Mount Arapiles, Australia
18-27 April 2014
All committed trampers would have known a year in advance that in 2014, the stars were to align, and the dynamic duo of Easter and ANZAC Day would fall within a week of each other. Put another way, ten days in the outdoors at the bargain price of only three days of leave. Suspicious that the weather gods would also schedule some particularly bad weather in the hills to celebrate such a joyous occasion, Elizabeth Claridge and Lorraine Johns decided to head to New Zealand's best crag - the Arapiles - a rock mecca a few hours drive from Melbourne.
There are few bolted routes at the Arapiles, which means you go there to climb on natural protection (aka trad climbing). The Arapiles is a great place to learn to place gear because the rock is solid, and it is quite different from New Zealand rock in that it doesn't shatter when you look at it. Elizabeth and Lorraine spent four days receiving instruction from Australian rock legend Louise Shepherd and four days climbing independently on both single and multipitch routes.
Both ladies gained in skill, confidence and inner steel from being thrown into the deep end, without, as can sometimes be the pattern in climbing, a handy gent to fish them out. Both were also proud that they managed to survive the trip without being smiled at by a crocodile, swallowed by a snake, toasted by a fire, savaged by migrating poisonous caterpillars, frightened by lizards, very frightened by spiders ... etc etc ... allowing the trip to end like all good girls' trips should do - with chocolate at several of Melbourne's delectable chocolate cafes. LJ
- Party members
- Elizabeth Claridge, Lorraine Johns (scribe).