What a privilege it was, to go rock climbing in The Grampians last weekend. A group of Extreme Life guys got together early on Saturday morning and made the drive to some of Australia’s finest scenery, racked with multiple mountains and hundreds of amazing climbing possibilities…all via a very important coffee stop, of course.
About fourteen of us, piled into a few cars loaded up with all the required climbing gear and food and water for the day ahead. The climbs are just under two hours away, so the drive is an important part of the journey. Confined to the small space of a car, conversation quickly goes deeper than the normal friendly greetings and weather observations, and opens up a chance to truly develop relationship.
Upon arrival at the walking trail, we discovered that it was more of a creek, with a constant flow of water running down the worn path. We loaded up and headed up the creek towards the looming mountains. We ascended quite quickly and I was surprised at the elevation we reached in a short space of time…and how tiring it was carrying a number of kilograms of food and water while trekking through some rather unfriendly terrain, made even more so by the obvious indications and left overs from some very significant, recent rains. With much gasping for whatever air could force it’s way through my severely congested sinus (I had a nasty cold all week…oops, forgot about that!), we reached the base of a number of sheer cliff faces, perfect for our day of climbing. We quickly set ourselves up a base for the day and set about organising some top ropes.
Angus and Ian made sure that our top ropes were safely and securely in place so we could all enjoy a safe day ascending and descending the surrounding rock faces. We had a number of first time climbers, some slightly experienced climbers and a few more experienced climbers. And all, had an excellent day. One of the benefits of learning in this kind of context, is the strength that comes through encouragement. It was awesome to see first time climbers stop and think they were done, restart, continue climbing and make it all the way to the top when their friends at the base of the climb shouted encouragement and instruction up the cliff. The voices of encouragement really brought courage, strength and guidance, that enabled everyone to take their skills to new levels and their bodies to new heights. Then of course, all enjoyed the abseiling back down. Most of the guys made at least one or two successful climbs, enjoyed our packed lunches and had a great time enjoying a beautiful day surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery to be found anywhere in the world.
The journey home was somewhat quieter, as I think most of us had succeeded at completely wearing ourselves out. All up, I’d have to say a great time was had by all.