Monday, 6 August 2012

Extreme Climbing: Bare Rock, Fingal

Climb: Green Spandex 27  Climber: Chris Coppland

Climb: Green Spandex 27  Climber: Chris Coppland

Chris Coppland clocking up some frequent flyer points on Green Spandex 27

Double frequent flyer points for Chris Coppland

....and more

....enough for a round-the-world trip

Ingvar Lidman on Even Fairies Wear Boots 29 on the floating mountains of Pandora

Climb: Even Fairies Wear Boots 29  Climber: Ingvar Lidman

Ingvar Lidman on the arete of Even Fairies Wear Boots 29, poised 200 metres above the ground

Gerry Narkowicz on the crux moves of Passchendaele 25 

Ingvar Lidman defying gravity on some heinously hard climb on the Boneyard Face

The brilliant garry Phillips on his stunning Vapour Trail 29 on the Boneyard Face

Garry Phillips coming in to land

Fingal Valley from summit of Bare Rock

Gerry Narkowicz ticking the first ascent of A Terrible Beauty 25

Gerry Narkowicz pulling through the first roof on the overhanging A Terrible Beauty 25

In 1969, teamed up with Peter Jackson, I did the first ascent of the massive 200 metre dolerite face of Bare Rock in the hills overlooking Fingal. This produced the classic MacDonagh, grade 17. Its two crux sections still baffle some climbers. I was only 18 at the time and had only the faintest idea of what sort of life I was creating for myself. A bunch of more first ascents were put up in the following several years. 

Forty years on and a renaissance has occurred at Bare Rock. Using expansion bolts as protection on the severely overhanging faces, some of the hardest routes in Tasmania are being established. Some of the climbs are so hard that it sometimes takes dozens of attempts before a first ascent can be chalked up. It is absolutely normal to see climbers flying into space, as some of these photographs show.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lake St Clair

Lake St Clair is Australia's deepest lake and a classic example of a glacial lake. At the southern end of the Overland Track, the lake, for strange Tasmanian reasons, does not enjoy the iconic status of Cradle Mt in the north. The lake is serenely beautiful, surrounded as it is by snow-capped mountains. What better reason to visit the lake in winter, stay a couple of nights, travel up the lake by boat and do some stunning day or multi-day walks? Yet few people do. This is a place I intend spending a lot of time,  both on the water and in the surrounding mountains. So watch this space for more images and adventures.

Granite Shore 2: More Flinders Island

Trousers Point

Stratospheric climbing on Mt Strzelecki. The climb is Into The Labyrinth grade 24

Red Bluff looking south to babel Island

Pied cormorants

North coast

Sculpture garden north coast

North East River

Day's end Lady Barren 

Strzelecki Range

Fotheringate Beach

Abandoned jetty on a shallow shore at Lagoons Point 

White faced herons on abandoned jetty

Banded stingarees

Settlement Beach at Wybalena

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Granite Shore 2: Flinders Island

Pelican, Pacific gulls and silver gulls

Crested terns facing into the wind

North East River at dawn


North East River

White faced herons at Long Point

Mt Strzelecki beyond Long Point

Mt Strzelecki beyond Long Point

Western side of Long Point

Flinders Island is the largest of the Bass Strait islands - approx 80k long and 40k wide. With a population of about 800 people it is a paradise of rugged granite coast and mountains and immaculate sandy beaches. I have walked some sections of the coastline and intend eventually to walk it all, some 200+ kilometres. With an excellent air services from Tasmania and Victoria a trip to the island is the cheapest and most efficient form of time travel invented. In one short 30 minute flight from Tassie the clock is turned back half a century. 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Granite Shore 2: More Cape Barren Island

Strzelecki from Big Hill at day's end

Sunset Mt Chappell Island 

Sunset Mt Chappell Island

Sunset Mt Chappell Island

Strzelecki under an anvil of cloud

Granite sculpture park west coast of Cape Barren Island

Long Beach Cape Barren Island

Granite eroded into sculpture

Sculptural installation in granite

Strzelecki reflected in the mirror of Franklin Sound on a mid-winter's day

Mt Strzelecki: storm approaching

Mt Strzelecki

Sandford Bay and Long Island