Katoomba

Australian place names are just cooler than American ones- Katoomba is a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s also ground zero for outdoor recreation in the Blue Mountains National Park. As I’ve noticed in the past, climbing makes me feel more at home where-ever I am than almost any other thing I do. Even better, I met Alan two years ago in Squamish, B.C., and he and his leading lady Amy were in town for full on climbing holidays. We’ve been having a very good time.

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(good to see an old friend)

I took the train up Wednesday morning, and after a trip to the post office and grocery, Alan says “how about a quick 5 pitches this evening.”
In a word- “yes.”

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(more exposure please!)

While not the climbing wasn’t particularly beyond me, I’ve never climbed anything so exposed, and Alan’s mate Paul joined us for the fun while Amy rummaged for dinner. We had a good time- more on the phenomenon of “carrot bolts” in another post.

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(top out stoke with Paul)

I got an unlucky finish with rope drag topping out the second crux pitch and felt a muscle tear in my back while yarding up the rope for the seconds. Despite the exceptional climb, it wasn’t the best way to start the trip.

Thursday morning was surprisingly misty and cool, but Amy and Alan were up for some adventure so we headed for another stellar multipitch at Pulpit Rock. Amy lead off, I got the gymnastic overhanging crux, and Alan (who climbs 5.13) stuck the 5.7 outward facing roof chimney pitch (yes, you read that right).

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(misty, but pretty)

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(outward facing roof chimney crack….)
Late afternoon found us racked up at a short sport crag, and despite best best effort at the 5.10d warmup, my back wasn’t up for steep sport climbing. Alan, and his friend Rhys however- proved the moniker that the Blue Mountains are “all about steep, hard, sport climbing.”

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(pull hard, Skander, its steep)

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(whipped)

I took today very easy, still on-siting 5.10c though and feeling my back badly. The scenery and company can’t be beat, and my friends seem to know everyone, so even just hanging out at the crags is a really good time. The Blue Mountains are one of the most unique areas I’ve been in and I’m truly loving my (very relaxed) time here.
I’m blogging from the phone, so posts might be limited and with typos, thanks for following! More soon!

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(Amy, loving it)

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(more steeps!)

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(brilliant views from climbs, photo by Amy O’Toole)

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