Hard climbing, easy climbing, beautiful climbing- it’s all here in the Blue Mountains. Huge thanks to my hosts Alan and Amy, I’ve had a truly unreal week of climbing, camping, and general horsing around. This past Monday started with an upset as rainy conditions scared us off of “Hotel California” (10p, 5.11b), but after a long walk to the Hanging Rock formation, we went back to Pierce’s Pass to tick “Debris”- the largest, most exposed pitch of climbing I’ve ever seen.
(Alan is all- “no big deal…”)
This was all Alan. It was his vision to do it, and it was his perfect, onsite lead. The pitch is 52m of sustained 5.11c- major respect. I had nothing to do but support him, I belayed, climbed second, and did most of the being scared. I completed the moves,but not without resting on the rope a number of times- mostly to get my head sorted out against the wild, wild exposure. The movement was mostly straightforward, powerful, and sustained, but the position on the very edge of the arête, overhanging in two directions, was totally stunning.
(Skander on second… Alan at top)
I have often struggled with big exposure in my climbing, but I wanted to have the experience and get a little further out of my comfort zone. Doing this leaves me feeling like I have some solid tools for feeling less gripped on the big stone. It also made a perfect memory for one of my last days of climbing here with a partner that I have sincerely enjoyed re-connecting with. Do the things that scare you- and when you do, don’t be afraid to realize that those things are awesome.
(Pierce’s Pass, just above Debris)
Plenty of other less serious fun has also been had. Since my last post, the three of us shared “Sweet Dreams” (5p, 5.9) on Saturday morning (we finished the route by 1030am to beat ridiculously hot temperatures), and spent Sunday climbing piles of very short, very fun problems at the Dam Cliffs (key note, don’t forget to jump the dam!)
(Climb all the things!)
Camping with hippies, good Indian food, and amazing scenery rounded out the experience. I mentioned hanging rock above, yeah that’s worth a few photos as well. I’m starting to think I need a better camera again: