More news from Oz

In a final flurry of activity before beginning his homeward journey from Australia, Ben Heason spent a few weeks climbing in the Grampians, with a short visit to the nearby Mount Arapiles. Grampians Routes All the routes in the list below are on the impressive Taipan Wall, or the adjoining Spurt Wall – apart from “Orca” which is an unprotected, gritstone style arete on a large boulder at the recently developed Leggoland. Bossonova 31 (8b) 2nd red point Orca E8 6c 2nd ascent (headpointed about 1 hour after the first ascent!) Spurt Girl 28 (7c+) On sight Venom 28 (7c+) On sight Groovy 28 (7c+) 1st red point Mirage 27 (7c) On sight The Great Divide 27 (7c) On sight World Party 27 (7c) On sight Not Too Bad 27 (7c) On sight Snake Flake 26 (7b+) On sight Sirocco 26 (7b+) On sight Invisible Fist 26 (7b+) On sight Wide World of Spurtz 25 (7b+) On sight Mr Joshua 25 (7b) On sight Grampians Bouldering Cave Rave (via new sequence) V12 (Font 8a+) Caved Out V11 (Font 8a) 1st ascent Dead Heat V11 (Font 8a) Viva Resistance V11 (Font 8a) – (repeated without kneebar) Cave Heart V11 (Font 8a) – 1st ascent – (repeated without kneebar) Gripmaster V10 (Font 7c+) Butthole Surfer V9/10 (Font 7c) Papperazi Extension V9 (Font 7c)- 1st ascent? Titanic V9 (Font 7c) Titanic left hand V8 (Font 7b+) On sight Rota Loo V8 (Font 7b/+) On Sight Ground Control to Major Tom V8 (Font 7b/+) On Sight Arapiles Routes Ben only had three days clibming at Mount Arapiles but he managed the following routes: You´re Terminated 29 (8a) On sight India 28 (7c+) Flash Lats in the Belfry 28 (7c+) On sight Yesterday 26 (7b+) On sight Punks in the Gunks 25 (7b) On sight Trojan 25 (E5 6a/b) On sight Aftermath 25 (E5 6a) On sight Here are a few of his personal highlights: “I´m really happy that my on sighting has been going so well. I was really chuffed to flash India as I´d been psyching myself up for that one for a while, as it´s such a famous route with really cool climbing on it, but the things that stand out for me are those that have taken the most time and effort. Bouldering wise I was so so happy to send “Cave Rave”, as I´d put a fair amount of work into it over my two visits to the Gramps. It´s without a doubt the hardest piece of climbing I´ve ever done. Although none of the moves are at my bouldering limit, there´s about 30 of them, and they´re virtually all in a horizontal roof! I was also megga chuffed to get “Bossanova”. It´s a brilliant 3 star classic with a hard, fingery boulder problem coming after a pumpy 8a´s worth of climbing. It meant a lot to climb my first 8b! “Orca” was a fantastic experience. It´s been a long time since I´ve climbed a route like it, and it was very satisfying to find that I´ve still got my head. It took a few days work on a top rope to get wired. Thought to be somewhere in the region of 8a+ as a top rope problem, the grade of E8 had already been penciled in by a few Ozzies who have significant experience of the Hard Grit mind games. A solid, solid font 7c crux is followed increasingly easier – but still hard – moves up a perfect 10m arete. I´d first seen the line back in April, tried it ground up but was put off by the desperate start. As there were so many other awesome established routes that I was keen to repeat, I didn´t try it on a rope back then, but when I returned this time I had it in my mind to have a play on a rope to see what it was like. When I´d got it wired I was a little disappointed to find that a local, Julian, had claimed it as his project, and altohugh he´d been trying it since Easter, he´d still not done it. Luckily Julian (possibly egged on by a bit of healthy competition?) climbed it before I left which meant that I could also do it without feeling guilty about stealing it from him. Ben will shortly be taking part in the speed climbing event at the World Cup in Singapore next weekend on his way back to the UK.