Sunday, 19 April 2015

Magnum Opus

Alright, so I haven't posted anything for a few weeks. This is due to 2 reasons:
  1. The Blue Mountains clearly has the worst weather in all of Australia. In 1 month back home, I've had more rubbish rainy weather than in almost 2 months in Tasmania. Consequently, it's quite hard to get out and actually DO anything exciting.
  2. The Magnum Opus Project at Pierces Pass.
So, since Point 1 doesn't need any elaboration (just look at the BOM if you don't believe me) permit me to elaborate Point 2.

When I climbed I Have a Dream (25) at Pierces Pass last year (you know, the stunning shot of Vince Day on the cover of Simon Carter's 2010 Blue Mountains Climbing guidebook?), I replaced 2 manky bolts on it, and amidst all my swinging around on the rap rope I spotted a line which -to me at least- seemed to be more aesthetic than I Have a Dream, and possibly on better rock.

I've got your number Vince Day. (Me on I Have a Dream (25))
During my 4.5 months of travels, I coveted that line despite having never actually CLIMBED it to see if it goes. I took to telling the various climbers I came across in Tasmania and Mount Buffalo that it was my Magnum Opus line, because it was one of the best looking lines I've ever seen in the Blueys, on one of the most inspirational walls.

So, 2 weeks ago I finally decided to inspect this prospective golden line. I rapped it, put some dynabolts in place to redirect the rope, figured out where it would go, and did a lap on Top Rope Solo to make sure that it all went at a reasonable grade. Fortunately, despite almost half a year of coveting this arbitrary piece of rock, it was as spectacular as I'd hoped.

So, The Magnum Opus Project starts from about 10m below, and 8m left of I Have a Dream on an obvious ledge (rather than the full-hanging belay of I Have a Dream), which can be accessed either by abseiling in (about 55m) or traversing in from Lunch Ledge (past 4 bolts, see the green line on the picture below for reference). Consequently, it has easier access.
The Green line is The Magnum Opus Project, the red line is I Have a Dream.

The line itself climbs straight up the guts of the wall, following an amazing dark-brown flowstone streak, through a long crux section of about gr25, then does a short (but airy) traverse left to a desperate mantle, before continuing up the face to join I Have a Dream where it heads left to the middle of the face, and continuing up that line (through its top crux) to the top. All in all it's a 58m pitch of gr25/26 climbing, above 150m+ of air, with relatively easy access and a fairly cozy (albeit exposed) belay. Best of all, you don't have to bring your second up if they don't want to climb it.

I've since spent another day Top Rope Soloing it (for 3 more laps) and linked from the belay to the last move of the crux (falling off the final throw to a nice flat hold), though I still have a solid 9m of pumpy climbing before a proper rest. I think another day or two or Top Rope Soloing it and I'll be ready to get on the sharp end. The first challenge, however, is to work out how to convince the weather gods to stop all the damned rain!

At any rate, that's what's been keeping me busy in the interim. I've got another 1.5 weeks before I head down to the Grampians/Arapiles for 2 weeks, so hopefully I can get this beauty sent before I depart.

Wish me luck!

Where it starts getting hard. Bouldery 24 through thin flakes. Where the rope is attached to the wall is the belay. Steep ay?
The main crux. Hard 24/25 up flowstone rock, immediately after the previous crux. Hard work!

The traverse line immediately after the main crux, pumpy and airy 22. Flat holds below an overlap (beneath the vegetation) then a mantle, before heading back right after the top bolt you can see in the photo. The arete left of the bolt is Disco Non-Stop Party (25), and the one in the distance is Debris (23).
Looking down the entire face from just below the top-out of I Have a Dream. Exposed!

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