A Gaze Blank and Pitiless as the Sun

Yesterday, amid howling wind and rainstorms, I approached my summit cave project on Mt Tibrogargan. The mountain, usually a rain magnet, seemed to have reversed its polarity and as the squalls approached, they would miraculously swing past, leaving Tibrogargan unscathed.

I'd had a good few weeks leading up to this point. We had the Hawkesbury Trip which left me feeling tired and happy, then three days off, a short, very strong bouldering session and a session on my Pulpit project, then another restful few days with one amazing training session where I felt stronger than ever before. I really felt as though everything was lining up and coming together in a huge peak.

At the belay, I racked up feeling perfectly relaxed. I hadn't got pumped at all on the warm-ups, so I was planning on the first try to simply go up until I got a good pump, then have a rest, continuing on to the top, resting where necessary. There's no pressure on the first try of the day.

I launched out the roof past three bolts to the lip. Next comes a lip traverse for two bolts using kneebars and heelhooks to a semi-rest using a calf hang over a horn. I rested for about a minute here and because the pressure was off, I was even able to talk to Erik and just enjoy the exposure of the situation.

From here there is an awkward section of underclings and bridging up a 40° overhung wall to a huge throw off a cigarette box pinch to "the arrow". This is a really unique hold, which looks like a huge broad head arrow has partially punched out of the rock. It provides a good jug, plus a kneebar. This partial rest (you're nearly upside down at this point) marks the beginning of the crux sequence. I made it to this point feeling surprisingly good. It would all come down to the execution of the crux moves. As chance would have it and to my great surprise, I pulled every move perfectly, and almost came off on the easier crank through into In Between Dreams' corner, just from pure shock.

At this point I'd climbed all of the new route, and simply had the technical crux of In Between Dreams 26 to go. I wrangled a rest in the corner which was lucky, as following the hard climbing below, I'd brought on a debilitating pump. At this point, some bushwalkers walked down onto the NE shoulder and had a great view across to me on the route. Who knows what they were thinking? ("That guy's stuck up there!"). I rested until my calves were burning, and then pushed upwards past two more bolts to stand on top of the Glasshouse Mountains' hardest route - A Gaze Blank and Pitiless as the Sun 30.

Thanks to the various partners who've made the slog up the hill to help me get this done: JJ, Duncan, Neil and Erik.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

--William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

Firmly engaged in the crux sequence. © Phil Box 2009


Anonymous said...

BOOYAA!! Nice work Lee.

Have you got a geocode for that route? :)