Life sure is funny… one minute you’re sitting at work plugging away on a usual day… then the next you’re on a plane to the other side of the globe. At least that is what my lucky life has brought to me! Ever since I was about six years old I have always dreamed of visiting Australia… I am fairly certain it had to do with the old Walt Disney cartoon called The Rescuers Down Under (phenomenal flick by-the-way) but unlike the characters in the story I was going down for a much more fun reason… to climb!
After a ridiculously long flight, I stepped off the plane in Melbourne, Australia with a mission on the mind, “climb as much as possible within the three weeks that I am down here and get on some incredible stone!” I was headed down to the Araplies with my friend Mayan, which is about four hours outside of Melbourne… fairly close to a quaint little town called Natimuk. Being a little jet-lagged and tired from the flight… I opted to settle in and chill for a little bit that day and get some sleep for a big day of climbing the next. After a little bit of food and socializing with my gracious host (Saul) I headed for bed excited for what adventure was to come!
Waking up the next morning was a little rough… but overall I felt somewhat rested and psyched to climb! With Mayan as my guide to the Mount I knew I was in for some sort of shenanigans… and I was right. As we parked the car and began sorting gear she kept pulling out cams, wires, and trad draws… I felt confuzzled… I thought we were going to be sport climbing…? Again, life teaches us funny little lessons on preparation… such as looking up what kind of climbing you are going to before you go… which yet again I had not done! Turns out that the Araplies is a predominantly traditional climbing area- especially well known for it’s “fiddley” nut placements…. HA! Jokes on you Araplies- I don’t enough about any of that to freak out at all (lies)!
We warmed up on some of the classic routes (Kachoong and a Taste of Honey) then proceeded to go to an area that Mayan had been investing most of her time in down here… Punks in the Gym. We had spoken about this route and in fact it was a large factor in me heading down this way. Originally established by climbing legend Wolfgang Gulich it is something that most climbers want to notch off of their tick-list (yours truly included)- but first things first… I decided to focus on what my climbing coach Rob told me… “go for redpoint and easier climbs to learn the rock and build confidence.” Good advice… I have been doing that and am now getting ready to bounce onto the route… also as a random side-not psyched to see a Kangaroo!!!