Sometime towards mid-to-late 2003, the Rockrats decided to learn how to bolt a route. Under the expert tutelage of route bolter Patrick Andre (whom you will have noticed bolted many, if not most, of the routes in Nyamuk), we set out to Ridsect – a relatively new section of Nyamuk that Patrick was trying to establish at the time.
From the Rockrats were Holdbreaker, Thin Man, Moo Moo, Lelek Le Grunt, Simian Boy and Combat Girl. Accompanied by Kevin and Patrick, himself, we set out early that day to accomplish as much as possible. After briefing us on the tasks involved, Patrick got started setting up the ropes, while the rest of us set to work clearing up the place.
As you can see from the brambles behind Patrick, there was a lot to clean up (and if you think the wall was bad, you should see the ground). Here’s a shot of Simian Boy trying to clear the access path to the base of the crag.
The belay area is a narrow strip of land with a natural drain between it and the wall and a downward sloping hill covered with brambles behind it. The picture below should give you a fair idea of what the ground coverage was like:
While we were clearing up, some of the Rockrats got a little distracted and started goofing around.
Below: “Stick ’em up and gimme all your gear!” Thin Man threatening to slice Le Grunt and Moo Moo if they didn’t hand over all their rock climbing gear.
After a while, Thin Man decides he’s going to get rid of the evidence – Le Grunt about to be beheaded by one of the bluntest parangs around.
Figuring it was going to get messy and not wanting to have to clean up, he made Le Grunt lean over into the “drain” between the wall and the belay area.
Below: Private Moo gets her hands on a glue gun and starts blasting anyone and everyone in sight.
Lelek Le Grunt runs for cover but is cornered by Private Moo. She kicks him into the drain…
…”Gimme all your gear or I’ll blast your head off!”
Meanwhile, some real work is being done by Kevin who is setting up a rope to bolt a route that would later be known as Otesanek (the route right of 800 Bucks Down the Hill).
The FA of Otesanek was by Patrick Andre. He named the route Otesanek after a story about a couple who so badly wanted a baby that the husband carved a baby out of wood (there’s more to the story but I can’t really remember any more – you’ll have to ask Patrick himself to relate it to you). Otesanek has some tree roots running along it which reminded him of the wooden baby, hence the name. You can see the tree root in this picture – it’s the long brown root at the right most part of the photo (it is also extremely tempting to use the root as you get towards the anchor).
I’ll tell you a little more about how to bolt a route in the next post. This one’s about the route 800 Bucks Down the Hill.
After Patrick teaches us how to bolt a route using Otesanek as an example, we get to work on 800 Bucks Down the Hill. We all get a chance to climb the route on top rope first and naturally Hold Breaker had to live up to his alias and break off a piece just as he’s getting started…
Le Grunt lives up to his name spitting curses all the way up:
I got the task of marking the spots where we would place bolts and Thin Man did the bolting using a battery powered drill. Halfway up, the battery ran out so he had to send down the battery and get the spare sent up to him. While sending down the battery, it fell out and rolled down the hill into the brambles. We spent the rest of the day combing the brambles for the battery (not that we could do very much without being shredded to pieces).
Below: The Rockrats combing the area for the battery. Unfortunately, it rolled into the brambles and although Simian Boy eventually found it, it was out of our reach.
Since the drill belonged to Yuen Li from Summit Climbing Gym, we ended up having to buy a new battery for her which costed us 800 bucks. Hence the name 800 Bucks Down the Hill – it was coined by the Rockrats, even though the FA was completed by Thin Man.
And now you know the story behind 800 Bucks Down the Hill…