A tale of two halves, some big animals and a very sad story

O.k., so the first part as it's more of the usual climbing waffle. I'd been having a confidence issue as usual on my route. I can do all the pieces but didn't have the confidence to believe I could pull it off. So, my 3rd on and my 8th attempt in those days, I went for it again. Well, what do you know I pulled the crazy moves (involving hanging from your toes, etc. - see photos at bottom of posting, they are not edited and not turned, it's all horizontal climbing hanging from two and one finger respectively) and found myself way above where I normally had been. One fall off later, and I realise I'm only about 6 holds from the very top. doh! Still though, it's still super hard where I came off and I'm still learning so much from this route on how to move on steep terrain so I can't complain. although my skin and arms are :) I've no skin on the outside edges of one hand (skinny holds) and one major hole in the middle of another finger (slipped off and left part of my finger behind - oops) from the rough texture. Job hazard as I call it, but damn if it doesn't sting!
Sean unfortunately is learning how a mental block can hold you back. He's falling off at the exact same place for the past, emmmm, 15 (give or take) attempts on his own route.
So, we've packed up and moved to newer greener pastures at the Stapylton Campground. Carole is leaving the climbing scene in Oz for some travelling before heading to New Zealand so there's a big get-together for about 20 people. A cosy campfire and lots of tea/chocolate/alcohol (in no particular order) underneath a blanket of stars means for a chilled out evenings. Quite a cool bunch of people to hang out with – social workers, electricians, rope access workers, IT, hairdressers, to name a few – it's quite a mix of people!

the big animal bit? Well, as Chris put it: “I now know the difference between a Wallabee and a Kangaroo. A kangaroo is bigger than me!” Yep, the mythical Kangaroo made an appearance today. They're much more reclusive than the Wallabees so when one ends up on the same path as you, we notice pretty quick. These critters (they're actually vermin in Australia as there's so many of them) are huge! How they move around among the heavy undergrowth is beyond me.
Then, the eagles were out and about today. With a near 3-metre (8 foot-plus) wing span, they are so intimidating! Sheer beauty to watch though as they glide the jet streams above you looking for breakfast/lunch/dinner. It's only when you realise that at they size they are, you could potentially make it onto the menu that you start to get worried :) They've been known to eat climber's pets that have been brought to the crag!

The sad bit? A climber was killed at one of the crags near us yesterday (doing traditional climbing – different to what we've been up to recently). Crap. A very real reminder of what can happen in my chosen hobby if you're not careful......



Me in the middle of the hardest section of my current challenge. The photo has not been turned, and yes that is only two fingers on my right hand. Photo courtesy of Julie-Ann.



The left hold of the hardest section. Me looking a little gripped and psyched. As you can guess I'm hanging on the rope......another attempt required! Photo courtesy of Julie-ann