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Moon Climbing

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The best thing about being a school teacher is the proximity of your next break. Never more than 11 weeks before a (minimum) two week holiday is a pretty sweet gig, even if you have to deal with everyone’s precious/precocious adolescents in the interim. Today is day one back at work and already holidays have receded to a misty past, something that appears in my head as a cheap flashback scene reminiscent of an old episode of Kung Fu.

Luckily, however, the holidays were an absolute blast shared with good friends, great weather and some sweet new blocs. The Grampians is an area that just keeps on giving. You can still find world class blocs within a 20minute walk from a tourist carpark that have never been touched by human hands before. Most require little cleaning and the variety is astronomical. Over the past 3-4 weeks myself and some of my friends have managed to put up around 30-40 new problems, mostly in the 7b+ – 8a range, with a few moderates and a couple of bullet hard projects still to come.

I discovered a new boulder that was heavily covered in moss from the truly wet winter that we have had this year, but after about an hour of cleaning four amazing projects had appeared. A day later, they were dry and it was time to go to work. Inspired by the classic film Anchorman, the boulder was dubbed the Sex Panther boulder. First down was Blackbeard’s delight, 7c, followed soon after by London Gentleman, 7c+ and Musk Up 7c. One project remains undone, but should go in the coming days. Not super hard, but very weird, it has repelled all attempts thus far, but since daylight savings began on the weekend, there should be some enjoyable post work sessions in coming weeks.

Nearby, I had found and cleaned up an amazing prow before the arrival of my friends. I had been eyeing this line up for a few weeks, but with a terrible landing and a high topout I needed some moral support before attempting it. I trekked out there with Scoots on a cold Saturday, a rarity for the end of September, but more alarming was what happened next. Snow. It started sleeting a little, which was amazing, then rapidly turned to proper powder snow. Unbelievable. The highest point of the Grampians is only around 850 metres and we were nowhere near that. I had only ever seen snow once before in the Gramps and it had been in the middle of the night and in the middle of winter. Even though it was bloody freezing, the rock was too warm to allow the snow to stay frozen, so it quickly melted. We stuck it out for a bit, working the bottom moves, but within 20 minutes we were beaten back to the fireplace and the football grandfinal. Luckily, the next day dawned bright and still cool and I excitedly headed back out and nabbed the first ascent of The Quickening 7c+, one of the coolest FA s I have ever done.

Though it has been amazing finding and sending all of these cool probs, I have been lacking something truly hard to work on. All that changed on Friday when I went and had a proper look at a prow that I had scoped out before, but not gotten around to yet. I scrubbed it up and tried the moves. Incredible. It’s around 13 moves, of which 3 I did in the first session. Perfect, I have a new project. At least 8b I reckon… Back there tomorrow, for session 2 of many I would guess…

For those interested, here is a list of some of the new probs from the last few weeks:
The Taken, 8a
The Departed, 7c+
The Quickening, 7c+
Force Code, 7c+
London Gentleman, 7c+
Gangnum Style, 7c
Blackbeard’s Delight, 7c
The Walker, 7c
Musk Up, 7c
CMD, 7b+
Hot Rod, 7b+