Hi all, here's the guts of an email I sent to Neil filling him in on my weekend. He seemed to think you might find it entertaining. Thus, I'm posting it. Enjoy!
* Jac and Kent tick Poison Bait BEFORE HB... he is alarmed and sulks a lot.
* Jac gets further again on "A Space Odyssey" before the inevitable fall. Crux has been cleaned up a lot.
* The Talon Project goes free, and declared to be easier than Poison Bait.
* Poison Bait sees four free ascents in one day, and is home to a media frenzy of slide film and video.
On the weekend just gone, a bunch of us headed to the Vic Range. Key destinations were:
* Malcolm's crazy roof area (better known as the Orinoco Area... approx 800m to the right of Eureka Wall)
* Mt Fox
* Poison Bait Cave (Scoop Rocks)
Wednesday 3.30pm: Weekend forecast is released on www.bom.gov.au and Jac observes the entire weekend is forecast for good weather. The usual Wednesday night call is placed to the Matheson household to inform Malcolm of the weather. He's very pleased and decides he's definitely in for one day of climbing at the crazy roof area... possibly two days. When Jac advises she definitely wants to spend one day at Poison Bait area, Malcolm gets the jitters and declares that he'd like to clean that project up too.
Thursday: Melbournites hatch a weekend plan via email. Kent, Jac and Tim will head up to Gravel Pit campground in the Vic Range on Friday night. Michael Boniwell, aka Mr Chockstone will turn up on Saturday morning. Kent, Tim and Michael will head to Mt Fox on Saturday while Jac heads of climbing with Malcolm (no doubt to get completely spanked yet again!!). Wally from Natimuk is also invited along.
Friday 5pm: Kent turns up at Jac's work to join the convoy. Kent and Jac meet Tim at Jac's place. Tim's car is left behind and the trio is on the road by 6.35pm. After Jac's ranting about diet on Chockstone, Tim and Kent enjoy an opportunity to bag Jac excessively about her habit of always ordering "one flake and one fishcake" at George's Fish Shop in Ararat; every Friday and Sunday night. This bagging goes on about 15mins outside of Ararat.
Friday 8.30pm: The group arrives at George's Fish Shop. Tim and Kent walk in, followed by Jac. Qing (pronounced "Tching"), the owner of the shop, points at Jac excitedly and declares in a thick Asian accent: "ONE FLAKE ONE FISHCAKE!!!" Jac almost falls on the floor laughing, and Tim and Kent are also extremely amused. Qing is very pleased with his joke. The group introduces themselves and Tim asks Qing if he can have one of the fish shop caps, claiming that lots of climbers go through Ararat each weekend, and that he could advertise for them. Qing laughs and goes about making our dinner. When dinner is ready, the group, as usual, remains seated on the bench in the shop and eats dinner, all the while wondering whether it is rude to do so and that they should leave. They decide they don't really care and continue eating. Then... off to Safeway for a few groceries and a six pack of Crownies, which are opened for the final stint of the journey.
Friday 10.30pm: Group arrives at campground. Kent has forgotten his headtorch again, and can't find his beanie. Jac educates Kent on the fact that the headtorch and beanie could possibly live permanently in the top pocket of the pack.... which would avoid leaving them behind, and making them easy to locate. Group bunks down for the night.
Saturday 8am: Michael Boniwell shows up almost an hour early. Group gets out of bed. Jac has enjoyed an excellent night's sleep on the bouldering mat. Tim complains of lack of sleep... he was cold, but was too lazy to get up and put more clothes on... and thus his sleep suffered.
Saturday 9.15am: Malcolm arrives and proudly presents Jac with a cd he has burnt for her. This is part of the new cd trade system Jac and Malcolm have devised. Malcolm hasn't trained all week, and is exhausted from work. Jac hasn't trained all week either (due to some damaged finger cartlidge). They plan to crank hard all day regardless. Tim, Kent and Michael head for Twentieth Century Fox.
Saturday 10.30am-ish: Jac and Malcolm arrive at the base of "A Space Odyssey". Malcolm has already completed this route... it remains Jac's project. Malcolm is living in some bizarre world that allows him to believe Jac will tick pitch one today. Jac laughs and ropes up, indicating if she can get to clip 4 clean, it will be considered monstrous progress. Jac ends up getting two moves (thru the crux) further than last time before falling off, and is pleased with the progress. Some time is used cleaning up some messy crux moves, which is considered to be a productive use of time. This would involve a weird slap around the corner with the right hand onto a crimper, while clinging desperately to an ok kneebar, followed by a triple deadpoint onto slopers with the left hand, with a "kneebar" behind a nubbin no bigger than a crystal. Jac gets very tired and unproductive after a while and suggests getting lowered down so Malcolm can work his project for a while.
Malcolm gets up on his "project", estimated to be gr22, and completes it in fine style. The crux sequence saw Malcolm pull a move not unlike those spreadout dance moves seen on Solid Gold or something (arms outstretched, one knee turned in). Jac laughs a lot and takes the opportunity to bag him about it. He then tries the direct finish to the route, estimated to be more like gr27, and eventually decides he's "not strong enough" to pull the moves. He offers Jac a go and then takes back the offer, declaring she still had business on "A Space Odyssey".
Jac is extremely exhausted, and feeling it. Nevertheless, she ropes up on "A Space Odyssey" and gets half a move higher, which is annoying... although in the grand scheme of things, she remembers she is very tired, hasn't trained all week, and did one of the crux sequences a lot cleaner with less energy this time. Should be helpful next time. Nevertheless, HB observes her put up an impressive fight against the climb, and fall off unexpectedly. HB is thrilled that he's unleashed this fighting spirit, and that at last he's seen Jac fall. He declares it to have been a 3.5m fall, and that next time he'd drop her a little further, just to get her used to it. Jac is horrified. She starts working on cleaning crux #2 and gets so tired she doubts her ability to get up a gr12. It is decided that a more productive use of time will be for Malcolm to scoot up and demonstrate what he is doing so differently that he pulls that move with relative ease. Jac then seconds it, pulls the move and is happy that things will be easier next visit. The pair is happy and heads home to camp for dinner.
Friday evening: Len and Helena.... friends of Malcolm's show up. Malcolm's partner Jen and 2 year old daughter Alisha have shown up. Kent's group tells of an epic story involving lack of quickdraws on Twentieth Century Fox (see pics). The group settles in to cooking dinner. Jac has eaten about three mouthfuls when Jen appears at the campfire looking worried, and asking for a second opinion on whether Alisha needs stitches. She has cut her face on a tuna tin. Jac and Len head over to the HB-mobile to find Malcolm cradling his daughter in his arms... blood streaming from her face. In reality the cut is small, but Jac declares that it will probably scar... and the scar will grow bigger as she gets older. It is decided that Alisha should be taken to Horsham hospital for attention. Michael wants to run an interview with Malcolm, so Jac offers to take the trip to Horsham with Jen and Alisha. Jac shovels her pasta into a sealable container and the trio pile into the car... with Jen driving, a very worried looking Alisha in the carseat, and Jac positioned beside her, holding tissues to her f