All good things come to an end unfortunately and though it was sad to finish up our great Australian adventure, I'm still really happy as it feels like the beginning of an injury free wave for me and Kyle. And the beginning of the Ontario climbing season, conveniently! Despite our bad luck with fires and record breaking heat this trip, you could say that it was mother natures way of taking care of us. The heat forced us to take it easier on our bodies and the fires kept me away from a hard routes that I dream of, and so more the reason to return as well.
Our last stretch had its ups and downs. Mostly the ups and downs of our own personal climbing peaks and valleys. I felt rather lost you could say after climbing my steep trad fantasy, Malice. I've grown so much as a trad climber this trip, but I was lacking any sort of confidence in my ability to sport climb hard still. It seemed only fitting to head to the famous Taipan Wall as it was just coming into season and I had heard from so many locals that "the rock there is unlike anywhere in the world". And after my first day there I was totally sold. The rock is probably the most solid and amazingly sculptured stone that I have ever climbed on. It has a style unlike anywhere. The routes are bold, with protection being a mixture of bolts and gear, but the climbs are so long that the falls are clean and huge! So fun. The climbing is surreal, consisting of mostly sloping holds, technical body positioning and power. And the cliff stands at a massive 70m tall.
|The beautiful Taipan Wall and me coming to grips with the strange cruxes of Snake Flake|
|Beccasaurus Rex making great progress on the dynamic Snake Flake. |
That is The Invisible Fist all chalked up to the right.
|A totally unnecessary no-hands on the immaculate Invisible Fist|
After a great first day of hitting up some beautiful classics, my eyes started to wander to a route that is regarded as the best pitch of climbing in Australia, and maybe even the world. I was nervous though, as I haven't even tried a 5.13 in over a year (due to injuries), but I really felt that I needed to just go and see where I was at with regards to my healing/strength. And no better climb to have a play on then the world famous Serpentine. Heaps of thank-you's to Adam Demmert for these pictures!
|Utilizing the 'Leslie Timms invent-a-hold technique'. You can see Kyle peaking out below!|
|Hanging in there for 40m of ultra-sustained rock climbing perfection.|
Luckily my mind is really strong right now, so it made up for my lack of grip strength and endurance. I am proud to of hung all the gear myself, I cruised the notoriously heady opening sequence and I made it to the top on my first try (after over 2 hours of belaying hell for Kyle). And Serpentine is hands down the most amazing pitch of 5.13 climbing that I have ever touched in my life. The rock is perfect, the moves are perfect, and the mixture of bolts, cams and wires, well that is perfect too.
I put in 3 tries of work on it and I was completely obsessed. But I couldn't ignore what my body was trying to tell me either. I knew deep down that my hand wasn't ready for this route and I needed to take it easier, be patient with my healing and let this one go. So, I decided to be the smart climber I have never been and focus on long term healing, rather than a short term gain. It was a rather difficult decision to take my gear down. I pouted in the van for days.
|Obsess much?? Yeah thats right, I wrote out 6 pages of Serpentine beta. This is gold.|
We WILL return.
I'm glad things worked out as they did however because Kyle and I had an absolutely amazing last week of climbing together. We set a rule to ourselves to only climb 5.12c and under for the rest of the trip and we wanted to experience what Mt. Arapiles was like when it wasn't 40'C... AND IT IS AMAZING!!! The best part of all was that Kyle and I were actually climbing together again, injury free, trying hard, and for the first time in almost 2 years. Kyle was destroying routes left right and centre and I had to really try hard to keep up, after all, I can't let him think he is better then me! haha.
|Kyle ready to pounce on The Fortress, a spectacular almost sport route.|
|Kyle makes The Fortress look EASY. I do not.|
No but seriously, it was such a blast. And we also got to see the campground colours come out as there were plenty of people around now that the good weather had arrived. We climbed so many beautiful routes, I had some great onsights and flashes (something I have really struggled with since getting hurt) and Kyle was absolutely crushing!!! SO fun!
|Our lovers rocks|
We have had such an amazing time in Australia and we've felt so incredibly welcomed by both Kyles relatives and the local climbing community. The people here are so wonderful and we will surely miss all of their happy faces. So yes it is sad to leave but I mean it when I say that this is not a goodbye, but rather a see you later!
Thanks to everyone that we've met along our travels for helping us out and showing us the love. We are so appreciative of all the beta, gear, laughs, dinners, climbs and good times!!!
We love Australia!!! 'Til next time...
|Adam Demmert on the amazing Henry Bolte Wall, Mt. Arapiles|
|Cath De Vaus crushing yet another route on the pocketed Amnesty Wall, Grampians.|
Oh and this is the funniest video known to man kind. Please take the time to watch this immaculate performance of how not to climb the world class Kachoong in Mt.Arapiles. Take note that this route can be climbed very SAFELY with the use of climbing protection and footholds/technique. This is a classic example of when showing off goes terribly wrong. He was unharmed however, definitely shaken up though!
Hero to Zero from LestheMess on Vimeo.
Peace and lovin', Les