Another day, another crag.
Next stop on the wandering journey was the famous Arapiles. Firstly, of course, there was the obligatory stop-off for food re-stocks, water re-fills (there's no water anywhere at the moment, especially at any of the campsites), and a Domino's pizza. O.k., the last part isn't critical but hey, you only live once ;)
And so, we arrived into Pines campsite. For climbers, this place is famous and many a holiday has been ruined here. Basically people like it here too much! The current record is a couple from the UK that have been here, living in their tent, since last September! you should see the setup however, they've taken over the prime location with all the donated couches from local climbers. If there was four solid walls, I'd consider it myself :)
First impressions of Arapiles? Eh, it looks like a pile of rubble....... Maybe I'm just lucky enough to have travelled and seen some beautiful scenery but it looks like it's falling down! Imagine a large circular hill with a flat top. Then take northern facing edge and make it sheer. That's essentially was Arapiles is – except it all looks pretty scrambly and about to all fall down, taking the huge number of climbers on it with it.
But, and it's a huge but as it turns out. The climbing is amazing. Truly special. Intricate. Delicate. Powerful. And all on perfect finger edges. O.k., there's a lot of it on traditional protection but I'll get used to that part ;) And some of the route gradings make our stuff back home to be real soft!
I got beaten up on a 23 (supposedly E3 from UK gradings but harder moves than the E7 I tried last year), including taken the well-travelled fall into the tree below (all the branches were damaged from previous plummeters). Awesome climbing though.
And today, myself and Dawid went out for an easy afternoon on 17. In 50 metres, 6 pieces of protection?!? This is hilarious, and truly great fun. I'm definitely missing regular bolts (they use bolts where they think they're required here leaving it up to the person who adds the single bolt where he 'thinks' it will be required. Hmmmmm) but the climbing is a laugh.
I can see I'm going to enjoy my first few days here before leaving for Melbourne again........
Oh, the scenery. almost forgot! I woke up for sunrise this morning. Normally I just turn over and head back to sleep. My jaw hit the floor and I ended up sitting up from 6am watching the sky slowly roll through it's rainbow of colours from pure black to yellow to fire-red to pristine blue skies. It's true the sunrises are as special as they say.
And then after finishing that route with Dawid this evening, the sun slowly set behind us leaving me to process another lightshow. not only that, but perched on my little outcrop 100 metres above ground, I may as well had a view to the ends of the earth in front of me. Perfect flatness just disappeared off into the distance, to my left and to my right. Makes this climbing lark all the worthwhile when I see stuff like this.