We were up at 6 to give ourselves that little bit of extra time. It was fresh outside (f*cking freezing) and in the pre sunrise light the hills off beyond Porepunkah looked like sets of swell rolling in across the ocean. The ocean was the low lying cloud filling in the valleys, and the ridges were a wash of blues, purples and violets. Then suddenly the sun rose and the mountains all turned pink, orange, yellow, and red. It was amazing. We began warming up immediately (probably a bit of a placebo effect).
*Best sunrise in the ledge ever.
We packed up gear, ate, brewed, and racked up in amazing time. Karl was all set to lead the roof pitch, and we had about 2.5 litres each for the day.
I was the only one brave enough to attempt ‘business time’ inside the portaledge. I still don’t know how Karl and Phil held it all day.
Day 3 began like no other. It was 6am on Mother’s Day and I’m sure my wife was not thinking happy thoughts about me leaving her with our 2 year old son.
The sun was yet to rise as Ben unzipped the ledge fly to reveal a simply stunning view of the Alps. Breakfast was served and coffee on the ready when my attention was drawn to the most spectacular sun rise I have ever seen.
The wonderful morning I was having was soon snapped back into reality when Ben declared he needed to use the Big Wall Dunny. The smell of lavender scented garbage bags will forever trigger an unwanted memory.
Fully alert and keen to get moving I racked up my harness with some climbing bling. With RP’s, 2 sets of nuts and small cams at the ready I geared myself up to achieve my main goal of the trip and complete the 6th pitch “The Roof”.
I made my way to the roof and placed a small nut and a snug .75 BD cam in the roof slot. Stepping out into the void is always a nerve racking experience but even more so when you are 170+ meters off the deck. Moving further along I started to traverse right by placing another small nut. I climbed my Ett’s and leaned out to look for the next best placement, at that point the last nut I placed popped and I fell a good 4 – 5 meters straight down. This was no doubt the scariest moment in my life. Thank F*@%K for the .75 cam.
I belayed Karl on the gri-gri while lying in the ledge all rugged up. It was freezing cold still and being ledge bound meant there was little I could do to physically warm up.
Karl aided the roof and Phil and I yelled up messages of encouragement. It was an outrageous spectacle and I was having the time of my life spectating from directly below.
*Ben belaying from inside the ledge.
As Karl pulled the lip, weighting a medium sized nut in the seam just past the edge, the piece popped and down Karl came in a clang of gear and obscenities. It was SO COOL. I feel for the guy, I mean it must have been unbelievably terrifying, but my life is all the richer for experiencing it. I was tugged up into the top of the ledge, but it was a clean, safe fall with no victims other than Karl’s nerves.
By my estimate he’d fallen about 6 meters into the void.