my North-East Vic sojourn! :) That was all we did, the usual "alpine start" applied on the day
2:17:44 PM
Thanks fellas, this is on my list for the weekend. We might even get to double-up the remaining single-bolt belays if it needs it. Does the access need marking in any way?

2:24:46 PM
We went up the spur on the right side of the creek with the big white boulders at the roadside. I reckon that is marking enough, just stay to the left of the apex. The start is easy to identify as you can see the first bolt 25(?) metres up off a shiny white flake. But the bolts will become less visible with the first big rain that washes the rock dust away.
mikl law
5:40:16 PM
we got stuck in the gully, which was a dire scramble, which is why i suggested the spur on the right. How was it, obvious?
How was finding the route otherwise, particularly the diagonal 6th pitch, and the final roped pitch and final belay?

6:13:42 PM
We also ended up in the gully on some slabs & bushes below the climb, did a couple of pitches & sticky boot soloing before coming upon the main buttress and the first bolt and realising we had started climbing earlier than the topo. Probably a more enjoyable start rather than bashing further up the ridge. Time from car to climbing this version about 10-15 mins.

For all the discussions about access and grades, I think the real charm of the route is in discovery and adventure. The hand-drawn topo & route description you've put together is excellent and sufficient to direct everyone to the climb, leave the rest for discovery and surprise. Nobody is going to get sandbagged and into trouble and die horribly on this route, you couldn't do anything but have fun.

I'll PM you about some of the fixed pro.
mikl law
7:16:30 PM
superstu said that one of the belay bolts could do with tightening, sounds like the third belay (scoop and bush).

8:22:56 AM
It felt to me like you hadn't got the bolt all the way in (it also had a lot of thread showing above the nut) but I wasn't concerned due to the angle of climbing and you are in a huge scoop/pod.
Interestingly though, I have come away from that climb with a good ol' case of shinsplints!

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There are 69 messages in this topic.


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