Sunday, April 02, 2006

Holden Caulfield (V A3) 31 March -1st April

After our last buffalo visit it seemed my Partner (Mr Marcus "sparkletronics" Morley) was getting way better than me at this aid climbing sillyness, so he was nice enough to give me the chance to make up some lost ground. On our last vist to Mt Buffalo, Marcus had lead the two harder pitches of 'Holden Caulfield' after absieling into them. This time we decided to climb from the ground up, and I was to take the crux pitches...

Originally we had planned on leaving on wednesday night after I finished a brutal night dishpigging. I was too wasted after work so we slept and left in the morning. We arrived on Thursday afternoon and started rapping down intending to sleep at the bottom or a couple of pitches up, a stuck rope foiled our plan so we slept at the car park. The next morning we awoke to intense fog but this time rapped "defender of the faith" without any problems (I don't know why the rope would pull the day before, its always been fine in the past!)

We climbed the first pitches (the route follows "Ozymandias" for a while) up to big grassy, arriving at the bivy ledge in the afternoon sometime. It was great to see who much easier these pitches felt compared to when we first climbed them a year or so ago. Marcus lead the first itch and we swung leads from there. After chilling out a bit on big grassy and setting up the portaledge and fly (weather report promised rain) I set up on the next pitch. This pitch follows ozymandias' 4th pitch then scoots of right instead of going left into the 'magnificent corner'. It got dark and I hadn't seen a topo so I ended up belaying at a couple of bolts 10m below the actual belay.

I descended back to big grassy to find marcus with dinner ready and all the bivy gear set up (great climbing partner) so we enjoyed a lovely feast of falafel, hummous, wraps, and cheese. followed by rice desert mixed with chocolate custard powder. This desert was fucked, some weird chemical reaction between the two artificial deserts created red and grean streaks through out the whole mess. It looked revolting! It started to rain, and ended up snowing as well, we had elected not to take the hanging stove, which we reckoned was a good move in the end as we had a really light haul bag and were quite ok without warm food.

After a somewhat wet night marcus finished the last 10m of my ptich from the night before, which leaves you at a hanging belay below the main roof. About here it started snowing. The next pitch is the feature of the climb. 15m of nailing (mostly beaks and some blades/arrows etc) takes you to the roof. A couple of decent cams and you set out into the roof. Its awesome. First there is a flexing fixed kifeblade, then two rps equalised with shoelace (no kidding!) the you move through 4 3millimetre bolts with dodgy (read: flexing) hangers. This takes you to the lip of the roof. Then its 3 rivets and two moves through an expando kindof flake and you can clip the belay!

Marcus lead the next pitch, a couple of hooks a rivet then a tension traverse off a bolt. You then go up an easy corner which takes you to the Gledhill bivy. After this we decided to go left into the "Fang" pitch on ozy. I led this quite quickly, and then marcus sped up the next A1 pitch (the one with the horrible chimney) We hadn't been able to find a #5 camamlot so we had left a fixed line as we had no gear big enough for the final offwidth pitch.

We drove home through the night, already making plans to come back and do "lord gumtree" then joining "Holden Caulfield" for its final pitches (the ones we missed by doing the Fang pitch) There was an interesting crisis with petrol one the way home (we didn't have enough so we almost rolled the car down to wangaratta on our last litres) and also music (the tape/cd player i had bought marcus on the way down broke after about 4 hours of use) but we made it home safely.

Lets continue the aid climbing revolution!
climb safe
Max

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