BOA (HMS)Keylock Screwgate 25 10 8 kN
Steve's favourite belay screwgate.
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|TR: Repent and be Wolganised
||Tuesday, 8 October 2013 At 10:44:10 AM
|Mike Law's slideshow and new book was very exiting, so on saturday I bought a car and drove to the Wolgan.
Bulti had gotten back from Arapiles on friday, and jumped straight in another car to head to the Wolgan. He claims to have had enough time to have a shower, but there's no proof.
Arriving at the Newnes campground on saturday night in the depths of the October long weekend was like a scene out of Apocalypse Now - smoke and fires and coloured lights with funny music blaring, and people stumbling around everywhere in the purple haze.
Two of the people stumbling around turned out to be James and Dave who eventually caught up and hammered on my window.
"How did you know it was me?"
"Because you've been driving around looking lost and confused for ten minutes! We're camped over here."
The next morning the sun dribbled over the valley, and we got up and slugged up the Pipeline Pass to visit Starlight Canyon. It was a classic big canyoning day. When we got back, although the Newnes Hotel does not sell beer, it does sell ice creams, and this was a pretty good consolation. Especially as we already had beer in the esky.
The next day, Bulti woke up to someone outside his tent discussing aid bolts placed on the climb out from Arethusa Canyon. "This could only be Paul" he thought, and indeed it was, who has recently been on classic Wade routes on Old Baldy. Unfortunately I didn't get to say hi before they left to do a canyon, I was sleeping in or freaking out about breakfast or something.
Anyway we had to go do some climbing. We were both absolutely buggered, and decided we would do the bare minimum of effort to maintain self respect and then go home.
Thoughts of familiar friendly places like York and Piddington on the drive home were put out of our minds. Bulti refused to climb in the sun, and I was not ready for some Ewbank mega route on Old Baldy itself after a few weeks off climbing, so Lower Baldy it was, despite rumors of dirt and choss.
After a pleasant guided tour of the ruins of the Big House, we were awestruck at Wade Steven's precise instructions. We only got a little bit lost right at the top of the Slider track, with the cliffline already in sight. What would we do in the Blueys without all those painted initials, I mean it would be anarchy. You'd have to just pick lines that looked good and pray, instead of doing what the guidebook said.
"We're in the wilderness now" I thought. Bulti racked up and led Zarathustra with aching calves. I looked down and only saw trees, and there weren't even any cows mooing. We rapped off a tree and finally found the shade. Excellent.
I went around the corner and looked at Inversion, and ummed and aahed for ages until I decided it was "too long" for my tired legs. Walking back around the cliff, I was struck by Aqualine, and after more umming and aahing I started racking up before the scared part of my brain realised what was going on.
From the top of the block I could baaarely reach the first hold on tippy toes, cut loose, get the feet up, blindly shove a cam in a sandy pocket under the roof, wave feet around until I could feel my tippy toes again, and come down. I insisted on both of us weighting the cam and bouncing a little bit before committing to the roof. Then I climbed up and down again to put another cam in just to be sure.
Finally I swung out and laybacked up to a good stance above the roof. The crack above was easy, great fun and I even got genuinely good pro. I got to the tree and it was all smiles.
I proudly pulled my webbing belt off of my pants to leave as extra tat, but it turns out I'm actually skinnier than most trees. At least my pants would stay on during the walk out. For good measure we left a double length sling and biner instead, and rapped off. Home time.
Training for Scimitar starts next saturday at Mt Piddington.
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