17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
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|TR: Static, Engineers' Cascade - NSW
||Thursday, 20 December 2012 At 9:59:13 AM
|Went to do Static (23) on the weekend. This had long been on my 'to do list' as it is billed as a mixed line starting up a closed corner with 4 stars (according to the perplexing star system in S. Carter's guidebook), equipped by one G. Short but first climbed by a G. Bradbury.
Even though it is so close to Catch the Wind, you approach the rap in from a different direction. We walked in along the ledge and then rapped half-way down the cliff to do '5.9+' (19) as a warm-up.
In order to do Static you need to rap down to the ground passing a bushy, vegetated ledge. As I got to this point, I needed to sort out a minor tangle in the rope and the next thing I know is that I am confronted by a snarling possum. He obviously lives here and I've woken him up.
As ever when abseiling, your life depends somewhat on not letting go of the rope, so I feel my hand nervously tightening on the tail of the rope as I anticipate the possum jumping me and sinking his teeth into my face. However, what happened next really surprised me - the possum stopped snarling and JUMPED OFF the ledge. This is from maybe 10 metres up. I saw him disappear downwards and then heard a thud as he landed somewhere below.
I was a bit shocked by this, as I don't like the idea of an innocent creature copping it as a result of my morning's pleasure. However, maybe possums can cope with a jump/fall from that high??
Anyway, Static was very good and is highly unusual climbing for the mountains, consisting of hard cornery moves punctuated by rests. My brain only copes with a 3 star system and it gets a solid 2 stars from me, i.e. well-worth doing. The guide says you need cams, but you only need 12 draws (the longer the better), 3 or 4 bolt plates and a handful of small wires.
This area is one of those mysterious places in the mountains (like Diamond Falls) that seems to suck in the wind and can be beautifully cool on a hot day. On a day close to 30 degrees, it was perfectly cool and breezy in the morning shade.
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