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Phil Armstrong had said that Matador was good especially with his new finishing pitch. The forecast was equivocal but I was keen to get back to Rosea.
Optimistically I set out from Natimuk under clearing skies which became less clear the nearer I got to Wartook. There seemed little point in rushing into the mist so another morning coffee called. At the Rosea carpark just before 10 things were still grey but with promises of clearing. A trio pulled in beside us and raced off to Debutante.
Norm crossing the excellent trackwork across the erosion gully. Once we left the main track for the left end things slowed down. The route until Bourgeous Blues was pretty overgrown and once we got past Big Chimney progress slowed dramatically, fighting through ferns that made it difficult to pick our footing.
Finally at the foot of the route, the weather was looking promising to my optimistic eye. So I started up.
Only to psych out in the first four metres after a bouldery start, as the mist threatened to turn into rain. A retreat to Halls Gap was sounded but I foolishly decided to give it a few minutes.
It didn't exactly clear, but it got less worse and I launched up again. It wasn't perfect Rosea rock for the first 10 metres but it wasn't bad and it was well protected.
At 10 metres was the large overhang. On the first ascent they belayed below this and it soon became clear why. It was hard to get good protection for the committing move to reach past the overhang and would have been even harder back in the mid-sixties. I managed to awkwardly place a big cam out left in the middle of the overhang and then launched up onto stonker jugs, quickly resetting the big cam in a better position as I pulled past. The corner above was really nice to a small ledge at about 25 metres.
Obviously the original intention for the climb was to continue up the corner but the top 6 or 7 metres was closed. The left wall of the corner looked great but too hard for this day. Norm came up, chilled to the bone, although the sun was now poking through and struggling with the pack.
The next pitch was way devious, traversing out right across the ledge, disappearing around a nose then traversing back to a tiny belay only about 7 metres above. The rock turned into that slightly gritty, rounded stuff that Rosea often has in the upper sections. Mercifully the protection was really good, which is surprising in that rock type. I very nearly fell off trying to get up the two metre section of rounded rock mentioned in the description. Finally I did that section from much further left than suggested, coming up into the righthand of the twin cracks above. Another small belay stance below the left-hand crack perched on a what I hoped was a block attached to the cliff. Despite it being such a short pitch I had managed to tangle the ropes and give myself terrible rope-drag.
Above was a gritty crack leading to a notch in a small overhang. It didn't look promising but turned out to be quite good and also well-protected.A good move past the notch in the overhang led up to a good ledge where I placed a double-length sling at my feet and contemplated the gritty, amorphous features above. The description said to veer left to a belay and there looked like a break about 5 metres up on the left arete would take gear so there I went. Quite easy but getting well out from gear on rounded rock not really sure where I was going.
A : Burning Daylight B: Matador (to our high point) C: Crocks Direct
Three and a third pitches up, having not recognised the 3rd belay stance, which must have been on the arete, I ended up sitting across the fourth pitch chimney with one rope jamming horribly. I had to bring Norm up on one rope until he could clear the other from the notch.
I was buggered. There was no way I was going to be doing Phil Armstrongs grade 17 finish so from here it was only a pitch and a half of chimneying up but I had had enough. The break we were belayed in was too parallel-sided to accept a good wire so we rapped from 2 small cams, one of them an old one that I had accidentally left in the pack. Two cams? They were small and the rock was slightly gritty. Besides, I won't be eligible to collect my super for a few years yet and I'd like to be around to do it.
Young climbers these days are soft - how often do we go and bush bash over to multipitch epics in bad weather that have probably not had a second ascent and the first was 30 years ago? And when they involve 3 hours of driving to do in a day as well. Actually, I'm not a young climber anymore, but, possibly still soft ....
Note to gfdonc - see "chilled to the bone" in the description of Norm - it's bloody freezing at Mt Rosea in suboptimal weather!
Sounds like you were having a bad day Kieran. When I wrote up my variant finish I did think about putting in some sort of a note about that fourth pitch [your 3rd]. It is much shorter than the description – possibly only 10m. I initially got lost trying to continue up the wall above the crack but eventually decided that it didn’t go that way. I belayed just to the left of the ledge where you had the sling. From there an obvious 6m juggy traverse line leads across to the foot of the chimney. So ‘veer left’ actually means step left on this occasion. In the photo I reckon it goes straight left under the overlap from where you have the line going up diagonally left to your high point.
Nice TR Kieran. Sounds like you had a real adventure - just with the route finding! And I was thinking of poor Norm having to belay and follow in the cold. I'm with Wendy - a great effort just getting on the route given the conditions. Determination or optimism?
Going back to try the DF @17?
On 27/04/2013 armstp wrote:
>Sounds like you were having a bad day Kieran.
Combination of lack of fitness, late start and slowness. My mistakes in rope management certainly didn't help either.
Still, I enjoyed the climbing and the small belay spots really added to the atmosphere.
In the end I decided bailing was the way to prevent a tough day turning into an epic.
If there's another fine weather patch I might have to go back and recover my gear.
Really interesting climb to look at through the first ascenders eyes. That original very short first pitch - you can just see the first person getting to the ledge below the overhang and saying "No way am I doing that". Then from the first belay where the corner blanks it's "where do we go from here". Must have been terribly intimidating given the gear of the day.
I forgot to name the routes marked in the topo for those who don't know them :
A : Burning Daylight B: Matador (to high point) C: Crocks Direct
Phil, I found a wire at the base. I'm guessing it's yours. It looks a bit rusty to add to my rack so I don't suppose you want it back either. I tried hard to use it for the rap anchor but couldn't get it to work.
That third pitch [your P2] is fairly imaginative route finding, sort of balancing around from climbable feature to [hopefully] climbable feature. And without it being technically difficult I recall that it felt surprisingly insecure and easy to fall off. It must have been quite a daunting effort in 1966 pushing into the unknown, on steep rock, with poor gear, hoping things would turn up. Altho’ it only gains 7 or 8m vertically you finish off a couple of meters further out in space perched on the lip of that roof. There were 3 of us on my ascent, and when we were all crowded on that small exposed stance looking up at the overhanging crack that starts the next pitch the grade of 13 seemed particularly laughable [in a hysterical laughter sort of way.]
If you do go back to get your gear and finish the route I should warn you that one of my seconds commented to me last night that both seconds had thought my finish was 18/19. So it could be undergraded at 17, or it may just be that like many more recent climbers they struggle with jamming problems.
Ha. Thanks for the TR, Kieran. Was that on Friday? If so, we must have almost ran into you.
I'd never been on anything left of the Giant's Staircase, so Friday morning my partner and I bashed around in search of Bubbles/Dinosaur Gully Direct.
Unfortunately we only had the Select guide which doesn't include many routes around there, making it hard to work out where you are. There's a lot of rock around there! And quite a few inspiring lines.
After bashing around for about half an hour, getting drizzled on and realising this was a much bigger effort than we'd expected (and we wanted to do Heretic in the afternoon!) we trudged back around to join the rest of our crew on the right side, eventually starting up Heretic about 10:45. Nevertheless, we'll be back.
And just for the record, Wendy, I spent most of the day in a t-shirt ;-)
Steve, we were there Thursday, not Friday. For the left side of Rosea the ACA guide is probably the best for initially sorting things out (or sorting out the initials). The route information is also in TheCrag but it doesn't have the comment bits that are in ACA. It doesn't have the topos either. Although the topos aren't much use at groundlevel because the bottom 25 metres is hidden by trees.