Easter 2005 in the Blue Mountains

This Easter a bunch of Melbournian climbers migrated north to the Blue Mountains. We climbed ourselves silly, drank lots of coffee, enjoyed many an easter egg and sampled the not-so-rugged new aged yuppie bolt clipp’n climber’s lifestyle.

There were quite a crew of us up there from uni clubs and crags all over the place. Cath and myself representing the LUMC contingent, Heidi the sole ex-LUMC’er, Rich from RMIT outdoors club, Neats, Adam, Anthony from USYD, Dan (mine and Heidi’s housemate), KC ex-Monash Outdoors, Rachel from USYD, and two bonus people who stayed for a night but somehow managed to remain anonymous.

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Adam, Heidi, Anita, me and Rich

For me, extended climbing trips of late have been comfy affairs. Easter last year a bunch of us booked a holiday house in the Blueys. Last June, we enjoyed a mansion complete with spa, sauna and pool in Nowra. Unless its free bush camping, staying in the caravan parks up in the Blueys is expensive. If there is a crew it can actually work out cheaper to rent a house. We secured Glimpses a cosy home with a wood heater in Blackheath. It was a short walk from town, the train and much of the quality climbing.

Heidi, Anita, Adam and me flew to Sydney on the Wednesday before Easter and stayed the night at Heidi’s sister Krista’s place. The next morning, we hijacked her car and headed west, arriving in Blackheath a couple of hours later. After dumping our stuff at Glimpses we enthusiastically raced to Celebrity Crag. Efficient, energetic and fresh (qualities that were quick to fade as the trip progressed!), we climbed the crag out, all seven routes in a couple of hours. Heidi on-sighted her first 23!

The next day saw the arrival of Cath and Dan and climbing for the rest of us at Porters Pass and Centennial Glen. Over the next few days we climbed heaps of quality crags scattered around the mountains including Pierces Pass, Big Top, Wave Wall, Bowen’s Creek and Logan Brae.

Climbing at Pierces Pass was amazing, as the cliff is huge and offers sport routes up to 300 metres. On Saturday morning Rich, Heidi, Adam and myself were keen to get started on some of the mega long climbs. Me and Adam were so keen we were even talking of attempting two of these mega long routes. Despite our ‘alpine start’ (an alpine start is where you get up with the sun and out climbing very early), we didn’t touch rock until the afternoon. We managed to get lost finding the crag carpark, and when we finally found it, we proceeded to take the wrong path three times (there were only three paths!). After bushbashing, scrambling down gullies and crossing a river, we found the routes. It was now approaching midday so we had lunch before rapping into the gorge.

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Too much to smile about! Me & Adam on Weaselburger (23), Pierces Pass

Me and Adam started up Weaselburger, a 200 metre grade 23. Although the rock was a little crumbly in places, the climbing and atmosphere were just spectacular. Rich and Heidi jumped on Light of the Mirrorball, a classic 180 metre grade 21. It was getting late and all of us tired by time we finished the climbs. We returned home to find the Easter bunny had been busy scattering eggs all over the house (with a little help from Cath, Dan and Anita).

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Me on Surprise Package (24), Logan Brae

The final days were spent relaxing, climbing and experimenting with local bakeries. We had to leave the house by Thursday so after a day of steep sloper pulling at Logan Brae, Anthony and I caught the train to Sydney. Sydney has some excellent urban bouldering crags, so on Friday me, Heidi and Anthony went exploring. We piled into Anthony’s van and headed northwest of the city to Baulkham Hills. We went to the ‘trenches’ area, where the walls are around 2-3 metres high with a variety of stuff at all grades. Everything we tried was excellent and enjoyable. Considering the amount of climbing we had done over the last week, we were exhausted after a few hours.

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Heidi bouldering steep roof problem up out of cave at Bulkham Hills (V3)

Weary and sweetly shagged, we boarded the plane home to Melbourne at 1030pm. Just after take off, I noticed Heidi sleeping peacefully. They serve wine on the late night flights, so I nursed a glass of red and dozed all the way home. What a fantastic trip!

-Jackie B-

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