A Kneebar Too Far (29)

On Sunday I made the third ascent of A Kneebar Too Far (29) at Coolum. First climbed by local Matt Eaton last year and repeated by Adam Donoghue, the route climbs out one of the steepest and most 'cavey' bits of the Coolum cave. I tried the route for the first time one week prior, putting in two good shots. Even though the line is very steep, there's surprisingly not too much very overhung climbing, because the section of rock you climb is mostly perpendicular to the ground, and you simply traverse from left to right. I think I counted 27 moves. I love routes which traverse, because my training wall at home is so short, I end up doing a lot of traversing, so it's great when a route actually matches up with what you're training. Nevertheless, I was really sore after trying it due to its burly moves.

My second day was on Thursday and I put in three good shots, coming very close to sending it on the second try, falling off right towards the end. I was very surprised and happy, and was feeling very positive about the next day. So after two days of rest I was back. On the long drive up to Coolum, Neil Fewtrell and I were talking about how cool it would be to have stand lights to light up the recesses of the cave for photos. Neil pointed at the generator in the back of the ute and said "Whatdaya reckon?" After a quick stop at Super Cheap Auto we had our lights and were ready for the easy-walk-in-turned-epic with a 35kg generator and light-kit.

When, drenched in sweat, we emerged at the cliff, photographer Phil Box could only point and laugh. Then it was out turn to point and laugh as we watched Phil desperately aiding amongst savage bees with the use of the four metre pool cleaning pole, hooking his rope over horns and gingerly jugging upwards to get into the primo spot for shooting.

Phil in position (c) N Fewtrell

After warming up on other routes, my plan was for my first attempt to be the 'photo lap' where I would hang on bolts as necessary to get some photos, and complete my warm up. But as I launched out into the business, I felt pretty good so just kept going, despite cutting loose on a few sections ("bad feet!"). Once making it past the route's signature inverted kneebar, you're pretty much home and hosed as there is a very restful double kneebar right before the anchors. As I sat in the double kneebar, I had a headspin from lack of calm, even breathing. My whole body had been held taut to maintain the right tension through the lower moves. I reached out and clipped the anchors, and then climbed out past them to satisfy the shortie Matt who couldn't make the clip from where I did. Didn't want him to say I hadn't done it properly! Psyched!

Under the belly of the beast! (c) P Box

Phil was keen to get another angle on the route, so I agreed to have one more burn on it for him and was on such a sendage high, that I managed to do it cleanly a second time. Cool! It's now a lap route! Well maybe not quite =)

Exiting the signature kneebar for the final section. (c) P Box

It might be a long drive, but there's no doubt that Coolum is a place you can get both humbled and strong. Usually in that order. Plus, where else can you climb in the pouring rain?


Sara, a rock climber girl said...

Holy cow, that rock looks amazing! The pictures are making my hands sweat!