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Araps 14-17 August 09

9:54:13 PM
It was nice meeting ajfclark, egosan and Sarah Gara... I hope you all had a good weekend. We certainly did! I'll wait for bl@ke to post his TR to this thread and then add my perspective.

Sarah Gara
10:04:03 PM
and you too. The guitar playing was pretty bad! The fire however was lovely.

I have a request for bl@ke... when you post will you break up the writing a little (pretty please) as it's really difficult to read and hurts my eyes trying to follow it. Thank you x

I'm looking forward to hear about piccolo he was nearly at the top when we had to leave... think I may try that next time. x

1:34:25 PM
Indeed. It was good to put some faces to names.
4:45:38 PM
On 18/08/2009 Sarah Gara wrote:
>I have a request for bl@ke... when you post will you break up the writing
>a little (pretty please) as it's really difficult to read and hurts my
>eyes trying to follow it. Thank you x
Thank Mr lawly my english teacher :) Or maybe if i paid attention in class my writing would be better lol I would be more than happy to break up my writing more. Now wheres my english book........

Sarah Gara
5:02:18 PM
just as in gaps. to help my brain and eyes - your writing is good. x
6:13:46 PM
How lucky am i? Only a month or two after my first araps trip i find myself there again!
We = Gordoste, larryfranklin and bl@ke pull into the pines at around 8 30? on thursday night to be joined by Ben and Nikki (sorry if i got the spelling wrong Nikki) the next day. We set up camp and then have a bit of a relax before we go to bed.

The next morn we are greeted with thick fog, it will take more than that to put us of ay? So we scramble out of bed psyched for the day ahead. We choose to climb Arachnus 105m grade 9.

Larry scores first pitch so he racks up and is on his way. cling cling go his mighty hexs as he ascends to a few metres hight, where he now has to traverse along for a few metres to the tricky bit. He gets to the tough part and works his way past it and then cruzes to the top of the pitch. Gordo and i then follow and join him on the slopy belay ledge, it was a footy feild compared to what we had for the next one. I get to do the second pitch so i rack up and get going. Up i go happy as larry until i get to a little traverse section, i start to get a little scared i suppose.

i try to find some good pro to protect me but i end up setteling for a number one RP which should hold a little fall? i have never fallen on lead trad or otherwise so i have no idea what holds and what dosnt.
But that lil' RP gives me the guts to do the traverse and the rest of the pitch is a breeze. I get to the belay ledge which is a standing belay sorta setup so i make up a nice anchor and sort out the two ropes nicly as a good belay keeper should and bring up Gordoste and Larry.
As Gordoste is approaching the belay we notice a few pieces of pro have somehow managed to come out and get stuck on the rope which they then get stuck on the next peice of pro so i cant take in any slack, so Gordoste climbs up with slack gathering the more he climbs up until he reaches the clusterF and sorts it out.

Gordo scores next pitch so off he goes up up up joining the next two pitches together (purposfull) and then brings the two of us up to the tippety top!
Wow! what a climb im starting to love this multi pitch climbing gig.
We then walk over to the belay anchors and rap off. i was never a big fan off abseils but im loving them now after doing this 2 pitch abseil twice.
Once at the bottom we gather our gear and have lunch on top of a boulder just up to the right a bit.

While having lunch i say "this would be a nice spot to have a snooze" or words similar to that effect, i didnt want to do anymore climbing i just wanted to have a snooze. There is heaps of nice snoozing spots at arapiles so look out for my guide "Arapiles selected snoozes" coming soon...... maybe :)

The next instalation of my TR is coming soon. Any constructive critesism welcome :)

6:18:42 PM
>a few pieces of pro have somehow managed to come out and get stuck on the rope which they then get stuck on the next peice of pro

It sounds to me like you need to either extend your pro with longer slings to prevent rope-drag dislodgement, or 'seat' them more firmly when placing them, or both!

>"Arapiles selected snoozes" coming soon

~> You may need to patent it before simey beats you to it!

A good read.
I look forward to the next installment.
6:27:58 PM
I think i need to seat them more firmly. I have this phobia of getting gear stuck !! I think i extended the RP not 100% sure (not very sharp memory for a 15 year old ay?).

Will start selected snoozes soon heh heh

Next installment on its way now...
7:10:58 PM
Part 2

After lunch we headed over to panzer 95m grade 12. Larry lead the first pitch again which is apparently the crux but it was easy peasy. It was a really good pitch with a cool little pocket that helps alot.
Gordoste follows but at the top of the pitch instead of traversing left to get around a bulge he goes through it which is the last little bit of the first pitch of Omaha beach grade 18.
Now its my turn, i climb pretty easily to the bulge and start to traverse left until i get told to try the harder bulge, so i start traversing right to the bulge.
It looked pretty tricky but its got good hand holds and footers its just that the footers are at your waist. so i grab the highest holds i can reach (avoiding the loose block) and heal hook the rail for your feet and grunt my way up using my knees until i can get both my feet on the rail and reach the top.
That was a bit of excitment then.

My lead next.
i look up at the corner crack which looked like it could be a bit of a grunt. Anyway i start off up it placing a bit of pro. trying to avoid laybacking it, i want to look like a pro crack climber even though i find myself calling out "give me face give me face!"

i then notice that Gordoste is keeping very little slack between me and him Hmm i say to myself He thinks im gonna fall hehe o well i say i am stryggling a bit and then i find myself wanting to fall, for the first time ever i feel comfortable with the concept of falling. I dont jump though.
i finish the crack section and head right to the slabby bit. i place a hex mmm hexs, and then climb up to a tricky bit. Oh oh im a little stuck, i want to cfommit to the moves but i think i might fall if i do, and then i realise how far my next bit of pro is below me... gulp.
I eventually traverse right and find i piton!! my first bit of history! i give it a wiggle to see if its any good, it dosnt move at all so i guess its OK. i clip it and then climb up through a nice easy section until i find another piton so i wiggle it and clip it, again its OK.

i climb up until i feel the need for more pro so i place a nut and clip it and then as i contemplate my next move i see a piton 40cm above my nut so i clip that and unclip my nut.
The next bit was pretty run out but easy so i wasnt too scared. i place one more nut and then i reach the belay. I set up my anchore and bring Gordoste and Larry up.

Gordo gets the next lead so larry and i wait patiently.
Its getting cold now so me and Larry are complaining. Eventually he reaches the belay and belays us up. What a climb i look down at everything we have climbed and love it what a view!
we then make our way to the abseil and decend.
We then hope in the car and head back to camp......

More later.

7:38:39 PM
On 19/08/2009 bl@ke wrote:
>I eventually traverse right and find i piton!! my first bit of history!
>i give it a wiggle to see if its any good, it dosnt move at all so i guess
>its OK. i clip it and then climb up through a nice easy section until i
>find another piton so i wiggle it and clip it, again its OK.

If they don't wiggle they're definitely bomber.....

in seriousness though, probably better to trust a nut who's history and strength you know, rather than a rusty peg...unless you're hardcore of course

nice TR
9:24:54 PM
We return to camp and get a fire going. Its nice to have a relax after a hard days work.
Later that night Ben and Nikki arrive and get to work on setting up there tent and cooking dinner. Around about then we get a couple of visitors in our camp, egosan, ajfclark and sara gara ! It was cool to meet up with more chockstoners and put names to faces.
so now we have a bit of a group happening so we talk away about climbing and a bunch of other things and of course play some guitar. And eventualy everyone heads of to bed for some shut eye.

The next morning we wake up and do the usual thing and decide to climb muldoon 42m grade 13.
so we trundle over to the base of muldoon where i find another excelent snoozing spot. larry is going to lead first so he racks up and while doing so hastles me to get the rope ready. I am busy doing nothing so naturaly i cant flake the rope, so we get into a convo about who in a climbing group does what.
Anyway i lose the debate when larry says " theres a reason why Blake rymes with flake" so i flake the rope :(
Larry starts off strongly quickly climbing the crack and then wiggling up the chimny sorta thing. He then traverses along a large ledge until he has to step out around a corner that is fairly exposed. he puts in some pro and says "watch me blakey" so i get ready to do some ATCing.
He steps out and moves out a bit but the next hold is going to require some footwork or a good lunge to get to without swinging out. He goes for the good old lunge, "slap" he connects and then lets out a victory cry (sort of )
He then zipps up the rest of the mostly overhung pitch and sets up the belay.

Its my turn to second so up i go taking out the occaisional piece of pro but leaving in enough to keep Gordo on track. I get to the Step out bit and psych myself up. i commit and step out, i look at my next move get ready and "slap" i lunge for it, stuff footwork.
I then continue up the rest of the climb loving the jugs.
I join Larry at the belay and take a few snaps of the gramps and Us.
Gordoste Finishes the pitch and hands the rain over to me, I pass "na ill be right".

So Off he goes up the overhung pitch, loving it.
Soon enough its my turn to second so up i go up up up, i get around the corner and take a peek down... Whoah!!! Bad choice, Nothing but air down there. i take a few deep breaths and then continue up. I stop to unclip and reclip a peice of pro (i am tyed into the middle of the rope) i reclip it to the rope below me and take a step up and realise its still cliped to my end of the rope uh oh.
I work on uncliping it from me part of the rope but its clipped to a micro krab and i have trubble, now to make it harder Gordo takes some slack in so now the rope is tight so its even harder to get of now "f3ck f3ck f3ck" i say as i struggle to free it. finally it comes free and im able to keep moving upwards.
i top out and gladly take a spot on the top off the cliff.

Larry soon joins us at the top and we set up the abseil, but we only brang a 60m rope and the rap is 32m now you do the maths (we knew that it was a 32m rap) but we figured we could swing into the gulley/chimney on the right near the base and downclimb from there. In the end it all works out and we make it to the ground safely.

After lunch at the pines we head out to the golden streak boulder to do golden streak and a few other problems.
I have a couple of cracks at golden streak before we get distracted by the mantle problem grr. by now ajfclark and a fellow by the name of Eddy or ed ? im shocking with names but anyway we had some company, and soon onough Ed has done the mantl problem and golden streak. i think he may have onsighted golden streak i cant remember. But anyway he was sh4t hot at climbing.

So there i am trying golden streak again i go for a hold up above that left hand slopy one and fall, next thing i kno Ed says "your not gonna let an old man beat ya" ah the cheeck! :) so next go i get up the the spot ready for the sorta lunge/dyno, i go for it, i snatch, latch nearly pop off.... feet cut loose.... power grunt You would think i was doing a v10 wouldnt you heh heh i stick it few, now just to top out...
I reposition my feet, move my left hand up to the top, looking for a hold nothing, nothing panick, i grab a tiny something just enough to let me take my right hand off and reach right over the top to the jug that will allow me to finish. Ahh i grab it and after a few profanitys i top out. Yeah!! i finally did it, now all i have to do is tell people its was a really greasy day and it was a hard v3 on that day ;)

We then muck around on some traverses and the realy high arete which is very scary but easy. We then try the v5 varient of that climb with the big dyno but we all give up after a try or two. We then head back to camp and have a well earned rest.
9:48:39 PM
On 19/08/2009 Paz wrote:
>in seriousness though, probably better to trust a nut who's history and
>strength you know, rather than a rusty peg...unless you're hardcore of
And those pegs on Panzer are complete rubbish. Just because you can't pull them out with your fingers doesn't mean they are any good.
I can't think of any climbs at Araps below about 20 that where pegs can be regarded as real protection, they are usually historical relics good only for directing the rope.
10:02:46 PM
I didnt try to pull them out i gave them a wiggle and they didnt wiggle, i checked them out they didnt show any obvious signs of being dodgy and anyway i didnt fall, i didnt die and it would be fun trying to find any other decent pro around that section of the climb.
10:41:38 PM
I get the feeling that you've taken my remarks as criticism, when they're just advice.
Yes, it's hard to get protection on that second pitch but my assessment of those pitons the last time I did Panzer, which was a few years ago, was that they were fairly worthless, as are most other pegs still in place on easy climbs at Arapiles.
So, by all means clip any peg you find, but once the peg is clipped try to find other gear to back it up. And if you can't find other gear, grin and keep going.
If you're trying to wiggle a piton, you're testing to see if you can pull it out with your fingers.
In most cases, but not all, a peg that you can wiggle in its placement will just pull out. Look, it's worth hand-testing because some pitons do just pull out in your hand.
The only way to test the security of a piton is to hit it with a hammer.
7:38:06 AM
Yeah i spose i did take your remarks as critesism, sorry for being so narky.

More tonight

7:42:56 AM
On 19/08/2009 kieranl wrote:
>I can't think of any climbs at Araps below about 20 that where pegs can be regarded as real protection, they are usually historical relics good only for directing the rope.

What about the ones installed at Watchtower Crack's 3rd belay?
8:50:17 AM
I haven't been there since it was retro-pegged so I didn't think of them.

10:18:19 AM
On 19/08/2009 bl@ke wrote:
>by now ajfclark and a fellow by the name of Eddy or Ed ? im shocking with names but anyway we had some company, and soon enough Ed has done the mantle problem and golden streak. i think he may have onsighted golden streak i cant remember. But anyway he was sh4t hot at climbing.

Here's an interesting article on climbing in South Africa and Ed:

Thanks for another good read Blake. Making me think I should put something together about my morning with Ed.

12:15:46 PM
Friday I packed the car and drove to Albert Park to pick up Egosan. Packed his stuff in the car, dropped past his house to pick up something he'd forgotten and then drove up to Arapiles and set up camp. We cracked open some wine and wandered around the pines looking for a fire to share. That's how we met Gordoste, Bl@ke and Larry. I turned in quite early in the piece, around the time Sarah arrivied.

Saturday morning we got up and ate. I met Sarah and shortly after Ed. There was some discussion about who should climb with who but realising that Sarah had Egosan's lunch settled that problem. Sarah and Egosan headed off to Tiger Wall to climb The Dribble while I sat with Ed and we discussed what to climb.

Given what a lovely day it was already turning out to be and the forecast looking good we figured a multipitch was in order. Because Ed could climb a good deal harder than I could I decided that I should try and lead something quite difficult for me to try and keep things a little more interesting for him. Last November I'd seconded Superstu up Omaha Beach on the right watchtower face and I figured I might be able to lead it even if it was a few grades harder than anything I'd led on gear before. Ed read the blurb in the guide and said that sounded like fun so we headed down to the watchtower faces...

Omaha Beach 80m 18
  1. 30m 18 Start 10m Left of Panzer. Move up and right around broken bulge with marginal pro (bolt runner now). Committing moves lead to easier ground. Move back L and straight up through weakness in undercut bulge. Belay as for Panzer.
  2. 30m 16 Up Panzer's corner crack then traverse L following the flake. At the top of the flake go straight up and belay in V corner.
  3. 20m 8 Scrabble to the top following crack up and L.
FA: Yosef Murphy, Shaun Kratzer 4-4-5
The route begins at an almost vertical portion of the wall, stepping up onto a small ledge and shimmying up the wall a little till you can just stretch up and clip the bolt. With that out of the way I set about trying to get up the next two moves and peeled off and lowered a few times. Eventually I decided to try committing to the slightly off balance left hand/left foot combo I had going and bumping my right up to a small, shallow pocket.

The move stuck and I was away, and within a few seconds I was a metre above the bolt and looking for somewhere to place more gear. There were some small wire placements well out left but I figured given how I felt that I might well fall trying to get across to them. I looked up and left, up and left, decided that up was a better option and continued up the face. With Ed quietly reminding me to breathe and keep my head I slowly and carefully moved up. Soon the angle had eased a little which allowed me to take my time a bit more (which I was quite happy about) though I was now wondering if that bolt was high enough to stop me if I fell (which I was not so happy about). A few very careful moves later I gained quite a nice ledge. I called down to Ed that it would take me a minute to put my head back together and find some gear.

I found a fairly suspect cam placement and a half decent nut and after a few minutes of checking and rechecking the gear and composing myself, I started off again up the slab, immediately finding an awesome cam placement. Happy that I had some decent gear between myself and the ground I headed off again. Fairly thin, delicate movements up the slab and eventually you reach an overlap. Here again I stopped for a while while I figured out some gear before committing to the bulge and pulling onto the stance under the final bulge.

I placed a large cam at my feet with a massive sling on it to avoid drag and make me a little more comfortable while I found something that might stop me hitting the ledge if I fell pulling through the bulge. I wiggled a small nut into a thin vertical crack around head height but it wasn't spectacular so I placed another in a horizontal to hold it in place. With that bit of jiggery pokery out of the way, I went about finding enough grip on the less than awesome hand holds to be able to get my left foot up around (what seemed like) armpit height. Once my foot was up I could reach over the final bulge and mantle onto the nice, wide bushy ledge to set a belay.

Ed followed without any problems and joined me on the ledge shortly after. We removed the belay anchor and walked across the ledge to the base of the corner crack. There was a brief discussion about who should lead the next pitch but I deferred to Ed feeling that I had used most of my leading mojo on the previous pitch. Ed racked the gear and scooted up the corner. As he traversed left under the roof/flake he made a comment about the crack having him fooled as the first cam he grabbed didn't fit. A few more effortless moves and another piece of gear later he disappeared around the edge of the flake/roof system. I sat patiently belaying, paying out rope as needed and eventually the shout of 'off belay' drifted down on the wind. After some confirmation back and forth I took Ed off and the slack disappeared.

So now it was my turn to second what Ed made look so effortless. I'd watched him second the previous pitch and I had an inkling that what he made look easy I might not find so. The corner crack is lovely and my jamming had improved a bit since I was last there so I didn't find it quite as difficult as I thought I would and the traverse out around the flake wasn't too bad either. I was thinking "Why didn't I lead this" as I pulled onto the top of the flake but as my eyes followed the line of the rope and I noticed how few placements were clipped to it I decided perhaps I'd made a good choice. I continued up the slabby face collecting the few pieces that Ed had placed and joined him at the belay.

The final pitch looked like a short simple affair so I lead through and Ed joined me shortly after. We walked down past the bouldering cave, looking and wondering what the route with the bolt and two pins through the roof was, and arrived back where we started shortly after. While we lunched and watched a party on Skink while discussing what to do next. Ed said that he felt like climbing a good crack (rather than this slabby rubbish) and from my fairly limited knowledge of routes I suggested The Rack or Christian Crack on Colosseum wall. A little more consulting of the guide and Ed decided he liked the sound of those so we headed back to camp and walked out the other side.

We walked up to The Rack and were treated to a huge Wedgetail riding a thermal while we looked the walls up and down. Ed thought The Rack looked good so he geared up. He danced up the first few moves and then his calm quiet demeanour rippled as he worked his way up just above the wide section of the crack. He commented that nothing was going to fit here before selecting a cam and slotting it in perfectly. A few moves later and he was at the chains and sorting out a directional so that he could belay from the ground. I lowered him down and then began my inelegant, slumping, struggling ascent of The Rack. Eventually I made it to the top and clipped in to the chains, collected the draws, rethreaded and lowered, thoroughly spent.

It was about 2pm and I think Ed took pity on me and said "Should we head back to camp for a beer?". That sounded like a brilliant idea to me so we headed back to his camper van in the pines. I sat drinking a beer and listening to Ed's stories of Africa and broken fuel pumps being replaced with a PET bottle gravity feeding the carburettor of his 4 wheel drive and how he met Simey's folks in Kings Canyon and hence how he ended up with Simey's guidebook and so on. A kookaburra joined us at one point and Ed took some photos. It was a lovely way to spend the early afternoon.

4:47:18 PM
Good reports & thanks for posting. I also particularly enjoyed the Greg Child article (link by ajf above) to Ed February / Sth Africa.

Re piton testing by wiggling.
I agree with kieranl posts above. In fact I'd go further and say that even if tested with a hammer, if the pin has been in a long time and is in a 'damp' location that it may be unacceptably corroded within the crack, and although sounding good can still be mank.
It is a lottery though, as some that appear to be mank can actually hold a decent fall.
Once clipped and climbed past, back them up with other gear as soon as possible or be aware that you may be potentially doing a bold runout.
Btw, you can also test them without a hammer by knocking on them (hammer style), with a large hex/nut/nut-tool, or if the situation allows it safely, clipping with a long sling and bounce testing it.

X-links for further info relating to this thread/trip below...
X-link to Sarah Gara TR for climb of 'Dribble'

X- link to egosan climb of 'Dribble'

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