Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Grampians

When I came to Australia, I knew of two major climbing areas: The Blue Mountains and The Grampians. I had the opportunity to go to The Blue Mountains on my spring break, which you can read about here. However, I was looking for a travel partner to head to the Grampians with me, and nobody took me up on that offer.

I decided that I couldn't let other people ruin my dream of going to the Grampians, a world class climbing area in Victoria, Australia. I knew I would regret it if i went home without experiencing this place. I decided that I'd go alone if nobody could go with me. So. I did.
The infamous Taipan wall

...You may think that I'm this adventurous, fearless person, always traveling by myself, but trust me... it's not always like that. I'm just like any other person... full of anxiety and stress. I worry a lot, and over-think things most of the time. The past year has truly been a test to see how I can get through these fears and obstacles and achieve my goals, no matter what.

Right before I left for Melbourne, I had a panic attack. These hardly ever happen, but it was full-on. I knew I wanted to get to the Grampians, but I wasn't sure how... and I had nowhere to stay, nobody to climb with, no car to travel with, etc. I was freaking out about what food i'd eat, where i'd get water while camping for 10 days, and everything that goes along with traveling alone as a young female.

I decided to take a step back, take a deep breath, and trust my instincts. When I listen to myself, everything works out. I just have to go with the flow.

Everything worked out so far. My friend Holly (who is living in America) got in contact with someone from the Moon Climbing Team who lives in Australia. He ended up living really close to the Gramps, and agreed to pick me up from the train station and drive me to the rocks. After meeting up with Simon + friends, we headed to the Trackside boulders and had some good sessions on the lines there. I really enjoyed the movements in this place. That night, I found myself at a small campfire and be-friended some nice people from Melbourne.

my isolated tent on the first night.

After chillin in the mornin' for a bit, I headed to the campground boulders. I worked this fun problem for ages, getting to the last move every time... it was a long throw at full extension for me - the grades are so relative to height and style here!!! I nearly sent it so many times but it was a no-go. I had a blast trying though!

slappin' for it
so close!

After this, I joined a group from Sydney and headed back to camp for a bit where we had an epic / hilarious story-telling time - so funny. After a good break and quite a few laughs, we headed to Titanic area for a bit. I tried Collision Course, v9, and couldn't pull myself off the ground! Then I went around the corner to play on some slabs. We headed back to camp and then to the pub to take showers.

That night I decided to move my tent closer to my new friends. When I went to get it, it was pretty dark outside and there were these huge creatures jumping all around my tent. Needless to say, THEY WERE WILD KANGAROOS! They scared the shit out of me - they were as tall as me!!! In the morning I was able to see how cute they were. ;)

I woke up sore as hell. I haven't been climbing as much lately, so my fitness was lacking. It feels good to be sore though - it's a feeling of achievement. After eating grapes for brekkie, I headed out to the infamous Hollow Mountain Cave with Saxton, a new friend.
Saxton on his proj. Sleepy Hollow
line of holds:
The cave was 5 times bigger than it looks in the pics and vids that I have seen before. Absolutely incredible! I checked out all the problems, including the famous Wheel of Life, v16.
looks in the pics and vids that I have seen before. Absolutely incredible! After some sun gazing, I headed to Loopey's and got on some easier stuff.

That night I had a major star-gazing session with a new friend, Josh. We laid in the parking lot of the campground, and watched the stars for ages. They were the most incredible stars I have ever seen. The world is so small. The universe is so huge. I can't even imagine. It blows my mind and makes me feel truly ALIVE in this beautiful world!!! EPIC!

A much needed rest day! I headed into the small town of Horsham and hung out at the local library. I spent most of the day drawing and watching the kangaroos. Their mannerisms and characteristics are quite humorous; They are fun to observe!

In one of my drawing sessions (which are like meditations to me) I wrote:

Trees are veins are rivers.

Tree rings are fingerprints.

The shapes in nature are mimicked in the human body.

Everything is made out of the same basic material: cells. Cells are made out of molecules, molecules are made out of atoms, and atoms are made out of energy.

We are all just energy. Everything is energy.

This is a re-occurring thought and inspiration for my art. Just something to think about...

Today was a GREAT day! I headed out to the Kindergarten boulders with the Sydney crew.... what a beautiful area!!!

We warmed up on a really awkward/hard v2... Still fun though!

Another Josh / wicked strong:

After this we headed around the corner and played on 2 main lines: Nevin Rule, v7, and A Horse is a Horse, v4.
Nevin Rule:
A horse is a horse:
Josh with the beautiful Taipan wall behind him.

The beautiful features in this area. Nature is the best artist!

It was an awesome day and we ended it off with a night session at the campground boulders.

I caught a ride to the Hollow Mountain Carpark and headed to Anderson's boulders. Oh man, I regret not getting to this area sooner! It was so amazing. SO MANY FUN BOULDERS!!! I had a great time playing around on both easy and hard stuff, and meeting cool people along the way.

doing some moves on a small triangular v9.

One problem, called Mr. Fox, v7 was really calling my name. My body was thrashed but I got SO CLOSE to sending!!! Definitely the prize line in my time at the Gramps, and one I can't wait to get back to!!!

figuring out the roof section of Mr. Fox
coming out the roof on Mr. Fox
climbing up the headwall of Mr. Fox

That night, as I was enjoying the campfire, I wrote this in my journal (something to think about:

"The fire provokes thinking, along with the stars. These two amazing parts of nature have been two of the highlights of the trip. Fire is a life form, as it meets the three requirements: it reacts, it reproduces, and it respires. It makes me feel ALIVE. As I absorb these warm particles, I look up at the stars and am once again blown away. The stars never get old. I learned that most stars are larger than the Earth. Unbelievable. It puts things into perspective. Deep thoughts keep flaming up from the fire. Always changing."



I decided to stop focusing on grades and just climb rocks. Instead of only trying hard stuff and getting shut down, i committed to doing every moderate-graded problem I could find. IT WAS SO FUN!!! It was so nice to stop thinking about the grades and just focus on the movements of the rock, no matter how easy or hard!
Asterix, v6

I headed back to Anderson's to give Mr. Fox another go. Again, I was so close to sending and had all the moves dialed - but my body needed a break. If only I had another day to rest and then I could send it, easily. I can't wait to go back to fully connect with this line!!!
I hiked up to Hollow Mountain Cave one last time and admired the view:

And then, like that, my trip was over.

I got a ride back to Melbourne with a fellow climber, who drove me all the way to the airport the next day (an hour away). People are so nice. I love traveling alone!

Despite my worries and panic attack, everything worked out the way it should have. It actually exceeded expectations. I had an amazing trip!!!

I can't wait to return to the Gramps. What a magical place!


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