Nick Mckinnon, Jono Schmidt and myself ventured to Loddon River Falls for another day of new-routing in this scenic gorge. We had not been there since December last year. My first impressions was that someone has done a huge job in clearing (poisoning?) the brambles that infested the cliffs and creek. In fact you could now walk around moderately unhindered to all of the rock faces without requiring a machete and long pants! We met two climbers from Melbourne (they worked for Vertical) - who told us they have done numerous first ascents in the gorge in the last 12 months or so. They have sporadically cleaned and led several trad routes but had not written them up as they thought it was their own little secret crag. They were as shocked as we were that someone else would be climbing out there! We didn't get their full names - I think one guy was called John. I encouraged them to send in some route descriptions to the VCC as soon as possible so we don't retro any of their lines. These guys are the ones responsible for the stray dodgy pitons that we removed near the waterfall. I am not sure if they actually had led those routes so the first ascents of Pull the Pin (20) and Stem Cell (22) might still be ok. They had a drill with them but hadn't placed any bolts yet - but they were planning on adding lower-off anchors to their trad climbs to make them safer. Nick led a new route (4 bolts) called The Dirt Unit which has the same start and finish as Sick Baby Blues (19). The guys also mentioned that they thought the first ascent of Fear of Choss (16) was lead by an 'English climber' onsight two years ago. So it looks like Loddon River Falls is the new hotbed of new-routing in the Melbourne area!
The Dirt Unit 16m 22
Fun moves but somewhat contrived. Start 5m L of mine-shaft. Up SBB for 3m
then step L onto dirty ledge. Arrange wires then up the orange scar face
and hanging corners above passing 3 FH's. Keep off the ledge on L. Above
third FH make a delicate step R around the arete. Clip the FH on SBB and
finish up corner.
FFA Nick McKinnon 12.7.2004