Arapiles is over for the moment. Will I miss it? I'm not so sure yet!
In the end however, we'd a pretty good few days to finish off. Sean isn't comfortable back on traditional climbing just yet, so I'm leading everything above 6b (I'm putting this in French sports grade equivalents as the English system is just too confusing to compare to, especially as they use bolts here for when the climbing gets dangerous/run-out/scary). I'm not complaining either. I'm onsighting comfortably up to 24 (think that's about 7a+) which is more than respectable for me on trad gear – even if it's well below my sports climbing grade.
Still though, my endurance is now sorted out as my new personal best is over an hour on a single 25metre pitch (it was technical and confusing!) and still being able to campus the last two moves for fun :) It was a nice confidence booster for me also! Although, I know need to start climbing faster as I'm getting the beginnings of a case of tendonitus in an elbow. I told you trad climbing wasn't good for you ;)
I'm in a more positive frame of mind towards the current activities now however, one of those frustrating weeks prior to that so glad that's out of the way. It's definitely been a learning experience that to push myself (or yourself) to a high level in sport involves keeping training (or some sort of activity) up continuously, otherwise you get sluggish fast!
Still though back to Arapiles. We haven't completely adapted to life in The Pines (the campsite where all the climbers stay) and will look forward the fresh start in the Grampians in the forthcoming days.
There are people here who have been staying in their tents since last September - Now that's hardcore! They manage to work a day or so on the local organic farm each week and in return are kept in a continuous supply of fresh vegetables (as their salary) but I have a feeling some of them haven't been into the nearest town in over two weeks! And there's not much else to do here bar climb...... Interesting lifestyle if that's what you're into?
Other than that, the rain has been keeping everyone on their toes – yes, it's still soggy here sometimes :) Is it going to improve? The Aussies sure hope not as they're under serious water restrictions (the resevoirs for Melbourne are down to below 28%!) so it's hard to complain about our plight.
Our excuse for leaving Arapiles is that we've a new visitor! Chris, of Hamilton Street (the old rental house in Dublin full of climbers), has decided to join us a long-termer! Welcome to the team :)
Did I mention that once we've escaped from Melbourne in a day or two the next location on call will be a return to the Gallery crag in the Grampians National Park. It's got bolts and overhangs by 20 degrees....let the fun begin :) he he he
And of course, my humbling. We decided to do an easy warm-up one day before jumping onto more serious routes. 5 metres up above my last piece of gear, with a super committing move, I gladly took the dropped rope from above from a mate who was on the route beside us. Oh, how I hate non-steep climbing these days :) But as I mentioned, a nice reminder that no matter how good you get in whatever you in life, every once in a while something will come along to remind you that you don't know everything just yet!