With a spare weekend in Sydney I decided to jump on a train to the Blue Mountains to check out the rock climbing potential. When the train arrived at the end of the line, Mt Victoria, I followed my nose towards Mt Piddington, rated as the best trad climbing area in the Blueys. I wandered through the damp trails rather aimlessly, hoping to find a group of climbers to join, but I soon realised my chances were slim. I scanned the towering cliffs in awe, but had no chance of scaling their verticality without a partner...
Intense dark clouds in the horizon grew closer, threatening the once blue-bird day. Suddenly, violent thunder erupted overhead, and without warning, I was struck by a fierce hail storm. Marble-sized hail stones rained down through the trees, pelting me painfully, as I ran with new intensity back up the trail to find shelter.
After being smashed by the hail for some time, I found shelter in a cave where I met a guy who had been living there for three weeks. He offered me hot tea and an expedition-weight down jacket. I was freezing from the hail and couldn't believe my luck. I noticed his curtain blocking the wind was attached to the rock with an old cam - he was also a climber. My fortunes had reversed. Once the storm cleared he showed me over to 'The Eternity', a searing 35m grade 18 hand-crack rated as one the all-time classics of Australia. The line looked extremely steep as I rapped in from above, but it truly was a beautiful looking crack. After a good long fight I topped out just as full darkness set in, and sat on the ledge exhausted, elated, as streaks of lightning lit up the horizon. Wild...
|Rapping in over The Eternity|
|Barry seconding The Eternity by headlamp|
|Warming the feet by the fire|
|The Sundeck camping cave|
|Rapping into the Hocus Pocus area|
|Prologue, a 4-star route with some steep jamming to start, quite stiff for grade 11!|
|Flake Crack - a stunning looking line|
|Barry on Pyscopath|
|Carrying fire-wood back to the cave after a great day of climbing|
|Another climber scaling the vertical crack of The Eternity|