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Heh. Ever climbed the 2nd pitch of Menluff at Malaita wall, Macca? Gouging your eyes out is more pleasant than climbing that pitch (a shame, since the first pitch is pure trad gold), hence the validity of the question =P .
After having bolted a moderately bold mixed line that goes the full length of the slab next to The Phoenix, I was investigating bolting an access pitch up the the top ~20m overhanging headwall above The Phoenix as an alternative to walking out of the crag (and an alternative entrance). I found the top of the headwall (and the original dynabolts placed by Julian A when he rapped in to install the anchor at the top of The Phoenix), and I installed a proper set of rap anchors. As I was rapping down to investigate the line (and eliminate any choss), I found that the entire line already has holes drilled in -roughly- the right locations for bolts to be installed, however the drilled holes appear quite old and are full of spider webs. Furthermore, there are 2 more Dynabolts with bolt plates still on them (conventient for keeping the rope against the wall when bolting).
So, before I go re-drilling (or using the existing holes) I wanted to determine if anyone knows who drilled the holes, and if they're planning on finishing establishing the route. If not, -especially since I went to the effort of glueing in a new set of rap anchors above the pitch- I'd like to finish bolting it (and possibly a variant up the mega-exposed arete next to it). I just don't want to go stealing someone elses work, even if they've "forgotten" about it without their permission.
I HAVE also sent a message to Julian A, but I wanted to open up the question in case it wasn't him who bolted it.
On an unrelated note, prospective Phoenix climbers might be interested to know that the access track into The Phoenix that I developed last year has "worn in" reasonably well so far, and I've installed a few fixed rope points (ready to install the ropes themselves on my next trip out there) to protect the sketchy traverse in. I still rate The Phoenix as worth this effort, as it remains one of the best crack lines I've done in the Blueys (I've done about 8 laps now, the majority on rope solo).
Bloody great job Paul! Got on it today and had a fantastic time! The top section sure is a little exciting on lead...
duploboy, I hadnt seen your rope solo mission statement, but another 2 months later I guess its a good thing I didnt flake out and instead dragged you out there!
We didn't check your description until we were already at the bottom carpark in the megalong so scrub bashed in that way. Wasn't too bad, no track to begin with but v simple nav. Would probably go in from the top next time, now that you've fixed the ropes on the traverse.
I also didn't read to the end of the post earlier today so we didnt know what the story was with the bolts to the left (facing in). Looks pretty stiff, particularly near the top, have you had any luck sending it, or estimating a grade?
On 15/06/2013 PThomson wrote:
>On an unrelated note, prospective Phoenix climbers might be interested
>to know that the access track into The Phoenix that I developed last year
>has "worn in" reasonably well so far, and I've installed a few fixed rope
>points (ready to install the ropes themselves on my next trip out there)
>to protect the sketchy traverse in. I still rate The Phoenix as worth this
>effort, as it remains one of the best crack lines I've done in the Blueys
>(I've done about 8 laps now, the majority on rope solo).
Great news! I'd love to check it out now...
We spent more time bush bashing up from Megalong Rd than we did climbing when we tried to find Phoenix about 5 years ago. After suffering on the punishing 18 finger crack as a warm up, none of my comrades was interested in doing the Phoenix... so we suffered the bushbash back out and went off and climbed something forgettable instead :(
From vague memory, there's TONS of awesome potential (Including the odd mystery line of bolts) all around that area. Glad to see it's being developed - particularly the bit about the access and rap!
bjorniam, nice work getting on it, mate. I only know of 3 other teams who've climbed it since I cleaned it last october. Did you do it as a single superpitch? If done that way, I rate it as one of the classic cracks of the Blueys. The variety and "very" trad nature of it makes it an unforgettable climb, IMO.
Not so nice work missing out on the awesome new access track ( =P ), but at least you earned your supper that night, that bush bash from the bottom isn't fun. It's even LESS fun in summer when the leaches are out, hehe.
The line of bolts out left is actually 2 climbs I put up.
Quetzal starts from the ground, goes up the Firefly fingercrack, then continues straight up past 6 bolts (and a few bits of gear), then rejoins The Phoenix at the start of the top crux to finish up that. It goes at about 21, and is very pure slab, albeit quite run-out and bold. 55m of climbing in 1 pitch is a very long way, and even though I've climbed the crux of the Phoenix numerous times, I almost muffed it up just from sheer mental exchaustion on the First Ascent.
Quetzalcoatl is the continuation direct up the slab to the top, and is about 23-24 for the last 6m of climbing. The reason I wrote the 2 routes up as 2 separate routes is because of the stark contrast in difficulty for the last 6m. I haven't sent Quetzalcoatl, though I've climbed it clean on top rope solo. Haven't been able to find anyone psyched for going out there lately.
Did you see the routes on the headwall above? (you might have seen my bad chalk diagram above the Phoenix).
Starting out 12m right of the top of The Phoenix is the access pitch to get to the headwall (basically a 12m traverse). And on the headwall above is Archaeopterix (21), which I sent with Gene a few months back, and the massive overhanging arete-prow out left (very visible from the ground) is The Firebird, which I haven't climbed, but is about 19-20. The bolt immediately above the top of the The Phoenix is just a rap-rope redirect for getting off the headwall above (without getting stranded in space).
Anyway, nice work guys. And it's good to know that The Phoenix is still attracting the odd trad obscurist for a wicked romp.
Yeah I did it as a single pitch. Took me ages... but I'm always slow when onsighting and the variety really keeps you thinking hard the whole way up. I wont ruin others onsight adventures but I definitely rate the finger crack section as the best I've climbed in the bluies (particularly if you commit to it and avoid using the arete down low and the ledge out left a the bottom of the tight constriction). The combination of pure crack climbing sections with balancy (sometimes quite hard) sequences around the crack makes it a real classic (and a great adventurous onsight).
We didnt see the routes on the headwall as we hadn't read about them at the time. They sound great though. Quetzal sounds like a great link up! Quetzalcoatl looks to hard for me atm.
Re the bottom access, I can see it being unpleasant with leeches but when its dry I would grade it at about a 2 or absolute max 3 (out of 10) on a scrub-bashing scale.
TP = The Phoenix (Trad, 20)
F = Firefly (Trad, 18)
Q = Quetzal (Mixed, 21)
Qc = Quetzalcoatl (Mixed, Project, 23-24)
S = (I can't actually remember this route's name, but it's an 18)
LDB = Little Drummer boy (Mixed, 16)
A = Archaeopterix (Sport, 21)
TF = The Firebird (Mixed, Project, 19-20)
And here's a psuedo-topo I drew of the different ways of accessing The Phoenix area:
The actual navigation description can be found on TheCrag.