I'm now back from two weeks in the Grampians. Known as the home of Hollow Mountain Cave bouldering and Taipan Wall (the two primary attractions for visiting Euros), the Grampians host some of the nicest rock in Australia.
The first week was spent at Muline Cave and Millenium Caves (both are super steep red caves) which I hadn't visited before. Highlights were Desert Rose 27 at Muline and Tunnel to Caracus 28 at Millenium. I sent my trad gear down in a box ahead of time, and I ended up placing two wires on Desert Rose. That was my trad climbing for the trip. Glad I was prepared. Lowlight was falling just shy of the anchors on the amazing roof climb Eye Of The Tiger 29. Technological highlight was getting stumped on the Desert Rose crux, and using the iPhone to email Neil from the crag, requesting beta. He emailed me back a photo sequence and I sent. Ingenious. Belaying highlight was watching Nigel absolutely crush Demon Flower 30, not to mention Path Of Yin 30. Tick tick.
Second week we moved camp from Buandik to Stapylton and saw other climbers for the first time! I'd previously done quite a bit of climbing on Taipan Wall, so this time, primarily on the agenda was Spurt Wall. I did the 'warm up' Menstrual As Anything DS 25 with its hard start, Dial-A-Lama 24 with its hard finish, and enjoyed a quick send of Spurt Girl 28 which felt a bit like a campus board, and a more drawn-out six shot send of Not Too Bad 28 which in the end wasn't. And just to be sure we touched Taipan at least once, "G-Man" Graham Fairbairn and I had fun up on Sidewinder 27, which climbs up and out of Serpentine, both climbing it second try.
Inspiring were some of the other climbers around madly sinking their fangs into their respective projects. Jake Bresnehan is pitting his tips against the second ascent (I think?) of the Groovy extension, Groove Train 33 which goes right to the top of the wall. Lee Cossey is also working hard to climb from the ground to the top of the Taipan in one giant sustained pitch on Nether, which may go free at somewhere around 33/4. Nige Campbell blitzed Lifestyling 31 and locked horns with the Tyranny extension, Who's A Naughty Boy? 32. Graham Fairbairn jumped for glory on Spurt Girl 28. Josh Grose overcame a series of brain explosions to hike Acedemia 31, and Jorg the German (I probably don't have to add 'the German') proudly sent Serpentine 29 after a multi-week siege. After falling on the last move of Dial-A-Lama 24 many times in a row, Omar Cortez-Manzo sent in fine form, only to rupture a finger pulley on Weak Boy 26 to finish his season. Paul Murtaugh (name undoubtedly misspelt) dispatched Eye Of The Tiger 29 and joins the growing list of people tipping their hat to Esther for the use of her gear on the route. On the ropeless front, Sam Edwards breezed in from Tasmania for a couple of days of fingertip destruction on his new project next to Zeus V13 on Lower Taipan Wall. Given Zeus took him 21 days of effort, this new project promises to be even more serious. If you're a strong boulderer reading this (or having it read to you ;) go and repeat Zeus now!
Cheers and shout-outs to all the cool people I met for the first time, or caught up with again after so long. You're all welcome to come up and take the QLD tour, I'll host you, but...better wait till winter.