We had a rambling day climbing at Mount Arapiles today. I was still feeling a little stiff and sore (I blame Ivan the terrible) so, after waffling about, decided on climbing an easy route on The Pinnacle Face. Doug was very kind and let me lead all the pitches, which was really no big deal as the hardest pitch was only grade 10 and then only for a short section. First off, we wandered up Ordinary Trees. I attempted to join pitch one to pitch two (walk along a ledge to a corner), but even though I only placed about two pieces of gear on the first pitch, I still had horrendous rope drag so we had to move the belay anyway. Pitch three is probably the money pitch up a corner on featured slab, and then the route joins Tiptoe Ridge for the last two pitches. I caught up with a party climbing Tiptoe Ridge just as I came up to the penultimate belay. Again, I considered joining the last two pitches into one long pitch, but you would need to simul-climb them both to do this as the rope drag would be unmanageable otherwise.
It was only noonish when we finished so I thought we might as well tick off Introductory Route as well, so we walked down Central Gully and around to Introductory Route. I had led the first pitch of this a few weeks ago when we climbed Siren (share the same first pitch) and was surprised how much easier pitch one felt (it is only grade four) this time around and how easy it was too find adequate gear (I found the gear fiddly last time). Mind you, I only placed two or three pieces so maybe that makes a difference.
Doug following Ordinary Trees
I caught up with a guided party at the top of pitch two, so continued above them to a smaller ledge and brought Doug up. I was feeling a bit desperate not to get stuck behind the guided party as they were only on pitch three and had started before we started climbing Ordinary Trees. It would be a long wait if we had to wait. Luckily, for some unknown reason (gear placements perhaps) the leader had climbed a somewhat scruffy looking chimney crack to the left of the buttress that the route actually goes up, so I was able to climb up beside them and, by taking the 10 variation, completely avoided getting tangled up with them. We managed to sidle past them on the last pitch as well, aided by the fact that I was only placing two or three pieces of gear each pitch, so we could move quickly.