The weekend was spent out at Evans Crown Reserve, near Tarana, about 40min out of Bathurst and 20min from Lithgow (it sits off at an odd angle from each of them). D and I spent the entire drive over the Bells Line of Road talking, which was awesome.
The drive out from Lithgow via Lake Lyell was great – the country road, tarred and in fairly good condition, snakes over and around the hills and valley floors. Walking up from the carpark at the bottom of the crag takes maybe 10 minutes (depending on your condition).
Tarana itself (actually the name of a nearby townlet, but we all call it the crag that, in defiance of correctness) looks like a stacked pile of granite boulders made out of pink meringue and crusted with lichen.
It’s slopy, slabby, lichenous and fucking fantastic. Needless to say, I love it. D isn’t quite so keen, but we’re practicing for a trip to some serious granite climbing in a few months, and had to come out to visit Gremlin, my sister, so it was an opportunity too good to pass up. Actually, mostly these trips are to visit Tarana, if we see the Gremlin it’s kind of an added bonus.
One thing I really like about climbing at Tarana, is that we have yet to find a guide that is easy to follow and actually makes sense. There’s a little one, and some info in Rockclimbs of the Upper Blue Mountains (must buy, note to self), but half the time we just hop on something and give it a guesstimate based on our climbing ability, which makes it a really fun adventure. I love Tarana full stop; the only other climbers we see up here are our friends, bushwalkers are rare, and the view from the top of some of the walls is awe-inspiring. Wherever you go, you can usually find a wall which is facing the sun, and there are gems tucked about in hidden corners like the 15-ish metre trad crack climb that D led on Sunday.
One thing I really dislike about climbing at Tarana is that everything bolted is so incredibly runout. Groundfalls up to the second clip are quite common, and the second clip can be 15-20 metres up. Eek. I steer clear of those ones, and usually lead ones which are a little more civilised (read: easy). It would also be nice to be able to find my way around with a truly reliable guidebook one day, but as it’s such an under-traveled area, my hopes are not high. A friend and I downloaded the Boulder.net app onto our phone to try and do just that a few months ago, but it still had teething issues, not allowing us to upload the photos, so we gave up.
D, up the top of his Trad crack climb. Kudos!
On Sunday, Gremlin and a bunch of her climbing buddies showed up, some of whom we met at her birthday party Saturday night. The Gremlin herself actually bailed partway through, so we took the cake back to the motel with us, and dragged it up Tarana on Sunday for snacks (don’t worry, even the undeserving Gremlin got some).
A real delight was meeting one of Gremlin’s roomie’s girlfriends, who I shall call Rainbow Glasses (name? Name anyone??), who had just gone out to Mt. Boyce for her first outdoor climb, and had gone up The Eyre, Sweet Irish and Glossy Pages from a Magazine (or words to that effect). When we asked how she’d found it, she said, “It was amazing, so much fun. I got up to the top, and went, “I am awesome!”… How have I never done this before?”
That right there? Serious awesomeness. It’s the fun, exhilarating part, which, next to the challenging part, is why I climb. Keep climbing, Rainbow Glasses. Maybe I can give you a belay sometime when you’re leading your own climbs out on real rock. And, just maybe, find out your name. Sorry.