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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 1 of 4. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60 | 61 to 63
Author
TR: Cosmic County and Narrowneck

sbm
10/06/2013
10:21:49 PM
When friday night came around, I was not particularly exited for a big long weekend. But the plan for Saturday was a day out at the County, and I've been on a roll with my crack climbing this year and I couldn't turn down the opportunity to get on Interstate 31. As a younger climber I was also interested to finally see this historic crag which has stirred up so much discussion about ethics and access.

After leaving Sydney late (definitely to avoid the long weekend traffic, and not because we are unorganised) we drove up Bell's Line and turned onto the newly-paved dam cliffs road to bivvy in the carpark there around midnight. This went well, except when the first train of the night approached, it continued getting louder and brighter for a very long time until we were all wondering if we'd accidentally camped on the tracks somehow, and were about to die spectacularly. We didn't though, and dragged ourselves out of bed in the morning and drove around to the end of Donald Road by 8am.

Bulti and I joined Paul, Jason, Jonas, and Leith for the day. We'd met Paul and Jason at Beulah this year and it was good to climb with some new faces.

The access we used was the bush bash around the eastern boundary of the private property on Donald Road, then down Greenhouse Gully. It's not that long a walk and it is on fire trails most of the way, but it is a bit involved! The worst part was lugging the #6 camalot in and out after forgetting to leave it in the car.

Anyway we dumped everything at the base of the 80 Minute Hour. The weather was drizzly, cold, cloudy and damp. We watched Paul and Jason climb that route, before warming up by climbing Bernutt's Block by some pleasant easy route on carrots that wasn't even that run out.

For a fairly average winter day in the Blueys it was actually pretty busy, we met a couple of other groups, including Damian from Canberra (aka One Day Hero) who seemed pretty nice in person.

Then I got on the 80 Minute Hour. This is a total trad classic at the grade. After looking at all the broken holds on the direct start I took the wimpy option of traversing in from the left, even so to get the first gear in, I had to round the arete and downclimb a move to a jug, then place a couple cams at knee height, all while quite high off the ground.

At the first ledge I realised I'd taken a bunch of wiregate draws, and so set about rearranging biners to make a set of franken-draws with solid gates on the bolt end. After the first ledge you have to blast out and up into great committing climbing. Then even greater and more committing climbing off of the second ledge. Awesome. I walked down and then belayed Bulti, who flashed it. I climbed it again on second to clean it, and had a go at the direct start.

We walked over to I'd Rather Be Sailing, to watch Paul and Jason while eating lunch. I had actual peanuts ready to go, but after hauling through the start Paul cruised it, with a horrific runout up the top as he hadn't brought at #4.

It was then time for the main event, which was Interstate 31. We had scrounged a pretty good rack including everything from Metolius to Totems in the hand sizes.

I gave the onsight lead (maybe just a little forcefully) to Bulti. He was doing well, but problems began emerging when he set himself up for some stupid rope drag by placing cams right under the rooflets. Soon after loud and frantic grunts began. He was getting pretty high and I figured it was just his tweaky shoulder being tweaked or something.

But what had actually happened was that, after all those bouldering session at the Ledge, his thumb muscles had sadly atrophied, and the hand jams were making him incredibly pumped. More grunting followed, then a final screamed "MOTHERF&CK%R!" which echoed pleasantly across Hartley Vale, followed by a normal plain scream, as he slipped off a jug right near the top of the route and fell quite a long way.

Fortunately, the rope drag ensured a very soft fall and I barely felt a thing. He'd also, again, made sure that he'd fallen on one of my cams.

After some recovery time, he pulled the rope and put me on belay and I flashed the route, which was great although I was maybe a bit nervous to properly enjoy it.

After this we were basically done, but also got to watch Paul climb Comfortably Numb. This route had been recommended to Bulti as having "really interesting pro, chickenheads to sling and stuff, you'll love it, get on it" but I can smell a sandbag a mile off these days and so instead we just watched as Paul cruised this as well.

We climbed out of Memory Lane, and got back to the carpark just on dark.

--------------------

After camping at Blackheath Glen, we decided to go to Narrowneck and do Fuddy Duddy with Blair and Kylie. I had spent hours blundering around the bush at the top and bottom of the crag on a previous trip, and so was able to guide everyone down to the Cave Climb rap (we belayed everyone down to the chains) and then to the base of the huge Fuddy Duddy buttress.

I was planning on leading the first pitch, but Bulti said he'd do it, so off he went. He made his way up the chossy sandy wall and arete, slinging horns and with the occasional cam.

At the base of the block at the top of the buttress, he wanted to go around to the right behind the block and into the chimney. I yelled up that the guidebook description said to go left. He yelled back that that was death as the block was overhanging with tiny sandy holds. I continued arguing until I saw sense, and let the leader lead. Bulti climbed to the right into the chimney behind the Fuddy Duddy block, and chimneyed up the last couple of meters to the belay.

I'm beginning to think Simon Carter puts incorrect information about Narrowneck in on purpose to make sure you have an adventurous day out.

Anyway, I lead up behind Bulti and Kylie, clipping Bulti's gear. When I reached the tiny belay ledge we decided that this was not the route to do in a group of four with two less experienced climbers. I stood on a chockstone as Bulti rearranged the anchor so we could rap off of a hex and the single carrot.

The bail abseil behind the pillar was actually quite fun. It was educational for Blair and Kylie, who learned how quickly things can become a clusterf&ck on a multipitch, and hopefully something about keeping that under control.

We emerged from behind the pillar and walked back around to Cave Climb. The first pitch seemed much harder than when I did it last time, but the cave pitch was much easier, and it confirmed in my mind that it's a unique classic and has much better climbing than Sweet Dreams. We topped out of the final corner just on a beautiful orange sunset, and drove off as Dogface glowed in the setting sun.

We met some friends back at the pub at Blackheath, before returning to camp for wine, beer, and a nice warm campfire. We woke up to drizzle and aching limbs this morning, and drove back to Sydney.

Not a whole lot of climbing done really, but what we did was memorable, so all in all a good weekend.
technogeekery
11/06/2013
8:58:55 AM
Cheers for the TR - sounds very like one of my weekends :-) In fact I'd been meaning to go to Narrowneck for a while, and had it all teed up for a few weekends ago, then got miserably sick & had to cancel. Cave Climb & Fuddy Duddy both on my list. Have read a lot of somewhat conflicting info on the best way to get in, involving ladders and death descents and various off-putting descriptions. What is the best way, in your opinion?

I love camping at Blackheath - campsite is a bit ordinary, but proximity to good beer & great steak & Guinness pies at the pub elevate it above the ordinary.

pmonks
11/06/2013
9:17:22 AM
Great TR! You can go straight up the front face of the Fuddy Duddy block, unless the block has tilted even further than when I did it (when FD was first done, that entire block was hard up against the main wall - a little unnerving to think about as you claw your way up the front face of it!).

And you should definitely jump on "On Both Sides of the Glass". It's an absolute classic - one of the best at the grade in the mountains imo. The original 2nd pitch (the traverse, not Mikl's direct variant) is hilarious for both leader & second and offers awesome photo opportunities if you have a third.
Mike Bee
11/06/2013
10:04:40 AM
Cool TR.
The one time we went to Cosmic we tried Interstate 31 too. We didn't have enough cams. The hope was that there'd be some slightly wider sections that would take BD #3 and some slightly narrower ones that would take BD #1, but we never found any. #2 the whole way. Every #1 was undercammed, every #3 was overcammed and we only had 2 x #2s. We lowered off, and then rapped down to clean the gear.

On 10/06/2013 sbm wrote:
>Fortunately, the rope drag ensured a very soft fall and I barely felt
>a thing.

I would have thought though that the rope drag may have given you a soft catch as the belayer, but would have actually increased the fall factor and impact force on the leader and top piece.

sbm
11/06/2013
10:24:36 AM
On 11/06/2013 technogeekery wrote:
> Have read a lot of somewhat conflicting info on the best way to get in, involving ladders and
> death descents and various off-putting descriptions. What is the best way, in your opinion?

I'm clearly in a writing mood, so I've wrote up a permanent description here. Maybe a bit too detailed and easy, but there's still bushwalking to be done at the base of the crag and at the top of your chosen route!

sbm
11/06/2013
10:30:26 AM
On 11/06/2013 Mike Bee wrote:
>Cool TR.
>The one time we went to Cosmic we tried Interstate 31 too. We didn't have
>enough cams. The hope was that there'd be some slightly wider sections
>that would take BD #3 and some slightly narrower ones that would take BD
>#1, but we never found any. #2 the whole way. Every #1 was undercammed,
>every #3 was overcammed and we only had 2 x #2s. We lowered off, and then
>rapped down to clean the gear.
>

I wished I'd had some mid-sized hexes. Some good placements for them. I did find bigger and smaller placements, but yeah if you had a rack of five or six BD #2s you wouldn't even have to think. Indian Creek style sprad climbing.

>On 10/06/2013 sbm wrote:
>>Fortunately, the rope drag ensured a very soft fall and I barely felt
>>a thing.
>
>I would have thought though that the rope drag may have given you a soft
>catch as the belayer, but would have actually increased the fall factor
>and impact force on the leader and top piece.

Probably. It was a safe fall though. I was waiting for a yank on the rope, so I could jump and give a dynamic belay, but it never came, I barely felt a thing. The piece that held it (2.5 Wild County friend) has a couple of munged teeth but is otherwise all good.
technogeekery
11/06/2013
1:23:52 PM
On 11/06/2013 sbm wrote:
>I'm clearly in a writing mood, so I've wrote up a permanent
>description here. Maybe a bit too detailed and easy, but there's still
>bushwalking to be done at the base of the crag and at the top of your chosen
>route!

Awesome! Yes, do add that to Thecrag please, it will be very useful.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
11/06/2013
1:41:19 PM
Another good trip report.
I am stoked that people are writing up their adventures, no matter the grades involved, for others to read.
Drake
11/06/2013
3:07:51 PM
>I'm clearly in a writing mood, so I've wrote up a permanent
>description here. Maybe a bit too detailed and easy, but there's still
>bushwalking to be done at the base of the crag and at the top of your chosen
>route!

I also spent an embarrassingly long time bush-bashing around at Narrowneck, trying to find the Cave Climb abseil point. There are lots of little trails up there from similarly lost parties, and most of these go nowhere.

One comment on the description- the decent of herbaceous gully is best done with two short raps. The first is off bolts on the right (looking down) near the walking track along the top, and the second is of a slung tree.
PThomson
12/06/2013
8:49:29 AM
Narrowneck is one of those places that is completely unnavigatable until you've been shown/stumbled across the major features (visa vi: abseil points), at which point you tend to navigate by The Force, rather than by following any predetermined trails. Trust your instincts.

BTW, Sam, don't let ODH know you think he's a nice guy, he'll have to work harder to dissuade that opinion, and I'm not sure Chockstone can survive that sort of onslaught without an investigation by ASIO.

Regards,

-Paul

Miguel75
12/06/2013
10:23:49 AM
Another stoke worthy TR. Thanks for putting pen to paper;)

Snacks
12/06/2013
11:02:01 AM
On 10/06/2013 sbm wrote:
>But what had actually happened was that, after all those bouldering session
>at the Ledge, his thumb muscles had sadly atrophied, and the hand jams were
>making him incredibly pumped. More grunting followed, then a final screamed
>"MOTHERF&CK%R!" which echoed pleasantly across Hartley Vale, followed by
>a normal plain scream, as he slipped off a jug right near the top of the
>route and fell quite a long way.
>

So, that's what that was...
Bultitude
12/06/2013
12:36:18 PM
I never do get portrayed very well in these trip reports....




But seriously, sorry for the noise pollution. It was a little much.

Benjenga
13/06/2013
4:11:10 PM
Sounds like good times around with everyone's trip reports to all my favourite places.
We always used to add two grades to most of the old neck classics, it made the ego feel better about backing off a 13 more bearable.

Counting the days till I am back home.
Dr Nick
13/06/2013
7:16:15 PM
Is Interstate 31 the crack about 5m right of Bernutt's Block, at about 18? I seem to remember doing that many years ago with just my standard rack - nuts 1-9 and cams 1.5 - 4. I may have carried a couple of hexes as well.

That said, many years ago I was a lot more comfortable about running it out and finding places to fit gear. The last trad climb I did was bloody scary only a metre or so above the gear, though the extra few grades didn't help.
One Day Hero
14/06/2013
11:05:53 AM
On 13/06/2013 Dr Nick wrote:
>I seem to remember doing that many years ago with just my standard
>rack - nuts 1-9 and cams 1.5 - 4. I may have carried a couple of hexes
>as well.
>
Oooh, what a hero! Running it out on a gr18 handcrack which was probably a couple of grades below your comfortable onsight level.

For people who are intending to lead the thing when it's close to their limit, I would suggest that having enough gear to place something every 3m is a good idea. That means taking 4 or 5 yellow cams (or the equivalent sized hexs would be fine too).
Dr Nick
14/06/2013
4:10:03 PM
Thanks ODH, it's nice of you to wade in with guns blazing so we know you're around. That's not the point I was trying to make - I thought it was well protected without doubles of anything. While I was reasonably comfortable, I seem to remember having good gear most of the way. The trick was to look beyond the great big vertical crack for breaks and features that would take something other than a 2.5 cam. It's only about 25m, so you don't need that much gear.

One Day Hero
14/06/2013
4:42:26 PM
On 14/06/2013 Dr Nick wrote:
>That's not the point I was trying to make - I thought it was well
>protected without doubles of anything.

Yes, and I'm suggesting that you're full of shit.
dalai
Online Now
14/06/2013
5:12:11 PM
Just when I think you can't be any more obnoxious ODH, you prove me wrong time and again...
Dr Nick
14/06/2013
5:36:44 PM
On 14/06/2013 One Day Hero wrote:

>Yes, and I'm suggesting that you're full of shit.

Well yeah, that's why I post on Chockstone.

As I said, it's been a long time, and at the time my idea of "well protected" could well have been considerably more run out than I'd be happy with now. But I stand by my suggestion that there is a hell of a lot more than a 5cm wide vertical crack for getting gear in. I have vague memories of setting up an opposed pair of nuts high in a horizontal, but I could be getting confused with another route.

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There are 63 messages in this topic.

 

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