mercoledì 17 giugno 2015

Grampians. Second part.

Buandik, Southern Grampians (AUS).

I am introducing what it is the second update about my  visit at the Grampians National Park, VIC, Australia. Another trip is gone by and it is time to reflect about the last period and the first part of the year, in meanwhile I am  getting use to the middle summer temperatures; Something that I really don’t like to do after a cool autumn.

Six weeks in a place are quite a lot; you should have time to visit most of the areas, make an idea about the potential to discover, enjoy the climb, get stressed by hard ascents and get bored by the rain; at least this was in the Grampians, since the rain was absolutely a constant in many days.

This trip has been basically focused on repeating boulders for me, I hence looked at  the classics and climbed them by knowing the ways used by  the previous climbers. Having the web handy, you can easily get all the information about how to reach the area, how the possible betas might be and there is nothing really interesting or exciting to tell. I have to admit that this way is getting me bored and bored after a while and I feel better going out and think more about projects to figure out or catching for a new king 5 star line. This is why in the future I would like to make more trips to unknown areas, to climb on problems with few ascents or to discover new hidden lines.  The reasons which lead me to Grampians to repeat only  where basically two. On one side I wanted to go there with the idea to make a first check at the place. I would have like to see what has been developed so far, to repeat the classics and to check the new age lines of Nalle and Dave. Secondly, since it was my first time, I hadn’t no idea about how the sectors would have been, where the boulders where located, the approaching ways , the locations, the distances and so on. I knew how it was on the paper, but not in the reality.  Moreover, staying in Stawell, It took 1 hour driving to get to the best areas and these facts pushed me to chose the comfortable way to go out and repeating only, more than prepare some new pieces of rock which require more time and energies.  Analyzing what has been done and having now a better localization about the rocks, I have a good reason to come back and getting into the discovering mode. At least this is my goal for the next time.

During  the second part of the trip I had a better view about all these established problems. I wrote down a little list to organize what I wanted to work and to check, letting aside the crap lines and the things that weren’t worth. Obviously.

The Northern areas are sadly reduced in two little sectors, since a fire made the climb forbidden in many off-limits zones. I think I had noted this in the previous blog-spot. So, in the North there is Campground boulders, a pretty bad place where to go bouldering and the area of Trackside-Citadel-Upper caves. The first has been removed at once,  the boulders are definitively not inviting. The second counts many mediocre boulders and few good stuff where to climb. Unfortunately, it is not so wide and the fire presented  the Northern part much smaller than what truly would be. Despite this, even in the second period, we passed some days in these locations,  finishing the few good problems able to tickle my curiosity. I had one single day ascent for “Pigeon Superstition” V13 and subsequently for Alex Megos’ “Sultan of Swing” V13, located in a wonderful scenario at the top of the Taipan wall. Up there, you can have an amazing view and a good taste of Australia. The “Wave rock” V12, the best looking problems of Trackside, still eluded me hardly and I could not make it. Its sequence seemed to be too weird for my wrist, since the crux evolves into a super contorted two-fingers undercling which was impossible to feel.

On the other side of the Park, the Southern region  offered us something more than the Northern. Although the quality is good down here, it is nothing very special and out of the lines. I found it quite overrated honestly; I mean, it is definitively  out of the world best for my personal opinion. Unfortunately, our stay was 115 km from Mt. Fox and Buandik as I told and we usually got there for more days in a row. This obviously depended a lot on the weather: good for more days meant South; uncertain meant single days at the North and bad forecast meant more resting days at Stawell. This was how the weekly routine worked. 

The days in the South were always very pleasant though. They were always characterized by hikes, engulfed  spots into the wild, sunsets up on breathtaking sceneries, camping life, nights around the fire and shining stars during the nights. These were definitively the moments which made the proper Australian atmosphere and which really made me feel alive in this country. The boulders in this area are better than in the North in my opinion and some lines had been set under the “to-do” voice of my list. First of all, “Owning the weather” in Mt Fox, the line I put more energies and passion into. The battle to send it consisted in a hard understanding of my skin statements, in choosing the right part of the day when to work it and having a lot of patience between an attempt and the other. For three sessions I missed these elements and the ascent was hard to execute. Finally on the 4th session I put the single aspects together, making a good weapon to win it: good skin, cold temperature, right moments, physical progresses and relaxed mind. The ascent  almost came spontaneously, with a surprise taste at the top. What I am asking is:  is the surprise more linked to the ascent itself or maybe more to the fact I was able to collect all these little things together? I still don’t know, but the victory on this line made me light and happy at the same time.

In Buandik, after making some good classics like “Simplicity” V11 and “Rootarted” V12, I got interested in a piece of white/grey/pink immaculate sandstone, which had been attempted by Ian Dory, Dave Graham and Nalle Hukkataival few seasons ago. Ricky gave me a huge help to clean the upper part from the moss, and he gave me lot of push-ups to identify the proper way. After the first day, the resume was anyway deluding: 2h hours of working. 8 moves done ( 6 of them really easy). 2 moves with no idea about the solution. On the second day, I somehow had clearer ideas and I quickly got my beta for the top part, exactly where the difficulty is concentrated. Those slopy features  require good skin, good temps and no sun. I had to stay quiet and to relax my mind as much as I could; I knew it was possible within the day, but I had to manage the energies and the skin like a super precision chemist manage the right doses. The long rest was preparing the atmosphere for a powerful go; Ricky and I both knew about the high possibilities. I turned my mind off and I climbed into the flow. I reached the slopers perfectly, I stuck the crimp and I felt I was really solid, both physically and mentally. I set my body for the last move which consist in grabbing the last elusive jug and my heel popped out. I felt smashed on the mats with nothing in my hands. From that stage, I dropped into a no-success mental zone, where I couldn’t feel the slopers anymore. Two hours later, the dark came and an inner voice said it was time to postpone.

Third session on. It was time to send and the fact made me a bit stressful. Temperatures were perfect, my skin not fantastic but even not bad.  The first go was a bummer and I felt out of the proper focus again. I felt really worse than the previous session. After a while, I started feel my muscles lighter and relaxed; I probably got aware about the difficult that the boulder was requiring me. This fact made me more quiet. I started the easy climbing with another mood and I got into the section again. I stuck the crimp, a thing I didn’t think I could on that go; I barely did, but I grabbed. The last move is still heinous, but I found myself with the good hold and I quickly went into the upper easy slab, which leads  to the summit. I had climbed a new one and I could decide for a new name! I couldn’t wait. I called it “Il Mancino di Bristol”.

Between an ascent and another the time ran quickly to the end of the trip. In a blink of an eye, I found myself sitting on a chair again, waiting for a flight, writing some words about the time in the Down under. I flew back home and I posted what I wrote in the journey. Despite Grampians deluded my expectation (maybe too high expectations), I felt happy about how this first part of the year has gone. I see many reasons for which I should come back here. The first one is definitively because I would like to open my vision more, searching for what there is beyond the already climbed lines, going beyond the known and the simple, into the new and the exciting. And, I am pretty sure, Australia may be a good place to do this.

Here the ascents’ list of the second part and a bunch of pictures

Il Mancino di Bristol V14 (FA) **
Owning the Weather V14 2nd asc. ****
Pigeon Superstition V13 **
Sultan of Swing V13 2nd asc. ***
Rule Number 1 V13 ***
Rootarted V12/13 3rd asc. ****
Point break V12 3rd asc. **
Diagonal Highway V11/12 ***
The Roobiks’ Cube V11 *
Simplicity V11 ***
Dead Heat V11 (flash) ****

Ricky on "Great Expectation" V9, Grampians (AUS).

Ricky on "The Outsider" V11, Grampians (AUS).

"Diagonal Highway" V11/12, Grampians (AUS). Photo Ross Taylor (Vertical Life Mag)

"Diagonal Highway" V11/12, Grampians (AUS). Photo Ross Taylor (Vertical Life Mag)

"Il Mancino di Bristol" FA, Grampians (AUS). Photo Ross Taylor (Vertical Life Mag)

"Il Mancino di Bristol" FA, Grampians (AUS). Photo Ross Taylor (Vertical Life Mag)

"Rootarted" V12, Grampians (AUS). Photo Ross Taylor (Vertical Life Mag)

"Rule Number 1" V13, Grampians (AUS). Photo Ross Taylor (Vertical Life Mag)