Mt Frankland and March Flies

By Jolene Sheldon in consultation with Richard Haynes.

Only the most intrepid CAWA members braved the march flies and bull ants to
attend this year’s full frontal assault on the slabs of Mt Frankland. This year saw blue skies
and hot temperatures in contrast to last year’s rain and lightening. Here is the truth; dry slab
is oh so much easier to climb than wet slab. Along those lines, sensei Ross had his ego
pegged back a couple of grades as the two climbs he bolted last year, were so much easier
when not dripping wet. Most climbers however concede that the requirement to shed steel
during vicious lightening storms, significantly influenced the grading system in 2009. While
the two climbs from 2009 were very enjoyable, it was the latest one just finished on this trip
that really won my heart. Sure, I was already knackered. It felt like 32 degrees, but I can’t be
sure of the actual temperature. All I know is that I couldn’t keep the chalk on my hands for
the sweat, so I felt challenged to say the least. A mixed route, yet to be named or graded, I
was fortunate to be the first to sample the taunts and delights that awaited after Ross and
Dena had done the first climb. I felt honored…. dang, I gave it a solid 17 and in my heart
named it “Grow a Pair”, though I’m sure Ross will come up with a much more appropriate
and genteel name. The climb is 3 pitches. I have to admit I only had time to lead the first
pitch, but it is a ripper! Once I reached safety, I realised that I had thoroughly enjoyed the
climb, and am looking forward to the lead when I am fresh and less distressed by heat
stroke. I would give the first pitch 3 stars!

Ashley List, one of the newest committee members was in attendance. Recently transplanted
from the U.K., he was heard to say, he is ‘more of a crack whore than a slab master’.
It was refreshing to get into some multi-pitch routes after all the local crags around
Perth, which are sadly lacking in height.

Amenities were in Fernhook Falls campground. A lovely place which provided a pool for
cooling down and cleaning up after a hard day of slab mastering. The intrepid group gathered
for dinner Saturday evening to enjoy the camaraderie and healthy appetite that only a great
day of climbing seems to inspire. The rum and coke/beer/wine, added to the comfortable
happy-tired feeling and joviality at the tables.

As the sun rose the last day, members of the group were off to pursue other areas, and activities.
We are indeed blessed to be living in this amazing area of Western Australia where
we are constantly awed by the beauty of the surroundings we climb in.

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