Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Mount RiverCrew™ and the ShredShed™ (OR: 5 Dudes and Their Woody - Nothing Suss!)



I've long had this theory about Mount Riverview (where I am -technically- a resident) in the Blue Mountains, and its links to Island Tameness and Isolated Island Syndrome. Keeping the explanation simple:

Island Tameness refers to a loss of fear of predators found in prey animals in environments where they simply have no predators... Think of the Dodo, for example, and how it had no fear of Mariners who harvested them into extinction.

Isolated Island Syndrome pertains to the flora and fauna on an isolated island (a controlled environment) settling in to a very specific homeostatic environment which seldom has reason to evolve or change.

So, what does this have to do with Mount Riverview? Well I've long held the belief (read: excuse) that because Mount Riverview sits on an isolated ridgeline to nowhere, with no reason whatsoever for any outsider (non-resident) to travel there, we've lost any fear of predators, and have settled into a homeostatic environment where we have no reason to evolve to counter outside threats or improve beyond our simple existence. In short, I've long believed that it's made us all a bit soft, and I hold myself up as the living embodiment of this theory.

Recently, our homeostatic environment was turbulently disrupted with the invasion of several outsiders, who -as with the demise of the Dodo- were only too happy to wack us stagnating Mount Riverview Residents over the head unless we evolved to counter the threat. Ben Jenga sauntered in from Valley Heights, Mitch Perkins flanked from the Hawkesbury Region, and Strong Geoff has been slowly encroaching on our borders for some time now (he resides on the border of Mount Riverview and East Blaxland). With 3 strong climbers (and me) now occupying this isolated little ridgeline, it was time to embrace evolution by natural selection, and start toughening up to these outside threats.

So naturally, as climbers, this evolution translated to building a unified training environment -in the form of a Woody- in the back shed of my house. 

After some initial preparation of the shed (read: throwing out all the junk I had stored in there and knocking down the ancient partitions and shelving), we were ready to commence construction...

The Shed, as Jenga, Lara and I began dismantling the interior.

The interior office partitions come down.


The (mostly) empty shed awaiting a new Woody. The beer bottles on the right were like that when we got here...

Building the Woody:


On the weekend of the 15th of August, Strong Geoff, Ben Jenga, Mitch and myself were joined by Damion Best (who had been granted a greencard as an honorary citizen of Mount Riv, due to an ongoing relationship with one of the local wallabies -they both have a similar amount of fur), and set to the task at hand.

As with any good worksite, we began by carefully organising and strategically positioning our tools:

Our initial drawn designs were perhaps a bit primitive, but fortunately Jenga "had the design clearly in his head", so we began construction on that premise. 

Did I mention that one of our number is a Draftsman? No, really... I'm serious.

Cue the A-Team Montage theme song...

First up came the main bearers, which were probably the most technical aspect of the project, due to the varying angle of the Woody.
With the bearers and their associated reinforcement sorted, the panels (with holes and T-nuts already installed) were screwed on.


The others -clearly recognising my genius and natural adeptness with power tools- assigned me the complex task of marking up the T-nut placements and drilling the holes. Oh, and I also bought lunch. And Beer. And documented the construction process.


With the basic panels installed, we took to the more complex task of constructing and installing the "feature" panels (all of which were also T-nutted) to fully enclose the face of the Woody.

Finally, with the weekend over and most of the construction completed, the others went back home to their "normal" lives, while Damo and I sanded and painted the Woody, ready for it's grand opening.

Oh look, they let me use ANOTHER
powertool! My abilities are endless!

The Christening:


On the evening of the 21st August, the construction team was joined by Ninja (Jason), and Lara and Elise (Ben and Mitch's significant others) for the christening. Geoff supplied the barbecue, Elise cooked up a storm, and the entire group set about installing the several hundred holds we'd managed to acquire.

Not even CLOSE to the total number of holds awaiting installation.
Ninja approves the height of the Woody.
PICTURED HERE: The total number of jugs these crushers put on the Woody.

The completed Woody at the end of the night.

The First Session:


On the evening of Monday 24th August -our traditional gym training night-, Ben, Mitch and Myself were joined by Ninja, Lindsay, Ben (Guns) Young, Will Krampitz and Dan Cross for the first session on the new Woody.

Oh look, a picture of ME actually training. I'm gonna be a crusher!

The Peanut Gallery. (Left to Right) Lindsay, Dan, Ninja and Jenga. Mitch is climbing (visible in the reflection).

Left to Right: Will, Jenga, Lindsay and Ninja.

So, all seemed to be going great, and it wouldn't take a prognosticator to foresee a great deal of convenient training in my near future... But, inevitably (perhaps more so, where training and myself are concerned) I had an awkward fall while heel-toe-camming near the end of the night, and managed to rupture something in the side of my knee. So, in the interim I'm relegated to hangboarding, limping around, and being bored out of my brain. Typical.

So, what's next for the Woody? Well, some sort of roof-cap at the very top seems likely; at the right-hand side there is about 1m of additional room in which to add another panel; and the rest of the group has another few hundred holds on order (and en route). I'm also psyched on some roof cracks and crack-features to add to the training environment (I've used primitive roof-crack devices in the past to train steep crack climbing) which has been met with... um... "mixed opinions" by the others... But they'll come around to my way of thinking, I'm sure!

At any rate, there's now 3 weeks remaining until I'm off to Yosemite; I've managed to recently send the last of my bolted Projects - Impetus (more on that in my next update); and I have a few obscure goals I want to achieve before I depart (in particular, because I return right at the onslaught of summer). Add to this my downtime while my knee heals... and it's looking like quite a tight schedule.

We'll just have to see if I can fit it all in.

I also wanted to say a big thanks to Lara and Elise, who visited us during the Woody construction, bearing treats and gifts (and beer!).

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