Rock Climbing at Arapiles, Australia

Arapiles is of the three main climbing areas in Australia, the Blue Mountains and Grampians being the other two.  Of the three, Arapiles is the least famous because it is purely a climbing destination.  The Blue Mountains and Grampians are famous for hiking, sightseeing, and rock climbing, while Arapiles is solely known for its rock climbing.  With that said, it has some of the best rock climbing in all of Australia.

Arapiles turned out to be the cheapest part of our Aussie adventure.  We tent camped for only a few dollars a day, we brought camping stoves and bowls while shopping at the local supermarket.  Not only did I get in shape from rock climbing, I ended up loosing almost ten pounds from eating healthy and eating far less food!   About seven years ago, I visited Arapiles by myself and attempted to live off ten cans of tuna and ten cans of baked beans for ten days.  I  broke on day three and ended up going to the supermarket and gorging on fresh fruits and veggies.  Although my food situation was different, the water situation had not changed.  I did not shower for almost two weeks.  This time I did bring a water filter which filtered out most of the brown-ish color supplied by the rain water tank.  In that region, water is so scarce that people own a water tank that collects water from their gutters when it rains.

As for climbing, we had a few epic moments.  We did lots of three stars, classic multi-pitched routes.  On one named, “Barge,” Jen was leading it and ended up going the wrong way.  I had to yell at her to down climb and take all her protection out.  Then when she went the right way, it was an exposed traverse through a roof section, she didn’t put any protection into the rock.  When I asked her why, she said that she was so scared, so could only focus on the climbing and getting through that section.  With that said, she did her first had many accomplishments this trip and successfully did her first trad lead as well as her first multi-pitch climb!

The weather was just absolutely wild in Arapiles.  It would be 90 degrees F during the day, then down to 50 degrees F at night.  It rained heavily and all day long the first few nights while the last few nights had crazy winds.  It was so windy, I thought a storm was moving in, but the sky was clear with stars.  It was so windy that it was slapping me in the face, literally.  Throughout the night, the wind was so strong that it would collapse my tent inwards.  The walls would come in and whip me in the face, then pop back out instantaneously.

We under estimated the wild life in Arapiles.  One day, our friend from Finland found a six foot snake skin in his tent.  He had a small tear at the base of his tent and during the day, a snake had went in, shedded its skin, inside his tent and left.  I also found a two foot long bearded dragon which I chased all over camp but he was very quick.  I did manage to catch a “stubby tail” which is a short tailed, fat lizard.  It’s skin is hard as a rock and very slow moving.

Living in a tent in the desert outback in Arapiles is the essence of dirt bag climbing.  Some places give you a sense of awe from its beauty.  At Arapiles, I couldn’t help imagining myself as a bum living in tent in the dirt.  Arapiles is all in the dirt.  There is not much there other a bunch of dry shurbs, rocks, and dirt.

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