2021 Executive Committee

The Executive Committee for 2021 has been elected on 18 Nov with all nominations received appointed as per the following:

President: Ian Ryan
Vice President: Jeff Crass
Treasurer: Kate Hefferan
Business Manager: Andreas Rauch
Librarian: Michael Law
Club and Social Secretary: Karen Smith
Access Officer: Tim Macartney-snape
IT Officer: Adam Foster
Membership Secretary: Jean Cane
Newsletter Editor: Tony Larbalestier

Aboriginal Cultural History Day

On Saturday 24/10 a group of 7 climbers, and one of their children met with Evan Yanna Muru at Faulconbridge for a Dreamtime tour. The youngest showed us how much the education system has improved in terms of teaching Australians about Aboriginal history and culture as she out shone the rest of us in knowledge.

Evan, whose father was an Indigenous ranger in the Blueys and later Kosciusko NP, has run his own tours for years. It was a wet day, but this did not detract from the experience. We thought the warnings about how to walk in this terrain were a bit overdone, but later looking at trip advisor reviews, slipping over and the “ difficulty” of the walk features in a number of complaints so I can see why that was reinforced.

We were to concentrate the senses on what was around us, the sights, tastes, smell, feel and sounds of country. He explained how that this heightened state of sensory perception was a way of being for Aboriginal people. As we sat on a rock platform in the creek bed next to engravings of a swamp wallaby, Baime and Rainbow serpent motifs, a water dragon appeared as if on cue and added to the scene. Here, and later under various overhangs where we paused on the walk, we gained some early understanding of levels of knowledge; Dreamtime stories; the importance of totems, ritual; the stages, or moons of existence; spirit doctors; symbolism in art, and some appreciation for intangible cultural elements.

Evans personal philosophies on things like vaccinations and illness may not gel with my own, but it is always interesting to understand other people’s perspectives. None of us quizzed him on climbing access, as we were there to learn. However he did ask us what rock climbing means to us, and we tried to explain that climbing is more a way of life than an activity for many people, and that climbing in many aspects is a meditation on movement or a communion with rock that focuses the mind on being in the environment. With his own background in outdoor ed, we were encouraged to hear some of his opinions on the future of climbing, but they are his own and I will not presume to summarise them here.

Also this reference I subsequently looked at covers many of the themes Evan talked about https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/media/OEH/Corporate-Site/Documents/Aboriginal-cultural-heritage/indigenous-kinship-with-the-natural-world-new-south-wales.pdf

Author: Vanessa Wills.
Photos: Karen Allen, Hugh Ward, David Gray

Mt Gibraltar Club Trip – 13 June 2020

We arrived to discover that recent rain left the slab walls seeping and soggy, but decided to explore which routes were climbable. Demetrius, Tom and Nathan attacked the soaking pitch 1 of Nintendo 64 (17) but found that the remaining pitches – including a finish on The Very Easy route (13) were much more reasonable. Geoff, Andrew and Tony tried The Devil’s Tears (17) and a big thanks to Jeff Crass for helping to stick clip the first bolt with the old school method of actually using sticks. A bit of French-free climbing and negotiating the very wet start of pitch 2 and we finally got to the top anchors. Later on, we all went up The Very Easy Route and Gripping Yarn (16) – although with a rope tangle late in the day needed to combine forces and get 4 people up the final section all on the one remaining un-tangled rope.

Article: Geoff Cooper
Photos: Jeff Crass

Dural Club Trip – 6 June 2020

One of those wonderful sunny days in winter where you can get away with a t-shirt most of the day. We had 9 participants and split into 2 groups and spread out across the crag. Jeff had Elaine, Shannon and Nigel on the first section of lower tier for the best selection of sport routes, whilst Geoff took Daniel, Chris, Andreas and Neil down further to do the trad routes initially. The best routes for trad are called Best Line at the Crag (12) and Second Best Line at the Crag (13). A good opportunity for Chris to learn to place gear and fortuitously Daniel had brought a triple rack so no chance of inadequate gear selection.

This crag has mostly easy grades, but a few had a chance to play on the slightly more moderate routes such as Wisdom with Silence (17), Still Cannot Fix This Broken Machine (17) and 0’s and 1’s (19). But the more popular routes were Deathwalker (15), Bum Crack (15) and Once Bitten (16) which can be climbed in a variety of footwear such as approach shoes (or crocs).

Article: Geoff Cooper
Photos: Jeff Crass

Club Trips to Restart in June

As the NSW Government have eased restrictions on outdoor gatherings the club will restart outdoor trips in June.

There will be a few changes in our process in order to ensure that we limit participation and adhere to the new Covid19 guidelines. I’ve also changed the registration process in order to gather your availability, climbing proficiency and what type of climbing you would like to experience. Based on registration details, we will plan a few trips each month to ensure we cater for as many members as possible.

June Registration Form

I look forward to getting out to the bush and climbing again with you.

Geoff Cooper

Mount Keira 15 Dec 2019

A December club trip to the awesome Mount Keira – West Face crag. Excellent easy trad and sport routes – perfect for learning to lead. As you can see in the photo, our group of 20 managed to occupy the popular amphitheater for most of the day – but there were some non-club climbers due to the bushfires restricting many Blue Mountains crags.

Ahh the job of a trip leader never ends. If you bring a helmet, might as well wear it.

A few cheeky trad leads to finish off a great day once most had left.

Blackheath Highway Bypass

There is a proposal to upgrade the Great Western Highway between Katoomba and Lithgow. Most of the upgrade is to increase the number of lanes, but for Blackheath there are a few options:
1. Duplicate existing road
2. Outer bypass (crag impact)
3. Western bypass
4. Long and short tunnel options

The Outer Bypass option will impact the Centennial Glen and Shipley crags and our climbing community need to provide feedback to avoid this option being selected.

Have your say by filling out the feedback form by 16 December on https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/great-western-highway/katoomba-to-lithgow/index.html