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Chockstone Forum - Trip Reports

Tells Us About Your Latest Trip!

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 23
Author
Hotel Weaselburger
f_ladou
23/12/2012
11:20:19 AM
This is a sort of Christmas tale that started with an email from Alex

Evil Plan
28 November 2012 17:49

OK, to make it short, here's the evil plan:
Monday December 17th, The three amigos, Hotel California.
What you say? Can I book Mama Sue for babysitting?
Cheers, Alex

Followed by a slight amendment:

Fwd: Evil Plan
29 November 2012 10:25

Alright, in consultation with Dr Mersch, the plan has changed. The evil plan is now: drive up to the mountains Tuesday 18/12 in the evening. 19/12: The three amigos, Hotel California. So, mark your calendar as a “no” won't be accepted anyway.
Cheers, Alex


I say Christmas tale on 2 counts. First, on the count of intention: I want this trip report to be my Christmas gift to our Chockstone community.

Second, I consider this day out as a gift from Alex and Dominik. Indeed, I received these emails in Montreal where I spent 5 weeks nursing my sick old mother. Sadly, I think I didn't even replied to Alex emails: you see, serious illness put things in perspective: no, climbing is not that high on the bucket list but caring for your ailing parents is. I was really touched nevertheless that the boys were including me in their plans despite the circumstances, despite my being a half-world away…

As it turns out that we didn't do Hotel California on that Wednesday. We did something unexpected due to my own denseness. You see, amongst ourselves, the tradition is that Alex is the one usually referred to as “the moron”. Not that he is a moron for we must of course distinguish between what people are and what people do. No, he’s not a moron, he's the moron. At least that was until Wednesday, 19 December 2012 when I inherited the title. That being said, if I'm guilty of less than exemplary behaviour on that day, Alex on the other hand didn't do much better and probably deserves a new nickname. I'll let you decide.

So, we did meet on Wednesday morning at the upper car park at Pierce's Pass. We strategically distributed the cars: one at the exit from Hotel California, the other one at the lower car park. That way, we planned on saving a good 40 minutes of dull trudging at the end of the day. Alex came all the way from Sydney on his motor bike (show-off) and I remember thinking that this would be a very long ride back to Sydney after an intense day of climbing. I haven't heard from him as I type this sentence.

The weather forecast remained “Chance of a storm”: we knew that from the day before but both Alex and Dominik where super-keen. I on the other hand was a little more apprehensive: I hadn't climbed in 6 weeks apart from one appalling gym session and my skin was now baby-bottom smooth. Not to mention my non-existing stamina. At least, given the cloudy weather, we wouldn't be frying in the sun. Famous last words.

Anyway, off we went, along the by now well known track, down the gully, to the half-way ledge and down the new-ish abseil point:


As indicated, abseil down 45 meters, move to the left, tie in an don’t forget your backpack.

By the time Alex and Dominik hit the ground, I was still perched on the wall 45 meters below the half-way ledge when I realised that I left our backpack behind. Yes, with our water and food supply... After many apologies on my part and gentlemanly display of understanding on theirs, we decided 2 things: (i) I would henceforth be referred to as the moron and (ii) we were to do Weaselburger instead. Why Weaselburger, well, with no guidebook it was the only climb I could identified right away, helped by the following hint:



I sort of vaguely remember doing this route with Shaz a while back. Hard stuff. Or was it Burgermeister? Hmm… Anyway, in both cases, that meant 3 hard pitches to the halfway ledge, back to our precious water. My problem was that included more than 65 meters of grade 23, 35 of which tagged as "pumpy". I hadn’t signed up for that.

Alex roped up for the first pitch (21) and dispatched it quite easily. For those interested, the crux is right at the beginning and the rock quality is very good. My turn came to lead the second pitch (23). I was very apprehensive given my lack of training over the past 2 months and considering my only gym session was a desaster, I was extremely pleased to reach the second belay without much fuss. In fact, that pitch is really excellent with an overhanging section that will keep you guessing for a while. A semi-dynamic lolotte is the key. Fun move.

For some reasons, I have little recollection of the third pitch (23). Dominik lead it, I followed and took this cool picture of Alex on the easy finish:


Alex looking relax and enjoying the moment on the third pitch of Weaselburger.

I was feeling great after lunch and offered to lead pitch 5 – a long committing traverse fairly graded at 21 (for those wondering if I missed a pitch, the 4th one is in fact a 15 meter horizontal stroll on the half-way ledge). The sun was now out and it was getting hot. So much for the “Chance of a storm”.

Pitch 5 done, I hooked up the belay, a hanging one this time. Alex made is way casually followed by Dominik. By the time the guys were hanging next to me, I was getting fried. It was Alex's turn to take the lead: "Woo, this looks hard. I don't like the spacing between the bolts.". I looked up: what is he on about? this pitch looks great, orange vertical rock face, crimpy-looking, bolts about 3 meters apart, graded at 22. "Come Alex, it'll be fine, you climb like a champion these days".

So up he went, hesitated and decided to come down: "Not doing this." Aargg… Those who have been on a hanging belay as a threesome know how much pfaffing around it is to swap leaders.

My mood was deteriorating rapidly. There is no way I was going to lead this if only to increase Alex’s shame factor. I think Dominik read my mind and offered to lead, which he did brilliantly while punctuating his progress with “I love it!”. Again for those interested, this pitch is stellar. The beginning is a crimp-fest up to a rooflet that is negotiated using a matched-hands undercling up to an arête. You go do that move and I’ll buy you a beer; we’ll drink it nodding at each other, wordless, with a grin on our faces.

Now that being said, although graded at 22, this pitch makes the preceding 23s look like kindergarden stuff. Hence my heartfelt request to the authorities to upgrade the grade to 24. Or then again, maybe I should harden up… In passing, Alex pulled out a hold that will not make that pitch any easier:


A strategically placed hold that is no longer: the perfect Christmas gift.

By the end of pitch 6, I was totally parched and worn out. The last pitch (21) to freedom, which should have been great fun – a steep roof-like inverted staircase leading to a chimney (“the tube”) – felt more like torture than anything else as everything I touched was painful and I barely had the oomph to pull myself up from bolt to bolt.

But of course, you all know that once on top, when all is said and done, when the soothing breeze brings with it the aroma of a pale ale, all of this doesn’t matter. We filled up on memories, the sun was shining over the Grose Valley, Alex and Dominik were folding the ropes, Christmas was coming and my mum was cured.

Merry Christmas to all,

François

Weaselburger, 200m, 23, M. Law, S. Moon, 1996.
Will_P
24/12/2012
11:29:29 AM
You post the best trip reports on Chockstone, François. Thanks, and keep it up.

dalai
24/12/2012
11:46:40 AM
Nice trip report and great news about your mum!
alex_f
24/12/2012
1:44:57 PM
Erratum:
Being stripped of my title as "the moron", I have to try to become "der Klugscheisser" instead.
So, after consulting the Blueys guidebook, we have actually done Hotel Weaselmeister:
Pitch 1: Weaselburger, grade 22 (not 21, yeah!), led by myself.
Pitch 2: Burgermeister, grade 23, actually led by Dominik and not Francois (blame the jet lag...).
Pitch 3: Burgermeister, grade 21 (not 23, sorry Francois), led by Francois.
Pitch 4: Weaselburger, grade 21, again tackled by our bravest leader Francois.
Pitch 5: Weaselburger, grade 22 (should be 24 in my opinion, in particular after my jug-removal pull...). Led for the first 40cm by myself and the rest then by Dominik. It's actually good fun to swap the leader on a hanging belay. Especially in a party of three, with the sun burning down.
Pitch 6: Weaselburger, grade 20, led by myself.

Otherwise, good trip report :-)

Merry Christmas to all of you!!
kieranl
24/12/2012
2:08:25 PM
You guys certainly have fun. Great TR. And Francois, your ability off the couch after what must have been several quite fraught weeks looking after your mother is astounding. Maybe getting a revised perspective on life helps. Thanks for all of it.
f_ladou
26/12/2012
11:07:20 AM
Erratum, schmerratum.

What Alex clumsily wants to say – in his typical nitpicking way – is that what we climbed is in fact the following route (highlighted in green) rather than the actual Weaselburger



This of course is to detract from the fact that he led exactly 40 centimetres of what he refers to (incorrectly BTW) as pitch 5 before giving up.

Weasel words...
Nick Clow
27/12/2012
9:05:51 AM
Guys

Echoing other comments, I also enjoy these trip reports - especially as they give some perspective on some long routes that don't get done that often. Good for you for getting out on on these more adventurous (although ring-bolted sport) routes.

However (and this is not being critical, just curious), why would you intentionally choose to do Hotel California (is it 10 pitches?) as a party of three?

Being the old fart that I am, most of the enjoyment from doing a long route like this would be doing it swiftly and in good style. I would find the hanging around at belays and the mucking around with ropes required in doing it as a 3 to be really tedious. I would go so far as to say that I would be pretty selective about doing this with one partner, as I'd only want to do it with someone competent and quick.
pecheur
27/12/2012
9:23:13 AM
On 27/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:

>However (and this is not being critical, just curious), why would you
>intentionally choose to do Hotel California (is it 10 pitches?) as a party
>of three?
>
>Being the old fart that I am, most of the enjoyment from doing a long
>route like this would be doing it swiftly and in good style. I would find
>the hanging around at belays and the mucking around with ropes required
>in doing it as a 3 to be really tedious. I would go so far as to say that
>I would be pretty selective about doing this with one partner, as I'd only
>want to do it with someone competent and quick.

Seriously have you actually read any of the past trip reports? I think it's fairly obvious that the enjoyment of companionship from doing these things together far outweighs the enjoyment of actual climbing.

Sometimes it's not just about the climbing (especially if you're old mates that don't see each other that often). Bromance of the highest order.

rodw
Online Now
27/12/2012
10:15:39 AM
+1 pecheur gets it me thinks, for a lot of us its the day out with mates, climbing is just the excuse.
Nick Clow
27/12/2012
10:27:54 AM
> Seriously have you actually read any of the past trip reports?

Patronising comment ignored, I will point out to you that (being in my late forties) I have a number of climbing mates, most of whom don't get out as much as they used to. It's always great to catch up and I enjoy a social climbing day as much as anyone.

The thing is that I find that a day of single-pitch sport climbing is an almost perfect way for three grumpy and decrepit middle-aged blokes to have a day out sitting around, talking $hit, doing a lot of whinging and even getting the odd climb in.

Doing Hotel California in a party of three would not be my idea of a good day out, but hey that's me and I was only asking.

f_ladou
27/12/2012
4:21:52 PM
On 27/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>However (and this is not being critical, just curious), why would you intentionally choose to do Hotel California (is it 10
>pitches?) as a party of three?

Hi Nick,

A good question that might be relevant those who are interested in multipitch routes.

From a technical point of view, once you have the technique down pat, a party of three is not much slower than a party of two. This applies only when climbing with two ropes allowing the two seconds to climb simultaneously for most of the pitch while the leader uses a reverso (or equivalent). Once at the belay, properly swapping ropes minimises rope management and things are acceptable – Alex, Dominik and I have done enough multipitch routes by now to have it down pat most of the time. Of course, in the trip reports I highlight the gaffes, the struggles and the tense moments (the conniptions as would say Mike Law): they are after all the salt of the story telling since there is only one true story to tell: boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, girls leaves, boy sad, girl returns, boy happy.

Also, doing them as a party of three makes a couple of things possible. First, the moments spent on the belay ledges are with a mate at almost all time: while the leader progresses, you can both shoot the breeze and shoot pictures. This in my view is important since there are always occasion when the leader may take an hour (out of sight even) or more to complete a tough pitch. Alone with an ATC on a windy ledge is not exactly my idea of fun. And good pictures make for more interesting trip reports, right?

There's also the personal circumstances. I'm lucky enough to have climbed 6–7 years with the same core group. We like the same things and get a lot of joy out of it. Through the years, we have developed a trust that money can't buy, we have learnt our strengths and weaknesses, and we piggy back on each other enthusiasm. At first, I was the one to push for longer, harder routes, now it seems that both Alex and Dominik are more ambitious than I am. It doesn't stop them from sending me first when needed though...

As for Hotel California, it plays for us a special role – it was our "El Capitan" a few years back and topping out was for the three of us an unforgettable moment. Unforgettable. When Alex suggested to redo it, of course it had to be all together. Of course, the fear of the unknown is now gone, replaced by something perhaps better: anticipation. Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude as our german friends say.

That being said, I did climb with people who didn't like climbing in trio for exactly the reasons you mentioned. After all, we all try to do what turns us on. Nothing wrong with that.
Nick Clow
28/12/2012
9:11:45 AM
Hi Francois

Thanks. Fair enough and each to their own as they say. Your passion for climbing is to be admired.

That said, I would honestly still regard doing HC in a three as torture : )

The background to you aspiring to do these long routes is interesting because I don't think they are exactly popular. Apart from HC, my guess is that they don't get done that often, especially by Blue Mountains climbers. There is perhaps some kind of law in climbing that the closer you live to the climbing, the less able you are to get your $hit together and yourself out of bed in the morning?

Cheers
Nick

vwills
28/12/2012
10:02:10 AM
Three people climbing isnt so bad Nick.

Did a 20 pitch route as a threesome in Peru on L'Esfinge with the first 2 alternating leads while 3rd came up while other person leading (quite doable with autolocking belay and the middle person using 2 devices). Just swapped order half way up. Meant we could carry more gear and we were faster than several parties of two. DIdnt take as many photos as we should hav ethough.

Iceclimbed as 3 with both seconds climbing together, didnt add much extra time.

Have done Big Trad Thong as a 3 with 3rd person autobelaying (more fun than jumaring) and linked Rutger Hauer and Yesterdays groove as a three after a late start . Also did Unearthed recently as a 3. Much more fun having 3 of us pelted with hail at the top of the 3rd pitch than just two.

It has its benefits.
kieranl
28/12/2012
5:41:23 PM
On 2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>However (and this is not being critical, just curious), why would you
>intentionally choose to do Hotel California (is it 10 pitches?) as a party
>of three?

Later On 27/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>Doing Hotel California in a party of three would not be my idea of a good
>day out, but hey that's me and I was only asking.

Then On 28/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>That said, I would honestly still regard doing HC in a three as torture
>: )

Are you trying to tell us something?

Miguel75
28/12/2012
10:53:51 PM
Keep on keeping on Francois. I quite enjoy reading the adventures of the tres amigos.

Duang Daunk
2/01/2013
4:20:26 PM
On 28/12/2012 kieranl wrote:
>On 2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>>However (and this is not being critical, just curious), why would you
>>intentionally choose to do Hotel California (is it 10 pitches?) as a
>party of three?
>
>Later On 27/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>>Doing Hotel California in a party of three would not be my idea of a
>good day out, but hey that's me and I was only asking.
>
>Then On 28/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>>That said, I would honestly still regard doing HC in a three as torture
>>: )
>
>Are you trying to tell us something?

Yeah monogomy is only half the fun of polygamy for anyone who doesnt have a wide brimmed hat for their helmet. Don't worry, stugang will set you right soon.
martym
3/01/2013
12:33:26 AM
On 27/12/2012 f_ladou wrote:
>Also, doing them as a party of three makes a couple of things possible.
>First, the moments spent on the belay ledges are with a mate at almost
>all time: while the leader progresses, you can both shoot the breeze and

I took two really good friends up Sweet Dreams last year - their first real multipitch... I led every pitch, and just as I started up the final 17 - they both started with the crazy-frog song...
So I was leading, trying not to laugh, wondering if my belayer even knew what he was doing.
Only real mates can pull that off.

ps. great trip reports Francois!
PThomson
9/02/2013
7:20:11 PM
G'day François, Dominik and Alex.

You know, I'm becoming a bit paranoid... For your last few trip reports I've had this sneaking suspicion that you've stolen my itinerary, as this isn't the first time you've snuck out and done a multipitch a week or so before I get there. I climbed Weaselburger the week AFTER you did this climb, and I climbed Burgermeister today, so I thought I'd share a few of my own thoughts with respect to your own obscuro linkup. I swear, if you do Yak Banquet at Perrys or Hotel C in the next 2-3 weeks, I'm gonna cancel my credit card and install cameras around my house. =P

Weaselburger P1 - I agree, crux at start, but sustained climbing afterwards. Great pitch. You should try the first pitch of Burgermeister, despite being a 20 (!!!) the first 10m are harder than anything on this pitch of The Weasel, though its not sustained.

Burgermeister P2 - Despite this being my SECOND time leading (cleanly) the nails first 10m of this pitch (which is shared with The Weasel), I still found it hard, and the 1st clip ABOVE the belay is hard as hell to get to. (Both times I've aided off the draw and a carrot bolt for a footer to pre-clip that draw, before lowering off and sending the pitch). There was also another hard move mid-way through this pitch (but it was definately less sustained than P2 of The Weasel). In your TR, you referred to the pitches below P6 (or P5, if you don't count the Walk Left) as " look[ing] like kindergarden stuff" compared to that pitch. To which I say: Are you Crazy??? =P

Burgermeister P3 - Both myself and Taib also found this pitch kind of unmemorable, though still good climbing. A fair bit of choss, though.

Weaselburger P5 - Easier than Mirrorball Proper (21), though more run-out, and scary cause all the crap rock hasn't been broken off yet.

Weaselburger P6 - I found this pitch sustained, though not really that hard. The thin crimping at the start is quite exciting what with the run out (Taib made the same comment as Alex when he first saw it), and the move to which you now owe me a beer (hehe) was negotiated fairly easily with right hand in the undercling, right foot high rock-over, and cross through left hand to the arete, no sketchy undercling match. I suppose, compared to your experience on P2, we can only say: "Different strokes for different folks". PS: I also did it post Alex's "chipping", so he can rest easy that it's not too much harder.

Weaselburger P7 - I found this mind boggling and funky. Some steep jugging, then a no-hands chimeying rest part way through the steep stuff, followed by a cut loose (I NEVER cut loose!) and some more steep jugging. Weird!

Aaaanyway... Just figured you might enjoy some shared experiences on these climbs. Bloody great TR lads, good climbing, and stop hacking my Itinerary!

-Paul
f_ladou
11/02/2013
11:02:16 AM
Hey Paul,

Your paranoia is rather worrying. Psychosis can be dealt with very efficiently these days using atypical antipsychotics. Of course, this is only one of the possible treatments. No, climbing is not one of them. As for calling me CRAZY, well, just watch this.

You've been warned.

I do concede that I owe you a beer though. This can be organised next Sunday after Alex, Dominik and I are done with Yak Banquet. Mount Vic pub is cheapest but, if you prefer, I can renege on my promise.

I have more to say about your post. That'll come later.

Best regards, François


technogeekery
11/02/2013
12:06:14 PM
Love your TRs Francois! I also share much of your attitude towards climbing with friends.

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