Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mt Buffalo - Holden Caulfield

What a trip! The weather gods smiled and we had some awesome blue bird days! We went to buffalo with the intentions of doing two routes, and two routes only. First up was a route called Holden Caulfield. HC weaves its way up the north wall, passing through the classic Ozymandias. Its not so well travelled and gets a grade of A3+ and is a bout 270m long. Jed hadnt done much aiding or wall-climbing so doing that over a few days would be the perfect experience for him to learn how the clusterf&$k of big-walling works! With a frew thin nailing pitches I was pumped to get some scary climbing in!
We caught the ferry over on Saturday night. Thanks to knowing someone in the know we got upgradedd to a cabin. Being able to sleep in a bed was priceless! Seeing as though we were travelling from Tassie it was only a matter of time before we saw people we knew! Being from Hobart’s crazy like that! It was a smooth trip and by 7 the next morning we were driving up the Hume Freeway. We didn’t know exactly where we were going but we figured there’d be some signs somewhere. After all we knew the general region in Vic we had to head to, how hard could it be! Luckily for us everything worked out sweet! When we rocked up tho it was belting down rain! We went for a look at what we were in for but couldn’t see much!
We retreated back to the caravan park to organise gear and get everything ready! we slept in the tent that night, it was miserable in the pouring rain! We woke to more of the same in the morning, so decided to delay the ascent by a day. We had a few weather days up our sleeves to play with! We went for a bit of a drive a finalised everything for the route! A big pasta meal saw us ready for the task at hand!
We woke up early and after a quick porridge breakfasst we were off up the hill to go climb some rocks! Finding the abseil anchors was nothing short of epic! The first one was almost completely covered in snow, a small piece of tat sticking out of the snow betrayed their position. The next 50m rap was covered in thin ice. The next anchors were covered in ice and were so hard to see, we lost ages looking for them! The rest of the descent went smoothly, as smooth as rapping through scrub with a haulbag and portaledge can be!
By the time we were at the base it was muchlater than anticipated. We set up regardless but by the time it was dark we were still a pitch from Big Grassy, the comfy ledge halfway. After a brief team huddle we decided to ust spend an extra night on the wall, after all how often do you sleep on a cliff, lets milk this puppy! It sucked for us that the belay we were at wasn’t set up for bivvying, it was some manky carrots and a shitty shit rivet (small bolt). We managed a few hours sleep and Jed led of in the morning, heading for big grassy! He had a bit of a time battling in trench warfare up a wide crack to the belay. He had done well! We fixed a pitch above Big Grassy and set up for the night. We slept in the portaledge because its way more comfy but for all our cooking etc we ust sat on the natural ledge. Life was pretty good, cold but! Being winter it got dark at around 6. We didn’t really climb into the night because we were just there to take it easy! It meant we were usually in bed by 8.30, which was fantastic!
The next day saw us jugging and hauling the pitch we had fixed. Jed led off up the corner and had to do a crazy pendulem at the top to transfer over to the HC belay. Above us loomed the roof, a 5m roof filled with manky crappy fixed gear! The climbing was hard straight off the belay. It was up thin seams with super-thin pitons (beaks) and some copperheads. Some of the fixed heads were bogus! I could lift them out with my fingers! I was a bit frazzled before I even got to the roof! I committed out the roof and don’t know why the rusty old pins didn’t snap! Talk about exposure! It was rad dangling with 200m of air below your bum! Jed had a hard time cleaning the pitch. With a lot of struggling and ursing he was soon at the belay. He took the rack and led up to the Gledhill Bivy, a nice sheltered belay under a big roof. We set up the protaledge and settled in for cups of tea and dinner.
On our last day we had a measly breakfast of a small rice pudding and some starburst. It was tasting but I was left hungry! A couple of exposed but interesting rivet ladders led us to the belay just below the summit. I set off up an easy chimney to get to the last 15m but having a big wall rack onme meant I got stuck and had to come down! I shed the excess weight and squirmed my way up. A fought and battled with the offwidth final pitch and before long we were both on top! It was awesome! Due to our slow pace and copius sleep we weren’t even too tired!
We packed up the crap and headed down the hill. We went to the small town of Bright, the biggest in the area. We went to get a place a the backpackers but they were hopeless so we found a motel room that was just as cheap and settled in! once all the gear was dry and sorted we started getting ready for the main event, blasting Ozymandias Direct in a day!

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