Skate booking and guide boarding
There is a lot of climbing around the Hunter Valley, which means there is a lot of climbing information. If the climb itself was memorable and worthy, the route would be given a name and grade. Quite often people talk about a certain climb that they climbed. If the two people talked about the same particular climb, then they are able to relate to a common experience. Using an age old process called conversation. People can converse with each other about how fun, how scary or how unique that climb was. Unfortunately evolution has affected the structure of modern day conversations with slang and abbreviated TXT Msg’s. Climbing language has almost transformed into a numerical formula equation, for example. (I sent that 22 next to the *** 18 on the corner with the funny start). Which would be have a better description using a personal touch incorporating the formal names of the climbs if they were known and used. For example “On the weekend I managed to get to the top of a climb named Weena at Monkey Face which has a grade of 23. It was awesome”.
It is a shame that the number attached to the climb gets more attention than the character of the climb does sometimes. It is part of the adventure of climbing to discover and find out the character of a particular section of rock of interest. And what feelings and experiences that challenge creates within yourself.
Although these days most of us are reasonably time poor and would like to make the most use out of our climbing time by only climbing the climbs that have interesting character or a significant history about them. To find out what climbs have such properties of pleasure, we could chat to other fellow rock adventurers while climbing indoors at Pulse Climbing gym, research the hordes of climbing paraphernalia on the super information Highway (internet), or find information in local guide books.
In the Hunter we are lucky to have a local guide book compiled and written by Timothy Haasnoot. The First edition printed back in 2003. Once the guide came out it brought the climbing community a little closer together, the guide gave Rock Climbing in the Hunter Valley more recognition. The new guide got the locals excited and climbing activity increased. New route development also increased as well.
The day the guide was released Tim and I put up two new routes in Glenrock. Bam! Out-dated straight away. In the following 2yrs over 250 new routes were put up, and now there are over 500 new routes to climb and challenge ourselves. (Not including boulder problems and challenging buildings).
The guide book may be out of date at the moment but it is the best guide book that the Hunter Valley has, allot better than Newcastle’s neighbouring climbing region the Central Coast. Which has none at the moment!
Tim is in the process of updating the Climbing in the Hunter guide. And that can be an uphill battle sometimes for example the rate of new climbs in the Hunter valley could almost be estimated at two new climbs a fortnight. The Bulahdelah area is at the fore front of new development. As the technology of drill power has gotten very efficient these days.
The first recorded climbs in the Hunter were climbed in 1963, believe it or not well before I was born. And steadily new climbs were developed as climbing skills increased, Bravado increased, the introduction of Spring Loaded Camming Devices (SLCD), safer ropes and Equipment in general. Even Proper Harnesses were only introduced in the 80’s ( 1980’s). The early developed climbs before the 80’s were climbed with Tape Harnesses and or a Swarmi belt. (What makes up a Swarmi belt!!!! Not much.)
On the front cover of the 2003 edition of the Rock Climbing in Hunter Valley, is a long haired try hard hippy on the front cover. Climbing at an awesome location at a crag called Skate Park. The Skate Park climbing area is located in Skate Bay just north of One Mile/ Samurai Beach. It is a Beautiful spot to climb. The wall gets afternoon sun and the wall meets the ripples of the Pacific Ocean.
There is only a few places in Australia where you can sit by the sea side and watch your mate climb up a water washed rock wall. When they are at the top, laugh and giggle at them mantling over the top like a whale. Then looking further east a watch real whales breeching and spurting at the same time. The Skate Park is a great place for all animals to play and enjoy that fantastic section of the coastline.
Even this crag has seen new routes developed since 2003.
Inspiration for giving names to climbing routes come from various places. Sometimes from the way the climb looks or feels to climb. Sometimes from a feeling experienced while climbing on the route, even as simply from a bit of graffiti written on the wall.
At the Skate Park crag it is obvious that names are in the theme of Skateboarding. Skating Scattered was given that name from an interesting lead using traditional gear placements leaving the scketchy climber a little scattered if they make it to the top. Bones Brigade is a skate board brand and also a snakes back bone was found along side of the route as well. Tic Tac a skate board manuvour and so on.