Molly Thompson Smith

Molly Thompson Smith
Edinburgh EYC 2013

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Grampians

Climbing into the light at Trackside
Australia was always the place I was most excited for on my big trip (though Japan came in a close second). After a few months of South East Asia and a India as our starter, I was ready for a little break from the busy and well, simply different way of life. As soon as I arrived in Australia I was hit with their laid-back attitudes and the importance of activeness and fun -  a little different from the futuristic and orderly Japan. It felt good, and it was soon going to be better with the arrival of my boyfriend Billy and finally settling in in the Grampians National Park.

Billy on 'Rave Heart'.

During our 2 weeks down under, we were blessed with blue skies and sunshine most days. And our rainy days forced us back to the Hollow Mountain Cave, home to a myriad of holds - and boulder problems, or the shelter of Kindergarten. What I found interesting was how different each areas style of climbing was. You had the Valley of the Giants & Andersens, which had Font like features; Kindergarten with its white and orange swirly rock; the cave which glowed orange and was full of sharp crimps, cracks and seams, finishing up with pinches and pleasant holds on its outer edges; and Buandik which seemed to boast several different styles within itself. We quickly realised 2 weeks in a place like this was never going to be enough, and that somethings may have to suffer.  It was a mission each evening to decide where we would venture the next day, what boulders made the cut, and what boulders had to be sidelined for a far off return. Or even whether we sacrificed grades and resting for quantity, or the other way around. And each day ended with the same old 'I wish we had more time here' as we carried out our skincare routine. Nevertheless, we made it our aim to visit as many areas as we could.

The trip started off swimmingly for me, as I was able to do my first 7C+/V10 (The Departed) and a 2 days later my first 8A/V11 (Dead Can't Dance). Shortly after I had my eyes set on Sleepy Hollow, a V12 that claimed the second part of the famous 'Wheel of Life' in the Hollow Mountain Cave.

'Sleepy Hollow' - Hollow Mountain Cave
A promising flash go gave me confidence that this one I could get done, and potentially done quickly provided I had enough skin and felt rested. I guess this is where my downfall is outside - as soon as I know something hard for me is possible I struggle to keep it together almost, and it seems that I do everything I can to ensure it doesn't happen! Crazy! I kind of did this with Sleepy Hollow; once I knew it could be done, I felt the pressure to do it. Second session not as good as the first... chances of success slipping through my fingers. That crux beta that worked last time just doesn't feel right today, uh oh it's not going to happen. My skin hurts, and my shoulder - definitely going to fail. And here's where I recognised what the problem was. Fail. I asked myself why would I have failed if I didn't do the boulder? Because I should be able to do it? But why? Why should I be able to do it... surely I shouldn't be able to do anything, but can give everything my best? And as soon as I realised I didn't HAVE to do the boulder, that I was on a fun climbing trip just trying to climb some really good boulders, that I'd already achieved more than expected, the pressure to do Sleepy Hollow disappeared. More relaxed about it, I gave it one final session, and hey - it wasn't to be. But that's okay, because there are more boulders out there and it wasn't something I had to do. The last few days of the trip came and went, and I tried lots more boulders, as if it was a competition to get through as much skin as I could!

2 and a half weeks back into home life and training I of course miss the chilled out Oz & Grampians lifestyle, but training is what I missed when I was away and I'm loving feeling tired again :)

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