Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beerwah: the holidays end in style!


You walk slowly up the stairs, shielded from the sun's full force by the all-encompassing forest. Light pierces the treetops and falls in hard-edged pools at your feet.
The day, the week, is beginning to end. It's a lazy Sunday afternoon, and you're sauntering up a trail in the middle of the bush. Nothing could be more peaceful.
Glimpses of flat granite flash into view more and more frequently, and your stomach begins to churn. Up and up and up.
All of a sudden, you're blindsided by the sun, and a fortress of stone smacks you in the face.
Your eyes run slowly up the slope, and soon you must tilt your head back to get some elementary understanding of that upon which you are about to embark.
The idea of it is cool: scrambling up a bare mountainside at a near-vertical gradient.
The reality is less glamorous.

Hand on the wall, push off with the foot, get that fucking first pitch over with as soon as possible. This foot-hold is way too small! Can my hand really grip this flat piece of rock? Don't think about it, don't stop climbing, don't stop...

Jacoby and I went North today, the last day of the holidays, and made an ascent of Mount Beerwah. I thought that I had warned him sufficiently about the nature of the climb - turns out that I hadn't. This seems to be a recurring trend between my friends and I...

The first pitch (AKA the shit-my-pants section) was scary as always, before it became more fun when it flattened off. We took plenty of good photos ("FB profile pic right there"), and arrived at the top fairly quickly, without any serious hiccups. After chatting to a couple on the summit, taking more photos, and noting how incredible it is to be able to see Maroochydore and Brisbane at the same time, we started down.

It all went smoothly and quickly, until we got to that final section. I had wanted to navigate around the pitch which had kicked it off, and it appeared at first that we would be able to do so. We manoeuvred to the right, and were within fifteen vertical metres of the bottom when we came accross a crucial bit of rock which was not there. It had obviously come loose and slid off, leaving a bit of slate-like stone; flat, smooth and slippery; in place of the craggy piece which was there before. So we had to go down the shit-my-pants section, and I was not looking forward to it. In the end, it involved about seven risky limb movements and then we were safe. I had created a mental road-block at that section, but had now managed to push through it.

Jacoby, on the other hand, was bounding down the mountain in a carefree way, even after he had a potentially injurious slip. The rock ended and the trail began. It was good to be on level ground.
I feel bad for having misled Jacoby, and he was pretty pissed in the first section. However, after a while, he seemed to understand what we were doing and maybe even enjoyed it. He didn't mind the torn pants and arse rash from bum sliding either.

We then went for a quick dip in the sea at Bribie Island before heading home.

1:50 on the feet, 400m climb over the space of about 1.5km (plus 400m of loss over 1.5km on the way back). If I ever want to train for the Barkley Marathons, this'll be the place.

Back to uni tomorrow and (hopefully) back to consistent trail-time on Mount Cootha.

It's awesome to have a mate who's up for just about anything, and I'm so grateful to that beautiful mountain for teaching me yet another lesson.

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