It was 1994 and I was finishing school when I first started climbing. Soon after, every request for birthday or Christmas presents was for anything climbing related. Invariably, a favourite gift was the 'Simon Carter Calendar' for that particular year. In the first one I ever had, there was a picture of a girl. A girl climbing an orange, overhanging arete. The route was called Rattler and was in a place I'd never heard of called Kalbarri in remote Western Australia. The route was grade 22 which was inconceivable at the time, but I cut out the image and put it on my wall in my university dorm and vowed I would one day go to Kalbarri to climb Rattler.
Fast forward a mere 19 years. Hectic work schedule. A long weekend possibility? A few hasty emails. Book flights. Book hire car. The team was set: the QLD squadron of JJ O'Brien, myself and Sam, and the NSW ranks of the Carter company: Simon, Monique and Coco.
|Google says 51 hours by car. Perhaps we'll fly to Perth?|
On top of that, immediately before flying out, we got word that the road in to the climbing area was closed for roadworks and would stay that way for 17 weeks. Noooo! Much negotiating with the local Ranger by Simon managed to secure us a way in, but not on the road.
|The way in. This is early and the sand is still damp from the dew. This is good.|
When the sand is white, and dry, and you're not in a Land Cruiser - you are scared!
|First view of the gorge and I am stoked!|
|We're on the walk-in and Coco leads the way.|
|Sam ticks Rattler (22)|
|Check out The Promenade on theCrag.com|
Anyway, I somehow made it and got it done:
- Glass Slipper 29 - 2nd shot
- Homophobia 28 - 2nd shot
- Bustin' Down The Door 27 - 2nd shot
- Root Canal 26/7 - flash
- She Magic 26 - flash
- Super Funky 25 - 2nd shot
- Fuck The Law 25 - 3rd shot!
- Heavy Petting 25 (maybe 23/4?) - onsight
- It's A Boy 24 - onsight
|This cut-loose and clip sequence was on the flash of Root Canal 26/7.|
Hope this doesn't induce seizures or vomiting.
What really stuck me about Kalbarri was the rock. I loved the perfect, clean rock shelves to belay from. No need for rope bags here. I loved the different textures in the rock, and the deep rich oranges. This is ancient, ancient sandstone - over 300 million years old. The sun was blazing but we were cool in the shade.
|Rock texture instagram|
|Discovering the rock on Crankshaft 24|
|Sam on Obscene Gesture 18|
|I think this one was Bustin' Down The Door 27|
|Chilling on the diving board finish of Glass Ceiling 29. So good.|
|My man JJ put in every last ounce of juice and finished off Root Canal at the death.|
Nearly all pics here are from JJ (http://jjobrienclimbing.blogspot.com). No doubt we'll see a few pearlers come through the Onsight Photography media house at some point too.
I felt so happy and at peace here. If you have the chance to go - do!