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
Yes thats exactly right - new route developers do it totally for themselves. Why else would you go to remote cliffs on Ben Lomond and put your arse on the line knowing that no-one will probably ever repeat it. Or other Tassie guys putting many days effort into bolting at the Tyndalls knowing it will rarely get repeated, or sea kayaking out to crags on the west coast or Flinders to put up routes. Or bolting obscure bits of rock in gullies at Hillwood that are overgrown now. I thoroughly enjoyed establishing all those routes. New routers have to be totally self motivated and don't expect kudos from anybody. If you put up new routes with the added aim of pleasing the masses, you set yourself up for crticism and disappointment. Yes it is nice to have people repeat your routes, but to stay motivated you should not be beholden to the opinion of others re the quality of your new routes. To bolt a route at Fingal for instance, takes many days of effort to clean and over $100 in bolts - and I don't give a shit if anybody repeats them. If your aim is to be a crowd pleaser, then the end result is idiotic practices like bolting gym holds to cliffs (which happened at Duck Reach) to create a route that is enjoyable and accessible to everybody. The ultimate C-head opinion I've heard came from a local who suggested putting bolts in the middle of a 12m runout on Mt Blackwood. My climbing partner and I went ground up on a 90m face and with sustained grade 22 climbing, trundling as we went and faced with the challenge of a 12m section with no gear. I led it onsight and it was one of the most exhiliarating climbs I've ever done. C-head said no-one will ever likely repeat it so its not a route, because a route by definition is a path well travelled. The climb was therefore pointless and selfish because it was just a testimony to my boldness which not many others will get to enjoy. Stiff shit. If I bolt a route you will usually find it safely equipped and with lower-offs in case people do want to repeat, but if no-one does, then I'm happy to let it fade into obscurity and remain a good memory for me.