Monday, September 24, 2012

Walking and Climbing

Today Doug and I went climbing at Bangor Crag. A pleasant one hour walk from Loftus leads to the crag, almost all of it through the bush with a bit of easy, but unavoidable bushwalking. A good trail leads down from Loftus – complete with steps cut into the sandstone – to the Forbe River, and from there out to the Wonorora River, where you can cross the River on a very sturdy footbridge. Bangor Crag is up above the river at the top of an escarpment, but we could find no trail going up through the bush, so wacked up through light bush. Easy wacking by Canadian standards, except that the piles of eucalpyt leaves everywhere are surprisingly slippery underfoot. At the top of the escarpment we picked up a track widening to a fire track and walked to the top of the crag. There are two ways to scramble down to the base, east and west, west is easiest and we went down east and up west. Both have a few moves of low 5th class.

We climbed a dozen routes or so, from grades (Australian scale) 13 to 19, which, could be roughly from 5.5 to 10b, but none of the routes felt like 5.5 to me. The easiest I would likely have graded 5.7. Unfortunately, mixed in with good new ring bolts are lots of dodgy old Australian carrot bolts. Carrot bolts are regular machine bolts hammered into a hole drilled into the sandstone that is slightly narrower than the bolt diameter. They have no hangars, and you need to carry a hangar plate to fit over the carrot. Bizarre, yes, dubious, incontrovertibly. For some strange reason, despite a lot of retro-bolting to replace old carrots – very scary looking – there were virtually no ring bolts for top anchors. All the top anchors were carrots, some looking very rusty. We used trees for anchors. I called up a climbing store when we got home and found out where to buy bolt plates for carrots ($5 each), but, I'm not altogether sure I want to start climbing on carrots. 

Carrots aside, we had a great day, although we both felt weak and stiff after not climbing for a long time.  It was awesome being able to walk to the crag, particularly as the entire walk is along really nice bush tracks.  

Pool along the Forbe River on the walk to Bangor Crag

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