We prepared ourselves for the Darrans: Gumboots and Bug-spray (98% DEET) which is known to melt plastic (?!) . Obviously, the only useful thing so far has been sunscreen, 50+!!!
As all the North faces are South faces here we headed for our first “North” Face on Barrier Knob to climb the super-classic “Labyrinth”, Grade 22. It was bolted on lead back in the 80s. As bolting on lead is exhausting and time consuming we think this might be the reason for the very! Bolt character of the route. To make a long story short: we hiked up to Gertrude Saddle and scrabled onto Barrier Knob (Day 1), abseild down the North side (in the morning sun!) onsighted Labyrinth (which is the only appropriate way if you don’t want to hurt yourselves on the 20m runouts), filled our pants and hiked back via Adelaide Saddle and Gertrud Saddle to Homer Hut (where we are based now).
The rumor was around about a new route on Moir’s Mate, 10 pitches long, a mix of trad and climbing on bolts with bolted belays. “Finders Keepers”, grade 22, opened in February 2013. Superb climbing along a sea of granit with fingercracks to armbars, slabs to crimps and massive jugs. Just perfect.
Well, we got to know the area, climbed snow fields, razorblade-like ridges, sportclimbed at ‘Babylon’, swum in the Cleddau River and got in touch with the ‘true’ locals. And the ‘Kea’: an intelligent and pretty mountain parrot. However, the local ‘Kea’ gang which is a bunch of those ‘cute intelligent parrots’ reminds one of children out of control. How we outfoxed them with a sponge not to eat our tent is another story. Check them out on BBC!
For the next 10 days we are off to a big mission: Sinbad Gully Wall! Wish us luck!