The Christmas of 2014

I used to buy sunscreen that was water resistant. I’m pretty sure all sunscreen is water resistant. Apparently not.

Look at this view. I didn’t even insta-filter this.

“Sunplay” is rated SPF85PA+++ I think we bought it in China. (is SPF85 even possible?). Nevertheless for whatever reason, that was the sunscreen I brought to go snorkelling on Christmas day. The weather cooperated , gave me a nice sunburn, but I also saw (and touched! ..groped?) a large groper. It didn’t seem to like that too much though.

I drove that evening to the Blue Mountains, and discovered that wearing a pack over the next 2 weeks would be painful. Luckily, I can’t share any photos of the burn itself, but I’ve discovered that I’m “a peeler” when it comes to recovery.

Climbing is a celebration of many things, but it’s even better to celebrate your 60th by climbing!

Jeff is a mentor to many crushers, and I’m proud to have his friendship – in addition to a share of his floor, and shower. The wealth of experience that he’s been able to share with me about some of the first routes up at The Glen, or non-guidebook crags in the blue mountains is amazing. It’s a pity the hardest part about being retired is finding belayers and managing rest days.

We visited Heathcliff, with a party of friends (all climbers) jumping on Fake Blood and Bad Blood to warm up, and then playing around on other crag classics such as The Rift and Chip off the Old Block. It was great to get back on actual rock, having been constrained to pulling plastic for much of the last 2 months due to weather or other commitments – travesty, I know.

There was some trad to be had up the Plumbers Crack, and some cool photos …of cleaning gear. Sorry I missed the lead :(

We had a bit of an epic, with Beth and Brad deciding to climb the 2 pitch Boadicea as they weren’t keen on the walk out. Charging standard sherpa rates of $1.50, Carl took most of their gear for them, and we started  on the walk out. It’s really not too bad, about 25 minutes. We ‘topped out’ at 5 …and proceeded to wait. We even made friends with the local wildlife, a big grey roo that was trying desperately to cross the track we were on, and getting more agitated as we stood in his way. Made for a good photo-op, and when we moved aside he leapt away.

Beth and Brad had a bit of a struggle, following the wrong path at the top out ….which lead them back down into the valley. 2 hours, and 2 very sunburnt legs later, we found them safe and sound at the top of the trail.

Probably one of the most delicious pistachio, couscous, mint salads (and plenty of steak) was consumed apres-climb.

Happy birthday again, Jeff, and thanks for the weekends of adventures that we’ve had, and the ones to come!

Here’s a few more shots from the weekend – some may even go up onto my Instagram@eugmak.

Kip Newing – Chip off the Old Block (18) @ Heathcliff

Carl Deininger (aka Scott’s Dad) – Sweet Seduction in a Limousine (16) @ Mt Boyce

Matt – Mean Streak (21) @ Mt Boyce

Check out the run out on this one! The last piece of gear is just in shot at the bottom of the photo, and the next (carrot) bolt is just in shot at the top, making for a bit of excitement … there’s a shot here that shows the protection a little more clearly. Matt is a strong climber though, and never felt like he was in any danger – it’s also ~40m off the deck, so even a big fall would have been had, but no sudden meetings with the ground.

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