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Buffalo Dance
1:01:05 PM
Climbing is a merry dance. Different rock styles require us to bust a different type of move. So with the temperature soaring the decision was made to break out the jams and the smears and boogie our way up some buff classics. Sometimes i struggle to get out the door and so didnt get to Harold (crack - head) house till quite late. The trip to the buff was filled with conversation about bolting, and climbs to be ticked. We also spent much time discussing the quality of Grade 18 routes in Vic. In the last fortnight having done Cassandra, skink and Euridice we were primed to shimmy our way up Caligula.
Harold and i seem to be able to turn everything into an epic adventure and sure enough caligula would maintain the status quo. Since pulling gear all the way up 'angels' a few years ago i have been slowly exercising my crack climbing demons to the point that i raised my hand to lead the first pitch. After thrashing through the first five metres that resembled more of a bush walk than a rock climb i began to feel the love. A tricky corner leads to a line of sick ass jamming joy. Moving my dancing shoes in a style that would make Fred Astaire wish he was a climber i quickly used up all my big gear and then found myself in deep trouble. There was so much love that i climbed past the first stance, i thought i could shake my toush up to the next stance when i tried to donate a cam to the crack by overcamming it tighter than a male ballet dancers stockings. By this time the almighty was cranking up the termostat and the heat of buffalo suddenly seemed more like that place we all love in the wimmera. I managed to moonwalk my way to the second stance where with all the style of Michael Jackson i relised there was no way i had enough gear to set up a hanging belay. With a dance that now resembled Mr midnight oil i Peter Garreted my way back down the crack to finally set up a very hanging belay dead in the middle between the two stances utilising the stuck cam. Harry decided to take some photos of the belay even though there was no film in the camera...
Quick as a flashdance Harold was with me on the belay. We swapped gear and i downed some water which was much relief to this half man half pancake slowly simmering on the granite. With some grunts and a squeals of delight Harry was at the top. He also felt the love. I spent at least another hour slowly escorting the cam out of its new home and then climbed with the serenity and style of sunburnt hammer smashed jelly.
Our mission for Sunday was the status Quo. The weather forecast told us our mission should be Lake Catani. After a very average night sleep (sleeping bag is not good to forget) we were above the gorge sussing things out. It wasnt even light and already the temperature was like a disco inferno. So we decided it would be the last two pitches of beureucrat. After a botanical rap in you land on the ledge (bit of dirt around a rotten old tree unsuccessfully resisting gravity) and the architecture that makes buffalo such a wonderful sensory phemonemon causes you to breath a little faster. A slab leads up to an overhanging headwall with a crack in the middle. Harold traversed across the crack with the style and finesse of a J - lo booty wobble and laughed wildly as he revelled in the hanging belay that saw his bot bot flapping in the breeze above hundreds of metres of wild granite expanse.
Once past the traverse i laidback the crack/slab combo to a sickening steepining that was to sick and to steep for someone with my minimal granite crack dancing skills.With a lot of aiding and grunting i made it too the top to be greeted with stunned and misunderstood looks from tourists wondering exactly what i was doing and why. For a grade 15? it seemd awful tough but then smooth hand Harold climbed it without a concern. I guess i can blame it on the boogey?!
Both Caligula and Beuracrat only get one star which neither of us could fathom? The positions are bomb, the climbing sustained and the rock solid. Get your dancing shoes on and hit the buff with some of your own wild moves...

2:46:56 PM
Caligula is one of the best fist cracks in the state i reckon. Three stars!
3:51:31 PM
spot on Neil... Have you done Beuracrat? How many stars do ya think? Harold and i discussed that there seems to be a bit of reluctance to give climbs at the buff three stars. What are the pre-requisites for a climb to be three understanding would be one for position (not access but exposure, arete, architecture etc), one for rock quality and one for sustained climbing at the grade of the climb...what do others think?

4:08:03 PM
I havn't done Beaurocrat but i have seen the line from nearby. Stars are very subjective - and at Buffalo many of the 'big lines' have filled back up with dirt and have lost a bit of their classic aura. I prefer fun, sustained and clean climbing rather than a 'mega line'. For instance Sultan looks amazing from the distance but the actaul climbing itself was a little flawed (IMHO). Not sustained and mossy on pitch 1 were the bad points.
4:18:35 PM
It seems a shame that there is so much dirt and grass etc but in a weird kind of way it adds to the adventurous feel of the Buff (i did say weird!!!). When thinking about stars i also wondered about whether protection comes into a star rating. For example missing link is sustained, great position and good rock but the gear is sketch... still three stars. Most three star climbs at Araps seem to have a poopy pants this required for three stars?

4:23:10 PM
Most three star routes will be test pieces for the grade - thus they will be sustained and more dangerous (in general).
4:50:59 PM
>What are the pre-requisites for a climb to be
>three understanding would be one for position (not access but
>exposure, arete, architecture etc), one for rock quality and one for sustained
>climbing at the grade of the climb...what do others think?

definitely agree. Soaring lines surely have to count for something, almost as much as clean climbing & 'sustain-ment'. Moss/lichen is a common denominator on granite (esp. slabs) & is subjective. Also, lichen will change with the years rainfall & amount of traffic the routes get.

eg: I thought Edge of Pleasure had just as much lichen as Sultan, but probably still deserved an extra star, due to the fact it was more sustained & the 2nd pitch arete was a great piece of 'architecture'.

5:03:11 PM
This could open a contensious can of worms. What are the 'ethics' regarding dirt and grass on climbs? Can they be undirted or ungrassed when rapping down? Neil thanks for showing me how to spell beaurocrat not sure i've spelt contensious so well either?

5:17:41 PM
You can be guarenteed that the FAist dug all the dirt out before (or during!) their ascent. It was common practice 'back in the day' to fully dig out dirt filled corners to create killer crack routes. It is un-wise however to re-clean these routes in direct view of tourists though. On my own new routes I can't be bothered digging around in the dirt so i choose lines which are naturally clean. I reckon if it is dirty originally then it will proberly re-fill with dirt fairly quickly if not climbed daily.
5:44:04 PM
I have done those last 2 pitches of Bureaucrat - oddly, I dug out the guide last night to check the route description. Sensational climbing - but only for one pitch, hence not 3 stars.

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