I can’t believe another year is almost over! Since my trip to Queensland I mainly focused on a single project in the Blue Mountains. I mentioned a route at Elphinstone, which my housemate bolted, a couple of blog posts ago. I was inspired by this line due to its small holds and sustained sequence despite the base being a bit of a swamp and the challenge of convincing partners to go to a crag day after day more than 5 minutes from a café! I learnt a lot from the process of projecting this route. A stopper cross to a mono at move 19 of the 24 move crux sequence shut me down for a long time. Slight tweaks to my beta to conserve energy in the approaching moves and the endless repetition of the move itself meant I eventually could stick it from the ground. 40-50 shots after first trying the route I managed to redpoint it doing the first ascent of what felt like my hardest sport route to date. This opened my eyes to the potential of a stubborn focus for redpointing at a higher level. I am not convinced that it is necessarily a good thing though. Improving through climbing a large volume of routes and training with friends is a lot more fun! Failure is a huge part of projecting with only limited successes in comparison. I also think its easy to dwell on failure because its part of a long process of learning whereas when you finally send a route the success is short lived because you are already thinking of the next inspiring route. Anyway if you want a challenge and to try a cool route, Shogun (32?) is down at Elphinstone awaiting a second ascent.
I am a sucker for punishment so instead of taking it easy after sending Shogun I decided to head to Arapiles to finish of Punks in the Gym. Probably not my best decision as I was a bit worn out psychologically from projecting. It rained on me as I tried the route on my first day and the second day the holds felt damp. After a rest day we had stellar conditions and I managed to do both cruxes getting my foot up on the famous ‘birdbath’ hold but then a lapse in composure saw me off into space again! It absolutely bucketed down the next day and I made a great decision to go have a fun adventure instead.
I had only been to Tasmania once before and that was when I was 16 and had a guide-bookless epic in snow and white out conditions trying to find any route on Mt. Wellington, that would take the handful of bolt plates I had, just so I could say I had climbed there. This time I checked the weather and had some amazing days catching up with friends and enjoying some quality routes. The 5 star Totem Pole out on Cape Huay was incredible, a must for the Australian climbing experience ticklist, and After Midnight (24) on Mt. Wellington surely ranks up there with it.
All photos of Simon Young and I on the Totem Pole by Robert vanHaeften. Sorry we didn't get any of you Rob!