It’s my first outdoor climb, ever – and it was bloody amazing! After a few months spent in the excessive tropical heat and losing a couple of kilos from continually sweating, this was a kick start the southern summer by climbing in Summerday Valley, in the Grampians National Park. It was great to be back on the vertical and in a cooler climate, exploring a new patch of my backyard with mates in Victoria!
Wind blasted, ancient honeycomb coloured sandstone sits at the top of the rope, whilst sheer rockfaces like the Wall of Fools are a backdrop and echo our voices and laughter around the valley we have all to ourselves. Weathered orange and sun blasted grey rock surrounded us, reminding me of the Arnhem range and spots in Kakadu big time.
The fire damage from recent years has left the place scarred, and yet it’s been long enough that the new growth has thickened up and begun to consume the remnant scorched skeletons of deceased eucalypts.
With our temporary camp at the base of Back Wall, a whole new world was opened up to me, providing previously unimaginable and alternative views after a few moments of scramble upwards.
For over a decade I’ve been venturing around this country – across each state and territory, coastal, tropical and inland. Yet even here in the Grampians – a place I know relatively well, where I’ve spent many days and nights camping and hiking – my perspective of my surroundings undertook a massive change!
I’ve worked on my climbing skills indoors throughout the year, fitting in around three climbs each week at an indoor centre in Brissy. I was hooked on climbing pretty much instantly. After a free trial week, I signed up seven days later. Yet none of that has ever compared to going outdoors for the real thing!
Climbing is another awesome way to explore the great outdoors, giving you a new and different perspective to experience our great backyard – from above!
It’s a solid way to make new tracks with mates, keep fit, and to be challenged by the mental demand of hanging on with your hands and thinking of the next step. And keep pushing those boundaries of what you can make your body do.
For the first time in my life, I’m looking at rock faces and cliffs in a different light. They’re larger, higher, grander. Areas, like the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park, are begging to be visited again with rope, harness and carabiner in tow.
This experience has reinforced how much I love the great outdoors, and how powerful and important a different perspective (such as climbing) can be to an individual or to a community.
Each activity incorporates a different approach and a different set of appreciations for an area. When considering the conservation and preservation of an area, any area, these new experiences offer us a chance to appreciate from a different point of view, reminding us that there is always another angle – another way of interpreting something that one hasn’t experienced or yet considered.
It’s another reason to keep watch over our protected areas, and ensure we help these places stand the test of time and remain resilient long beyond these brief years we spend on earth..
Location: Summerday Valley, Hollow Mountain, Grampians, Victoria
Route Name: on the Backwall (unsure of route name)