Friday, November 11, 2011
The Getu Valley itself is the typical karst limestone landscape seen everywhere in southern China and down through Vietnam, Laos, Thailand etc. with one major exception... The Great Arch. This amazing feature sits high up on a hill and is internally about 100m wide, 80m high and 150m long. On a clear day the sun rises shining a beam of light through the arch into the Getu valley.
The climbs in the area had been equipped over the last couple of seasons and you could tell they hadnt had much traffic. A thin layer of dust on the holds and loose rock were common and i couldnt help but think that although the setting was beyond amazing the quality of the routes wasnt quite as good as those found in Yangshuo. Despite this i did do some amazing routes in the grade 27-29 range almost all of which were a grade or two overgraded. The best part of the trip was definitely watching and talking to some of the best climbers in the world. The main thing i noticed that sets them apart wasnt their strength but their fitness. Its the kind of fitness you can only achieve by climbing full time.
So now after meeting cool climbers from all around the world, a quick culture immersion and being exposed to the lifestyles of full time climbers i am back at work and training hard with renewed motivation.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Another 6-7 hour drive and i was back in Milan to drop Rob off for his flight back home. I was meant to keep on driving up to the Marmolada to try a route i have always been psyched to try called 'Le Poisson' or 'The Fish' on the south face of the Marmolada which goes at grade 26 and is meant to be super run out and scary but Lawrence had a job offer he couldn't refuse and had to bail so i ended up heading to Grenoble to meet up with another friend Scott Boladeras. We climbed on the local crags around Grenoble with climbs which i thought were very solidly graded. Grenoble is an amazing place to live if you want a large amount of local areas to climb only 5-15 minutes from your house.
I ended up with two days left at the end of the trip, since Scott had left to go climbing in Canada, that i wasnt sure what to do with. After having to really fight on the Grenoble grade 26's to get them second go i had doubts on how i was climbing so i thought id just head back to Ceuse to hang out with the British crew that where there and just take it easy. To my surprise i wasnt actually climbing that bad and managed a soft 8a+/30 on my second go. That made the next big drive back to Milan alot more bearable and ended a great trip even though i didnt make it into the alpine.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
We only have 10 days at Ceuse though before heading to Poland where the main reason for the european sojourn will occur. Lawrence and Marika's wedding! I dont know what to expect from Poland but it has to be different than the impression i have from watching Xmen First Class, the history channel, hearing crazy stories from a Polish friend (Artur) and being the origin of one Captain Crash! My impression is one where everything is grey, vodka fuelled people bend barbed wire fences with their minds while attending the best nightclubs, and the occasional black and white tank trundles by. I think i might be in for a surprise...
After Poland the plan is to head to the Matterhorn with Rob to again try and scramble up the hornli ridge. We have four days so we may be able to get another alpine route in too. Rob heads home on the second of July and Ill be meeting up with Lawrence and Marika sometime after for a quick trip to the Marmolada which hosts one of my all time goals in climbing, The Fish (7b+, 600m). This technical, heady face/slab has a bit of an aura of hardcoreness (its my blog and I'll make words up if i want to!) about it for me and i will be over the moon just to get up it. Lawrence is crushing at the moment so we will have a good chance if we manage to give it a shot. I am back mid July hopefully with a bunch of good photos and not too epic stories.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
An unchipped route in Perths big chip and training on Western Australia's biggest choss pile for Europe 2011!
After mashing my fingers onto minute crimps in the quarry it was definitely time for some longer more adventurous routes. Ideas had been thrown around that have eventually turned in to plans for a climbing holiday in Europe based around Lawrences wedding in Poland this June. The main outline of plans is to do almost two weeks sport climbing on some limestone, hang out in Poland for a few days to celebrate Lawrence and Marika's nuptials, head to the Matterhorn with Rob and climb the Hornli Ridge, and then climb in the Dolomites on the south face of the Marmolada with Lawrence before heading home. Big plans called for some major training!
Bluff Knoll looking nice and chossy!
Rob has been walking up and down Jacobs ladder in the city to try and get some fitness for walking up hills while i have been surfing the net, drinking coffee and bouldering. We decided we needed a big day to test us and see how we were progressing. The closest thing i could think of to something the scale of the Matterhorn in WA was two laps on the main face of Bluff Knoll with all the bashing up and across slopes that came with the approach to the base of the face. So on the Saturday just past my alarm went off at 4am for an alpine start in the camp ground near Bluff Knoll. At half past i dragged myself out of bed and woke Rob up. By 5:30 we had driven to the car park and started to walk. It took us an hour and a half to bush bash our way through to the start of what we thought was hell fire gully, a steep, loose, bush filled gully. We had forgotten the camera which we had taken photos of the topo and description of the routes on (neither of us had been up any climb on the bluff except The Great Roof). By 11:30 we were on top and the wind had picked up and clouds had started to gather. We started walking briskly down the trail and then bashing our way through thick scrub back to the base of the face. At 12:45 we were back at the base of the main wall which looked dark and ominous. A bit of doubt crept into our minds then. The first route which was much easier and shorter had taken us four and a half hours and we only had five and a half hours of light left. Getting benighted on the bluff with its super brittle and loose rock would be a nightmare.
Looking down at the carpark from somewhere on the face.
Focusing on the mission and ignoring the facts we kept on going climbing the rough line of Coercion. We knew it shared the same start as what we had climbed previously for the great roof but had no idea where it broke off or how it finished. We followed the easiest line we could find following weaknesses to the left of the rooves. Large run outs on dodgy gear were common and we both mentally adopted a no fall policy. We topped out just as we lost the last light (5:45) and the buffeting wind chilled us to our bones. Head torches on we took our time on what seemed an endless descent down the tourist track. After 13 hours and 15 minutes at 6:45 we were back at the car and thoroughly exhausted. Once back at camp we had instant noodles for dinner and checked to see how accurate our memories of the route descriptions had been. It turns out we didn't climb hell fire gully at all! We actually climbed a mix of Right Anti Climax and Cornerstone (240m, 15) although we got Coercion (350m, 17) pretty much correct although we might have deviated a bit at the top. All up 590m of climbing with 3hrs 45mins of walking!
Rob happily asleep while shovelling food into his mouth with two instant noodles lined up after the big day.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
So i got a new toy! Its a tiny video camera about the size of a phone that fits in your pocket. Perfect for climbing. I am just testing it at the moment and learning how to use some editing software. Above is some film i captured of Rob climbing at Mountain Quarry in Perth. Unfortunately i seem to lose alot of quality through the editing and uploading phases. I'll work on that...
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
At the start of the thin wall of Death Star.
One of the cruxy face moves
Friday, February 4, 2011
Leading into the 'birdbath' move: