The Legendary Lobster Cave
Lobster Cave is a classic all weather climbing area on the Central Coast. About 1hr 20 min drive south from Pulse Climbing Gym. It’s located on the North head of the Hawkesbury River looking over another legendary surf spot ‘The Box’. The climbing is super steep on great Grampians style golden orange rock. 99% sport climbing but with long adventures out into the horizontal world.
Many people had previously looked at the cave and given it many mixed opinions of climbing potential. It wasn’t until Anthony Alexander got the ball rolling with the first hand full of First Free Ascents (FFA), Beautiful Box 23 and Lobster 20. That was the year the sun came out only twice. It rained a lot. So a wet weather climbing area was in desperate need. I had looked at the cave a few years earlier and realised that the potential for a lot of routes were there but I already had 20 plus projected routes already bolted around the Central Coast and Hunter valley.
The rain had determined where Tim Haasnoot and I were to focus our Stainless Steel growing skills. Lobster Cave had all the right minerals and rain cover for prime bolt sprouting and that year a lot of seeds were planted. There is over 30 climbs all crammed into a 50m long section of cliff. Some routes have been sent others still waiting stronger and more talented climbers to put effort into them. Each year has produced a fairly substantial harvest of juicy climbs.
The Line of the crag is the line that starts up Lobster 20, then shoots out a 8m roof flake, Roasted Lobster 23, then takes a line of wonderfully shaped bubbles of orange rock to add the topping of classic route called Roasted Lobster Mornay 28. This route tops out on the cliff witch gives you a magical view of part of the Central Coast, and the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.
Roasted Lobster Mornay 28 took me 2 years of persistent attention, an emotional roller coaster ride of love and hate in the rock climbing world. Initially shots used a handful of different sequences through the red point crux but proved unfruitful. Until a shorter Matt Pascoe convinced me to use a dead point move instead of more entertaining and wildly exciting dynamic move. Shortly (a few months) after that the climb had seen its’ FFA. I sat alone on top off the cliff, extremely happy, feeding off that exhilarating inner glow of succeeding in a self-appointed goal. Looking at the sun shining on the beach, watching the waves roll on by, breathing the outdoor air, everything is much more alive in that state of mind. Life is grand. I untied the rope and walk back down to the rest of the crew of climbers celebrating also, their patience and excessive time belaying had paid off. Good times are best shared.
Then as all climbers do, once one challenge is completed, appoint to one self another attention capturing, energy grabbing goal.
During this process a whole bunch of classic lines were claimed and had 2nd and 3rd ascents. Omega Free (26), a Nowra styled 26, short and slopey. Tim nabbed the “Catch of the Day” (27) and “Battered Muscles” (27) all climbs that warrant the grade as we very rarely see Tim try so hard on routes. Adrian Child even filled in some classics in the middle sections with two classic 25’s – “Barry the Fish” and “Sammy the Salmon”.
At the very right hand side of the cave is a successive line of holds starting at the right leading into the extension of Roasted Lobster Mornay (28). This independent start is a route in its own right called “The Red” (27). Boulder moves to start then small crimpers to hold and heel hook on, brings the climber back into the awesome bubbly, golden underbelly of lobster cave and onto the Mornay extension.
This under taking has taken another 2 years of mind fighting fitness. Yes I can. No I can’t, I’m too pumped, it’s too cold, it’s too spoogy. My rope is the wrong colour…. Excuses, excuses, we convince ourselves with. The Red Headed Dragon is just one colour of the many heads of the internal 1000 Headed Dragon that subconsciously runs our life. Whether we know it or not, there is more to ourselves then we let ourselves know. When climbing we don’t just challenge gravity and the rock, we challenge ourselves and our beliefs. What we know to be possible is a long distance away from where are and the way we travel.
The day I sent The Red Headed Dragon 30, it wasn’t the best conditions. I had too much chilli the night before and had the squirts. I know I was very close the session before. My first shot of the day I found myself at the major red point crux feeling fantastic, strong and light. Knowing that time was ticking I rushed the big throw and hit above the hold, taking the usual plummet down ward.
Next shot I made it back to the same spot feeling just as good. I calmed myself, pumped up and down 3 times then controlled the throw to snatch the main victory jug. I grabbed that hold with solid form, not celebrating to early, didn’t smile until another two moves to a great shake out rest. At this point I was above the red point crux but still had to top out the rest of the climb. The next section was dripping in water but I knew the holds well and knew they were big enough not to need to rely on friction. Topping out at 11.45am, the top grovelly mantle move had dried out enough to allow me to climb up there, sit there for a bit again, watch a boat motor by, the pilot of the craft unaware of what I had accomplished, just me the sun the rock and the water. John my super good luck belayer was way down out sound and out sight.
Another grand moment of life. Ready for the next coloured dragon.