Mt Arapiles: rock climbing the family way

Good to make one thing lead to more?  The final weekend of our week away triggered all the rest – I was booked to teach a course in Melbourne.  Given that my airfare was covered one thought led to a suggestion and that lead to several more.   En fin, there were 3 families from Western Australia, another couple of WA and some old friends from Tasmania in on a rock climbing trip with a more relaxed attitude than in the past.

Over 2000 routes of all difficulties, lengths and styles possible.  All within walking distance of the campground.  It's a place to return to many times - I first came here in 1999, and this is not the last time I'll climb here
Over 2000 routes of all difficulties, lengths and styles. All within walking distance of the campground. It’s a place to return to many times – I first came here in 1999, and this is not the last time I’ll climb here.

Somehow we all converged, camped and spent the week enjoying the place with variable amounts of actual climbing.  The WA boys all had their ‘target route’, whereas our friend Rob from Tasmania has lost track of how many times he’s been here and was just keen on catching up properly.

Pete got 'sandbagged'.  In this case unintentionally (by me), but I bear no responsibility for his and Dan's inability to stay on route the second time they tried Dan's chosen climb as they had the guidebook that time and I wasn't even there...
Pete got ‘sandbagged’. In this case unintentionally (by me), but I bear no responsibility for his and Dan’s inability to stay on route the second time they tried Dan’s chosen climb as they had the guidebook that time and I wasn’t even there…
Meanwhile on the next buttress along someone patently did know where they were going :-)
Meanwhile on the next buttress along someone patently did know where they were going :-)
Bushranger Crag had plenty of easier stuff, and a queue of (mostly) willing children from our group
Bushranger Crag had plenty of easier stuff, and a queue of (mostly) willing children from our group
Rob (the second of that name - Western Australian this time) under the keen supervision of Chae Saam
Rob (the second of that name – Western Australian this time) under the keen supervision of Chae Saam (daughter of Pete)
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Happy that he was up to the job, she romped up the route
Blithely ignored by her brother (but not her mother - a proud smile?)
Blithely ignored by her brother (but not her mother – a proud smile?)
Seemingly innocuous, this roof is near the top of the mountain
Seemingly innocuous, this roof is near the top of the mountain
with a famed and expansive vista to settle the nerves of prospective assailants .  A small blue-shirted speck nearing the top was Rob (still the second of that name).
with a famed and expansive vista to settle the nerves of prospective assailants . A small blue-shirted speck nearing the top was Rob (still the second of that name).

Here’s how he got there:

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Not all is so high in the sky.  Arapiles is surrounded by a sprawl of boulders that provide diversion aplenty.  Some are ‘test-pieces’, for example the Squeeze Test which is just that – a truck-sized block of stone with a diagonal split just wide enough to take a reasonably slim climber in a less than comfortable angle.

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Others are perfectly engaging, but possible. Mim’s dancer-grace making zen-like short order of this one
Just round the corner Rob (the first) was trying not to lay a hand on rock, but just get the mix of momentum and belief just right.
Just round the corner Rob (the first) was trying not to lay a hand on rock, but get the mix of momentum and belief just right.
Before Mim makes it look effortless
Before Mim makes it look effortless
Not all movement is upwards.  Sophie's in safe hands
Not all movement is upwards. Sophie’s in safe hands

Mim was on her first ‘real’ rock climbing trip – not that it showed.

The biggest faces take several rope lengths of upward motion.  This belay ledge is over 100m above our starting point.
The biggest faces take several rope lengths of upward motion. This belay ledge is over 100m above our starting point – and her first multi-pitch climb.
There's a multi-rope length abseil back down too
There’s a multi-rope length abseil back down too
The abseil also gets used the following day after Pete doesn't get lost on the iconic Watchtower Crack and by Sarah who's sensibly picked a route in the sun...
The abseil also gets used the following day after Pete doesn’t get lost on the iconic Watchtower Crack and by Sarah who’s sensibly picked a route in the sun…
After a week of bush-camp living and lots of rocks to practice on.  Bryn's pretty happy with life.  Heading upwards attached to a rope might attract his interest pretty soon (or there might be too much fun to be had at the bottom :-))
After a week of bush-camp living and lots of rocks to practice on. Bryn’s pretty happy with life. Heading upwards attached to a rope might attract his interest at some point (or there might be too much fun to be had at the bottom :-))
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3 comments

  1. I absolutely loved my 3 months I spent bumming and climbing in Arapiles. It’s a magical place isn’t it! Wish I could go back and live there, but there’s many more places to explore and i’m always thriving for new adventures :) What route did you get sandbagged on? :D

      • Yikes! Lamplighter is such a good multi-pitch, but I totally can see how you would detour on that big old lump of rock! Fortunately we didn’t get too lost on it. I loved leading the second pitch of Lamplighter. Third pitch was very interesting to say the least! Ha.

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