As the temperatures have dropped in recent weeks so the steady number of big ticks has risen.
Tom O’Halloran sent a project he bolted three years ago at the Underworld in the Blue Mountains, giving it the very uninspiring name of Sack o’ Woe (33/34).He says about the route, “It’s ultra short and powerful, the holds are all pretty good but they are just a touch too far away to make things easy and are tilted at funky angles to make things interesting.” Continuing on, he says. “About eight months ago I headed down for another play and found dry holds and some sequences started to make sense. Hoot Hoot! Didn’t manage to get back down there until last Saturday (April 20) with Ben (Cossey). He found some MUCH better beta for the beginning. Super logical sequence too, not sure how I hadn’t seen it. Maybe I was thinking too weakly. I think I’d thought that sequence up once, but never really tried it. Maybe I felt like it was too far into the ‘laying in bed before sleep and thinking of sequences’ sequence, rather than a ‘bonafide, down right proper sequence’ sequence.”
“The try before doing it I fell off the crux. A snatch out right to a bit of a gaston thing. I stuck it for a couple seconds then pinged off. Next go I was able to stick the gaston snatch, reach up left to a bitey undercling, then tasted the melting moments. I was tanked, ultra pooped! Throw at the big side pull thing with my right hand. It’s a good hold but not super great and you’ve got to hold on, out left to the pocket, I set up for the throw to the victory jug and had a bunch of self-doubt replace the melting moment flavour in my mouth. I started thinking about how long it had been since I’d redpointed something. Five months! I think training that redpoint headspace is super valuable. Practice success! Good to remember feeling good about your climbing! I did my best to remember that I’ve felt boxed before and still pulled it off, so I pulled hard and – hallelujah – my hand stuck to the cliff. Hoot hoot!”
“It’s a very different style to other routes around the mountains. Ben thought it wouldn’t be out of place at 34 in the Frankenjura. Must be about V13, nine moves of tension trickiness. There’s an awesome variation I’m working now. It’s much harder – something like two V13s on top of each other without a sniff of a rest. Be great to sink some time and skin into it this year. Super frothin’. It’s called Hump of Trouble.”
Elsewhere in NSW, Luke Hansen sent Don’t Believe the Hype (31) at Boronia Point, whilst with the colder temps signalling the arrival of Nowra Season of Power, Leah Dempsey has started the seaon well with a send of Cheesemonster (30) at Cheesedale.
As we already reported, the mini-crusher with the maxi-ticklist, Angie Scarth-Johnson, sent Lucifer (8C+/34) at the Red River Gorge in the USofA. Despite a lot of rain on this her third year in a row spent at the enduro-fest Red, she became the second Australian female to tick the grade. Whoop!
Up north in the Banana State, Sebastian Lowensteijn sent a long-standing project at Coolum Cave, establishing the proudly-named Gladiator (31). The route was originally bolted by Frey Yule in 2011 and has seen some attention over the years with suitors unable to surmount the mean double-bump crux move until Seb put it all together. We have our ear out for more news from the Cave as Seb is apparently in super form and was using this project as a warm-up for a yet-harder old Matt Eaton project, Esoteric Agenda.
Doug McConnell took time out from being support crew for runners in the Buffalo Stampede to establish a spectacular-looking new route at Mt Buffalo, Divine Intervention (29) – a stonking line up a steep face with a beautiful outlook over the plateau.
Fourteen-year-old Melbourne crusher, Oceana Mackenzie had a good Easter break, climbing two V11s, the Bakelite Concept at Venus Baths and Gobsmacked at Andersens. Andersens’s was also the scene of another good send, with Vanessa Tocatjian climbing Forced Entry (V11).
Sixteen-year-old Kiwi, Josh Cornah, sent Punks in Gym (32), making him the youngest ever climber to tick the Wolfy classic. He tried the route a few times last year before tweaking his shoulder, this year he spent three afternoons on it in between lapping up some Araps’ classics with his dad. Surely a name to watch.
Man of Leisure and rebolting superhero, Kent Patterson, has again proved that giving up work is great for your climbing by establishing Secrets of the Past (30) at Scoop Rocks in the Grampians. Also in the Grampians, ‘Lord of the Gyms’ Reuben Louis Bennet-Daly sent The Flying Duck (32) at Muline.
After landing in Melbourne for a year of living dangerously, UKer Oli Grounsell has sent Sneaky Snake (32) on Taipan and Daemon Flower (31) at Muline. The Brit tells us he has his eyes set on more big fishes whilst he is here in Oz and we expect him to end up with a large haul.
Over in paradise (aka New Zealand), Wiz Fineron snagged the third ascent of the pockety and painful (it says it right there in the name, after all) Angel of Pain (31) at Castle Hill. It took Wiz only four days to send it even though each day was restricted to just a play on the diabolical mantle and a couple of goes on the skin-eating monos before his fingers were shredded.