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Mild Peril - Rated PG
11:52:22 PM
It had been three weeks since Shaz, Francois and I had a fantastic day out, climbing Rutger Hauer, an awesome 4-pitch climb in the Pierces Pass area. Now it was again early Sunday morning, the sun was shining, Shaz, Dominik and I were sipping our coffees in Blackheath and we all still had Francois’ words in our ears: Don’t climb “Mild Peril” while I am overseas!! Wait until I come back!!! Mild Peril, apparently another mega-classic route right next to our new friend Rutger…. I looked at Shaz, she looked at me and the decision was made: Today is a Mild Peril day. Dominik, haven’t done either of the two routes, accepted the verdict without protest.
One hour later, after the familiar half hour walk-in and after the two familiar but still spectacular abseils down to the base of Yesterday's Groove we found ourselves in front of an impressive sandstone wall, starring at the two magic letters: MP.
As the first and the last (4th) pitch are the two easiest pitches on the climb I quickly tied in to both of our (or actually Francois’…) half-ropes and started leading pitch one, 15m (20). Apart from the fact that there are some loose rocks all along the pitch it’s a very enjoyable short climb up a corner to a comfy belay ledge. Shaz and Dominik followed without problems.
The second pitch is a very sustained climb at grade (22). And it is a long pitch. In fact, it is a very looooong pitch, almost 50m in total. Old-school European gentlemen as we are, Dominik and I offered Shaz to take the lead. And this is exactly what she did. Without complaining, without the groaning and moaning that is so familiar with some other climbers (no names…), a perfect example of efficiency, taking rests wherever possible, moving quickly through the most difficult sections. After a few 'Guys, this is such an awesome climb!' she arrived at the second belay point. Tick! Dominik was the first to follow, moaning and groaning his way up and clipping his harness into two bolts to take a rest. Then it was me who 'cruised' up, clipping into at least double as many bolts and constantly repeating the mantra 'Gee, this is pumpy! Really nice but soooo pumpy!'
Pitch 3 was now waiting for Dominik. Much shorter, only 15m, but apparently even a tick harder, graded (23). He climbed the first section without problems and navigated the short and easy but slightly scary traverse before arriving at a blank section. That’s where the fun starts. Dominik elegantly avoided the first crux with a big dyno-jump to a good ledge, clipped and took a break to contemplate what to do next. He then powered through a few tiny crimps to clip the next bolt and took a break to contemplate what to do next. This game continued until he finally reached the third belay. It wasn’t hard to hear the relief in his voice as he shouted the wonderful words 'I am safe!'. Next it was my turn. I lost some skin in my four attempts to repeat the 'Dominik-dyno' before I finally got hold of the ledge. Later I sat in the rope a few times but eventually also managed to reach the belay point. Needless to say that Shaz of course ticked the pitch, discovering a magic undercling to avoid the dyno.
The 4th and last pitch was again a bit longer (25m) but easier (20) and thus it was me to take the lead again. After a tricky move to reach the second clip (quite scary as I would have landed on my belayer if I fell off…) I climbed a few more meters and arrived at a big ledge, clipped above my head and looked at the big and juggy final wall. About 15m still to go and a terrifying discovery: 'Guys, there are no more bolts!'. I am glad that I could not hear what Dominik and Shaz were talking but Dominik finally shouted towards me 'There must be more bolts, just continue!'. Under lots of protest and being adamant that there are definitively no more bolts I did the crux move to gain the head wall, climbed about one meter above my last bolt and then I decided to shut up, discovering a shiny new ring bolt inside a nice pocket not too far away…. Clipping a few more, magically appearing bolts I finished the climb and belayed my two fellow climbers up.
Tired but happy we finally admired the fantastic view of the Grose valley from the top of the cliff. In the late afternoon sun this place is simply majestic, or, as Shaz would say, freakin’ awesome!
Conclusions: A great climb, definitively worth doing but definitively a lot harder than Rutger Hauer although similar graded. And many thanks to Francois (currently in Montreal) for lending us his half ropes…

Shaz leading pitch 2

Alex belaying Dominik on pitch 3. What a nice view...

Dominik and Alex on top of the climb
12:07:24 AM
8:38:33 AM
It's actually Mild Peril, with jug references.
it's ok Francois, I'll do it with you when you get back
p2 is an awesome long pitch isn't it? every hold is a jug but your feet are mostly on smears so it's pumpy, and there's never enough chalk on the next hold
I hung on a bolt in the cave and spent 20 minutes sweeping sand into space, and most of that landed on the top of the first pitch. Was the cave cleanish?
The invisible bolts on the top pitch have caused a few conniptions
11:55:36 AM
Yes, p2 is indeed awesome, great climbing!
If wouldn't call the cave 'cleanish', although it's all relative, right? It's still quite sandy and a good sweep with a broom would not hurt but it's alright for climbing as it is. Thanks Mike for your cleaning efforts!
I did not know the word 'conniption', but looking it up in the dictionary (it translates to 'hysterischer Ausbruch' in German) it is a very good description of my feelings at that moment...
2:54:14 PM
Ok Mike, I might take you up on the offer. Obviously this Austrian traitor and his acolytes pushed it too far this time. And I want my ropes back, Alex. What`s next? Why don`t you use my flat while I'm away? The single malt is under the staircase.

3:00:53 PM
On 24/03/2010 f_ladou wrote:
>What`s next?

You get your ropes back and they're all fluffy and messed up like they got jammed while being pulled from a rap and the pull just pulled harder and harder and harder?
4:05:42 PM
What`s next?

Big man, I do have some ideas...starting using your flat, your malt, your kitchen, your DVD player, to mention a few.. and these are only the nice one's!

4:09:05 PM
Mike, was there no way to make P1 longer and P2 shorter? I guess I don't have the endurance (or the technical ability to rest properly) for such a long jug fest. P3 is great! A wonderful line, up, sideways and up! Just awesome! And perfectly bolted - just where you need the shiny little ones!
4:11:30 PM
The correct tense should actually be 'The single malt WAS under the staircase'....

4:15:00 PM
On 24/03/2010 Aaron_M wrote:
>What`s next?
Do "the Sublime and Beautiful", 3 pitch 22. All rings...
4:26:07 PM
the cave is full of sand still and there is alot of choss at the back of the cave. i had to be careful doing the funky mantle drop knee to gain the upper holds that looked like they would stay put :)

also very difficult to minimise rope drag with 2 people seconding despite doubles bc of the traverse. and i think u need mayb 21 draws - i took 17 and i think there were still 4 more to go (gulp) but with some down climbing and jiggery pokery managed to reach the anchors unscathed. wat a pumpfest..

yet another great day in the grose!
12:35:04 PM
On 24/03/2010 Aaron_M wrote:
>Mike, was there no way to make P1 longer and P2 shorter?
No I really wanted another 50 m pitch- why else would i own 21 draws
10:45:03 AM
Out of guilt I presume, Alex proposed that we jump on Mild Peril this Sunday. We checked the weather, sunny and 17 degrees. That sounded perfect for a day out in the Grose. The days will soon be too short and cold to conformably enjoy long multipitch routes in the Grose -- at least on its North Wall.

So back we were, abseiling down Yesterday's Groove. I passed the ring bolt were Dominik had his acrobatics a couple of weeks ago. Funny how everything looks easy dangling from a rope, prusik on. The overhang didn't look that bad, the crimps were decent, what was the fuss about? Anyway...

Alex took on the first pitch (15m, 20), short and sweet. No problemo. The deal was that I was to do the second marathon pitch (51m, 22) and the third crux pitch (20m, 23). These two pitches are STELLAR! Ok, forget that band of convoluted, lace-like, hollow when not brittle sandstone near the top of the second pitch: that's the Grose valley tax. The fact is that this second pitch is one overhanging pump fest! The only break you get is by sliding into the sandy cave about half-way up. BTW Michael, both Alex and I did some heavy sweeping there, so it's a little cleaner now.

The third pitch, although short is rather difficult. That blank section about mid-way is quite technical and delicate work is required on slopers and small crimps. Quite a change from the previous pitch and decidedly deserving of its bump-up in grade.

So, all in all, Mild Peril, go and do it. Simple. On a nice windless and sunny day like Sunday, where else would you rather be?

Lastly, although graded about the same as its neighbour "Rutger Hauer", Mild Peril is definitely a notch harder. At least to me. I think Alex also agrees.

Ciao, François

P.S. Oh, BTW, you need exactly 20 draws on the second pitch.

Myself on top of pitch 2. Completely pumped but happy.
12:21:32 PM
That shot is great, and so foreshortened, it must cover at least 25m and I can see aa lot of draws. Nice bit of rope tanglement too.
2:20:16 PM
On 10/05/2010 mikllaw wrote:
>That shot is great, and so foreshortened, it must cover at least 25m and
>I can see aa lot of draws. Nice bit of rope tanglement too.

Yes, that's quite right, Alex took it from the belay station 51 meters below me with the zoom on. As for the rope management, I tried to clip alternate ropes in order to minimise rope drag. Still plenty of it at the end nevertheless.

4:04:02 AM
On 10/05/2010 f_ladou wrote:
>Yes, that's quite right, Alex took it from the belay station 51 meters
>below me with the zoom on. As for the rope management, I tried to clip
>alternate ropes in order to minimise rope drag. Still plenty of it at the
>end nevertheless.

No wonder - those ropes are doing a nice impersonation of DNA!

If anyone's wondering why friction is a b1tch, check this out.
9:17:34 AM
On 11/05/2010 pmonks wrote:
>No wonder - those ropes are doing a nice impersonation of DNA!
>If anyone's wondering why friction is a b1tch, check this out.

Hi Peter,

Very, very cool video! Friction is indeed a surprising phenomena. I remember from my engineering days learning that friction when wrapping a rope around a cylinder (i.e. abstract belay tree in climbing jargon) grows exponentially with the number of turns. Meaning if there is hardly any slippage with one turn, put another in and you will uproot the abstract cylinder before the rope slips.

BTW, what's your view on clipping double ropes? I normally clip both when going straight up. Here, I had to traverse left and then up again. So, I decided to clip alternate ropes as it seems to reduce drag. Any thoughts/advice, anyone?

9:52:28 AM
On 11/05/2010 f_ladou wrote:
>BTW, what's your view on clipping double ropes? I normally clip both when
>going straight up.

I think this has been discussed in other threads, but I never clip both ropes into the same runner, regardless of which direction I'm headed. In those rare situations where I do want to clip both ropes into the same piece of protection I'll put two runners on the bolt / gear and then clip each rope into its own runner.

> Here, I had to traverse left and then up again. So, I decided to clip alternate ropes as
> it seems to reduce drag. Any thoughts/advice, anyone?

I always try to think of doubles as a "right" rope and a "left" rope, and try to picture how I can clip them (and place gear, if trad) so that each of them are running in a straight line between the two belays, the right one on the right hand side of the pitch and the left one on the left hand side of the pitch. Of course it's often hard to figure out when you're halfway up a pitch, but it's better than nothing.

For example on a leftward traverse I'll sometimes clip the "right" rope once or twice (with loooooooong runners) at the start of the traverse, then clip the "left" rope for the remainder of the traverse (again with long runners at the start and the end), then go back to the "right" rope after I've moved vertically upwards a bit. The end result should look something like this (apologies for not being as polished a paintbrush artist as Mikl):


  • orange: French (Dutch?) climbing dudes

  • block dotted line: line the leader climbed

  • blue: runners

  • red: right rope

  • green: left rope

Note how the two ropes run in basically a straight line - they don't go through any sharp kinks or right angle bends or whatever. Also note the use of slings to extend placements - double ropes help a lot in managing drag, but on wandery pitches it's best to assume you still need extenders to help the ropes move smoothly.

When clipping, another thing I try to visualise is an "upper" and a "lower" rope, which dictates how I pull the rope up to clip. The twists in the photo show that you were pulling the two ropes up on different sides, and once you've clipped a twist in and moved up, you can't get it out (twists can't move past a runner).

"Brolga" at Araps is probably one of the best climbs I know of to practice double rope technique on, as there's plenty of gear on it but it's distributed all over the place, so double ropes are almost mandatory and it's very easy to visualise the whole "left rope", "right rope" thing.
12:09:12 PM
One isssue with using them as twins then double (i.e. having them both clipped into the same biner, then having only one clipped into a higher draw) is that you could get one rope rubbing/melting over another where they are both clipped together.

12:17:46 PM
Could that also be a concern if you got them twisted as in the above photo?

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There are 55 messages in this topic.


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