Albany Trip Report

By Louise Fisher

This New Year, as on many others, a group of CAWA climbers headed down to Albany to sample the multitude of sea-cliff climbing delights and other delectable treats available in the area. The group took time to gather so it was only a small band of most eager climbers who headed for West Cape Howe early on Monday morning. Kylie led Carousel (15***) with Lou seconding, while Ang led Andromeda (15**), seconded by Blair, and Phil jumped on Wire Flake (16***) with Steve seconding. Later Kylie and Lou moved on to Andromeda while Ang scaled Planar Craving (21).

Angela on 'Planar Craving'
Angela on 'Planar Craving' (50 m, 21) at West Cape Howe. Photo by Phillip Calais

That evening the groups numbers swelled and it was a veritable crowd that made their way to the Gap the next day; a late start due to rain. Fortunately Ross and Dena had arrived the previous night, bringing with them the CAWA rain shelter which was providently erected one minute before the rain started. Everyone huddled under it to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

'Wire Flake'
Phillip leading 'Wire Flake' (50 m, 16) at West Cape Howe. Photo by Steve Fleming.

Once the rain cleared up climbing commenced. Providing an additional attraction to the many tourists swarming the top of the Gap and Natural Bridge that afternoon, the majority of the group spent time on the Whales tooth wall, climbing Black Russian (14*) and Whalestooth (15*). Kelly, Kylie, Lou and Conrad climbed Surf’s Up (15***) and some were also persuaded to venture up Over Indulgence (19***), getting in some early prep for New Years Eve.

That evening the group gathered for dinner and Kylie, Ang and Kelly treated us to their version of baseball – using a wine bottle and/or plates as bats and anything to hand as a ball. The saner/sober parts of the group hastily retreated from the pitching zone. Heavy rain and strong winds swept through the camp overnight, prompting Blair and Lou to hurriedly collapse the rain shelter at 2am before it could take off for greener pastures – or land on their tents. The weather failed to significantly improve with daybreak and Wednesday climbing was rained off all along the coast so the majority of climbers took the opportunity to sample the delights of Albany’s coffee houses and shops. Dena and Ross did venture up to the Stirling Ranges where they braved the strong gusty winds and a lengthy uphill approach to climb Nailbite (15) on Talyuberlup. Up for an epic of any sort; Kelly, Blair and Mario decided to hike the Stirling Ridge Walk in one day. Arriving back at camp they wowed us with tales of derringdo, intrepid bush bashing and peaks summited before admitting they had bugged out down the “Loser Track” at 3pm with Bluff Knoll still off in the distance. They may have lost the battle but the war continues with a return engagement planned for March.

'Over Indulgence'
Kylie on 'Over Indulgence' (16 m, 19) at The Gap. Photo by Kelly Chapman.

The weather brightened up on Thursday, ready to end the year on a high note, and a large group headed back to the Gap – this time congregating at the Amphitheatre. Phil and Jolene splintered off and met up with Caroline to climb Albatross (15***) at Peak Head. Back at the Amphitheatre Ang, Kylie, Dave and Paul all led Rattle (15) while other’s top-roped Shake (16) and Roll (17). Later Dave, Kylie, Mario and Paul climbed The Red Terror (16) while Ang worked her way up Listen to the Wind Blow (22).

And that brings us to New Years Eve. A democratic vote had crushed the protestors who were lobbying for a visit to the local steak house so it was business as usual at the Golden Town Chinese. Several hours later with their MSG cravings fully sated the group returned to camp with just over an hour left until 2010. It was at this point that Blair chose to introduce everyone to the concept of Picnic Table Bouldering, demonstrating the table-top traverse. A fierce competition ensued with Remi and Phil putting up several new problems for the rest to play on. Remi was declared the eventual winner, scoring an extra grade for the innovative addition of a burning sparkler to the system. Moments later it was midnight and the rest of the sparklers were lit up while Kelly popped the cork on a bottle of bubbly. A few minutes later everyone dispersed to bed, getting ready for an early departure to West Cape Howe.

Picnic Table Topo
Picnic Table Topo
Blair bouldering ('tableing'?) on the Picnic Table.
Blair bouldering ('tableing'?) on the Picnic Table.

West Cape Howe has to be one of the best places possible to start a new year. To make things even better, this time around there were enough four wheel drives to get everyone in to the crag with minimal effort. Consequently we arrived bright and early and ready to go. Adding extra interest to the day was the start of the 100 climbs in 100 days challenge, initiated by Remi and joined by several others on the trip including Delphine, Mario, Ang and Kylie. This challenge is a fundraiser for Burrup Rock Art preservation and you can track the participants’ progress on: http://www.facebook.com/l/40cf4;www.100in100days.com.au. Friendless (15**) saw some traffic with Remi, Delphine, Kylie, Kelly and Mario all climbing. Ang, Dave, Paul and Lou climbed Carousel and Shitsky Variant (18**). Ross, Dena, Phil, Richard and Jesse headed over to the Raft Area while Blair and Jolene climbed Andromeda. On the way out some four wheel drive drama saw one of the small Suzuki’s reluctant to leave, but fortunately a large crowd of climbers were on hand to ‘encourage’ it to move onwards.

Remi on 'The Climb'.
Remi on 'The Climb' (23 m, 18) at West Cape Howe. Photo by...?

The last weekend of the trip saw small groups climbing at a number of crags. Ross and Dena headed to Peak Head for a first ascent of Ross’s new route Transformer (18 M1). Jolene, Paul, Mario, Blair and Dave headed for the Porongurups with Rehearsing the Fates of Absalom their target. After some intense bush bashing they encountered a mossy slab and a distinct lack of features to aid them in locating the climb. Unwilling to be deterred after the epic approach Jolene began her ascent. Those on the ground watched the air around her turn blue as she dug dirt and moss out of cracks to make way for gear. Discouraged, after one pitch she and Mario returned to the ground and the group retreated. Also wandering around the Porongurups was Phil, who, emerging somewhat later than others from the shower, found himself alone at Gibraltar Rock. Who exactly was to blame for this breakdown in communications remains disputed. All were envious of Kelly, Ang, Richard, Remi and Delphine who’d had a second good day at West Cape Howe.

The return journey to Perth began on Sunday. A few die-hards, and the 100 climbs gang, headed for the Gap to get a few more ticks in. Others chose to enjoy breakfast at the Middleton Beach Café or lunch at the White Star hotel. Standout moments were relived and plans for next year put in place. See you all there.

Albany Adventure Climbing Zone

There has been much recent discussion about the Albany Adventure Climbing Zone and whether it is still relevant and hampering the development of climbing in the areas that it applies to. So, at the committee meeting on 25 November 2009, after consultation with local climbers, a resolution was passed and the AACZ amended to the following:

The Albany Adventure Climbing Zone (AACZ) is henceforth redefined as including the following areas only: The Gap, Natural Bridge, Blow Holes and all areas within or between any of these locations; also Stony Hill boulders, and any location within the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve. These areas are either highly environmentally sensitive areas or have high tourist traffic. No further fixed protection may be placed in the AACZ. The CAWA Code of Bolting and New Route Development and the CAWA Code of Conduct are to be applied to the South Coast, same as per the rest of the State.

For those unfamiliar with the ACZ concept, I would refer you to the thread at the following location which give a great deal of background and explanation: adventure climbing zone bolting.

Dena
President

New Website

As you can see, we have now completed the redesign of the CAWA website.  You may notice the following changes:

  • News items, which many users were unaware of, are now part of the CAWA blog.  We will be using this to improve our communication with the WA climbing community.
  • Updating the site is much simpler, ensuring information is always current and accurate.  If you find an error, please contact us and we’ll be sure to get it corrected.
  • The message boards are now located at http://forum.climberswa.asn.au.  Whilst no different in function, this paves the way for us to migrate to some new forum software in the near future.

Thanks to the following people for their help in this effort:

  • Kirk Hille of www.kirkhillephotography.com for the Bluff Knoll photo used in the header
  • Shannon Jenke and Eystein Alnaes for assisting in the graphic design

And remember; this is your site, so please let us know how we can improve it to serve you better. Enjoy!

How Hard is Your Head?

By Dena Rao

Helmets.
How many of you have one? How many of you wear them even if you do have one? I have a helmet. A pretty blue Black Diamond one. And I really dislike wearing it while I’m climbing because I seem to bump my head on things a lot more often. Most of the climbers that I see in the great outdoors don’t seem to wear this basic piece of safety equipment.

But you know what? After having an extremely close call with a moderate sized rock at Churchman’s just a couple of days ago, I will be making sure to wear my helmet which is really what everyone should be doing. In this case, I was belaying a leader who found herself hanging on by one hand when the rock she was holding onto parted company with its buddies. I didn’t even have time to move and my shoulder took the full force of the rock. So, it missed my head by only a few inches. And yes, it hurt. A lot. Granted I didn’t have my helmet on because I was trying out a new neck brace. However, this would not have helped me if the rock had struck my head rather than my shoulder. It really scared me, gave me the kind of warm tingly feeling in my arm best reserved for other parts of my body and could have put an end to my Arapiles trip before it even got started.

I will certainly be a lot more diligent about wearing my helmet from now on, even though I do hate how it feels. If that rock had knocked me out, I would have let go of the rope with disastrous consequences for the climber. Think it won’t happen to you? Think you are too cool for a helmet? If fashion is really that important to you, there are some really sleek funky designs around. Consider that your decision not to wear a helmet will potentially impact (no pun intended) not just on you, but also on your climbing partner. And let’s face it, it won’t be much fun if one of you ends up unconscious or worse. Climbing partners are hard to come by, so make sure you look after yours.

WA Bouldering Competition 2009

By Gareth Wall

It was hot, the problems were hard and a bit under graded. All competitors had to push themselves during the pumpfest to a level they hadn’t pushed to before. The moans from sore competitors during the following few days brought a sadistic smile to my face. I had achieved where I felt I may have failed. Indeed the problems were hard, maybe too hard but judging the abilities of the top boulderers in the state or even in the country, is challenging.

I watched the pumpfest with apprehension as defeat was seen more frequently than success. By the time the finals began some competitors were so spent, they were trying to talk the amount of finals problems down from five to four, or even three. However, the more seasoned of the wall warriors wanted to be hurt and so the slaughter began: five problems. The finals were all or nothing to get your share of the cash and although more didn’t complete problems than did, there were some strong and oh so close efforts. In the end, all finalists got a taste of the cash with Marc, Jason and Sam cleaning up the most.

Marc and Jay were so close that literally only one pumpfest problem, a difference of four points, ended up separating them in a count back after tying two a piece in the finals. Sam cleaned up nicely in the women’s but I know our girls are closing the gap and hunting her down. She had better watch out.

After the finals all places remained the same as throughout the pumpfest, excluding Liana coming home strong and pushing Jing out of second spot by one problem.

A special mention goes to Claire and Naomi, so young, so talented and thrown into the spotlight on such a hard day for their first time. Well done girls, what a great effort to get into the finals. Your futures are calling and I can see you both in many more finals and even winning them in the future.

Well done to ALL competitors it was hot and hard but that’s what competition is about, pushing yourself to achieve your greatest. All results will be available on the Rockface website shortly.

The top five in each category are as follows:

 

Name Pumpfest Score Finals Problems Completed Place Prize Money
WOMEN
Sam Berry

431

4

1

$605

Liana Morgan

339

2

2

$205

Jing Yun Wong

353

1

3

$105

Claire Newbury

238

0

4

$40 (+prize)

Naomi Stockley

228

0

5

$40 (+prize)

MEN
Marc Edwards

510

2

1

$320

Jason Girdlestone

506

2

2

$320

Chris Loane

426

0

3

$120

Francois Jourjon

411

0

4

$120

Anthony Goyder

401

0

5

$120

Climbing Articles and Photos Wanted

We are keen for any climbing stories from WA or abroad that may be suitable for publication in newsletters. All climbing images or artwork would be welcomed.

Stories from the recent CAWA trip to Willyabrup would be a great start.

So please send your material in, we want to share it with other climbers and this is great place to do so.

Submissions can be sent to cawa@climberswa.asn.au

Please include a suitable subject heading such as ‘Newsletter article’ to help us manage the numerous incoming emails that the committee deals with.

If you would like some assistance or advice with preparing something for publication, please let us know, and we’lll see what we can do.

Willyabrup – Queens Birthday Weekend

By Louise Fisher

On the Queen’s Birthday weekend, after a week of miserable rain, the sun finally shone and over fifteen CAWA members made the journey down to Willyabrup to take full advantage. The group travelling in my car were entertained by the bouncing Buddha on the dashboard – until it drove Ross to distraction and was then cocooned in a sunglasses case. After that, entertainment was provided by the sat nav’s ignorance of the new highway. Arriving on Saturday morning things started slowly with one group warming up on Hope (14). Paula encountered the resident python but all anyone below heard as she yelled (shrieked?) was “take” so her close encounter was more prolonged than she would have liked. We later moved onto Inner Space (17) and Ang made her way up English Ethics (20) and Fat Chance (20).

Ross and Peter led One for the Road (19) and a couple of other lines before moving onto Storm Bringer, just right of Inner Space. Ross had some difficulty with the sequence above the second bolt (karmic revenge for the indignities Buddha was subjected to perhaps). Peter had better luck and a grade of 22 was agreed upon as suitable – tallying with previous chatter on the forums.

On Sunday the good weather continued and more climbers joined us. Phil led Stainless Steel and Sirius before moving on to a climb on Steel Wall that Kylie assured him was “around a 20”. They subsequently agreed that she might have underestimated that one somewhat. Ross and Dena sampled some of the more obscure delights to be found in the Stormcock area including High Reel (14) and Sombre (17/18).

Sunday night and Monday morning saw the rain return and so climbing plans were reluctantly shelved and a trip to the local coffee houses and wineries substituted before heading back to Perth.