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Chockstone Forum - Crag & Route Beta

Crag & Route Beta

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VIC Buffalo Gorge (General) (General) [ Gorge Guide ] 

Ozymandias and water

1:01:09 PM
On 18/11/2003 MikeR wrote:
> The reason stated was that fire retardant
>used heavily in this area was toxic and all water was undrinkable. Contact
>Park Victoria to find out about accessability and water drinkability.

I followed this up and received the following from Parks Vic.

Thank you for inquiries regarding Buffalo National Park.
After a converstion I had with staff at Mt Buffalo I have been informed that
there are no known problems with water quality in that area. Not all the
routes are open. To view the list of which areas are open to the public
please visit the "Where can i go after bushfires" section of our website ( <> ).

If you require additional information please contact the Mt Buffalo office
on 5755 1466.
Info Centre.

1:34:47 PM
On 14/11/2003 gemmaw wrote:
>We are planning to climb it over 3 days
and on 20/11/03
>Our aim is to have a great adventure and great fun!

Keep us informed gemmaw with a post-trip report :)

... As I type this on 'day one' of their adventure, it is sprinkling rain here where I can see Buffalo 80km away. Weather forecast says clearing today, but the overcast hasn't broken yet ... Last night was 20-30mm rain up Buffalo way, so Crystal Brook will be flowing strongly.

I expect that they will do OK, but even recconnaissance up there can be an adventure!
10:15:40 AM
Back after our ozy experience! We actually got rained off, but there is already discussion of returning very soon.

We had a bit of trouble on the first day (Friday) trying to find the track down - ended up going down the wrong way for a bit, turned around, then found the track. We thought it would be a good idea to be familiar with the track in case we had to bail, which was a good idea since we did have to bail. Got down with enough time to get up the first pitch (this wasn't a planned climbing day).

Rain started up in the wee hours of Saturday morning and rained all day. Our bivvy at the base was a stream. It eased up a bit late on Saturday and we managed half of pitch 2 before it got dark. We thought a whole day wasted reduced our chances of getting up in time but thought if it dawned fine and clear on Sunday we could still have a go, or at least assess our speed when we got to 'big grassy'. Unfortunately it was overcast and cold and still drizzling a bit on Sunday, and most of our gear was wet, so we decided to walk out (we still had Monday as well to climb but we also had to fit in the 6 hour drive back to Canberra on that day/night!). We completed pitch 2 and rapped down.

There was some discussion amongst us as to whether we should keep going. It did take about 4 hours to do pitch 2, and the wet and cold put a dampener on it. However, as A5 mentioned, the reconnaissance was an adventure in itself and we did enjoy ourselves (although lugging the haul bags down and up the track was exhausting). We also got to see more of the area on Monday, and climbed at the Cathedral. It is truly an amazing and beautiful place.

Also, Crystal Brook was indead flowing (particularly after Saturday!) and the water was clear and delicious.

And thanks for the offer of they butt-seats, gfdonc. We actually had a great little belay seat, like a mini porta-ledge which will comfortabley seat 2 people (although we didn't get to use it!).

I do have another question though, as there is talk of returning in a couple of weeks. What is the abseil like down the comet ramp, and is this preferred over the south side track, by those who have done both?

And thanks again for all the fantastic info.

10:39:36 AM
The Comet Ramp absiel sucks big time as is is slabby, has loose rock and yuck slimey chimneys. With heavy haulbags it is a nightmare. Only worthwhile if you are planning to climb a route in a day and can shoudler your bags. I have done the south side walk down many times... once you know the way down it only takes about 30-40 minutes. Much easier than Comet Ramp. A better rap route is straight down Defender of the Faith in four big raps - but again not reccomended with heavy haulbags.

10:41:04 AM
On 25/11/2003 gemmaw wrote:
>I do have another question though, as there is talk of returning in a
>couple of weeks. What is the abseil like down the comet ramp, and is this
>preferred over the south side track, by those who have done both?
Good to hear of how you went.

I have used Sth Side access, Comet Ramp access and also a variation of Comet Ramp in using Defender of the Faith access.

My preference is the South Side access, followed by Defender access and last, the Comet access.
The reasons for this vary depending on how much gear you have, its weight, and the number in your party.

If you have minimal gear then Defender is probably the best and quickest*. If you have huge loads then South side seems more manageable.
(* Particularly if you have a long rope and a non climbing member of the party willing to retrieve it once you arrive at the Comet ramp ledge).
Comparing times down from 2 trips with identical huge loads, South side is quicker than Comet.

Comet can be quick if you have 4 ropes (2 x lead, a haul and a zip-line?) and a three person team, because each abseil can be set up while the last is still in use or being broken down.

PS I also found the chimney-type abseils on Comet grievous with haulbags, and once I got stuck/hung-up because my home-made ledge (worn backpack style), got jammed in one of these narrow confines. This is not pleasant when you have a heavy haulbag suspended off your abseil device beneath you!
12:42:25 PM
Hey, time to rename this thread "Buffalo aid climbing"?
I've never walked down South Side to do the north wall - abseiled down Comet each time. If you dangle the haulbag below you (on a sling clipped to your descender) it ain't so bad. Just keep kickin' that 'pig'.
Personally it had never occurred to me it might be easier to stagger down the south side track laden with gear as an alternative. Hard enough walking up/down there with just a day rack (did Angels once), but I'll concede by the time you've farted around with ropes on Comet Ramp it may be quicker.
One tip though - if you do abseil, when you get to the big slopey ledge, *make sure* you hang onto the haulbag. Apologies for those who may have heard this story before, but on one expedition, the third man put the bag down for a rest at the top of the ramp/ledge, but failed to hang on to it. It rolled, bounced, stopped, started moving again, rolled, bounced then disappeared over the edge. We were initially relieved that the noise had stopped, thinking it had landed on a ledge, but then after a few seconds of silence we heard a BOOM as gravity finished its 80-metre tango with our possessions and let the base of the gorge serve as a landing pad.
Stop laughing, ok? It wasn't funny at the time. Had to tie two ropes together to reach the gear, including a hanging knot change, and inspect the damage. The bag had exploded and the contents scattered over a 10m radius. Underwear hanging in trees, I'm not exaggerating.
After spending 30 mins gathering stuff and tying the bag back together, we had to haul the bag back to the ledge (the gorge was impassable) and then finish the abseil. Hmm .. perhaps South Side is not a bad alternative ..

1:06:46 PM
We broke two water bottles inside the haulbag when dragging and throwing the pig down comet ramp. Our sleepign bags were saturated. South side everytime from now on.

2:46:59 PM
Definitely don't try the 'Big Walk' trail / variation option.
(I heard that there are still Japanese lost in there since the end of WW2).

I'm an Aussie. I drag a wombat up walls (not a pig).

Neil, ... you should have filled your water at the bottom instead of lugging it in ...

3:04:30 PM
First time in - i had no clue. I learnt a lot on that trip. Comet ramp sucks, the 'bivi' ledge on Defender of the Faith is only big enough to sit on and it gets below zero even in the middle of summer. A t-shirt and shorts was not the most ideal clothing!
2:21:44 AM
On 15/11/2003 nmonteith wrote:
>In full summer you will be stuck in the full
>sun for 8+ hours a day. Bring at least 4 litres per person per day.You
>can always empty the stuff out midway up the route if you arn't drinking
>as much as planned!

The 2006 Mt Buffalo guide (5th ed) says sunshine until 11am (pg 100, She/Ozymandias area)

Is the guide correct, or is that more for winter? (I'm guessing it gets more shade in winter.) I'm not a big fan of getting cooked in the sun. We're planning on going the last week in feb.
8:34:16 AM
Was on ozy the other day and it was in the sun till 11-11:30.

9:48:45 AM
That's about right. Late November we came into shade just as I got to BG, around 11:30. We had been in direct sun since we started climbing or earlier. So from before 6:30.
11:49:54 AM
Thanks fellas

7:58:51 PM
having your haul system sorted is THE most essential part of climbing walls. that and the ability to suffer/work hard! dont skimp on water, or snacks for that matter. take tinned food, can heat to make more palatable, dehydrated meals seem light but add the water you need and sometimes they're heavier. learn how to top step, saves heaps of time. quickest system for easy aid (less than A3) i think is one ladder style aider per daisy.

Its all in your mind, just go for it!!!

oh and whatever you do don't use a hammer on ozy, anywhere on anything. VERY uncool

dave h.
11:48:31 AM
I second the importance of hauling systems.

If I ever do Ozy again, I think I'd use a far-end hauling system. (Rope is tied in to the anchor, you put the pulley w/ progress capture on the haulbag itself, and jumar up the haul line with the bag). I found hauling over Big Grassy's edge massively inefficient... I will admit that I've only used the far-end hauling technique with a relatively light bag. Obviously yours will be pretty heavy. So it may not work very well at all. Just something you may want to consider.
One Day Hero
12:59:42 PM
On 24/01/2014 dave h. wrote:
>If I ever do Ozy again, I think I'd use a far-end hauling system.
>I found hauling
>over Big Grassy's edge massively inefficient...

What the....? So, instead you'd rap all the way back down and then jug back up with 50% of a haul bag hanging off your harness? Jesus, that sounds like a lot of work!

>So it may not work very well at all.

Depends what you're hoping to achieve........if you're attempting to harden the fuch up for some epic overseas adventure, this might just do the trick

Hang on! You'll jug all the way back up the pitch with half a haulbag on you......and the bloody bag will still only be halfway up!! So you rap down again to halfway, then again a quarter of the way, then an eighth? This is the worst idea I've ever heard
1:51:33 PM
The description on thecrag and in the guide recommends splitting the pitch to big grassy at the ledge beforehand to avoid rope drag, that's what we'll probs do.

Have bought some ladder aiders from the states, just got to hope they get here in time!

Have been doing a little bit of practice aiding and jumaring around the local Adelaide cliffs.

Still to practice hauling.

It sounds like a 2 day ascent could be difficult with both of us new to aiding. Not sure of the best way for a 2.5-3 day ascent. We don't have a portaledge.

Considering the following:

Day 1 afternoon: Walk down south side, climb first pitch or two, fix ropes and sleep on the ground. (not sure if there is anywhere flat to sleep? saw a post from a couple of fellas who struggled to find somewhere. We would have 1x hammock so only need 1x flat spot, can use ropes/gear to build a nest)
Day 2: jug fixed ropes, haul bag, get to big grassy, climb 2 pitches above and fix ropes. (if we were going faster I'm not sure if we could fix to the gledhill bivvy and rap back, or if it's too overhanging)
Day 3: jug fixed ropes, summit.

There are a couple of unknowns with this plan, and also the unpleasantness of repeatedly abseiling and jumaring up again.

The alternative would be spending 2 nights on big grassy, and starting the haul with 3 days of food/water

Day 1: Start early, descend south side, get to big grassy. Bag heavier with 3 days of water/food. Keep climbing and aim to fix 2 or 3 pitches (again question about whether we can rap from gledhill bivvy to big grassy)
Day 2: If we were fast and efficient on day 1 and we were able to fix 2 pitches above BG, then leave extra water behind, jug ropes and then climb to the top.
If we were slow on day 1 and we only just reached big grassy, day 2 will be fixing ropes to the gledhill bivvy and rapping back to the ledge, and then day 3 we get to the top.
2:17:39 PM
Worst parts of bivvying at the base were : 1. The mosquitoes. 2. The heavy rain that woke us a 5am and drenched the first pitch, turning a doddle into muddy unpleasantness.
Your first idea of doing a couple of pitches and bivvying at base sounds OK. If you can fix a couple of pitches above big grassy on day 2 you'll be fine. If you look like you can make it to the Gledhill bivvy on day 2 but not the top, don't go for it but enjoy a couple of hours hanging out on big grassy

2:18:19 PM
I would suggest:
Day 1: Climb Ozimandias Direct.
Day 2: Eat, drink, sleep.
Day 3:Wander round some, drive home.

Has the significant advantage of cutting out all of the hauling, and most of the pack weight.

There are NO POSSIBLE disadvantages to this strategy.
Cam McKenzie
2:44:34 PM
My one and only aiding experience was doing Ozy direct, so take my comments with a grain of salt. We walked down late arvo on day 1, fixed the first 2 pitches, slept in hammocks about 50m or so to the right of Ozy (facing the cliff). No issues with mozzies that I can remember, but there was a frisky possum running around on the hammock lines.

Day 2, climbed to the Gledhill bivy. Got in pretty late (11pm maybe?), mainly due to my incompetence in cleaning the roof. Great place to bivy anyway, very easy with a hammock as it's in a corner. Room for 2 without too many issues.

Day 3, out by lunch.

Good fun, in a not very fun way. Can't say I see myself coming a full time aid climber.

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