New Nowra – Sport climbing in NSW Australia

 

Australia has lots to offer the, rock climber, adventure seeker, naturalist, kitsch culture seeker, and bird lover.  Nowra is just three hours south of Sydney is one of these places. I had to escape another North American winter and headed south for Australian summer November till April. Daytime temperatures range from 15 to 30 degrees and shade can be found everywhere.

I spent the day packing for a climbing trip, eating, and bull shitting with my pal, Joe. He kept saying shit like ‘just grouse, inna it’, ‘have a squiz’, ‘it’s in the tucker box mate’, ‘good on ya’, ‘do you want some goonbag’, and ‘put it in the boot’. We decided to leave early the next day for a climbing road trip. Before leaving Joe assured me that, he now drove slower because he had way too many points on his license. I had been driving with many Ozzies before and the five minute trip to the corner store can be fifty klicks but only fifteen minutes. We hopped into the car and zoomed along the hot highway, drinking copious amounts of water and cranking the air-conditioning on the drive to Nowra for a sport climbing holiday.

Wallaby

Joes Facebook friends said to camp at the Shoalhaven Zoo. The emu enclosure was in the parking lot of the Zoo entrance and the camp ground had a massive green lawn. The campground is beside the Shoalhaven River and a cool breeze blew over us, which is a rarity in Australia, but was welcomed after a long day on the road. The resident peacocks roamed the camp site and in the early evening-dusk, wombats roamed the area loudly crunching and munching the grass. There were kookaburra squealing and flapping around in the trees alongside the river.

Kookaburra, Nowra. Photo James Cruikshank

The first day of climbing was at one of the New Nowra crags, Tianjara falls. It was a horseshoe shaped canyon with tiny waterfalls, possibly bigger after heavy rains. The rock is sandstone with some quartzite pebbles mixed in. There were ten sections of cliff within a two mile area, relinquishing 150 routes. The approach to the crag was a 20 minute walk past bright red bottle brush bushes and fragrant eucalyptus trees. Arriving at the first   cliff, Joe quickly flaked the rope and sprinted up the bolted routes. The climbs were 80 to 140 feet long with grades ranging from 5.5 to 5.13b. After a few warm up climbs there was some fun grabbing bombproof sandstone holds, doing dynamic moves for holds just out of reach and then falling into space. It was a great day with no other people at the crags but when we got back to the parking there was another car. The Ute, the Australian car-Ute is a very ugly two seater station wagon with a tiny truck box instead of the wagon bit. It usually has a massive engine 454, with shiny aluminum mags, low profile tires, bright highly polished paint, blasting music, an amplified exhaust system to dangerously high decibels, a black tarp over the rear truck box and driven at dangerous speeds by some sun burnt cigarette puffing bogan(redneck).

James on Cover Boy (23), goldmine. Photo Carole Lunny at Nowra Nsw.

Day number two found us climbing at Goldmine, an aptly named crag. The routes were 120 feet long and supremely bolted, meaning close bolts so the climbers falls would be small. There was a nice trail to the cliffs, with insitu hand lines and even a painter’s ladder bolted to a small section of cliff. The rock quality was a super compact sandstone with amazing friction and not so abrasive. The area was quite with no planes or helicopters buzzing overhead, although there was a lot of bird chatter. The whip bird made a Star Wars blaster sound and the cackling Kookaburra was eerily disturbing. We began at the Sandpaper Sally crag with the classic Hung out to Dry (5.7) a 120 foot bolted with shiny new ring bolts. We then moved on to the roof like, After Dinner Sex Games (5.9) an athletic 110 feet long. Some of the other routes had laybacks, pockets, crimps, jugs, roofs, and technical foot jobbies. Wasp in the willows was another memorable 120 foot (5.11b). All the routes we climbed that day were super classic long sport routes. Walking out to the parking lot there was a funny looking reptile, a stumpy which has a triangle head and a similar triangular tail, so predators are confused. There was also the uniquely Australian echidna, an egg laying mammal, that looked like a hedgehog on steroids.dscn0362-small

The well bolted routes on steep overhung Nowra sandstone is indeed a pleasure to climb on. The animals are exceptional with the wombat, kangaroo, stumpy, echidna and wallaby. The bird life is brilliantly abundant in color and population creating melodious bird symphonies daily. The weather is dry and warm making a great destination for avoiding a North American winter. G’Day Mate, can be heard all day long and is as infectious as it is snickeringly cute. The massive island in the southern hemisphere is really all about the nature, the animals, the friendly locals and world class sport climbing.

Turkey, Geyikbayiri and sport climbing at the new Sector – Moon

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Free topo for Sector Moon in Geyikbayiri

The routes feature pockets, tufa, crimps, and jugs. The Moon is in the shade after 12 noon but there are sunny spots till 5pm to have lunch. The rock is solid and cleaned to perfection. The tranquil area is above a small river and looks northeast over forests and mountains. Thanks to Petzl, Climbers Garden, The Land, and the route equippers, route scrubbers, and trail builders Murat Gorken, James Cruikshank, Katharina Habermann, Wolfgang Schulz and Jeroen KuiperJeroen pausing and comtemplating the effects of  Antimatter 7a.jpg

DIRECTIONS – The location is a short 15 walk up the paved road from Climbers garden. At the junction to the big entrance sign saying –Welcome Geyikbayiri– stay on the right paved road and walk uphill for another 10 minutes. Here you must turn right after the squiggly road sign onto an obvious dirt road. Walk past goat pens and plastic shepherd huts (be friendly and respectful). Then you will come to an open field.IMG_6423.JPG

(5 minutes) and follow red markers to Moon. The orange paint is from the Shepherds.

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Sector -Moon route topo in Geyikbayiri

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Name Grade Bolt Meter Equipper, First Ascent
1. Moonshine 6b+ 7 18 Murat Görken, Jeroen Kuiper
2. Ingilizce Zombi 6b 6 15 James Cruikshank
3. Orbit 5a 4 10 James Cruikshank
4. Hyperion 6c 4 10 James Cruikshank
5. Botanist 6a+ 5 10 Katharina Habermann
6. Heavy Gravity 6c+ 3 10 James Cruikshank

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Name Grade Bolt  

Meter

Equipper, First Ascent
7. Painkiller 5c 5 10 Murat Görken
8. Osternest 5b 5 12 Katharina Habermann, James Cruikshank
9. Moon Dust 5a 6 15 Katharina Habermann, James Cruikshank
10. Endor 6a 5 15 Katharina Habermann, James Cruikshank
11. Wurmloch 5b 4 12 Katharina Habermann, James Cruikshank
12. Uncle Fucker 6c+ 5 12 James Cruikshank
13. G.O.R.A. 7a+ 4 12 James Cruikshank
14. Van Allen Belt 5c 6 15 James Cruikshank

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Name Grade Bolt Meter Equipper, First Ascent
15. Der neue Stecher 6c 8 20 James Cruikshank
16. Limon ay 6c+ 10 25 Murat Görken, Jeroen Kuiper
17.Buddha´s Revenge 6b 9 25 James Cruikshank
18. Antimatter 7a 9 22 James Cruikshank
19. Moonraker 7c 10 28 James Cruikshank
20. Dr. Rocket 7b 9 25 James Cruikshank

Schärtenspitze – Westgrat

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Schärtenspitze – Westgrat

It was to be another rainy weekend. Good planning is important to help achieve goals.

My partner Kathi and I decided to continue on our gumby multipitch summer of adventures and drove 2 hours after work on Friday, through a thunderstorm to Berchtesgaden.

Our objective was to hike 3 hours  up to Blaueishütte, climb 600 meters up The Westgrat (a 5+, climbed in the 1920s by Allwein and Welzenbach) and hike back down to the base before the rain was to start at 5pm. The goal was to be at the car by dinner time.20160723_184219

Sounds easy and with an early start 5:15 from the parking lot.

Things went well with a quick 3 hours to the base of the route. All the quiet morning sunrise hiking was sweet but the first 2 pitches of the route were wet.IMG_7768It was a bit challenging to get the confidence up but then things dried out (my tears of fear being one). 20160723_110632

It was STUNNING place to be looking down onto Hintersee and being the only ones on the route. Which was good because it does get spooky after the 10th pitch. The problems began  when the fog came in after 8 pitches. IMG_7775

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WE had to TRUDGE ON and ON. Through grass and scree and the few large rocks that came loose.

Finally we made it to the summit and no rain yet but not much water left.20160723_151654

We made a quick decent and 13.5 hours we were back at the car. Not a fast day but fun and somewhat dry.IMG_780120160723_152706

Swiss Granite

Life takes me to interesting places and I enjoy the journey. This trip to Eldorado at the Grimsel pass was one of the top multipitch routes I have climbed this year.

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Beautiful Bavaria

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I slowed the car down and did a speedy u-turn, had I seen the massive sign correctly? Sometimes my mind sees what it wants and in my dream world. I’m constantly looking for these unique, intriguing, city women when out on the hiking trails and finally I know where to find them! #frankenjura #germany #hiking @moredaysoff

Climbing in Southern Frankenjura; Jachenhausen

Sometimes I feel the need to go outside and have some fun.

Sketchbook of a GPS Artist

Strava Giraffe This work of Strava art by Stephen Lund required around 115 kilometres of cycling in and around Victoria, BC garmin gps strava art cycling bicycling cyclist This work of Strava art by Stephen Lund required around 115 kilometres of cycling in and around Victoria, BC

Remember that scene near the end of Twelve Monkeys – where Bruce Willis’ character learns that the Army of the 12 Monkeys has set all the animals free from the zoo and then sees four giraffes cantering along a Philadelphia freeway?

Well, that’s what it’s like on the streets of Victoria, BC today, as I spent my morning surprising the city with about 100 kilometres worth of Strava giraffe.

In a straight line from head to front hoof, she measures about 11 kilometres.

I had to use the “Strava OFF/Strava ON” trick for a few sections of the legs as the inventory of roads (especially straight ones) is rather meagre in that area. With the extra dashing about between OFF and ON points, this work of Strava art called for around 115 km of cycling.

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Italy and the wanna be sponsored climber

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20170108_103131-1-1.jpgClimbing around the Cinque Torri group for a day and the hard core decided to do a route on Torre Grande, west face – Armida.Route topo and description can be found on page 379-379 in the www.Rockfax.com publication of The Dolomites Rock Climbs and Via Ferrata by James Rushforth 2014 edition. This guide has great photos of the rock formations and makes it easier to understand follow the route descriptions. The approach and descent information is also simple to follow and has made for many enjoyable days in the Italian Dolomites.

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