|Space Roof. Trippy man.|
Since sending Procal Harum, I craved more of this style. However, the hot temperatures got worse and Melbourne eventually logged its hottest summer in history. We are so lucky to be a part of this historic year (note sarcasm). During the heat wave, I did try a few hard routes in desperation. Some mentionables were: India, which felt impossible in the heat, Masada, which was pretty cool and Cobwebs which I liked a lot and could do every move on, except for getting off the ground! But nothing was that steep trad battle that I dreamed about. And climbing hard in 35'C heat is HARD. Just so you know
So we found some other things to do in the heat....
|Complaining in the van...|
|Hanging out with our good friend El Jimador|
|Sun tanning. Do you think I've had too much sun?|
We took a break while the heat continued (...again) and then hiked around the Grampians in search of trad steepness and found the testpiece of the dark arts, The Ogive, 5.13a. Little did I know that a play session on this route would pave the path to me finding my dream route and it all started with a guy named Adam Demmert, a man that I was obviously meant to cross paths with. Adam joined me for a go on The Ogive and later he reccomended a route that he put up, another massive 35m roof crack that he thought I would like.
|Did I mention this waterfall? This place is heaven!|
|Adam takes a spin on The Ogive, one of the wildest roof cracks out there.|
|"Im stuck in a sandstone cage of emotion!"|
Malice is hands down the most amazing and challenging route I have ever tackled. Although not entirely a roof, it is mind blowingly steep and literally uses every trick in the book. It has the perfect mixture of powerful bouldering, technical trickery, funky crack climbing, exposure and adrenaline. Ground up was the only option on this route, due to its traversing/overhanging nature, and the first try I couldn't even make it to the top. It climbs very boldy sideways without the option to aid through most of the difficult sections and it was dirty and had barely any chalk on it. This style was kind of intimidating to me and I learned a lot just trying to wrap my head around it.
I was really happy that I didn't give up as I found it rather height dependent at first, and usually I would just move on. It had several sections that seemed more difficult if you're short, like a really low key foot in the crux, an awkward dyno right at the end and I invented about 5 holds to reach the key hand jam in the beginning. But the movement was so much fun that I decided to just embrace the challenge.
|The Olive Cave, where Malice resides, sits on the bottom rock tier and just behind the olive farm.|
|The Olive Cave|
|Malice 5.12d takes the prominant left-most leaning crack, straight out/sideways to the black horizontal roof at the top.|
It felt incredibly hard on my first two tries. I suprisingly one hung it on my third try, I ended up taking the whipper I feared on my fourth, and I could then relax and sent it on my fifth try...BARELY sticking the final dyno... I'm conviced that I levitated.
I really loved this route. It was perfect and I am so happy! I found out later that this was the first female ascent and just the fourth ascent too. Kinda cool to be a part of the first few on a climb that I will never forget. Despite not necessarily being the hardest graded thing I have ever done, it definitely felt like one of the best challenges I have faced on the rock. Huge thanks to Adam Demmert for putting up such a great line, and in really good style.
Now things have cooled down it seems. Unfortunately though, a very large portion of the Grampians are closed right now (and probably for years) due to the fires. So the obvious next step in my steep trad quest is closed indefinitely. Boo :(
But we cannot complain, just going with the flow now and enjoying the days we have left! Kyle is crushing rocks again too, which is a blast to watch. Most importantly though, we are both very happy!
I guess the next post will be the last....as we are now on the final stretch!