Saturday, 13 July 2013

20 20 at 40

Life as I dream it would be without climbing

So I just turned 40, and I decided that instead of taking this lying down with a beer in hand, I would tackle it head on and then probably have a lie down with a beer in hand.

A little while back a friend of mine, Gareth, had a 20  20’s day at Frog Buttress which I thought sounded awesome, especially given my penchant for big days, like doing all the Henry Barber routes in a day at Frog Buttress and then again at Arapiles, both of which I had attempted previously.

With a little digging however I discovered that the 20 20’s done by Gareth was an average. For example, if you do a 22 you could then do an 18. So I decided I would have to one up this and do 20 x grade 20’s or above. Can’t let a northerner out shine you!

So with very little planning and a few frantic emails to get belayers the mission was on, somewhat.

Getting ready at the bottom of the watchtower with Gareth
The problems I then discovered were that 1) not all the routes were that close together 2) it’s winter 3) the days are short (very short) and 4) it’s potentially very cold and wet.

But what else to do on your 40th than ‘ave a go ya mug!

So after arranging with Gareth* to meet at his house around 7am and Cath as support/photographer, it was on! The weather forecast was not looking the best but we headed up to the watchtower wall any way.

Rapping off the first 3 pitches.

Watch Tower Wall
1&2. Auto de fe 21, both pitches. Hmmm some warm up! A little harder than I remembered.
3. Fly lichen eagle 20, 2nd pitch only. Never done this one before so it was a gamble, but it was fine and saved some time as we could leave a rap rope in place!

Next we headed to Voodoo Wall
4. Chinese algebra 21. Man almost botched this one and its only pitch 4, eek!
5. Aussie logic 21. Went down with out much of a fight.
6. Wasp 20. Also went quickl

Pitch 4: Chinese Algebra 21
Pitch 5 Aussie Logic 21
Pitch 6: Wasp 20

Pitch 9: Streetwise 21, about to have a moment!

Then it was off around to Rats Alley wall

7. Striptease Parade 20. Nice slab but not much gear so was nice and quick.
8. Osmond Terrace 21. Same as the last.
9. Streetwise 21. I had never done this one before either, so again it was a gamble and this time it nearly didn’t pay off. I ended up getting a bit lost, but managed to keep it together.

Next it was across to New Image wall
10. New Image 20. Had done this a little while ago so was fairly straight forward.

Suport team members Gareth, Squib and Grug
After new Image it was time for a change of belayer: Gareth headed home to hang with his family and Squib from the Isle of Man, who always pops up at the most random of times took over.
Support Team Ross Simon and Emma
Pitch 12 Hidden Secrets 22

11. Continuum 21. Fairly straight forward.
12. Hidden secrets 22. Easy for 22, but hey I’ll take what I can get at this stage.

Unlucky Pitch 13 done and dusted! No future 21

Had to move on again and headed over to Tiger Wall

13. No Future 21. Getting tired and almost slipped off ….......Almost unlucky 13!

Change of Belayer: Squib headed off to try his project with Grug and the wannabe media mogul Ross Talor took over

14&15. The Good the Bad the Ugly, 20 first 2 pitches. Wasn’t to bad, this climb I was in my element – awkward cracks, still getting tired.

Pitch 16: Mind Games 20, a very close call

Then it was off to Golden Fleece Wall

16. Mind Games 20. WOW!!!!!, what a fight - messed it all up, thought I was off numerous times, but some how managed to tick, VERY tired.
17. Nightlinger 20. Took this slow and easy, but it was all fine.

Tanin wall
18. Wraith 21. Surprisingly wasn’t too bad!
19. Tannin Direct 20. Managed to kick my wire out when I was over the roof and very pumped. Fortunately more wires came to hand fairly quickly!!!

Buried somewhere in the Wizard of Ice 20, Pitch 20

Last change of belayers: Ross headed home to look after his son Paddy and the ever verbose Simon Madden fresh from sending his proj Ergonomics stepped in to finish the day.

20. Wizard of Ice 20. What a route, this route scares most people on a good day let alone as pitch 20 in the rapidly diminishing light! I started well and got through the first wide section but then after a lot of hollering and grunting collapsed in a heap 3/4 of the way up this last bit so close to the easer climbing. This one was always going to be a very big gamble. I was lowered off in a smoldering heap feeling ill and completely exhausted plus a little incoherent.

This is when the support team sprung in to action, Simon can up with another last route and the team convinced me to do this one more route!

20b. Pilot Error 20. In the dark, with arms cramping so much they were getting stuck at right angles, fortunately though this short little one move wonder had big enough jugs to haul myself through to the top!

20.75 pitches of 20+ on a winters day to celebrate turning 40 surrounded by great friends who helped me all the way. Such an awesome birthday and one I won’t soon forget!

Thanks to
And of course Cath who was there to help the whole day!

Some Stats:
690m Climbed
432 grade point**!

More Photos can be found at: 20 20's at 40

The Beer at the end of a great day!

* Might as well get help from the one you’re trying to one up ;o)
** number of pitches multiplied by grade

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