As you may remember (or not), when were in Croatia we went out into the wilderness and did a nice cruisy multi-pitch route up this incredible feature in the Prezid Pass. Well, today I took Karine out into the Australian Bush on the edge of the Northern rim of the Megalong Valley. This sounds extreme but it’s not really. It’s an easy to medium hike down a well trodden track to what is known as “The Sunbath”.
The Sunbath in a place that time has forgotten. It was the swimming area back in the heyday of the Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath. Woman only followed by men only. Flags were used to indicate which sex was using the bath and an armed guard was on sight to make sure this process was adhered to. There you go, a little bit of history about the area of Mellow Bath.
We walked down to the base of the cliff below where the Sunbath is located and dropped our gear. It was so incredibly cold this morning. I will remember Monday 31st October 2016 as the first day I have ever shivered uncontrollably in an Aussie spring. Racking up and talking through our process, it was difficult to concentrate with the cold and the wind chilling us.
Tying in and checking knots, we were ready to go. We were about embark on another mini multi-pitch route. This time in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales in Australia. I feel a real sense of connection here and I was so happy to be taking Karine out to see this incredible place. We checked each others gear and kissed and I headed up the wall.
Clipping the first bolt gave me a sense of relief that was like the first taste of coffee in the morning. It warmed my heart more than my hands and I continued up, moving slowly and confidently through this beautiful red and orange landscape. By the fifth bolt my hands were stinging and beginning to feel quite cold. I rested and shook them profusely to try to get some blood flow back in them and moved on.
As I clipped into the belay station the southerly wind picked up and lashed and swirled up from the valley below bringing with it an icy chill that cut through my clothes. I was wearing three layers and I was feeling this wind at my core. Beginning to shiver I was thinking… “You have to be kidding me! This is not spring in the Blue Mountains. Its ridiculous! I called safe to let Karine know I was all sorted and rubbed my hands together and stuck them under my armpits to try and warm them again.
Pulling the rope through and moving a little created what little warmth was available to me and it reduced the shivering a little. Karine yelled as loud as she could and I heard a faint “Thats Me!” I was now ready for her to climb and very happy to know that I would not be hanging on the side of a cliff in the cold for too much longer.
Karine headed up the wall as I had done a half hour previously and the wind had dropped considerably. Communication is key in these situations and I was happy to be able to hear her voice. She was however not enjoying herself as much as I had hoped. The cold rock, the icy wind and the stiffness of the grade of difficulty all began to take their toll on my sweet and lovely lady.
Battling to stay warm she soldiered on and worked hard to reach the small roof-let that was the most difficult part of the route. She was cold and she was pumped. The lactic acid build up in her forearms along with the cold was hurting like crazy and she was about to let go of the rock and be hanging in space many metres above the ground………….She was tired and scared.
Gathering her thoughts and calming down took a minute or two, but this very tough and stubborn lady pulled through the roof-let and traversed along the ledge to join me at the belay station. She was more concerned about me shivering than she was about herself. I tired her in, kissed her and thanked her for her concern and we got sorted for the next pitch.
Heading off from the belay station I smiled and said see you at the top. I was again leaving this lovely lady alone on a cliff face. She looked comfortable I thought, in her new down jacket and borrowed beanie in matching colours. It was high fashion high on a wall overlooking the valley. I had taken the backpack to reduce any climbing issues for K on the last pitch as it was a little different to the first one, more old school and a little sandbagged for 15 (4c).
We cruised up the wall easily this time and at the top we were welcomed by the sun and an incredible view of the valley below us. The wind had subsided a lot and we warmed ourselves in the sun. Sitting a top the cliff we cuddled each other and smiled as another adventure drew to a close. I felt very proud of Karine. She had to battle for this one and it was not kind to her, but she had done it and was smiling in the end.
We both know how very good our lives are and we appreciate every adventure we get to go on. This one taught both of us a lot about ourselves and each other.
We not only have a very deep and loving relationship………We are a very good team and can work through things well together.
PS……Thanks for the photos K……love you babe 🙂