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A few weeks ago we went to Oz. It’s a country I’ve wanted to visit ever since I was a kid and I started watching Neighbours, so I was made up when Stu said he had to go there for work so we might as well tag on a holiday at the same time.

Flying into Sydney with only 2 weeks to play with we decided to stay around the Blue Mountains area, rather than make the 13 hour trek to the Grampians as well. So early one Friday morning, after a 36 hour flight, I turned up bleary-eyed at Sydney International Airport to be met by Stu (who was already out there) and a shed load of rain! Feeling a bit short-changed by the weather, and somewhat dreading the thought of putting up our tent in a downpour, we caught up with some friends in Sydney before driving out to the Blue Mountains.

[caption id="attachment_6051" align="aligncenter" width="399"]The Blue Mountains The Blue Mountains[/caption]

The following 2 weeks were one of the best holidays of my life. Climbing in the Blue Mountains is amazing. It’s totally different to anything I’ve ever experienced before, and it blew my mind. The rock is sandstone, and the style is very dynamic with dynos, heel-hooks and trick sequences a-plenty. It’s like a mixture of grit bouldering and comp climbing all rolled up in an outdoor route. There is plenty of trad in the area (including some routes on the infamous carrot bolts), but we focused on the sport climbing.

[caption id="attachment_6054" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Walk -in to Centennial Glen Walk -in to Centennial Glen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Eyeing up The Tube (24/7a+) Eyeing up The Tube (24/7a+)[/caption]

Before we went out I had decided to spend the time onsighting, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t the place to do it. The routes were very hard to read and often had tricky boulder-problem cruxes that took several goes and plenty of help from locals to work out. It’s also not a venue that favours the short, with many routes having enormous reaches that required cunning and guile (or sometimes just a humungous dyno) to find your way around. A piece of advice given to me by one of the locals seemed to sum up well the style of the climbing in the area “if you put your foot 5cm to the left or 5cm to the right the move will be impossible. If you put it just in the right place, it will feel fine!”. However, despite getting shut down on some relatively easy routes I had a brilliant time and this is really a testament to how good the climbing is out there. It’s pretty much impossible not to have fun when you are dynoing!

[caption id="attachment_6052" align="aligncenter" width="450"]The Tube (24/7a+) The Tube (24/7a+)[/caption]

The best route of the trip for me was one called Madge MacDonald at Centennial Glen. Graded at 26 (7b), it totally shut me down on the second day of our trip. There was a massive reach in the middle and I couldn’t see any way of spanning between the holds. Slightly disappointed, I gave it up as a bad job until the last day of our trip. Having got my eye in slightly to the climbing style, and armed with some beta from some ladies of similar stature to myself, I gave it another look and managed to pull it out of the bag just as the light was fading. Not a big tick in the grade stakes, but it felt like a massive achievement for me. The “route that got away” which I really wished I’d done was Smoked Mussels 27 (7b+) also at Centennial Glen. It’s not one of the classic lines, but it involves a full-on legs-swinging-horizontally dyno for the top of the crag which is definitely more fun if you are short!

[caption id="attachment_6050" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Smoked Mussels (27/7b+) Smoked Mussels (27/7b+)[/caption]

Aside from the climbing, Australia was amazing. The people were the friendliest I have ever met, the wildlife was incredible (fields full of kangaroos being the highlight of the trip) and Sydney seemed like a pretty cool city when we mooched around it on a rest day.

And although we didn’t get to visit the set of Neighbours, we did see the beach when Home and Away was filmed which was a close second! I’ll definitely be going back.

Jules LittlefairA few weeks ago we went to Oz. It’s a country I’ve wanted to visit ever since I was a kid and I started watching Neighbours, so I was made up when Stu said he had to go there for work so we might as well tag on a holiday at the same time.

Flying into Sydney with only 2 weeks to play with we decided to stay around the Blue Mountains area, rather than make the 13 hour trek to the Grampians as well. So early one Friday morning, after a 36 hour flight, I turned up bleary-eyed at Sydney International Airport to be met by Stu (who was already out there) and a shed load of rain! Feeling a bit short-changed by the weather, and somewhat dreading the thought of putting up our tent in a downpour, we caught up with some friends in Sydney before driving out to the Blue Mountains.

[caption id="attachment_6051" align="aligncenter" width="399"]The Blue Mountains The Blue Mountains[/caption]

The following 2 weeks were one of the best holidays of my life. Climbing in the Blue Mountains is amazing. It’s totally different to anything I’ve ever experienced before, and it blew my mind. The rock is sandstone, and the style is very dynamic with dynos, heel-hooks and trick sequences a-plenty. It’s like a mixture of grit bouldering and comp climbing all rolled up in an outdoor route. There is plenty of trad in the area (including some routes on the infamous carrot bolts), but we focused on the sport climbing.

[caption id="attachment_6054" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Walk -in to Centennial Glen Walk -in to Centennial Glen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Eyeing up The Tube (24/7a+) Eyeing up The Tube (24/7a+)[/caption]

Before we went out I had decided to spend the time onsighting, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t the place to do it. The routes were very hard to read and often had tricky boulder-problem cruxes that took several goes and plenty of help from locals to work out. It’s also not a venue that favours the short, with many routes having enormous reaches that required cunning and guile (or sometimes just a humungous dyno) to find your way around. A piece of advice given to me by one of the locals seemed to sum up well the style of the climbing in the area “if you put your foot 5cm to the left or 5cm to the right the move will be impossible. If you put it just in the right place, it will feel fine!”. However, despite getting shut down on some relatively easy routes I had a brilliant time and this is really a testament to how good the climbing is out there. It’s pretty much impossible not to have fun when you are dynoing!

[caption id="attachment_6052" align="aligncenter" width="450"]The Tube (24/7a+) The Tube (24/7a+)[/caption]

The best route of the trip for me was one called Madge MacDonald at Centennial Glen. Graded at 26 (7b), it totally shut me down on the second day of our trip. There was a massive reach in the middle and I couldn’t see any way of spanning between the holds. Slightly disappointed, I gave it up as a bad job until the last day of our trip. Having got my eye in slightly to the climbing style, and armed with some beta from some ladies of similar stature to myself, I gave it another look and managed to pull it out of the bag just as the light was fading. Not a big tick in the grade stakes, but it felt like a massive achievement for me. The “route that got away” which I really wished I’d done was Smoked Mussels 27 (7b+) also at Centennial Glen. It’s not one of the classic lines, but it involves a full-on legs-swinging-horizontally dyno for the top of the crag which is definitely more fun if you are short!

[caption id="attachment_6050" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Smoked Mussels (27/7b+) Smoked Mussels (27/7b+)[/caption]

Aside from the climbing, Australia was amazing. The people were the friendliest I have ever met, the wildlife was incredible (fields full of kangaroos being the highlight of the trip) and Sydney seemed like a pretty cool city when we mooched around it on a rest day.

And although we didn’t get to visit the set of Neighbours, we did see the beach when Home and Away was filmed which was a close second! I’ll definitely be going back.

Jules LittlefairA few weeks ago we went to Oz. It’s a country I’ve wanted to visit ever since I was a kid and I started watching Neighbours, so I was made up when Stu said he had to go there for work so we might as well tag on a holiday at the same time.

Flying into Sydney with only 2 weeks to play with we decided to stay around the Blue Mountains area, rather than make the 13 hour trek to the Grampians as well. So early one Friday morning, after a 36 hour flight, I turned up bleary-eyed at Sydney International Airport to be met by Stu (who was already out there) and a shed load of rain! Feeling a bit short-changed by the weather, and somewhat dreading the thought of putting up our tent in a downpour, we caught up with some friends in Sydney before driving out to the Blue Mountains.

[caption id="attachment_6051" align="aligncenter" width="399"]The Blue Mountains The Blue Mountains[/caption]

The following 2 weeks were one of the best holidays of my life. Climbing in the Blue Mountains is amazing. It’s totally different to anything I’ve ever experienced before, and it blew my mind. The rock is sandstone, and the style is very dynamic with dynos, heel-hooks and trick sequences a-plenty. It’s like a mixture of grit bouldering and comp climbing all rolled up in an outdoor route. There is plenty of trad in the area (including some routes on the infamous carrot bolts), but we focused on the sport climbing.

[caption id="attachment_6054" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Walk -in to Centennial Glen Walk -in to Centennial Glen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Eyeing up The Tube (24/7a+) Eyeing up The Tube (24/7a+)[/caption]

Before we went out I had decided to spend the time onsighting, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t the place to do it. The routes were very hard to read and often had tricky boulder-problem cruxes that took several goes and plenty of help from locals to work out. It’s also not a venue that favours the short, with many routes having enormous reaches that required cunning and guile (or sometimes just a humungous dyno) to find your way around. A piece of advice given to me by one of the locals seemed to sum up well the style of the climbing in the area “if you put your foot 5cm to the left or 5cm to the right the move will be impossible. If you put it just in the right place, it will feel fine!”. However, despite getting shut down on some relatively easy routes I had a brilliant time and this is really a testament to how good the climbing is out there. It’s pretty much impossible not to have fun when you are dynoing!

[caption id="attachment_6052" align="aligncenter" width="450"]The Tube (24/7a+) The Tube (24/7a+)[/caption]

The best route of the trip for me was one called Madge MacDonald at Centennial Glen. Graded at 26 (7b), it totally shut me down on the second day of our trip. There was a massive reach in the middle and I couldn’t see any way of spanning between the holds. Slightly disappointed, I gave it up as a bad job until the last day of our trip. Having got my eye in slightly to the climbing style, and armed with some beta from some ladies of similar stature to myself, I gave it another look and managed to pull it out of the bag just as the light was fading. Not a big tick in the grade stakes, but it felt like a massive achievement for me. The “route that got away” which I really wished I’d done was Smoked Mussels 27 (7b+) also at Centennial Glen. It’s not one of the classic lines, but it involves a full-on legs-swinging-horizontally dyno for the top of the crag which is definitely more fun if you are short!

[caption id="attachment_6050" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Smoked Mussels (27/7b+) Smoked Mussels (27/7b+)[/caption]

Aside from the climbing, Australia was amazing. The people were the friendliest I have ever met, the wildlife was incredible (fields full of kangaroos being the highlight of the trip) and Sydney seemed like a pretty cool city when we mooched around it on a rest day.

And although we didn’t get to visit the set of Neighbours, we did see the beach when Home and Away was filmed which was a close second! I’ll definitely be going back.

Jules Littlefair