CAWA had our annual Albany Climbing trip and we had a record breaking attendance!

The trip, held between Christmas to New Year can only be described as “awesome” this year.

There was an unprecedented number of CAWA members participating, with a total of 27 camping together at Panorama Holiday Park, with further members camped at Cosy Corner. There was a fantastic inclusive atmosphere, with experienced climbers passionately and willingly helping out the beginners over the whole week. I would like to thank the more experienced climbers for dedicating their time to lend a hand to the new members (many unfamiliar with trad and multipitch climbing).

To top off the sense of community, the weather was amazing, with only one stormy day but that didn’t stop the enthusiasm as many kept climbing on.

Besides the epic climbing there is always the antics of the West Cape Howe 4WD track and that didn’t disappoint! On the first day, even before hitting up the crag, Elinor’s 4WD got a flat tyre. It was good to see equality in action, because it was the girls who were under the car, jacking it up and changing the tyre, with the blokes standing around watching (or in technical terms getting emasculated) as the girls certainly didn’t need any help.

On the same morning, another vehicle needed a push out of a bog, another got a flat tyre and the alternator on Jiri’s beast started to die. But we got all of the 4WD problems ironed out on the first morning with no further issues for the rest of the trip.

And of course, there were the stellar climbing opportunities: with visits to West Cape Howe, Peak Head, The Gap, Monkey Rock and The Porongurups, with many of the area’s classic climbs getting ticked including routes such as:

  • Andromeda (15),
  • Carousel (15),
  • Vulture Street (17),
  • Baylac Direct (18),
  • Lucifer’s Dream (18),
  • The Climb (18),
  • Harry Humpkin and the Exploding Pumpkin (19),
  • Tombstone (20)
  • and many more.

Even a couple of new routes were put up in an undeveloped area near Torbay Head by Rob Kettels, Aparna Ramesh and Larissa Losch around the 18/19 grade.

There are too many names to thank for helping make this trip run as smoothly as it did but Jiri and Jason’s efforts with the “meet up group” and new members was untiring. Many thanks also for the enthusiasm and positivity everyone had on this trip. See you on the next epic CAWA adventure!

Review

It’s been a year since my accident and losing my confidence. From gym junkie–pushing grades, to watching on the side lines. I’m now getting back into climbing but with a different mindset. I’m now climbing for the pure enjoyment of the landscape.

By the time our car arrived in Albany it was late, but as we drove into the Panorama campground there was a bunch of climbers helping us to find camping spots, showing us the low down, plans for the next day, and we felt at home right from the beginning.

As the sun burst across the horizon in the morning, it brought a feeling of freedom and adventure, with the anticipation of knowing what was to come. While overlooking the stunning inlet from our tent, I smashed down some brekky. We then trotted over to the others and heard a buzz of excitement with decisions being made about the different places to climb. There were cars going to Monkey Rock, Peak Head and West Cape Howe. We joined a convoy of cars, all packed with climbing gear, and made our way to West Cape Howe.

At the crag, Jason gave us detailed instructions, he made sure everything was triple safe, and that everyone understood their roles and safety in every aspect. I felt safe, informed and excited at the same time.

The next day, the adventure continued, and we made our way back to West Cape Howe, this time Jiri provided tuition. We made an epic abseil down the 60 metre cliff above the Southern Ocean and then rock climbed out, once again CAWA provided a full explanation on safe climbing systems.

From registering to attend the CAWA trip, through to leaving the campsite in the rear-view mirror, it was an amazing experience, with great camaraderie and sense of adventure. The trip definitely helped me gain some of my confidence back.

Many thanks to everyone and CAWA for putting on the event.

Steve Skinner

Robert Kettels

Author Robert Kettels

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