|break in the clouds|
Okay so first off we need to apologize. It's been 3 weeks since our last post which had us leaving South Africa. Things have happened since then and there's no reason we couldn't have posted so just assume that our fun was outweighing the desire to do another post (sometimes this posting thing gets a little old) so here's a summary post that you can use if we ever get a little lax again:
Hi there! We're in -cool place here- and are having an -amazing,awesome,great,wonderful- time and are having a lot of fun climbing on the excellent rock at -climbing area name-. We've gotten on a lot of great problems such as A,B,C,D and are starting to work on our projects such as E,F. Cassie really wants to climb F because it would be her first vSomething and that would be really swell! We've seen a bunch of cool animals such as -reptile-,-bird-,-mammal- and even had a crazy experience with the -mammal- because it tried to eat our food. Wow time really has been flying though and we can't believe we only have (choose acceptable timeframe) weeks left before we have to leave and go to -insert next area name here-. Well that's all so far and we'll post as soon as some more stuff happens. Toodaloo!
|Kangaroo at the campground|
For reals though here's what's really happened:
We arrived in Melbourne totally jetlagged. Picking up the rental car was easy and we slowly worked our way to our friend's Hannah and Seamus' place in Melbourne. We met these two bouldering in Switzerland and stayed in touch. It was super cool of them to offer for us to crash at their house and we were exhausted when we finally laid down to sleep. The total traveling ended up being about 2 full days in airports and planes plus an 8 hour timezone change. We slept well that first night and wandered around the neighborhood the next day in a jetlagged daze. Hannah and Seamus came back that night from their music festival and we caught up and made plans to meet up in the Grampians for some bouldering. The next day we picked up our camper van rental and drove the three hours to Natimuk to see our friends Mars and Kim.
|a fun v3 traverse at araps|
You might remember Kim and Mars from our Squamish posts and our Red Rocks posts. We met them in the US and they offered us to stay at their place when we came to Australia. We were more than happy to be able to do so. Their hospitality was excellent and we were soon slumbering away. Within a few days our jetlag started fading, but the weather wasn't cooperating so we stayed in Nati for a bit longer than planned. That gave us plenty of time to enjoy catching up with Kim and Mars, the excellent morning espresso shots from their fancy coffee machine, and also for some bouldering at Araps. Now all you trad climbers out there are going to to have a conniption that we would boulder at Araps instead of doing routes but that's what we did, and it was great! :) I even went back to finish a great v5 called "around the world". We saw our first kangaroos and some cool stumpy-tailed lizards who came out to warm themselves in the sun (it hasn't been as warm as it was that day). Eventually we left the safety and comfort of the house to go camp at the Gramps (Grampians) and boulder.
|Around the World v5 - At the Arapiles|
|fun dyno at Arapiles|
The drive from Nati (Natimuk) to the Gramps is about 45 minutes each way so that makes it less than ideal for a day trip given the cost of gas (that would be about $20 each day to drive there) so we've been coming back to Kim and Mars' house every 4 days or so to get showers and sleep in a bed, then head back to the Grampians and climb. It's worked great especially since it's been quite rainy here. Though the weather has been less than ideal the rock has been exceptional.
We were told that the Rock in the Grampians is similar to Rocklands South Africa but we haven't found it to be that exactly. It's generally a grey-white sandstone with slopers and crimpers.The rock varies significantly from stone to stone but the closest we can find to compare it to is the Southeast US. It reminds me a lot of Stonefort specifically and climbs quite well. The only thing we have noticed that is disagreeable are our slowly disappearing fingertips which have been sandpapered off over time. Almost all our tips are missing a few layers of skin and we're constantly managing our climbing to try and preserve what little skin we have left. That being said the rock here is far less coarse than Rocklands. The temps have been excellent for climbing at around 13C which is about 55F and though it's been relatively rainy (raining every other day or so) we have some large overhanging caves to climb in which allows us to stay dry and still climb even in a major downpour.
|hike to Kindergarten cave|
|Cockatoo - these guys are very noisy|
|Ngamadjidj - aborigine art in the Grampians|
We've met some great people here but we must say that there isn't nearly the huge international contingent that was in Rocklands. Seems like in Rocklands there was 50-100 climbers in July with even more on the weekends. As of yesterday we were the only climbers staying at the Mt.Staplyton campground. There had been a group of Austrians (whose friends we met in Rocklands) but they opted to go to some log cabin rentals to wait out the rain. It seems as though this area hit its hayday of climbing about 6-7 years ago. Austrians and Germans still come here a bunch considering the original developers included a group of Austrians such as Klem Loskot (who also developed a lot of climbs at Rocklands) On the weekends it has gotten fairly busy with all the Melbourne climbers coming up which filled up the campground last weekend. That was probably about 50 or so climbers, but bear in mind that the Grampians is also a sport climbing and trad climbing area so not all of those are boulderers. It's been quite strange to sit in the campground by ourselves, but as usual we are quite happy to do our own thing and it hasn't stopped us from having a lot of fun and doing a ton of climbs. That being said we can see why it's not the mecca that Rocklands is, the total amount of climbing is much smaller. We're happy with the bouldering that we've found and there is more than enough to satisfy us for another month or so. It's not really fair to compare the total amount of rock and say that this makes an area better because we're still only climbing a tiny percentage of what's available in either area.That's still a lot of climbing either way. Still we can't help comparing the two areas since we saw them back to back. We like both and for different reasons. My brother Nick and I were talking the other day about how to pick a "favorite area" and we all agreed that depending on your criteria "favorite" can have many different answers.
|Master Bates v5|
|Out of the Bleau v5|
Well now to the problems. Our first few days we explored Anderson's. It's the easiest area to access and has some of the most highly rated easier climbs. We were blown away by the cool lines and quickly picked up quite the tick lists. Some of them went down easily with a few v5s going our first few days. While we were at it we started testing out the waters on the harder lines and found plenty of v6-v9 climbs that are worthy of some effort. Cassie got "Out of the Bleau" v5 (this is a play on words: Bleau is short for Fontainbleau,France which typically gets credit for any sloper problem on sandstone because it has tons of them) and just yesterday finished up "Master Bates" v5 (sorry for the 5th grade potty humor). I've done a few great 5s as well such as Silverchair, and Epinephrine, and Magnum, and a great sloper v6 called Riding Shotgun. Now that we've done lots of the classics we're going to start focusing on projects. Hopefully some of those will start going down in the next few weeks. We're having a lot of fun trying.
|Flash Gordon v7 - still a project at this time|
|Passion - a great v4|
|Silverchair v5 - i gave it a thumbs up. fun roof climbing. Cassie didn't like it.|