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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 21
Author
4 days in Tassie

cruze
18/11/2008
2:09:41 PM
We had always planned to go away for a long weekend from 14-17 November, but weren't exactly sure where we would go until we noticed that the Spirit of Tassie was having a fantastic deal for trips in November. 2 people plus car in cabin for about $200 each way. I must admit I get seasick at the sight of a glass of water being poured, so I was a little aprehensive at tht thought of crossing the infamous Bass Straight.

Now the trip was never meant to be about the climbing, but like most holidays we have, our destination and itinery tends to centre around climbing venues. What a coincidence!! Oh, and the rack was well and truly packed...

We went straight to the ship after work, had a few drinks, some dinner, went to bed and woke up in the best state in Australia (having never lived there)! Slept like a lamb - the sea was only up to 2m.

First stop was Rocky Cape National Park past Burnie. We tried buying a parks pass at the roadhouse (as both the guide and the person from Tasservice had told us was possible) but not to be. Nonetheless we toddled off to the Rocky Cape headland which looked pretty good from a distance and didn't dissappoint up close. It had been drizzling while we were driving and fairly windy, but the cliff was relatively sheltered. While checking out the routes (most of which look great) we decided on Zorro then Juggernaut.

I had noticed a pair of Peregrines flying around as we walked in and saw the guano on the cliff, so studied them for a while to check they weren't nesting nearby. Whilst it seemed that they were landing up on the other side of the cape, at the extreme left of the cliff (probably about 100m from the climbs), I decided that we weren't going to go too close to them and it should be alright.

The first two pitches of Zorro were fantastic. The tide was in and the first pitch sends you out on the quartzite in a rising traverse above the water. Nice atmosphere, with nice technical moves. A semi-hanging belay allowed the second to come across. The climb is so-named because each pitch forms a line in the letter "Z", so the second pitch had me rising back up right through some awkward pumpy climbing to land at a large guano stain and a tattered sling. Having put my partner on belay I watched the albatrosses circling, the waves rolling in and the peregrines swooping. Yep that's right. Having not seen them (and them obviously not seen us) for about an hour, they very quickly came to the realisation that we were not welcome. I have never been attacked by a peregrine whilst climbing, and didn't know what they were capable of. But nonetheless, being at another semi-hanging belay, belaying my partner through the pitch and looking up to see a peregrine perform aerial manuevers that make Maverick's old "put the brakes on and they'll fly right by" look like child's play was shall I say a little unnerving... The larger of the two peregrines (female?) decided to launch vertically at me doing 2 180degree barrel rolls the whole time screeching like a banshee. Not that pleasant. Needless to say, having brought my second up we hastily retreated off the cliff with a rap onto a boulder in the water and rock jumped back to our bags. Backing off a 15... Juggernaut was not attempted.

That afternoon we checked out Sisters beach. Not a bad little area in a very quiet and pleasant setting. We did the bolted 15 down the end and Rhythm Rude Girl which is a reasonably stout 22, I thought. The moves were fantastic. It was sustained and quite bouldery in places, with a couple of the slips relatively desperate. At least for someone with the fitness of a well-fed sow.

Knowing that the forecast was for rain the next day, then clearing, we had our eyes on Rysavy Ridge for the Sunday. With a day to fill in we headed off to Cradle Mountain. Despite having been there a few times previously I still think that it is an amazing place. It was raining pretty solidly so we only did the lake walk which was quite pleasant, but nonetheless convinced ourselves that we had earned the coffee and wedges afterwards.

Onwards to Gowrie Park. Rain. Mt Roland. Clouded over, no there it is, no it's gone. Nonetheless, with faith in the trusty Bureau we set up camp at the O'Neals campground down below and pared down our rack for the climb the next day. After a pretty restless night spent counting each drop that fell and realising that we were one drop further away from trying the climb, we awoke to occasional drizzle and snow on the peaks. Bummer. No maybe if we drive around and check out the climb it would be in glorious subshine and be dry!! Not to be, and after sitting around for an hour we decided not to try it just as Steve drove down from his place. What better person to get advice about the climb from but one of the FA's! His advice was consistent with our decision, which I guess wasn't all that surprising given the snow that was in the descent gully down to the "solitary gum". We headed off to Sheffield and had coffee at Steve's cafe (Skwiz/Blacksmith Gallery - it is undergoing a name change) and had a good chat about the climbing in Tasmania through the years and saffron farming (which is one of Steve's businesses).

Driving on to Latrobe and the local markets and that funky old curios shop made us feel like Tourists, and perhaps a little more sane given the clouds that now lay pretty heavy over Mt Roland. Afterwards we drove through Launceston and on to the North Esk for an afternoon's climbing. We only had enough time for Powderfinger (17), Claire (13) and the bolted 19 on Eiffel tower. All of which were pleasant. Dolerite has sensational friction.

Buoyed with our reinforced knowledge of dolerite it wasn't much of a stretch to drive on to Ben Lomond, after all it is THE dolerite crag, n'est pas? After a really good night's sleep we headed out for the Pavillion given its apparent ease of access and more varied nature of climbing. We knew we had to get to the ferry by about 7 that night and we had made a latish start... Our chosen route was Pavane (17, 65m) - described as a "very good route" in the select guide to Tassie. Two of the FAist were Lockwood and Thompson so I figured it would be pretty good too.

The walk in went easily enough.

The climb probably could have done with a little more traffic as they say. Mindful of the enormous scree slope below, and where those rocks had come from, I must admit it made a bit of the climbing a little unnerving. The gear was generally good, although you would want to feel pretty solid in a couple of places to avoid discolouring the undergarments. The second pitch had sensational climbing with a combination of lay-aways, rock-overs and steep stemming. The whole time constantly weighing up route choice between the easier unprotected climbing and the harder climbing with the hope of gear. A mentally absorbing climb. The third pitch was rubbish in the top half with a memorable move consisting of wedging yourself into a bottomless lichenous chimney slot and worming your way up. Thought provoking climbing.

Having got back to the car about 30 minutes later, we realised we could make Devonport in OK time if we didn't delay. Arriving an hour and three quarters later we had a nice meal of fish and chips before getting on board. A pleasant night's sleep and straight to work from the ferry.

Four days felt like a week. Awesome. We love Tassie. Again.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
18/11/2008
2:27:00 PM
An inspiring read.
Thanks for posting it cruze.

Twitch
18/11/2008
4:12:58 PM
Sounds like a great trip cruze ;)

Anyway, what are peopleís impressions of Ben Lomond? This was my first time there (for climbing) and I had pretty high expectations. To be honest Iím not sure if I would bother going back. We only had time for one climb (Pavanve) and maybe itís not the most representative climb of this area. The walk in was just so much effort with the rock hopping, the rock was a bit scary in places and we had a bit of a jungle to get through (those bushes are so prickly!) I couldnít believe how rough and grippy the rock was! Sure itís a beautiful place and I enjoyed the scenery. What are other peopleís impressions of this area?

cruze
18/11/2008
4:24:12 PM
Twitch's impressions are in no way representative of mine... Except for the comments on the texture of the rock, and the spikey bushes, and the scenery...

If anyone wants a climbing partner for the cracks at Ben Lomond, I (that should be "we") have a double set of cams that I am willing to contribute!

JamesMc
19/11/2008
7:46:17 AM
Absolutely love Ben Lomond, been there twice, though never climbed on The Pavilion where Pavane is.

Must get back there some time.

JamesMc.

Phil Box
19/11/2008
9:20:07 AM
Ben Lomond is awesome. I love that boulder hop on the way in, all part of the adventure. You never know what the weather is going to do. Such a totally different world than that which I normally climb in.

As stated previously the rock is just sooooo grippy. I did the first 120 metres of Rock A Day Johnny in my walking boots and had no problems whatsoever in fact I reckon they enhanced my climbing in the wide cracks. Just poke your boots any where near the rock and they'll stick.

evanbb
19/11/2008
10:45:57 AM
It does sound good. You went to a lot of places we were thinking about skipping, but now it's less certain.

RE Peregrines: In general, in Australian raptor species the female is larger than the male, usually by 10-20% by mass. I would have definitely bailed if I was attacked by a grumpy female peregrine. Apparently they can take the head off a pigeon, in flight!


cruze
19/11/2008
10:47:27 AM
My helmet might have been a little hard to digest.

As for a lot of areas, it is just the way we do things. We prefer to travel to a lot of different places rather than stay planted in any one area.

Twitch
19/11/2008
12:21:58 PM
On 19/11/2008 Phil Box wrote:
>Ben Lomond is awesome. I love that boulder hop on the way in, all part
>of the adventure. You never know what the weather is going to do. Such
>a totally different world than that which I normally climb in.

Did you not find the rock a bit scary though? There are rather large blocks that look like they could come off and judging by the rocks at the bottom they do!

>As stated previously the rock is just sooooo grippy.

Yes, but my hands are destroyed! Cuts and scrapes everywhere! (applying some more moisturiser)

oweng
19/11/2008
12:57:32 PM
On 19/11/2008 Twitch wrote:

>Did you not find the rock a bit scary though? There are rather large blocks
>that look like they could come off and judging by the rocks at the bottom
>they do!

The thing to remember with Ben Lomond, is that unless you are doing one of the classic crack routes on Robins Buttress(like Rajah etc), there is a good chance that your doing somewhere between the 2nd and 5th ascent! So be prepared for some loose rock. Even on the trade routes, there is normally a band of dodgy 'wheetbix' rock near the top.

I find the whole place a bit scary. Thats whats great about it!

cruze
19/11/2008
1:01:21 PM
I thought that climbing at the top of the Pavillion was a bit like playing Jenga. Hopefully pulling out a rock at the bottom didn't cause the whole cliff to collapse.

Jokes aside, I fully expected it to be a tad adventurous. Perhaps I will stick to the more popular routes next time.

Phil Box
19/11/2008
4:47:34 PM
On 19/11/2008 Twitch wrote:
>On 19/11/2008 Phil Box wrote:
>>Ben Lomond is awesome. I love that boulder hop on the way in, all part
>>of the adventure. You never know what the weather is going to do. Such
>>a totally different world than that which I normally climb in.
>
>Did you not find the rock a bit scary though? There are rather large blocks
>that look like they could come off and judging by the rocks at the bottom
>they do!
>
>>As stated previously the rock is just sooooo grippy.
>
>Yes, but my hands are destroyed! Cuts and scrapes everywhere! (applying
>some more moisturiser)

No I didn't find it scary at all, just a whole bunch of adventurous fun. I'll be back there early next year with Pinnacle Sports Tas trip on which I am guiding. Fun fun fun. I really must get the new encyclopedia, um, guide.

wallwombat
19/11/2008
4:50:47 PM
On 19/11/2008 Phil Box wrote:

>I'll be back there early next year with Pinnacle Sports Tas trip on which
>I am guiding. Fun fun fun.

Will Brother Colin be driving the Pinnacle Mobile back up to Qld again?

Might be good for another sandbag or two on the way through!

Phil Box
20/11/2008
10:08:10 AM
On 19/11/2008 wallwombat wrote:
>On 19/11/2008 Phil Box wrote:
>
>>I'll be back there early next year with Pinnacle Sports Tas trip on which
>>I am guiding. Fun fun fun.
>
>Will Brother Colin be driving the Pinnacle Mobile back up to Qld again?
>
>Might be good for another sandbag or two on the way through!

The Pinnacle Mobile this year will be Phil's Troop Carrier or as I usually call it, the big white metal tent. ;)) So yeah, we might be up for a bit of a roady on the way back up to Queensland.

Brother Colin will indeed be helping with the driving too. We're gunna take the driving in shifts. Paul will also be on board so it should be a cinch to drive pretty much non stop.

wallwombat
20/11/2008
10:14:50 AM
On 20/11/2008 Phil Box wrote:

>........ So yeah, we might be up for a bit of a roady on the way back up to Queensland.

Good one! I'll get my little black book of sandbags ready.

Hope you guys haven't washed away in all this rain.

Phil Box
20/11/2008
1:19:13 PM
Blub blub blub, can't hear you over the rising floodwaters and the din of the continuous thunder and lightning and the din on the old tin roof of my Queensland colonial house.

GravityHound
20/11/2008
4:57:58 PM
any photos from the trip going to be online soon?

cruze
20/11/2008
5:11:44 PM
Probably not for a little while. I forgot my camera so had to buy a disposable...

nmonteith
20/11/2008
5:16:10 PM
On 18/11/2008 Twitch wrote:
>Anyway, what are peopleís impressions of Ben Lomond? This was my first
>time there (for climbing) and I had pretty high expectations. To be honest
>Iím not sure if I would bother going back.

I had a similar experience on my first trip to Ben Lomond. It was a fleeting visit (4 major crags in 4 days!). I did some poxy thing up near Robins' something or other and thought it was badly protected, loose and an annoying to get to. Then I went back a year later with more time up my sleeve and went to Frews Flutes and loved it! The rock certainly isn't the greatest on many of the routes, but that is dolerite in general. Tends to crumble. I think it's one of those places more suited to a longer stay where you get into the 'zone' of that style of climbing.
ithomas
21/11/2008
4:30:43 PM
Have a look at the new Ben Lomond guide, "Memory of a Journey" and then tell me that the climbing is disappointing! The place, in all of it's variety, is superb. Poor babies worried about cold weather, protection and bad rock - don't worry, soon Santa will bring you a nice shiny bolt to play with and things will be alright.
Ian

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There are 21 messages in this topic.

 

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