Trips and Events Log

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:20 pm

Basic Skills Day - By Shawl

Basic Skills day turned out a big success with many new faces coming to learn the fundamentals of rock climbing and rope skills. On the agenda was, knots, abseiling, general gear and the ever popular rope demonstration. Dougal was the lucky nominee who tested out what the core strands of a climbing rope could do. This year we had 1 core strand support Dougal and all his gear! Basic skills day, however was only the warm up for the main event the next day: PBSD Trip to Ngun Ngun where we put our new skills to the test.

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Post basic skills day trip: Ngun Ngun:
The trip to Andromeda wall at Ngun Ngun was one of the biggest cliffhangers trips I’ve seen with 42 attendees seeing a 50/50 spilt between new members and experienced ones. It started with the usual congregation at the KP lookout where we took over the whole lookout.

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We then travelled to Glasshouse where we stuck to tradition and piled into the bakery for pre-send pies. The train of cliffhangers then snaked into the crag where we set up on almost every route and got climbing. Everyone had a run on at least a few climbs. Tanks to everyone’s hard work we saw many valuable skills and experience transfer between new and old climbers.

Meanwhile, Adam and Ria where sneakily climbing on a newly developed section of cliff which strangely few of us took notice of. Later they revealed it was a new area they had developed for beginning climbers to hone their skills before moving on to bigger and more challenging walls. They named the area “Legends Wall” ( ... /641166468) with climbs named after fellow adventurers who maybe spend a little too much time on cliff sides. Sally Smith was gifted with her very own climb for her birthday “Sallos, it's your birthday, happy birthday Sallos” **(16) which many of us had a go on. In the end, the consensus what that Sallos had lovely jugs...

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:24 pm

One last photo.
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Re: Trips and Events Log

Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:18 pm

My trip report from kalymnos. Not an official trip. More in an attempt to motivate others to get there and so I don't forget it myself :P

This May (2015) I went to a small island named kalymnos noted for its world class sport climbing. My girlfriend and I were traveling Europe and it worked out that a detour to kalymnos was possible. Amanda was lucky enough to join and away we went!

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It was my first time climbing on limestone and tufa formations, which took a little getting used to. It's often very technical and sometimes creative climbing because of the 3D formations. The rock quality is excellent though, and super fun to climb on. Knowing how to kneebar (jam your knee into an opening and take weight off your arms) was tremendously important to get adequate rests on some routes so I'm glad Coolum cave taught me well.

But you'd be surprised, it's not all tufas and caves to climb in, Kaly offers a lot. There's gentle slabs, steep slabs, completely vertical technical climbing, overhanging pocket jug hauling, very overhanging tufa straddling goodness, each with a varying amounts of holds - the island really has it all and caters for every climber whether it be cruising up a juggy slab or enduring a 60m 8b (31)- yes we saw a guy do this.

Our daily routine was as followed:
-climb until the sun gets you
-get an ice cream
-have a nap
-climb more or nap more

- Mountain goats. These things are on every hillside on the island and they're absolutely hilarious.
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-Approaches. Walking into the crags is hard work! You have you walk uphill very steeply to get to most crags, often for 15mins+. We definitely got more fit while there! One good thing is that it was possible to walk to a lot of the crags from our studio we were staying in, we only hired a car for 5 days.

-Drinking water. It's totally salty. There's a water crisis or something and the tap water is so gross because it's salty. We had to go to a special machine to fill up our water bottles each day.

-Eating. Eating out is great. We went out for dinner a bunch of times and we got free dessert almost every time. The serving size was huge and the food delicious. On the last night we got a free round of drinks. I'd just struggled to finish a litre of beer and my meal, and they bring me out another. We were there for quite a bit longer...

-The Cave. We went to a cool crag that had an incredible cave full of stalagmites and stalactites. Underground. It was really dark and the oxygen was thin but from ground level you would never expect it to open up to the size it is. There were some tour guides who told us not to tell anyone about the cave, but yeah.

ANYWHO. THE CLIMBING. I could try to give y'all a trip report for each day but there is no time.

Favourite crags:
-Secret garden
Overhanging cliffs with tufa formations and pockets, also full of kneebars. It's right next to the sea too and stays in shade all day which is awesome. Such a great atmosphere and top quality climbing of varying lengths.

-Grande Grotta
The signature crag of Kalymnos lives up to its name. We asked a couple of climbers which crags we should visit in the first few days and they all said the Grotta Cave. And a cave it is. 50 metres tall, with insanely steep routes (45degrees? more?), huge jugs and stalactites. So. Freakin. Awesome. We got to see some of the insane spider monkey types here, climbing for 40minutes+ at a time on some of the mega routes. Because of the large formations it's possible to get some sort of rest quite often, whether it's a bomber knee bar or straddling a tufa. So you feel like a mouse, scampering between rests, and trying not to fall off in between them as the lactic acid in your forearms takes its toll.

Favourite/most memorable routes climbed:
-Trela 7a (23). It was the second day I think and I was feeling ambitious but this line caught my eye. It screamed adventure. 40m of tufa formations, pipes, fins, bulbs, elephant heads, whatever the hell they all are. Overhanging, slightly. What I didn't take into account was the length of the route. I'm used to these 15m boulders in SEQ, and my forearms were not nearly ready for this mammoth route. At the top of the starting slab (about 10m up) it began to sink in as I looked up. This was going to be a mission.

And you're thinking to yourself, yeah, but you can just go bolt to bolt if you get tired. The problem is that the climb is bolted to avoid rope drag over like a billion tufas. Also it was on fixed hangers, like almost all of the routes on the island (thanks for the draws Will ;), so it's impossible to bail without leaving gear on the climb. On average I'd say each bolt was 3-3.5m apart. You're looking at a decent fall that far above the bolt. It got to the point where I was exhausted. I need to stop. But I was only about half way. And I was yet to know the definition of exhausted. I ended up hauling myself bolt to bolt, begging for knee bars the whole way up. I took a whipper when I simply couldn't hold on to anything. This route was a wake up call that I had almost zero endurance. Amanda reluctantly seconded up with some rope assist and we submitted to the heat of the sun for a pity ice cream.

-DNA 7a (23). Also in the grotta. Only 20m this time but steeper. This was a great climb. Kneebars most of the way up, but it was still a fight against the pump.

-Principessia Guila 6c+ (22). An awesome pocket overhang that had holds the whole way up. Also in the ruins of a tower. The most and best pockets and handles I've ever caressed. Only problem was trying to avoid the bees at the beginning!

-Dafni 6c+ (22)
See for yourself. It was full body contact climbing on tufas. Crazy.
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-Nickel 7a+ (24)
This was one we did on our last day. It's 32m, with increasing difficulty as you go up. The crux throws you off right at the top with its awful crimps. But the rest of it is absolutely superb. There's a single tufa line that goes straight up, with little blobs and globes on it. You get to work your way up the whole thing, none of it too difficult, just pumpy. So fun!

Notable sends:
Because we were trying to see as many crags as possible we almost never tried a climb more than once. Basically we turned up and tried to onsight or flash climbs that looked awesome within our level.

Sends (Myself):
-Aphrodite 7a+ (24). Short steep boulder problem.
-Ixion 7a (23) Onsight! Technical vertical climbing with a pumpy finish.
-Principessia Guila 6c+ (22). Onsight.
-Dafni 6c+ (22) Flash.

-Remember Wadi Rum 6c (22) Flash. Really cool problem up a tufa line with a crux near the top.

All in all a great trip, with only one rest day out of 12! 10/10 would return and y'all should check it out!

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:18 am

White Rock trip report.

Attendees – Rhys, Anna, Noah, Laura, Carl.

Started at The Board Walk area, with a side-pulley warm up, “European Cave Man”. Everyone managed to complete the mossy, slippery V1. Also climbed/attempted was “Edges like a babies bum” (V2), “It gets better” (V1), “And Better” (V3) and “Tree Fall” (V4). We finished the area with “Crack” (V4) which everyone gave a really solid go on its crimpy holds and awkward moves.

There was then an eventful walk (read. Got lost) to try to find “The Bat Cave”. This is a fairly new area to White Rock and lacked a defined path or thorough directions. We eventually made it and were greeted with a family of small bats and a tough V6 for Rhys to try. Also seemed to be a great place for a cool nap out of the summer heat.

The day was concluded with a late lunch at Beach Burrito.

Overall, the White Rock trip was challenging and relaxed, with plenty of time to chill-out between tough boulders.

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:22 am

Basic Skills Day Report

Saturday 12th March brought the first Basic Skills Day of the year. Basic Skills Day was one of the first opportunities for the new members of the club to learn the basics of climbing. Plenty of new members turned up at Kangaroo Point ready for some quality learnin’. We started the day with some basic knot practice. This included figure of 8, fisherman’s knot, clove hitch and munter hitch. More advanced knots like the alpine butterfly were also thrown in the mix. After learning the basics of prussics and belay devices the new members had a go at their first abseil. A well-earned barbeque lunch satisfied then many hungry tummies before the day’s finale.

A fantastic finale to the day came in the form of our rope strength demonstrations. Morgan was harnessed onto a rope tied to a tree to demonstrate the specific strengths of climbing ropes with Shawl cutting the rope, one strand at a time, until the rope’s failure with surprising results. Josiah also taught the issues of rope-on-rope friction with an athletic presentation of rope-melting proportions.

Overall the day was a great success. Plenty of experienced members came along to impart their vast knowledge to all the new, keen members. Well done everyone for all your effort in teaching and learning.

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Mar 23, 2016 9:25 am

Post BSD Trip Report

Had a decent turn out of 30 people. Quite respectable considering the miserable weather in Brisbane. Drove to the Glasshouse Mountain Bakery for some sustenance before a solid day of climbing. We gathered before the walk in for gear distribution. The walk in was not too far to the Andromeda crag. A sprinkle of rain was ever present during the first climbs of the day, and with the wall already very wet and quite mossy, the grade 10 – 18 presented a slippery challenge for the leaders.

For all the new cliffhangers members this is the first trip for them. This meant it was also the first time most of them would have lead belayed, seconded and cleaned. Getting into the second and third climbs of the day the rain was unleashed. Holds turn into waterfalls and belay areas are now muddy bogs. Most of us took in the hilarity of the situation, not letting a little (or a lot) precipitation get you down.

Then the all too familiar words of a wet climbing day were heard. 'Pub?'. The ropes were stuffed back in the bags, gear slung of shoulders, shoes emptied of water and drenched socks put back on. Through the heavy rain all gear was collected and we trudged back to the cars. The squelching of soaked footwear was glorious. All jumping in the cars we headed to the pub for a drink and some food. After a feed then began the hour-long drive back to Brisbane. They climbing day was shorter than expected and definitely wetter too, but I still don’t remember seeing someone without a smile. Overall an enjoyable day was had. See? Who needs the sun to have fun?

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:59 am

Caves Route 20/03/2016

The question buzzing around the early and eager group congregated at Kangaroo Point on Sunday morning was whether the caves route would still be run despite the premonition of tempestuous weather. Naturally all the enthusiastic new climbers wanted a taste of mountain air, but after vacillating for a while the guides resolved to select safe over sorry.

At the same time, the majority didn’t want to just go home without climbing so Carl quickly contacted the managers of Rock Sports and planned out a training day contingency trip. Relieved to be able to discharge our unresolved climbing tension we squished into Adam’s people mover and began the short drive to fortitude valley. Unfortunately, Adam was looking forward to the alternative activity so adamantly that he forgot which gear the car was in and bent a few panels on the car behind.

After that was resolved and Rock Sports had opened its halls to us with a quick safety briefing we split into pairs and sampled the various interesting climbing challenges Rock Sports had to offer, including a two-meter protruding overhang, a climb based around a single long artificial crack, and a vertical tunnel with no hand holds. Combined with continual tips on technique and approach, it seemed a productive session for all.

As we grew more tired we shifted to alternating turns on the bouldering wall and sitting on the mats talking about skills and generally conversing on the events of the week. Around midday we conjointly voiced a unilateral consensus that we were all too tired to effectively climb further and cheerfully parted ways.

Written by Ehren.

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:45 pm

Sorry for the long post, but I thought I would share my first big wall experience in morbid detail over five epic chapters; as reference for myself, and it may help anyone else if they ever attempt such a thing. I don't often get out on epic climbing trips as much these days, so this trip report gets the full treatment. Enjoy.


Part 1: Yosemite Dreaming

The genesis of this climbing story begins two years ago with Eddie: He's Malaysian, 43 years old, married with a couple of kids, and runs a climbing gear store called the Guide Proshop in Kuala Lumpur. He's an adventurous guy, mostly into mountaineering, but has done lots of sport and trad, as well as being a climbing guide. He wants to do this climb called Waking Dream, which is an aid line with trad climbing put up on the South Tower of the Dragon Horns, Tioman Island, Malaysia. Tioman means 'dragon', because the Island looks like a dragon sleeping from far away.

Anyway, Eddie asks Shawn, aka 'Poon Master', if he would like to do the climb with him. Shawn is an ex-cliffhanger (forum handle 'trickflip') who joined the club in the same year as me, 2008, and moved back to Malaysia at the start of 2012. Shawn agrees, but they never actually organise to do the climb. A year later, I (Ninja) move to Malaysia for work. Shawn asks me if I want to do the Dragon Horns with Eddie and himself. I said “absolutely not”. When I first moved to Malaysia I could only climb about 2 sport pitches a day. Irrespective of how hard the climbing was, the heat and humidity would just crush me. I couldn't imagine surviving any multipitch. After a while though I started to get kind of used to it and got back to doing four or five sport pitches in a day. I even sent a few harder climbs, 7a-7b, after a good run of weather and health.

This year however I have had some trouble with finger injuries, finding free time to climb, finding climbing partners if Shawn can't climb etc, so haven't been climbing as hard. Early February Shawn asks me again about the Dragon Horns. He said they are definitely doing it, dates are locked, late April, and he wants a third person to come.

Poon: 'Come, it will be safer with three people.
Ninja: 'What climb are we doing?'
Poon: 'Can't remember, I'll get back to you.'
Ninja: 'I'll take a week to think about it.'

I start googling 'Dragon Horns rockclimbing'.

Ninja: 'What climb did you want to do for this Dragon Horns thing?'
Poon: 'Waking Dream'
Ninja: 'You know that this is a big wall? trad and aid climbing?'
Poon: 'Yeah'
Ninja: 'And you think we can do that?'
Poon: 'Yeah, whatever we can't free climb we can just aid'
Ninja: 'Have you ever done a big wall before?'
Poon: 'No, neither has Eddie'
Ninja: 'Ok, I'm in'

I had assumed Shawn had asked me to join because I was the strongest trad climber, and it's hard to find trad climbers in Asia because there simply aren't many trad climbs. I had met Eddie once before, 6 months ago, but didn't climb with him. A group of us went trad first ascent-ing at Bukit Tabur, a quartz range just north east of KL. I climbed with Shawn. Eddie was our guide, he had set up a trad route on a tower a few years ago so some Singapore climbers could try a highline.

Eddie on a new route at Bukit Tabur

Shawn and I put two more routes on the tower. Quartz is hard rock, but not conducive to nicely formed cracks and pockets. The rock is sharp and with cool crystal micro features, but the cracks are jagged and rough, not good for finding the surface contact needed for bomber placements. My route was easy, with a committing start, and sparse protection, not a climb I could recommend anyone, but that's another story.

Big wall climbing was not something I had ever cared to try. Aid climbing was definitely something that I didn't care for. Though I know Shawn has a dream of one day climbing big walls in Yosemite. The reality is, if you are a mere mortal climber, to be able to free climb the most amazing pitches on some the biggest walls in the world you have to be able to aid the ones you can't. With that philosophy in mind, the more I read about what doing a big wall would entail, the more horrendous it sounded, but the more curious I was to go out and try it. I created a spreadsheet with gear lists, itineraries and training schedules.

We had two months to prepare. Our first training session was at Bukit Takun. A limestone outcrop north-west of KL. The longest climbs are 230m (the Dragon Horns are 300m). The climb we chose was Man On a Mission, 5 pitches, 150m, Sport (6c+, 6b+, 5c, 5c+, 6c). We started at 7am. It took us 30 minutes to hike in uphill, and another 30 minutes to find the start of the climb. You had to climb some hidden fixed ropes to get to the base of the cliff through some steep vegetated gullies. We packed everything we had brought; water, food, shoes etc. into a backpack. I had brought 4L of water, and both Eddie and Shawn 2L, so our pack weighed about 8kg. I tried the first pitch, didn't send it, but was close, freeing all the moves.

Me after finishing Pitch 1, Man On a Mission, Bukit Takun

In big wall climbing once you finish a pitch you fix the lead rope (dynamic) to the anchor for the seconders to jug (or ascend) up on. The leader has a tag line (or haul line, can be dynamic or static rope) and their job is to haul the bag (or 'pig'). The pig has everything you need for a day and night on the wall i.e. water, food, sleeping gear. The seconders release the pig from the previous anchor, jug (or jumar) the lead rope to clean the gear, and make sure the pig doesn't get stuck anywhere on the way up. If you are aid climbing, the seconders can't free climb the pitch anyway, so it's faster and less tiring to jug and clean rather than the conventional seconding. When we started, Eddie was the only one with ascenders, so the seconders would get one ascender each, and then use a prussic as a leg ascender and belay device for backup.

It was about 2pm when the sun hit us on the third pitch. It was my turn again to lead, an easy, 5c. I hauled up the pack to the belay, got out my camelbak, took a drink. I was out of water by 3pm. The sun was really beating down on us so we decided to not haul for the last pitch. Shawn lead the last pitch, I seconded like a normal sport climb, Eddie ascended the tag line. I asked Shawn at the top if I could drink some of his water but he was also out. We rapped down and walked out. Back to the car by 7pm.

Me finishing Man On a Mission, Pitch 5, Bukit Takun

Next training session we attempted, 'They Called it Project', 5 pitch, Sport (5c+, 6b+, 7a, 6c, 7a), 100m, at Damai Extreme Park in Batu Caves. This time we bought an extra 7L of water just for hauling. I bought 5L of water for my personal stash, Shawn and Eddie bought 3L. This time we had a more realistic haul pack of about 20kg. Still no one had a proper haul bag, so we tied up our packs together and hauled them as a little cluster. We started at 11am. My turn on the sharp end was the third pitch. I struggled badly route finding on the start of the 7a, since there are variant pitches. I started the pitch trying to climb it with my camelbak but decided that was a stupid idea as I getting pumped out to oblivion. I left it clipped to a bolt with some other bits of gear for the guys to collect on the way up. Eddie couldn't finish the fourth pitch, so handed it over to Shawn to finish. I struggled again trying to climb the last pitch, a terrifying 7a blank slab to the top. I needed to aid one move at the crux to finish the route. Back to the car by 8pm.

Eddie on Pitch 4, They Called It Project, Damai Extreme Park

I knew we needed proper gear. We were hauling light packs with prussics, usually using a 3:1 haul and switching to an ascender as the first seconder arrived. This was working ok, but I could tell from the change in difficultly in hauling from the first training day to the second, that scaling up the haul bag another level would put us in trouble. Shawn bought some ascenders and I ordered some aid gear and a proper haul bag online. Malaysia has a low threshold for tax on imported goods. Importing anything over about 150AUD incurs GST, but that limit is 1000AUD in Oz. I had to go to Melbourne for a conference so I figured I would get the gear sent to my friend Monica in Melbourne and pick it up when I'm there. I ordered a traction pulley for hauling, etrias (aid ladders), a pair of ascenders, sky hooks, some rigging plates to help sort out tight belay stations and a proper haul bag. I ordered all the gear with plenty of time but... best laid plans... I forgot about the order and checked the tracking just before I left. The gear still hadn't been sent. I emailed and asked what was going on. They said they were waiting for my sky hooks to arrive because they didn't have them in stock. I said just send it now without them and send me the sky hooks to Malaysia later. The package arrived the day after I left Melbourne, so I had to get the package resent to Malaysia anyway. We now only had two weeks left to train. A few weeks were lost with clashing schedules, but I had managed a few weekends of sport climbing in between.

So much gear now

Our final big wall training day was supposed to be a climb called 'Get Out of the Kitchen', the longest climb at Bukit Takun, 10 pitch, 230m, 6b+ A0. I woke up at 4:50am, met Shawn at our pickup point at 5:30am. We received a message from Eddie saying that he couldn't come. Shawn and I had only packed one rope, climb cancelled. We decided to head to Damai at Batu Caves and just do single pitch climbs. Lead a pitch, have the seconder jug and clean, leader hauls the pig on the same rope from the ground, then everyone abseil back to the ground. We managed only four single pitch climbs of about 30 to 33m each before Shawn called it a day.

Friday night, April 16th, Shawn, Eddie and myself met at Selatan bus station in Kuala Lumpur. We take a bus from KL at 11:30pm and arrive at the coastal town of Mersing around 4:00am in the morning. There is a food court just outside the ferry terminal where we drop the gear and attempt to catch a few hours sleep. We planned to not buy a portaledge for the attempt, but rather just use hammocks to sleep in. Others had done this before. Shawn and I had never actually tried to sleep in our hammocks, so we figured now might be a good time to test them out.

Eddie sleeping at the food court, Mersing

Shawn and I in our hammocks, Mersing

Our ferry wasn't scheduled to leave until 3pm. The Mersing jetty is shallow, so ferry times depend on high tides. I slept a few hours until the noise of the food stalls and passing cars no longer allowed it. Shawn and Eddie were already awake. We grabbed some breakfast and were discussing our itinerary. Tioman doesn't have any ATMs so I went to get some extra cash out. When I returned, our guide, Tam, had arrived. Tam lives on the Island, so doesn't leave Tioman all that much. It was just an unfortunate coincidence that his father was sick in hospital so he had made an emergency visit to the mainland. The timing meant he ended up being there to accompany us to Tioman Island.

April to July is the peak season for Tioman because that's when it gets the least amount of rain. By 1pm the once empty ferry terminal was bursting with people. Since there were so many people waiting two ferries were required. Our ferry arrived soon after the first ferry left, but wasn't big enough, so it left without taking any passengers. Then by 4pm, another bigger ferry came and we loaded our gear and took our seats. The ferry to Tioman takes about two hours depending on which part of the Island you disembark at. Our stop was first, Kampung Genting.

Map of Tioman Island

At the Genting jetty we waited about 15 minutes for a long boat which Tam had organised. The four of us took the boat another 25-30 minutes to Mukut Beach on the South of Island. The boat ride gave us our first glimpse of the horns.

View of the Dragon Horns from the boat to Kampung Mukut

Everyone was giddy with excitement. After getting settled in our cabins we were quizzing Tam about the routes on the Dragon Horns. He said most people who come to Tioman get shutdown by the climbs. Some people because they think it's going to be like Thailand, and then just die in the heat and tougher grading. Some people get shut down because they lack the headspace for the big exposure, and some people just come completely unprepared with the knowledge and skills for big walls. Tam's expression when talking about failed attempts in Tioman was to say 'This is Malaysia bro', then sing 'Welcome to the Jungle' and pump his fists around his waist.

Tam and Eddie waiting for dinner

Tam was pretty impressed we were going to climb Waking Dream as our first Dragon Horns route. About 90% of people only climb a route called Damai Sentosa. The only fully bolted sport route on the Horns, 10 pitches ranging from 6a to 6c+ (or 6b+ A0). One of the reasons that comforted me about about climbing Waking Dream was that the anchors had been rebolted with Titanium by Tam and Arnaud Petit (watch to see Arnaud in action) a few years ago. Tioman is a sea crag, and just like Thailand the bolts corrode fast, the only long term solution is bolting with Titanium. Tam somewhat laments the contributions of some of the sponsored climbers who come to Tioman. Not everyone, but some of them just come to get their articles in a magazine for their sponsors, but don't care about the maintenance of routes or the long term development of the crag. He says if they make money from Tioman, they should be putting something back into it, which I guess is fair enough.
A ninja probably would just dyno past all those crappy holds you used

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:52 pm


Part 2: Welcome to the Jungle

Our first morning we were up very early, about 5am, not because we wanted to, but the roosters wanted us to wake up.

Roosters and chickens chilling out below our cabins

We had breakfast with Tam and another pair of climbers, Jonas and Stephanie. Jonas had donated a lot of Titanium bolts to Tam, and had spent the past two months in Tioman putting up a new route on an unclimbed wall near the Dragon Horns. He established it with another climber, David, who also put up the Dragon Horns second most climbed route, Polish Princess. Tam recommended we rap down Polish Princess instead of Waking Dream, since Waking Dream traverses quite a bit with a few rope eating cracks and sharp edges. Jonas was saying that he hoped someone would repeat their climb one day. It's an 11 pitch 7c+, some crack climbing to start, then mostly gently overhanging sport climbing. The only catch is a 15 minute boat ride from Mukut beach and a 2hr 10 minute walk in. Tam disapproved of the approach route. The approach takes a dry riverbed for most of the way. But April is Tiomans driest month, most of the year that riverbed will be, well... a river. The actual walk-in time is likely to be half an hour longer. We asked Jonas if he's ever done Waking Dream, he said 'no'. Tam was chatting just a little too much. Jonas and Stephanie left breakfast before us.

Shaun and Eddie chilling at breakfast, Mukut Beach

Tam filled us with a lot of confidence. He was saying things like;
“The grades weren't that hard, but you need to be a strong technical climber. You don't need so much power, I'm not strong, but I have the feel for the climbing. Its a big wall, it's not like sport climbing, you have many options for route finding. The grades depend on you and how well you read the route. He said everyone takes a different route.” He showed us a topo of what he called the Indonesian version, a party of Indonesians had become lost in the top half of the route and climbed a new line. He said “Once you finish the third pitch, the crux is pretty much over, just go and enjoy the climb.” He was right, no need to worry about the outcome, just enjoy the climb. With that final pep talk we started our walk-in at 8:40am.

Photo before leaving on the walk-in to the Dragon Horns

Tam would guide us to the base of the climb. The track up to the Dragon Horns has 12 or so check points. Just after checkpoint 4 is a water station, and after checkpoint 9 we break the main trail for Waking Dream. I was carrying the Haul Bag, and since I had the most space, I was carrying the most gear; 6L of water, the food, aid gear and sleeping gear. Shawn and Eddie both had a rope, 4.5L of water and half a rack each. The hike to the Dragon Horns from the beach is for the most part, a moderately steep hike uphill, the track winding its way through the dense jungle past huge granite boulders. The thick jungle doesn't allow the breeze to penetrate it. The humidity is stifling. We were lucky, it had rained about 6am, and the sky was still a bit overcast that morning, so not particularly hot, but the humidity… However, I wasn't the one struggling. Eddie and I both asked Shawn if he felt ok, he wasn't keeping pace with us. He had missed indoor climbing during the week because of the flu, and was looking weak. He looked completely exhausted when we took a break at checkout point 4.

Photo of Shawn looking worse for wear at check point 4. I'm ok.

We had been walking for an hour, my legs were feeling the strain already. I just sort of leaned against a tree so I didn't have put the haul bag down and pick it up again.

Eddie: 'How far to the water station?'
Tam: '30 minutes'

Eddie and I groaned.

Tam: '15 minutes, maybe 10 minutes.'
Ninja: 'Ok, whatever.'

The water station was around the next corner, less than 1 minute walk. We dropped our packs and headed down a fixed rope. The stream was barely a trickle. Only one spot was adequate. Tam had lent us an empty 3L bottle, Shawn had a couple of empty Nalgene bottles, and I was carrying some empty 1.5L water bottles.

Eddie filled the first bottle, it had a bit of sediment in it. We tried a few other spots in the stream but with no success. In the end we filled the 3L tub, 4x 1.5L bottles, 1x 375ml bottle and 2x 1L Nalgene bottles. Eddie had some water purification tablets, enough to purify 4L. After spending 30 minutes at the water station we now had 27L of water between us. I was now carrying 10.5L of water: Including all the other gear, my pack felt about 20kg. Tam suggested we could leave water and ferry it in two trips if our packs became too heavy. We decided to push on, we could always ditch gear and come back for it.

The water station after check point 4

Even more slowly we pushed up through steeper and steeper terrain. I don't have the greatest knees in the world these days, I thought they were going to explode with all the high-stepping I was doing. At checkpoint 9 we broke left from the main trail.

Poon: 'Guys look up'

At first I couldn't see anything, it took a minute for my vision to adjust. The sky was white. Eventually I could discern sky from rock. A huge white monolith of rock filled the sky between the jungle canopy. The sight inspired us to walk a little faster, soon we reached the base of the mountain, walking another minute around the front of a huge boulder.

Tam: 'The first pitch, you climb here, haul on the blank slab'.

Tam was pointing at a vegetated gully. He had to meet some other guests for the cabins so left us to it. At breakfast we did rock-paper-scissors for the climbing order; Eddie was first, me second and Shawn third.

Eddie racked up while I took off all my clothes. I was completely drenched in sweat, head to toe. Even my shoes were completely saturated. I wrung as much sweat out my clothes as possible and hung them on a tree to dry. It was 10:50am, 2 hrs 10 min to get from the beach to the base of the climb, including 30 min for the water station. Eddie was ready to climb, Shawn and I weren't. I belayed Eddie in my underwear. I was supposed to go next but I asked Shawn if he could go instead, I wanted more time to dry my clothes.

Eddie hadn't gone to the top of pitch 1, only about half way, figuring it would be too difficult to haul the entire pitch. Shawn pulled up some extra slack from the jug rope and scrambled to the top of the first pitch. Eddie was struggling to move the pig. I jugged up under it, helping to push it up the slab to our tree anchor. We swapped the lead and tag ropes. Shawn hauled from our midway anchor and I led up behind the bag, muscling it up the gully through the trees. The first pitch took us 1hr 40min. It was 1pm before we were ready to tackle the second pitch. I stared up at the line.

The guide description read:
"Pitch 2a, 6c?, 25m. Turn the small overlap into a left facing corner then up right onto a ledge. Follow the cracks above ledge and slightly left to the "Kitten Walk", belay below the big tree. Alternatively, clip bolts to the left."

I looked at the line of bolts, then the rock to the right. I had absolutely no idea where the original start could possibly begin. I could see some thin vegetated cracks above, but no obvious links at the start for protection. I decided to go with the bolts. There were 4 bolts straight up from the grassy ledge. The first bolt looked like it was partially rusted. It was just out of reach from the ground. The second bolt was close, and then a potential ground fall between the second and third.

The start had a good undercling and a fused crack with a small groove in it to use as a sidepull or gaston. My first foot was a pebble to the right. After feeling the starting holds for a minute I decided to start with my hands crossed. Undercling with the left hand, gaston with the right, right foot on and bumped up to a sloper with right hand, I crimped it and clipped. The move was a brutal warm-up, and I could feel the full wait of the trad rack, I knew I would be pumped quickly. From here I moved my left hand to a side pull and moved up to my first decent hold, a medium sized jug, made a high clip and moved further up to what I hoped was another good hold, it wasn't. I matched hands on an awkward slanting crimp. I was starting to get pumped. I was at a small rooflet, I reached up for a hold with my right hand, damn! Sloper! I was pumped, one more move would put me to what looked like the next clipping hold, also into ground fall territory. I backed off and rested. I tried climbing straight up a couple more times before trying to the right. There was a thin crack in a left facing corner, the original line. I was too far away to reach out to it though. I had my legs in a split and arms fully splayed out, my finger tips could barely touch the thin crack. I gave up and decided to aid. I asked Shawn to pass me the aid gear. Hanging on the bolt I decided to place a sky hook on the slanting crimp. My BD talon had only just been delivered, I'd never used one before.

Black Diamond Talon

The placement didn't look awesome, the slant on the crimp not ideal. I knew to use it I would have keep my bodyweight as much as possible to the right, to oppose the angle on the crimp. I clipped my daisy chain into it and gingerly bounce tested the piece, it held. I clipped in my etrias and started moving my feet up the ladder. I took it slow, knowing if my weight shifted left the piece would blow. I used a fifi hook on my belay loop to keep steady. I reached the clipping hold for the next bolt. It was a terrible hold, another thin crimp. I clipped the third bolt and gave a sigh of relief. A ground fall on my first pitch would have been a buzzkill. From the third bolt was an awkward mantle onto a sloping ledge, I leaned out left to clip the last bolt. The was a good positive ledge above the bolt, though the angle a bit overhanging. I grabbed the ledge and skipped my feet up smearing on the wall. A slightly overhanging right facing corner crack was above me. I reached up to jam, I didn't have good feet, it was too hard to move my bodyweight. I mantled the ledge and jammed my left shoulder into the corner. Then awkwardly, bounced my shoulder up the wall, trying to keep hold on the crack with my free hand. Once I got my feet onto the ledge, the crack was challenging but enjoyable. A finger and hands crack with good gear, until it widened and disappeared. From here I could see the anchors to left. I had to traverse a sloping bulge. I had a good #4 camalot at my feet but couldn't see any pro above me. I had a dirt filled hole for my left hand, and an unusable sidepull for my right until I committed to moving my feet. I moved my left foot to a tiny bulge, held my breath and shifted my weight across. With a sigh of relief I was at the anchor.

Shawn and I at the anchor of Pitch 2a

Our anchor had a rusty bolt up high, two lower rusty bolts on the ledge, a small tree and a good #3 camalot in a high crack. I equalised the tree, camalot and high bolt. The other bolts were too low to use for hauling. I had no trouble hauling the pig in 3:1 as the route was steep and vertical. I soaked it all in, the view was amazing!

View from the anchor of Pitch 2a

It was 3pm before everyone was up on the ledge. The pitch had taken an hour and a half. Next up was Shawn on Pitch 2b.

Route description read:
"6b+, 15m, From “Kitten Walk” follow the obvious weakness, first right, then left to the "Cat Walk". Flakey/crumbling rock entering the “Cat Walk”."

Shawn climbed most of the pitch free, through the tree to a nice slightly slabby crack. The top half of the pitch the angle pushed out again. He also had to aid one move. Pitch 2b was over in 2hrs. It was now 5pm, we were at the Cat Walk, one of two good bivy spots on Waking Dream to spend a night.

Our strategy was to leave the pig and trad gear and rap to the ground on our two single fixed ropes. That way we could get a good sleep tonight, refill our camelbaks, hike in fast tomorrow morning and jug two pitches back to the Cat Walk. The hike back to the beach was only 45 min. We chilled out in the clear water of the beach, had dinner and went to bed early. Tam said he was get breakfast for us early tomorrow. We told him we planned to have breakfast at 6:30am.
Last edited by MichaelH on Wed May 04, 2016 1:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
A ninja probably would just dyno past all those crappy holds you used

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:57 pm


Part 3: Big Walls, Big Balls

Our alarms had us out of bed at 6:20am. Tam was preoccupied talking to some villagers. Kampung Mukut is not like the rest of Tioman. It doesn't have many guest houses, it's mostly traditional villagers. Tioman is a protected marine park, no fishing is allowed, except by the Mukut villagers, who are allowed to use traditional methods to catch fish. Tioman also has giant sea turtles. Two had come to lay eggs during the night. I could see the massive outline of churned sand from the turtles. The villagers were frantically digging up the eggs.

Ninja: 'What are they going to do with them?'
Shawn: 'Eat them.'

Turtles are protected and so eating or selling the eggs (which fetch a high price) is illegal. NGO's at various times have been in Tioman to educate people about protecting the marine life, but old habits die hard I guess. Tam ran off to fetch breakfast, even though he said it would be ready for us when we woke up. We were distracted chatting about the turtles. 7:30am, fuck! Tam was taking his sweet time. We debated leaving without breakfast. I suggested that was a bad idea. He soon arrived with breakfast though, and started our second walk-in by 8:00am. Leaving later than anticipated, the sun was out and temperatures were much hotter than the previous morning. Shawn was again struggling to keep pace on the walk-in. I had to go through my ritual of stripping down to my underwear to wring the sweat out of my clothes. Even though I was supposed to jug second, I asked Shawn to go ahead of me again so I could dry my clothes in the sun some more. It took us 1hr 20 min to jug the two pitches. 10:20am, Eddies turn for the sharp end. He walked 6 or 7m down the Cat Walk to the start of the pitch.

Route description:
“Pitch 3a – 6b?, 22m. From the right-hand end of the Cat Walk, access the dominating crack (bold start), and then follow it left under the Great Roof, Pendulum at the peg, then up to stance.“

Some bolts had been installed to avoid the bold start of Pitch 3. Eddie used them, but the rock was crumbling and fragile. Eddie broke a foothold but managed to stay on the wall. He balanced his way up the slab to the roof where the route traverses left. He began to freak out once he saw the piton he was supposed to be using. He placed another cam to back it up and taking his time, maneuvered under the roof to the anchors for Pitch 3a.

Eddie climbing Pitch 3a

I jugged up to the anchors, cleaning most of the gear, leaving some in place for Shawn to avoid overly dangerous pendulum swings. I freaked out a little at the sight of the anchors. A few rusty bolts and a green #0.75 C4 camalot. The spine of the cam was bending harshly around the side of the rock to equalise the anchor. There was an unused piton with a biner on it above Eddies equalised anchor.

Eddie: 'Can anchor up there.'
Ninja: 'Why don't you safety into that thing and I'll take the cam'.

However, I was climbing next so I needed to take it to be in the best position for the changeover. I clipped one safety to the master point and tried to clip the other the biner on the piton. The biner was frozen shut, not only the gate, but the actual biner on the piton. I struggled to angle the nose of my biner between the rock and the corroded biner. The piton flexed when I put my weight onto it. My heart was racing, but it held.

My first piece of protection for Pitch 3b

Eddie finished hauling the pack, he'd put his camelbak in the pig and was now desperate for a drink. He tried to yank his pack out but he ended up ripping the hose out of his camelbak. The water spilled into the bottom of the bag. I watched on as Eddie desperately grappled with the huge haul bag hanging below us, trying to recover the other half of his camelbak. All three of us were at a cramped hanging belay, one piece of bomber pro, and a cluster fuck of biners. I was pissed at Eddie for not using the rigging plates. We brought them specifically for this situation. I looked up at swathe of blank steep granite. I could see a couple of pins for a bolt ladder, and a bolt with a hanger up higher. The arching crackline was visible at the top of the pitch.

The route description read:
“Pitch 3b, 6c+?, 25m, Past the rivets into the beautiful finger crack. Balancy moves at the left end of the crack to reach the alcove.”

My first task was to aid off the shitty piton. I was really feeling the exposure now. The bolt ladder were tiny rivets, they looked like thumbtacks pressed into the wall. I had to use my peanuts, pull down the nut, loop the end of the wire over the bolt, and cinch the nut back up. I was having trouble getting the wire over the head of the bolt. The bolts were becoming deformed from corrosion. I was moving very slow.

Rivets on Pitch 3b

My heart was in my stomach every little movement I made. At the end of the aid ladder I got to another rusty, but beefier bolt with a hanger. I was now at a beautiful arching crack line. The only problem was the crack was filled with vegetation. Instead of trying to free climb I was ripping ferns out the crack to place cams. Accidentally, in trying to clean the crack, speared my eye with the end of a fern. It hurt quite badly. My eyes were watering and I was swearing. I aided most of the crack until near the top where I pulled back onto the wall to free climb. I managed a few moves before I was at steep bulge again, the anchors were right above me. I couldn't find a way to commit to the top. My rack felt heavy and my arms shaking. My last piece in free climbing was a #000 C3 micro-cam. I down climbed a bit to collect myself. Not trusting myself on the thin crimps through the bulge I decided to aid the last move to the anchors. I moved up again from my stance and held onto a crimp and placed a #0.5 C4 camalot in a shallow groove, at the very end of my reach on top of the bulge. The cam sat horizontal in the groove, the top two lobes of the cam barely touching the rock. I was getting pumped on the crimp, but managed to clip my daisy into the biner of the cam in time. I decided not to bounce test the piece, I didn't want to risk the lobes moving at all. There were no other options anyway. I could see a bomber placement only 30cm above the piece. I just pulled on the cam with my hands and reached up to place a good #0.3 C4 camalot. I clipped the rope into this and with a huge sigh of relief pulled up to reach the anchors. Finally I had a titanium bolt again. 3pm and Eddie and Shawn were at my anchor

View of Pitch 3b. The cool arching crackline shows the way

The route description for Pitch 4 read:
“Pitch 4 – 7c+R. 20m. From right-hand end of the alcove, access crack. Left into corner, then up to half foot ledge with two old bolts. Continue up thin seam above past rusty bolt to anchors on the left. **Warning** difficult gear through crux. Thin (Rps!) above ledge, with potential to fall onto the ledge. Pitch is traversing and steep, so lowering is difficult.”

Shawn free climbed the slightly overhung, blocky crack at the start of Pitch 4, before getting pumped and deciding to rest on gear. His first piece, a wallnut, popped from the crack and slid down the rope to Eddie. He aided another move before he was out of my sight.

Shawn on a rare free move at the start of Pitch 4

My eye was really sore now, I could still see fine, so I wasn't too worried, but my nose and eyes were running. I was sipping a lot from my camelbak and was starting to feel feint. I chewed on some lollies to get my energy back up. I couldn't see Shawn but could hear that he was aid climbing, and struggling to find the route. The belay ledge was very uncomfortable for me. It was sloping, Eddie was in the best position on the left of the alcove to belay. I was on the right, attempting to shift weight off my harness as best I could. I couldn't sit on the ledge without needing my safety to be tugging me back into the wall, or else I would slide off the ledge. Shawn had found the right route and reached the bolts. He was at the thin crack. Time to whip out the RPs. He bounce tested the first RP, it held, he stepped into the etria, the RP blew out. He was ok. I stood up now and leaned out to try to see Shawn. He placed another few pieces and got higher. Another RP. He bounce tested it. The piece blew. He zippered out the tricam below him as well. I heard Shawn scream and he came flying back into my field of view as he bounced off the ledge. I asked him if he was ok. He looked like he should have hurt his knees or ankles. He said he was fine, his butt had hit the ledge. I told him to take a few minutes for the adrenaline to subside, then check again if he was injured. Shawn pulled back up to his last piece to attempt to climb again, but decided to hand over the sharp end to Eddie. I checked the time, 5:10pm, just over two hours with my running nose and eyes, and an increasingly bad headache.

Later I found out the thread on the tricam ripped when loaded against the sharp crack

Eddie makes difficult work of getting back to Shawn's high point. The route is steep and traversing at the start. Eddie gets tired quickly and has to rest many times. He finally gets back to Shawn's last piece. I can't see him, but attentively listen for his calls while belaying. It takes him a while, but he manages to aid the thin crack and reach the anchors. Eddie wants to keep going, but he has no idea of the time. Our plan for the day was to do Pitch 6 and set up our bivy at “Garden Terrace”. It's 7pm, still light, but it will be dark in half an hour. I tell him we have to abandon our strategy, retreat and bivy back at the Cat Walk. It gets dark quickly, Eddie doesn't have a headtorch with him. He struggles to set an anchor and rap down. In the meantime Shawn and I gather as much food and water out of the haul bag as we think we'll need for the night, plus everyones sleeping gear. I pack my camelbak full of food, clip the 3L tub of water to my haul loop, and clip bits of sleeping gear to a gear sling.

We rap down Pitch 3 on the haul line back to the Cat Walk. It's slow going in the dark. I go first and have a tough time setting a redirect on a bolt so I can rap to the left hand end of the Cat Walk without being stranded in space. Landing in a dark tangle of rope and bushes at the end of the Cat Walk I slowly scramble unprotected back up to the anchors of Pitch 2. Then I fix a line for Shawn and Eddie to use as safety on the scramble.

9pm and we are all at the Cat Walk and preparing our hammocks and dinner. Pitch 4 had turned into a 4hr 30 min epic. It's now 6 hours since I finished Pitch 3, and we are back at the start of Pitch 2. There was only one decent spot for a hammock. A suspended placement between one of the titanium anchors and rusted dodgy hanger on the opposing right wall. My hammock was very long and wouldn't have fit anyway. Shawn snagged that spot. I attempted a few setups for my hammock. I used the far left bolt on the Cat Walk and extended one the stainless steel bolts in the middle so I could have a flat hammock which sort of wrapped around the wall. Unfortunately my hammock stretched too much, so my back was digging into a little rocky platform on the ground. I had an inflatable sleeping mat so tried using only one bolt, and laid the sleeping mat on the sloping ground inside the hammock. Too slopey, I slid down the Cat Walk to be caught by my safety, nearly loosing my sleeping mat in the process. In the end I went back to the bolts I used the first time, but with no extension. My hammock was wrapping around the rock, but was suspended high on the right side. I deflated my sleeping mat to half its capacity and used it to cushion my shoulder crushing against the rock. I slid down to lower half of my hammock and rested my feet out the end of it on the rope. Eddie dropped his ATC belay device while to trying to rack his gear for the night. It made a few pings on the hard granite before escaping to freedom over the edge into the darkness.

For dinner we had an apple, noodles with tuna, and some snickers bars. We used a Jetboil to boil some of the more sedimented water and used it in the noodles. At 11pm, obviously exhausted, we retired to sleep. I didn't get much sleep, I wasn't exactly comfortable, but was so tired I managed maybe 3 or 4 hours sleep. Shawn woke me in the middle of the night.

Poon: 'Michael, I can see lightning.'
Ninja: 'Its not moving towards us we'll be fine. We'll worry about it if it comes closer.'

I had no idea which way it was moving, I was just tired and didn't care. The view of the lightning on the horizon was pretty to cool to look at, I took it in for another few minutes before attempting to drift back to sleep.
A ninja probably would just dyno past all those crappy holds you used

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:03 pm


Part 4: Only for Monsters

I woke up at about 7am. Shawn and Eddie were already awake. Eddie had no sleep during the night. He was in a position like me, hammock jammed into the side of the rock, he'd tried both sitting and lying down, but hadn't drifted off at all. I think my sleeping mat had helped a lot. We packed up our sleeping gear. There was nothing to each or drink for breakfast, we had left the rest of the food in the haul bag. We didn't have room to descend with breakfast the night before.

Our morning sunrise from the Cat Walk

Ninja: 'Eddie, is my eye swollen?'
Eddie: 'No.'

I look at the photo.

Ninja: 'Yeah my eye is fucking swollen!'

Shawn and myself in our hammocks

My turn to jug first and lead the next pitch. Shawn said he wanted to go first to clean the gear off Pitch 4 and have a look at it. I wasn't packed up properly anyway. Eddie was the only one who needed to shit. I had done my business in the jungle yesterday before starting the climb. Unfortunately Eddie hadn't gone in an ideal spot for us on the Cat Walk. Shawn and I had to step over it before we could start jugging, it was dangerously close to the rope for our liking. I jugged up the fixed line after Shawn. When I started, I realised my harness was loose, I was ok but it freaked me out a little. I was very tired, my arms and legs were aching. I needed to rest frequently, every few metres. Today was going to be a battle.

Shawn jugging up Pitch 3 in the morning

I reached the top of the third pitch expecting to find a lifeless rope for me to jug the next pitch with. Shawn was still at the start of Pitch 4, struggling big time to clean the gear on the steeply traversing route. I was sweating and feeling very thirsty. I checked my harness. It was still on properly, the straps buckled at the same point as always, I realised I had lost weight over the past two days, probably all water. I cinched my harness a few cm tighter. I looked down and saw Eddie coming up. He wasn't using two ascenders but an ascender, leg prussic and a grigri. He was effectively 3:1 hauling himself up the rope.

Ninja: 'Is that any easier?'
Eddie: 'It requires less strength, but you have to make many more smaller movements.'
Ninja: 'It doesn't look easier, thats for sure.'

Eddie taking a selfie while he's supposed to be jugging Pitch 3

After Eddie reached the anchors, I attached haul rope to my harness and waited for Shawn to reach the top of Pitch 4 before jugging the final 20m. The Pitch 4 stance was worse than those on Pitch 3a and 3b. Another hanging belay, the rock bulging into towards you making the space tight. There was a titanium anchor and another stainless bolt which looked in good condition, plus a few rusty horror shows we were getting used to hanging off by now.

Here's one on Pitch 4 we didn't clip, and our Pitch 4 anchor

Eddie still didn't use the rigging plates. The master point was a cluster fuck of all our three roller biners. Shawn and I stared and laughed, we didn't care anymore. Shawn hauled up the pig a mile in front of Eddie who was ascending super slow at this point. Shawn and I decided to rearrange the pig to get the water off the bottom. Only I had the reach to get to the bottom. With our limited space we were storing and clipping things everywhere. I pulled the last bottle of water out of the bag, Shawn must have been leaning over me too much, my head bumped him. The apples he was holding for our breakfast went flying out of his grasp, smashing like little fireworks on the slab 50m below us. We just looked at each other. Instead of apples for breakfast Shawn and I had a handful of raisins. There were still dry noodles, some oat biscuits and packet of Mars Bars. Enough food to get us through the day, so not the end of the world. It was when we divvied up the water the reality hit home. When Eddie arrived we filled 2L of water in each persons camelbak. A funky looking 1.5L bottle was all that left. I suggested we climb as much we could until we run out water in our camelbaks. Then share the 1.5L on the rap down. We just spent 2hrs 50min jugging two pitches, and now 25 min screwing around with the pig at this uncomfortable belay station. 10:45am.

Pitch 5 route description:
“ Pitch 5 – 6c+, 25m, Just right and above the stance, follow the rivets and bolts to a crack. Right 5m at the ledge, then up the vertical crack, onto ledge and easily right to anchors.”

I could see the bolts at the start of Pitch 5, getting to them was another story. My arms were severely tired now. The only handhold for the start of Pitch 5 was a slopey hole in the granite. The first bolt was too far away to aid to off the anchors. I was seriously worried about a factor 2 fall onto the belay, Shawn and Eddie. I used my Etria on the anchor to get my feet up, and stepped out onto the other rusty anchor bolt with my right foot. Holding the hole very low I eased my left foot onto the other bolt, and reached up to sling a peanut over the first rivet bolt. There were 6 or 7 bolts in this bolt ladder, two of which were titanium, it felt like such a luxury. Two of the bolts even had rusty nuts on them, which I had to hand tighten after looping the wire over them. Unfortunately one of the nuts I couldn't unscrew when trying to recover my peanut. I tried, but couldn't budge it. I called down to Shawn to remember to grab it on the way up. I reached the last bolt. The crack was far to the right and I couldn't quite reach it. I had Shawn lower me a few metres and pendulum swung myself over to the edge of a wide crack and plugged in the big #4 camalot. I aided the crack, I was far too tired to free climb at this point. At the end of the crack I reached a sloping ledge. No more gear, all I could see was a rusty piton. I was dreading having to free climb the unprotected last 6m to the anchor. I sort of stared at the piton and sighed. I free climbed up to the ledge and clipped it, backed it up with some dodgy cams and mantled myself up on the small ledge. I made a nervous balancy traverse around the corner right to another gully, which I was able to climb easily to the anchors. I started to setup the anchor. 12:15pm.

Poon: 'Eddie and I have been talking, we're going to bail.'
Ninja: 'Come on, its still early, one more pitch, lets maximise our resources and time.'
Poon: 'Its going to take forever to get down, we should start now.'
Ninja: 'We still have time. One more pitch, that's all. The next pitch looks easy. We know the abseils and the walk-out. We can do the walkout in the dark if need be.'
Poon: 'Nah, Eddie doesn't have the energy to do one more pitch, we need to go, and we'll need the water we have now.'

Me at the anchors on Pitch 5

Eddie remained at the end of Pitch 4 and Shawn jugged up Pitch 5 to clean the gear. By now it was 1pm, another 2hr pitch for only 2 people. I had Eddie attach my camelbak to the haul line so I could at least bring myself up some water while waiting for Shawn. Pitch 6 didn't look too hard except for the start. It would have been nice to have at least made it to our planned bivy spot on Garden Terrace at the start of Pitch 7 and call it a day there.

Shawn cleans Pitch 5

Shaun is happy he didn't have to do the start of Pitch 6

Shawn abseiled down first. Pitch 5 was all traversing. The abseil was a nightmare. It had a sharp crack which we needed to try to keep the rope out of. I abseiled slowly, I needed to go down past the anchor of Pitch 4. Shawn attached the second rope to the bottom of my abseil line and I pulled it up and clipped it to my belay loop. Eddie pulled me in as much as possible, to get close to (but underneath) the anchor. Shawn fixed the second rope, and I used my ascenders to jug back to anchor at Pitch 4.

To get down, Eddie had to go first since he didn't have a belay device. We fixed a single line so he could abseil with his grigri, telling him he needed to set redirects to make it down to the Cat Walk. Eddie was kind of useless, abseiling too far, then he couldn't swing across anywhere to set redirects. He abseiled himself most of the way down the rope in blank space before he realised he was kind of screwed. He asked us to send him down the second rope. He then attached the two ropes together and passed the knot so he could get down to a ledge, which we though was at Cat Walk. Shawn and I begrudgingly hauled up the 120m of rope back to our anchor point to set up a regular double rope abseil. Shawn said he would take down the haul bag, I already had the trad rack and most of the gear on my harness.

I went down Pitch 4, trying not to make the same mistake as Eddie. The first piece I could swing to was a fixed nut three quarters of the way up Pitch 4. I grabbed the wire to clip my biner into it. It looked like it was about the blow. The wire rubbing against the edge of the crack as I clipped a draw into it was fraying the wire apart like cutting a rusty piece of bread. By the time I got my abseil rope into the draw there was only about three small strands of wire left attached the nut. I prayed the wire could hold on, I wouldn't be hurt if it blew, but I didn't want to re-ascend the abseil rope and have to set another redirect. I cautiously abseiled down about 4m, until I could lean across and clip one the bolts on the route for a second redirect. The route overhangs and traverses like Pitch 5. To get back to Pitch 3 I was trying to keep myself on the side of a right facing corner which angled down left back to the alcove of Pitch 3. As I get closer and closer to the anchor I struggle to keep myself on the sloping corner, I look for other gear placements to set redirects but there aren't any. I'm only a few metres from the anchor now, the tension on the rope pulling me quite hard. Crack! My handhold breaks. I pull a head-sized rock out from the side of the corner. It pulverises into the slab below, leaving a huge white mark on granite, and sails into the trees at the bottom of the cliff. I'm spinning in the air, arms and legs flailing. Once I stop, I look around. Shit, I'm in space, way out from the wall. I can barely get one toe to the wall leaning fully sideways. When I say barely, I mean it. It takes about 5 pushes from my big toe to get swinging enough to get my foot to the wall. The next push I can finally get swinging properly. I realise I can't swing far enough in to get back to the corner. I keep the momentum going and rap down past the anchor. I swing right to a small tree and catch the end of branch. I pray it doesn't break on me. I pull myself back to the wall and climb some loose blocks up to the left side of the alcove and back to the anchor of Pitch 3b.

I've done the rest of the abseils before so they are no drama. I arrive back at the Cat Walk, expecting to see Eddie chilling on the anchor. He's not there. I here a voice.

Eddie: 'Pass me a rope!'

I look down to see Eddie crouched in some bushes. He had been unable to get himself to end of the Cat Walk and was stuck on a lower smaller ledge to the left with no protection. I chuckle at him for a second then fix the slack end of my abseil line to a tree.

Ninja: 'Enjoy the spikes.'

Eddie was only a few metres away but standing between him and me were some thick, spiky bushes. Eddie, got to within 1m of the ledge and was stuck. He was getting skewered every which way by the breaking branches of the shrubs as he tried to force his way back up to Cat Walk. Shawn was back down now with the haul bag, there wasn't enough space for the three of us. I scrambled back up the Cat Walk, sidestepping Eddies poo to fix another safety line. I took a sip from my camelbak, out of water for the day. 4pm and all three of us were safely back at the anchor of Pitch 2. Four abseils had taken 3 hrs. I contemplated that while we could have done Pitch 6, it was more reasonable to get back to the beach before sunset. I took a moment to chill while Shawn set the abseil for Pitch 2. Fuck! I remembered my green peanut was still stuck on Pitch 5, we'd forgotten it.

5:21pm and back on the ground again. The biners on the haul bag had seized up. I couldn't take out the waist strap from the pig and reattach it for hiking. I offered to carry the haul bag. It was as light as it could be, but still feeling pretty heavy after the past three days. Without a waist band it was sliding all over the place on my back, throwing me off balance on the steep walkout. I ended up cutting my hands on some spiky ferns when I tripped over near the base of the climb.

Spiky ferns in the Tioman jungle

We arrived back Mukut beach by 6:02pm.

Finishing photo

My hips were sore as shit from 33 unbroken hours wearing a harness, with so much time at horrible belay stances (Pitch 4 and Pitch 3). We ditched our gear and soaked our aching muscles in the warm water of the sea. We told Tam about our climb. He did his little dance, “Welcome to the Jungle!”.

Tam invited us to a BBQ with the locals. We ate rice, freshly caught salmon and some of the chickens that woke us up early the first day. I asked Tam that night about how realistic it was to do Waking Dream in our proposed time frame of 3 days. He said something in Malay I didn't pick up. Shawn translated for me.

Shawn: 'He said “Only for monsters” '
A ninja probably would just dyno past all those crappy holds you used

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:08 pm


Part 5: Reflections

Tam organised a boat back to Kampung Genting for us the next day. Shawn and I planned to go diving (video of Shawn diving and buy some duty free alcohol. In the morning we organised gear and collected our thoughts on the climb. My shins were bruised from leaning into the etrias while jugging all the time. My hips were so sore I couldn't wear my shorts over my hips properly. The night before Tam had showed us his log book. Everyone who climbs a new route at Tioman submits an original topo, description and trip report. Everyone who repeats a climb gives a brief trip report. I realised not very many people climb at Tioman. Tam was right, most people only ever climb Damia Sentosa. Most other climbers in the book who had completed routes were sponsored climbers. In the morning Tam shouted us breakfast again.

Breakfast with the local cats

Mukut Jetty in the afternoon

I re-read over all the trip reports of Waking Dream in the morning with a sharper mind. Most people only ever finished the climb in 4-6 days. I read a trip report which sounded eerily similar to our experience. Only one guy had ever done it in two days, he was also the only person to free climb the route. A guy called Dave Sharrat (watch him climb

Shawn and I dissected our experience. I had never actually thought we would finish the climb, but Tam had really boosted our confidence with the 'be technical, not strong, its easy after Pitch 3, just enjoy the climb' speech. We mused that he had climbed it with Arnaud Petit over six days. Hadn't actually climbed all the pitches; though they were carrying about 100kg worth of water, food, trad gear, bolts and bolting gear. The earlier pitches may have felt like a crux to him. I really don't think he set out to mislead us, he just related his experience. He's used to dealing with super hardcore climbers. We could talk the talk so he didn't doubt we walk the walk.

One thing we weren't used to was climbing on granite. The free climbing felt ridiculously hard, we were climbing at our limits. Unless you are Tommy Calwell you need to be climbing a few grades below max when it comes to big walls. The free climbing was way steeper and blanker than I imagined. I expected some blank sections, it is an aid climb afterall, but I had never envisioned the climbing being so sustained.

Waking Dream was steep, blank granite

There is no decent granite rock to train on in KL, only limestone. The only way to get better at the style would be more climbing at Tioman. You could argue we should have started with the Dragon Horns easiest route, Damai Sentosa, instead of one its more serious and committing climbs, but Shawn and Eddie were keen for a trad experience, and that's what excited me about the climb as well. The other climbs with their corroding bolts will still be there for us next time.

We didn't have enough cardio fitness. I physically don't think I could have carried more water than what I did on that first day. If we needed more water, it would have meant more trips to the water station, more hiking in the jungle. Hiking in the jungle is what causes you to loose the most water, so its a trade off. More water would have meant harder hauling, slower progress, so then you need more water!

We needed to be better at jugging ropes. Ascending lines needs to be your bread and butter when climbing a big wall. It's supposed to be the easiest part. I only did about 220m worth of jugging on Waking Dream, and my arms were totally fucked from it which takes away your free climbing ability. If you plan to climb something seriously big, jugging 100m of rope needs to be a nice little warm up for the arms. If you climbed the Nose you would at a minimum have to jug and clean just over 500m as the easy part of the climb.

We needed to clean gear faster. Cleaning aid climbs is much harder than cleaning when free climbing, there aren't any holds on the wall to use for leverage. You need to do tricky body weight tension moves, fiddle with safeties, take huge swings across the wall and attempt to not cut the rope.

We needed to strategise better. We should have organised who climbed what pitch better. I should have taken the crux pitch, since I'm the best at trad and I have a longer reach. I could aid to higher and potentially better placements. In saying that, you can't know exactly what a pitch is going to be like until you are climbing it. We should have had a ration system for water. Maybe 1L for every 30m of climbing progress, plus 1L for breakfast and 1L for dinner. If someone was struggling, we could up their ration from someone else who was feeling better. We drank too much water that first day. I know I took an extra 1.5L out of the haul bag. I should have struggled through the first day without it.

We could have been faster at aid climbing, though I don't think I was that bad at it. I certainly hesitated at the bolt ladders too much. Aid climbing is very repetitive, aiding fast is the same as trad climbing fast; place gear, trust its bomber, clip and move on. I would stare at the next rusty piece in the bolt ladder, contemplating the universe. What poor life choices did I make to get myself in this position? There is only two ways to go when climbing, up or down. If you aren't going to go down then just clip and go, don't be a pussy about it, big walls… big balls. I was aiding faster on gear placements since I was more confident in them.

Shawn and I have climbed together for 8 years so know each others calls and abilities really well. Shawn hasn't done much hard trad in the past four years since leaving Australia and I think he was further out his depth than he realised. Eddie comes from a different background. We didn't climb with him enough beforehand. In saying that, it was only a minor thing in context. Shawn and I were both experienced enough to deal with it. Eddie did get us through that crux pitch when Shawn couldn't do it and my eye was swelling up.

I was happy with what gear we took, we didn't have too much or too little. Getting good ascenders, the good haul bag and the pro-traction for hauling was so worth it in the end. Even the rigging plates made my belay stations a breeze with three people. Sometimes I felt like I took too much gear on individual pitches, but again, its hard to know. You just look up at a pitch and give it your best estimate.

It might sound like we were far away from finishing our first big wall, we did 5 out of 11 pitches (or 8 out of 16 if you count sub-pitches, there is no way we could've linked the pitches the guide suggested!). I honestly think if we had done a few things 5 to 10% better, and got through that crux pitch in 2 hrs instead of 4 hrs 30 min, we would have done Pitch 5, then finished Pitch 6 in the dark. Had our planned bivy at Garden Terrace, then from there it was always going to be quicker to go up rather than down, irrespective of whether we ran out of water. It would have been a very dangerous proposition, considering how fast we were moving, but I think if we got close enough we would have just finished the thing on adrenaline.

All in all, I had an amazing experience, and I would do it all again one day. Remember, just enjoy the climb.

Our journey up Waking Dream

Safe climbing,
A ninja probably would just dyno past all those crappy holds you used

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:00 pm

Mt Grenville 3/4

Due to attendance issues our Mt Cooroora trip was changed to a Mt Greville trip. This still meant a great day at a relatively unknown area. The specific crag we were going to was called ‘Little Springfield’. The drive was quite interesting, with Adam’s car just running on empty when we got the crag carpark. The walk-in was quite short, and lead us to a small crag with a mix of overhung walls and slabby, ledgey technical climbs. The floorspace at the crag was cosy and uneven; Pat’s camping chair wasn’t particularly keen on being stable for the day.


Popular climbs of the day were The Quicky Mart(22), Maggies Dummy Spit(19), Snowball(17), Jimbo the Enforcer(21), and Marge(13). The day ended with pretty much everyone giving The Quicky Mart a solid shot on lead. It was a solid overhang start, with too many slopey rubbish holds to choose from. It then progressed through a few awkward moves as the wall moved to slab. The day rounded up and we headed back to the carpark. The drive home was fairly uneventful (besides the close call of almost running out of fuel), most passengers taking a solid nap after the big day.

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:04 pm

Slider Report 9/4

The weather was looking great as we headed north for our first Slider trip of the semester. We met at the beloved Glasshouse bakery before going to the carpark. Sunscreen was applied, and gear gathered before venturing off to the crag. I’m not sure who left Quickie in charge of directions… but we finally made it to Lower slider.


Some of the Cliffhangers crew had already done a few climbs by the time we got there, so with no delay we were into it. The wall was filled with climbers on Lower Slider, some leading, some seconding. Plenty of our new members were continuing to progress their skills of lead belaying and cleaning anchors. Some of the members were up the cliff, at Upper Slider; home to the best known climbs in the area. Slider(22), Squealer(23), Howler(24), and Wailer(25) were getting some heavy traffic. The weather was fantastic all day, with clear views off the mountain. The day finished up around 3pm with everyone happy with the day’s climbing.

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:11 pm

Urbenville 16-17/4

Any camping trip is always set to be a great time, and Urbenville was no exception. Urbanville is a tiny town surrounded by farming, rolling hills and rocky cliff faces. Our camping area was not to far out of town, next to Tooloom Falls. Most of us chose to drive down to the northern New South Wales town late Friday night. We pitched our tents in the dark and made a decent fire (courtesy of the engineering brilliance of Clément and TJ). On our first climbing day we headed off to the Pines. I think everyone could agree that the walk-in was a bit too far (literally 3 meters). It was an area of black textured rock and fun climbs. It was a great day of climbing ending with an impressive climbing by Adam, ending with a badly dislocated shoulder. As the sun went down, we all enjoyed a cool dip under the waterfall.


The second day we all headed to a different crag called ‘The Crown’. The walk-in distance was a great contrast from the day before, with a solid 15 minute up-hill slog. This brought us to a slab wall with minimal holds and challenging climbs. Andrew and Josiah went for a couple of Multis while everyone else enjoyed the smeary, slopey goodness. The climbing was very different to what most of us were used to. It definitely makes all of the crimps at KP seem like jugs! Most of us completed 3 or 4 climbs by the day’s end before heading back to the campsite. Some of us took the time for a final swim under the waterfall before packing up and driving back to Brisbane. Thank you Urbenville, we’ll be back!

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:18 pm

Tibro Multipath 23/4

Due to our previous multi trip turning in to a pub trip (due to torrential rain) this was our first of the semester. It was a relatively small crowd attending, which isn’t always a bad thing, especially for multipitches. Josiah, Clément, Woodie(Dani), Andrew, Carl, Shaun, Choppy(Tom), and Joseph came along for the fun. Josiah and Woody got a head start on the rest of us and were already into the second pitch of Aphelion before Brendan and Carl, and then Clément, Joseph and Andrew, headed up the 5 pitches of Troposphere. Choppy and Shaun ventured off to conquer Zeitgeist. Everyone, minus the Zeitgeisters, met up at Halfway House for some single-pitch fun on Hungry Beast(20), The Elite Republican Guard(24), Voluptuous(24) and Love Honour and Belay(25).


After much relaxing the weather began to close in. With the breeze picking up and dark clouds moving in we decided to finish up. Another group of climbers were heading down the main rap point at the Clemency climb, so we (following Brendan’s advice) decided to rap down from Aphelion, further around the wall. The end result was 7 people crammed in to a set of Anchors, half way down the wall, fiddling with a rat’s-nest of gear.


It was actually a great experience, learning to work with interesting situations, like rappelling on and overhung climb, fitting lots of people on a rap station, and working with EDK’d ropes. We finally made it back to solid ground. Overall, a great day on the mountain.

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Re: Trips and Events Log

Fri May 13, 2016 6:48 pm

The things you do for the things you love... waking up at 3:45 in the morning. Woodie, Andrew, Clement, and I had decided to climb Ruby of India; a five pitch, 210m trad multipitch up the imposing east face of Mt Maroon. None of us had ever been to Mt Maroon before and apart from Andrew, it was our first trad multi. We decided that getting an early start would be a good idea to avoid a nighttime epic. Woodie and I picked up Clement, then Andrew, and were driving out of Brisbane by 4:30AM.
Maroon sign.jpg
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We arrived at the carpark around 6ish. The walk in is something I’m sure most cliffhangers would cringe at the thought of: 1.25 hrs up a steep ridge on the northeast side of Mt Maroon. We then had some difficulty finding the start of the climb. I think most of the confusion stemmed from the fact that Egg rock, being a rectangular pillar, looked nothing at all like an egg.
Maroon East Face.jpg
The imposing East Face of Maroon.
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We eventually found the start of the climb and looked up at the intimidating 200m of cliff that towered above us. It was decided that I would lead with Clement my second, and Andrew lead with Woodie following. It was about 8:00 by the time I started climbing the first pitch. Although the pitch was relatively easy, route finding was tricky, with lots of different cracks, chimneys, and everything in between. Being a predominantly sport climber, I was not used to this very adventurous style of climbing, where a number of various lines up the cliff are all regarded as the one route. With a lot of up climbing and down climbing I eventually made my way to the belay ledge, set my first ever trad anchor, and belayed Clement up. Without the added difficulty of route finding, Andrew and Woodie made quick work of the first pitch.
Ruby of India first pitch.jpg
Me starting the first pitch of Ruby of India.
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The second pitch involved a moderate (grade 14) move off the ledge and then an easy, zig zagging scramble up a series of corners and ramps. After climbing what turned out to be the correct route, I down scrambled almost the entire pitch and ended up on the grade 15 variant (apparently someone is not so good with directions). This was a vegetated corner which turned it to a chimney up the top. It was a desperate struggle for both Clement and I who later agreed it was the crux pitch. I completed the second pitch, meeting Andrew at the belay ledge who had casually strolled up the correct pitch during my desperate struggle on the variant.

With Andrew and Woodie waiting, I made my way up the third pitch, which at grade 15/16 is the crux pitch of the multi. I ended up doing more downclimbing after going past the anchors and running out of rope (btw a 50m 9.1mm rope is awesome for walk ins). Clement crushed the third pitch like a boss. We then made quick work of the last two pitches, which were a “pick your own line” style of climbing. There was no need to set an anchor at the top as I was able to body belay Clement from the comfort and safety behind two boulders with a fist sized crack in between. Clement topped out at 1:40 and we had celebratory sandwiches and soaked up the awesome view.
Climbing bliss.jpg
Woodie waiting for Clement and I to finish the third pitch.
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For Woodie and Andrew, the third pitch was proving to be quite the road block. After multiple attempts to get past a tricky section near the start, Andrew lowered back down to the belay ledge with his confidence crushed and his body broken. Luckily, Woodie was able to come to the rescue. After having spent two recent weekends placing gear at frog buttress she was able to take the reins and confidently lead up the third pitch, placing gear and building a trad anchor at the top. I think Andrew owes Woodie a beer (or maybe a cider) for that one.
Selfies at the top.
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Despite making good time on the last two pitches, the struggle on the third pitch had taken a large chunk of the day from Woodie and Andrew, who eventually topped out around 4:15PM. After snacks and compulsory selfies we started heading down the mountain. I had eyed off a Maroon single-pitch classic “Jezebel” in the guide and was not going to let the threat of darkness stop me from climbing it. Woodie and Andrew stuck around to watch me then continued down the ridge as I belayed Clement up. Darkness had truly fallen by the time we had finished the climb.
Me climbing the grade 16 crag classic, Jezebel.
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We made quick progress down the ridge with my unique Josiah Hess style of walking, which Clement begrudgingly referred to as “running”. We arrived at the car park at 6:15, only 5 min after Woodie and Andrew. They were much slower on their descent as Woodie had forgotten to bring her head torch.
From the boot of the car Andrew unveiled a cooler bag with a six pack in it and we had victory beers in the car park. We then stopped at the Dugenden pub in Boonah for a feed and then made our way back to Brisbane.

Good times had by all.
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