Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mount Arapiles - Australia

After another boring ten week term of school i found myself on the road again psyched to go climbing. This time it was different, i wasn't heading to the Blueys or the Hill, this time  i was flying to Melbourne! The trad climbing mecca , Mount Arapiles was meant to be just a train ride away but after almost a day of travel full of  trains, buses and shuttles, i found myself stroaming around the campground surrounded by the beautiful long featured orange walls of the Arapiles. 'The Pines', this was going to be our home for the next two and a half weeks! I shared this with my fellow kiwi friends Mel and Irmak, and kangaroos!

    photo: Irmak Thompson

The climbing here was yet a completely different and new style for us and it definitely took us a couple of days to get the hang of. The most challenging part was trusting the feet, and learning how to crack climb! I was totally not expecting to have to learn how to fist jam but almost every climb had some sort of crack involved and it had to be used. This was a very frustrating process for me but it was a good feeling when it did work. It was important for me to learn this as later in the trip i came across a climb called Ethiopia 30/8a+. After a couple of goes and getting thrown off on the last moves in the final roof trying to climb it without the crack, i had to knuckle down and learn how to jam my hands in and climb it properly. After resting my scratched and bruised hands i returned and managed to jam my way to the top!

                            Wiz Fineron on Ethiopia 30/8a+                              Photo: Irmak Thompson

Unfortunately we did not have the best luck with the weather but we still got some good climbing in. One of the areas called 'The Flight Deck' stayed dry most of the time so we spent a lot of time up there. We enjoyed this area as we didn't have to worry about all the trad placements etc and could get some good climbing in. The climbing in this area was completely different as it actually had holds which was a good change from all the smeering. I managed to tick off a climb called Jet Lag 29/8a pretty quickly on my fourth go which i was pretty stoked with. I liked climbing at this crag as it was really my style with lots of crimps on a flat facy wall.

                            Sendage food: Nutella

Every time the weather cleared and we were able to climb, i was addicted to climbing at the Pharos. The main reason for this was a climb called Punks In The Gym 32/8b+. This famous climb was a goal from the start and to finally jump on it at the start of the final week i was buzzing! I tried this every day i could from then on and was loving it. Each day went by, i was getting closer and time left was getting shorter! On the final day of the trip i found myself sitting at the bottom of the climb sulking after falling off after sticking the crux moves. I had one more awkward move to go then i just had to hold it together to the top! but no, it didnt happen and i was thrashed. My fingers were about to bleed and i had to walk away and leave it for next time. I learnt a very important lesson from this tho, not to have a sulk and throw your harness at the wall as you will end up leaving it there. Yes! i left my Harness in Australia! lucky i have connections ae.... thanks Zac.

                      Punks In The Gym 32/8b+                                       photo: Melanie Jackson

     Grampians!                                                                                                    photo: Irmak Thompson

 All in all it was a super fun trip and i will definitely be returning in the near future as i have some unfinished business. Hopefully the weather will be better next time! The faint view of the Grampians in the horizon has got me super- psyched so i will definitely spend a lot of time there!

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