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Weekend TR: Rosea, The Stinger Variant 16-Sep-2019 At 6:51:40 PM gfdonc
Trip report from a lazy day at Rosea, Saturday.

Mt Rosea has a huge expanse of rock along its left-hand side that isnít well known to climbers. Having only managed a handful of routes there as research for the Grampians Comprehensive Guide Iíve been keen to go back and climb a few more. Saturday was perfect weather (although cool) so I picked out The Stinger (**15, but with an alternative grade 18 finish) from the new guide and we headed off. Sorry, I forgot to pack the camera.

The starting corner is very easy to find but the start is disappointingly fairly Ďgreení after winter, with a coating of lichen and some moss. Fortunately though the foot-holds were mostly clean so it was still climbable despite appearances. Bring a brush next time.

After a little thrutchy section the first pitch heads up a long steep corner with excellent but easy bridging. Nice. I belayed in a sheltered alcove and brought Paula up.

The next pitch is a steep wide chimney that claimed to be only 13. I was looking at its left wall as I belayed, picking out a few holds and wondering how to get past the half-way point. Paula led through, starting on the right wall then bridging across, but got Ďstuckí at that half-way point and decided she didnít feel right about it. With gear just below her feet she instead opted to clip a very rusty, very old piton (we assume 1964-vintage) at her chest level and lower off it.

It took her weight just fine but by the time Iíd lowered her about a metre the piton simply cracked to bits, falling apart along its shaft. The next thing I know was a smack in the head as she fell the additional couple of metres onto her last cam, pretty much landing on my helmet and whacking her ankle somewhere. Ouch!

There were quite a few complaints and curses echoing down the valley as I checked I could still see straight and could turn my neck. She was able to put weight on the ankle so we were basically OK but it could have been worse. Donít trust old pitons!

I took over the lead, finding it ridiculously tricky for 13, I assume grade 15 for now and hope you have long legs. Paula, around 155cm tall, fell off it seconding. Since she doesnít normally fall off anything below 20 that sums it up I guess.

At the next belay Paula led through, climbing about 10m up to a terrace where the original Stinger heads across right. However she was now at the base of the Variant and said it looked really good, so she brought me up so I could take a look.

The Variant has no stars in the original write-up and hence none in the new guide, but it's a ripper pitch, two stars from me. Itís a crack up a slightly overhanging wall with mostly good holds each side of the crack. Near the top, the crack widens and the holds run out, but a flake heads diagonally left across the otherwise-blank wall to finish. If it were located in Central Gully thereíd be a queue.

I led up the first section on good-enough holds to an alcove about 1/3 of the way which was a good rest. I continued up the top part to the flake, placed a couple of good cams but couldnít get comfortable for a rest before launching across the wall. I climbed up the crack a little to get better feet but that didnít work. Eventually I moved part-way along the flake where I could get straight-arms again, place a small wire and study the final moves. The sting, as they say, is in the tail. Thatís enough beta for you. Paula followed easily but complained about the pump factor.

The second pitch of the Variant is not well described (and wasnít graded) but we worked it out and I thought it was a worthy conclusion. The revised description for the whole route as we climbed it:
**The Stinger Variant 112m 18
1) 36m (15) as for Vosaxis/The Stinger
2) 22m (15) Climb the chimney above (as for The Stinger) but from the ledge continue up the first 10m of pitch 3 of that route and belay on the terrace at the base of the juggy steep crack.
3) 28m (18) Up the crack until it widens near the top, then head L on a rising flake to a tricky exit. Move up easy ground another 6m to belay.
4) 26m (16) Move 3m R to the base of an undercut L-facing corner. Up this, heading L up the steep wall on good holds to avoid a bush. Climb the rib on the L above until it becomes smooth then step R into a V chimney. Bridge up this to below a horizontal break then make a tricky move L back onto the rib and up.

Just one photo, of the former piton:

Yeah I wouldn't have clipped it, either. Oh well, cheap lesson.

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