Showing posts from 2016

Ultimate Epic - Binnie

Binnie has concluded her journey, she lived the last 12 months with a heart murmur, and had slowed down a lot. She was put to rest on the property at Bermagui.

Fingerboard ladders

Now that I have my own bouldering wall, I've decided to get a little more serious about my training for climbing. 

Callum's Birthday

Sometimes all it takes to have an Epic is to tell someone a ridiculous idea that's swimming around in your head. Sometimes that person will drive you to see the idea happen, and make sure that you succeed.  A few months prior to Callum's 28th birthday in 2015 he mentioned a plan, to climb 28 pitches in a day, all trad, all lead. While it's not a huge objective, for a relatively new trad climber it was a pretty big thing to attempt. Part of his motivation in telling me was to make sure that it happened, that there was someone to hold him accountable, as well as cheer him on through the day.  After a few months of training for volume, and making vague plans with areas of dense, easy lines the agenda crystalised. Start early with Booroomba ,- the walk in could be done in the dark, and there are a fair few easy lines on the North end of the Northern Slaps, he'd start with those, and see how many we climbed, leaving the Orroral Ridge crags for later in the day as nee

Cleaning up Kambah

About 5 years ago a waterline was bolted down at Kambah Rocks using 12mm Dynabolts (non-stainless). The bolts have been slowly rusting since, as they end up under water whenever the river floods. I've been intending to replace them with stainless glue ins when time and budget allows, and when I can be sure it won't be used for a day or so while the glue sets. The plan was to do it at the end of this past summer. Sadly someone beat me to it, but did so in the most half hearted, incompetent way possible. Clearly someone that hadn't bolted before, and hadn't really done any research. They drilled new holes rather than pulling the originals, and drilled very close to the original bolts. The bolts stuck out from the rock a good 40mm, and the glue was an eyesore. On top of that, they had bolted the wrong anchors on the far side, placing them near an old set that were never used because they form a dangerous line, a few rocks come into play a little closer to the line than w

La Sportiva Cobras

My reviews are all for products I have purchased, used and either enjoyed, or not.  Let's talk La Sportiva Cobras. I heard about them on my first Thai trip, but didn't have a chance to get a pair until just before the second. So far I've  destroyed two pairs of cobras. They are my go to shoe for almost any route or problem. They have been increasingly hard to find over the last few years, but thankfully it seems like they are coming back, at least in Europe for the 2016 season. They are listed at (Not ), and now in pretty new colours. But they don't seem to have actually dropped yet, I picked up a few pairs from the Czech Republic on Ebay, along with a pair of pythons. Pros Fit - pretty much perfect for me, they are quite narrow, but being a slipper I recommend trying before you buy.  Sensitivity - The cobras best attribute, the thin sole (3.5mm) means that you can feel every hold and becomes something that you rely on.  Con

LED collars

Maddie misbehaves if she's on a lead, she's far better off it, but still won't return reliably, and has a fascination with cars that could far too easily be terminal. She also likes to chase runners and cyclists, so anywhere that there are other people is a problem at the moment. The hope is that after dark will be better due to the lack of people, especially in winter, but finding and keeping track of her is harder. I saw the nice <a href=""> Squeaker collars </a> and figured that they would be a great solution, as well as making her visible if she did end up on a road. Sadly between the AU dollar and the car work, I couldn't afford the $40 price tag, but I found something similar on ebay for $5. I don't expect it to last nearly as long, and it's not rechargable using CR123 batteries, but it will do the job for a few months while I decide whether it's worth th

(Re)developing Pierces Creek

Canberra is home to an abundance of good climbing, mostly on granite, long multipitch slabs, and a lot of boulders. The main bouldering area for the last decade has been Black Range - an hour away, past Queanbeyan. Black range comprises numerous areas of great problems spread throughout the gums. Originally developed at a similar time was Pierces Creek, despite being much closer (~20 mins) it faded into obscurity due to the 2003 Canberra fires, which destroyed the pine forest, and damaged many of the problems. I had a look out there a few times, between '08 and '10, but found limited areas, with no traffic, a lot of cleaning required and a lot of chipped holds in some areas. Having not visited it prior to the fires I didn't realise the quality problems  I was missing. Over the last year or so it has seen a resurgence. The old maps were translated into google maps on theCrag, published in Duncan's guide, and a few areas were cleaned up and redeveloped for publishin

Attemt on the peaks 2

The 20-ish peak challenge is a challange to climb all of the Australian peaks over 2000m. This is possible as they are all in the same area of New South Wales, spread over a span of ~60km.  The Plan This time we were starting high at Charlottes Pass, heading out to the Ramshead range via Mt Stillwell, before going up to Kosi and then finishing the Main Range track, before heading North to Jagungal and Gungarten, and then returning from Guthega through the Perisher mountains. The day before We drove up after work with the car packed, camping at Charlottes to get an early, but not so unreasonable start as the previous attempt. The day We started at 8am after a quick breakfast of gels and bars. We made good progress up through the Stillwells, and then dropped back down to the Kosciuszko Road. We headed up the road to Rawsons pass, turning off towards Thredbo and jogging out along the smooth, raised footpath. After a kilometer or so we veered off the main road to pick up the 5

Attempt on the peaks 1

The Plan Head North from Guthega power station up to Schlink pass on bikes, head up Gungarten and then return to the bikes for the next 20-30km north to walk into Jagungal 7/2/15 was the big day. The day We started early, 4:45 AM we started the watches -  and started the long haul up to the pass, the going was slow, but not unmanageable. Despite the cold at the start we were soon down to jerseys and shorts, leaving the warmer stuff for pickup on the return journey. The walk up to Gungarten was a pleasant reprieve, before the return to the saddle. The track continued to be good for a few kilometers, before the turn off to Valentines hut. From there the track got steeper and dropped in and out of valleys, and the track was overgrown with grass. The pace slowed to a crawl, even the descents were quite slow. Eventually we turned back about 10km short of Jagungal, as we were down to just a few energy gels each for the return journey. On the way back I broke a spoke, and popped the

I'd Belayve it publishes the Unbelayvable stories every week. Stories recounting dangerous practices observed by climbers all over the world. Generally the editor is pretty good with their analysis, but they always take the reporter at face value, and are often just trying to find issues.  Climbing's 5 bad belayers from 2014 1. A good climber, a long way off the deck, on an easy well climbed route. In that situation, I know few belayers that don't look down and relax their neck. The climber will know this and yell if they fall, which should be unlikely if it is a well climbed line well within their limits. The hand position is inexcusable, but the angle to the first bolt is certainly manageable. Basically depends on a number of other factors we weren't given, but I wouldn't rule out being belayed by this one. 2. Inexcusable, a hand belay for a lead fall... 3. again, no excuses... except maybe killing off gym bunnies wearing hats inside 4. When will people sto

Not so Dumb Anchors

If you haven't seen the Dumb Anchors blog, it's well worth a look, just to see some of the stupidity on display. That said there are several posts on there that pose no real danger, and demonstrate the prejudice of the author more than anything. A few of the common things that they pick up, and that while I might not create it, I'd have no problems using the setup: They seem to hate slinging trees at all, even at ground level.  Seem to have never heard of or used a triple wrap anchor, and regularly complain that they are a tensionless anchor, the fact is that the friction alone is enough. the knot at the end should never see a load, and any such slip will be negligable.  They hate additional slings, citing additional points of failure. I for one am happy to sling a tree then use a 'biner and tie the rope to it, I don't need to pass 10m of rope around the tree and then tie it off. If the anchor is CERN then there is very low risk of the sling or 'biner bre