Paz's totally excellent, non bogus, Tassie climbing adventure.

It had come to this. The crux of the problem you could say. How to fit so many ingredients into a jaffle iron without breaking poor Betty's hinges.  Fried Egg, Ham, Salami, Feta, Nimbin Natural, Olives, Capsicum, Tomato, sun dried tomatoes, mushies and most importantly, love. I put the billy on the boil to deliberate how best to overcome such a challenge. The entire day's success depends on this jaffle. Because this isn't merely a jaffle. It's a work of art. And if it doesn't work out now, we'll have to try again. This is what climbing trips are all about. Food, drink, good company and occasional climbing. 

Rapping off the Moai, Tasman Peninsula 

For the second year running I've abandoned my casual employment at Bogong to spend the month of January in Tassie with my trusty Toyota Hiace, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and a number of friends. The first two weeks are spent relaxing on the deserted beaches of Mt William National Park, exploring the depths of MONA in Hobart and tasting the finest cheeses and wines Tasmania has to offer. After all you cannot rush into a climbing trip, because as soon as we start climbing, we won't be able to stop.
I had spent the past two months planning a rough itinerary and list of potential routes to try, but of course as soon as the time comes the list is quickly discarded. After dropping off my girlfriend and mate at Hobart airport, we make the relatively short journey to the Tasman Peninsula, hoping to start our "trip" proper with an ascent of the Moai, or as Crazy John adequately described it, the little man's Totem Pole. The walk in is an hour and a half of up and down with 15kg packs filled with climbing gear, and constant calls of, "man why'd we bother bringing a number 4." We finally arrive at the peninsula, locate the abseil anchors and make the two rappels to the sea level shelf below. Even as only the little man's Tote, I cannot comprehend how good Tasmanian climbers have it. Of course they have shocking weather for half the year, but it wouldn't be too hard to justify such pains for days like this. While yesterday would have been no more than 15 degrees with 60knot winds and wind swell covering the sea shelf in mist, today is a complete contrast. Perfect climbing weather. And after that jaffle this morning, I've got no excuse if today isn't a complete success.

We start the climbing with Sacred Site, the classic two pitch 18 up the Moai. Upon reaching the top of the first pitch, only 15 metres or so, I decide to link the two together to have a little more time to try some other routes on the pinnacle. As a first introduction to Tassie climbing, minus one day at Mt Amos in Freycinet, the route is  somewhat more challenging than expected. The climbing is quite straightforward for an 18, however it seems many are justified in saying Tassie climbing has a little more mental involved than its mainland counterpart. Placing cams behind flexing flakes and the exposure of climbing a free standing pinnacle results in a more gripping experience than I was otherwise expecting. Rossco, my climbing partner for the next two weeks, flies up the pitch with ease.

After a few happy snaps, we rap down to try a route on the opposing side, the two pitch 22, Blunt Instrument/Burning Spear. Once again I try to link the two pitches in one (the pinnacle is only 35 metres or so), cruising the first 20 pitch only to get stuck at the top of the 22. Many people who climb will know the feeling as you look at a piece of pro right in front of you, yet cannot muster the strength to clip the rope. I found myself in a similar situation here. Hugging the arete, I could kiss the bolt with my nose. Surely there was a better position to clip. Maybe changing hands on the sloper? Nope that won't work. I try to use the slight crack on the left. Nope. Finally after what seems like two minutes deliberating what best way to clip, I go for it in the position I'm in and feel my feet slide away. Weeeeeeeeee, as I sail seven or so metres back to the start of the pitch. I love clean falls on bomber gear. Especially with my lovely new Sterling 10.4 Marathon Sport. Note. Gear plug.

Hacky Sac - Rest days well spent                                                 Rossco seconding No More Mr Nice Guy, 19  - Freycinet
After ticking the Moai we spend a few days mucking around Hobart on the Organ Pipes before heading back up the east coast to the coastal cliffs of Freycinet. We'd been here a week prior with some non-climbing friends, but the closest we'd come to doing any routes had been pulling out an old hex to use as a hammer. The aim this time is to climb as much as possible over the next week, which means trying to get Jean Claude down the 4WD track to Whitewater Wall camping area. The camp, located on the east side of Freycinet, has reputably got the quietest camping around, with no fees and world-class climbing only two minutes walk away. After an hour or so crawling down the track, stopping in front of some of the biggest ruts, cracking open a couple of beers and debating the best way to tackle some of the bigger obstacles, we arrive at our site, quickly set up camp and simul-climb a couple of easier lines. 

Putting off the actual climbing...

Paz with Stormy Sea Behind - Mt Brown, Tasman Peninsula

The following five or so days end up being the highlight of our trip. Whitewater Wall would probably be a similar equivalent to Arapiles in terms of ease of access, festive atmosphere and quality routes. I've also never belayed in such an amazing setting. Lazing on a ledge on a 22 degree day with water swimming around my legs as Rossco climbs up Harlequin 17 while my friends are stuck in Melbourne working 9-5.....suckers.
The following days are spent moving further down the sea cliffs ticking classic lines. We've now been climbing about 12 days straight and we're starting to feel it, but one route has got me more excited than the others. No More Mr Nice Guy is a 19 about 15 minutes walk down from camp with abseil in access. Trying to be lazy, we decide to do two raps to the bottom off my old core-shot Sterling instead of bringing a second rope. Pulling the rope through the anchor on the second abseil, there's no avoiding the inevitable as about 30 metres of rope goes sailing into the dunk. Lovely. Don't worry mate I tell Rossco, we'll just swap ends so I'll lead off the dry end and you can second on the nice stretchy wet end. The more problematic situation however is the amount of swell and how spoogey the rock has become with sea mist covering the first five or so metres of the route. I end up aiding the first hand crack section, thankful for our oversized rack, and then start climbing once I can stick my hand into the crack and feel some kind of relative friction. The glory is all in the second half of the route however, with perfect, relatively easy layawaying up a perfect flake. The moves remind me of the second pitch of The Initiation at Mt Buffalo. We finish the route up Tetragrammaton, a 21 diagonal hand crack that ended up being one of the best routes of the trip, with superb exposure and solid jamming, although Rossco struggled to say the least, tearing his hands to pulpy goodness. He had the last laugh however, as he made some tape gloves for the next few days and then lost said tape somewhere between Freycinet and Ben Lomond, meaning I got to experience The Ben's most splitter crack lines sans tape. Time to eat some chalk for breakfast and toughen up.
Our trip finished with a few days at The Ben, climbing such classics as Barbe D and Rajah and loving my super light Duetto doubles and a rack of quadruple cams. Nonetheless, two and half weeks climbing in Tassie wasn't anywhere near enough to even scrape the surface of its east coast. I think four months or so would be somewhat more realistic. To anyone contemplating a climbing trip to Tassie, do it. Just don't forget your extra cams. And an extra jaffle iron. Waiting around for your turn to fry up a toastie is a surefire way to a camping domestic.
Tetragrammaton, 21, Freycinet                                                     The Boys at Ben Lomond
Paz on Mt Amos, Freycinet                                                              Rossco leading the first pitch of the 3-star classic, Barbe D