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Monday, 27 April 2015

The Blue Mountains

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

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