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Mt Tibrogargan, May 2010

posted Jun 28, 2010, 2:28 AM by Brisbane Rockclimbing Club   [ updated Jun 28, 2010, 3:06 AM ]

Marty & Marks Excellent Adventure


I always like going to Tibro. I paint a picture in my mind before I leave of longer climbs, lower grades on bolts, always a great day out. We had in mind to do just that, climb a few multi pitches to get a bit of practice for the club trip to the Blue Mountains, which is in September. We finished our first multipitch by ten and began to rap off. I think this is the time that our day began to turn. We double checked each others gear, had a prussic and a spare each, remembered which colour rope to pull, knots in the end, ok were out of here.


First pitch know worries, second pitch a bit different, I pulled up short of the anchor. I still believe that I have some quite convincing excuses for this.

1. Where that pitch was it was quite blocky and the rope was all coiled up on a ledge, this makes is very difficult to judge length.

2. That was the first time that I had climbed on a fifty meter rope away from KP.

3. The fact that the two pitches added up to more than fifty meters is beside the point.

What did make it better was a ledge with a tree poking out of it, that the tree had a quite a bit of wear on it, indicating that a few other people had made the same mistake as me. The rest of the abseils to the ground were fine, but as I went to pull the rope again I messed up…… forgot to take the knot out only realising when they were just out of reach,  this resulted in me getting to re-climb an absolutely fantastic first pitch it was at least two star!


Never deterred we moved on, Marty had something in mind on Celestial Wall and I willingly followed. Turns out it was ‘Clemency’ grade 16. For those who are not familiar with the climb the description goes:

 A classic adventure climb of great character up the S.E. corner of Tibro to the R of the orange overhanging wall. Named in memory of Johan Clements who was Les Wood’s climbing partner in England. The hardest climb in the state for its day. Although the line is straight, individual pitches zigzag a bit. The major land marks are the big groove (pitch 3) and the scrubby terrace at half height. Technical hard moves are isolated, but route finding is difficult, protection poor and some holds suspect, so the leader should be very solid in the grade to avoid an epic. There is no obvious LLR and one can easily wander off route into a thrill zone.

1)35m (15) 10m runout off deck up blocky slab. A further 10m with a tricky step left (PR and small SLCD) to R- trending ramp beneath blocky roofs. Belay on the ramp off gear”. –Glasshouse Guide book


Easy, were hard men, we climb twenties on top rope at KP, we should be able to knock this over before mid afternoon, walk out, get a bite to eat and be home before five, how wrong were we! I got the first lead and we’re into it. I new that the start was going to be a bit sketchy but had visions that it was going to be fine after that. The guide wasn’t kidding when it said ’10m run out off deck, there was no gear anywhere, got to the ten meter mark and found something, it was average at best but something. This was then followed by another eight –ten meters of the hardest grade fifteen moves ever on tiny gear that I had absolutely no faith in to get to the ramp. When it said ramp I had the image of something big enough to ride a bike up. Wrong again. It was a foot with wide at fifty degrees heading up.  That’s not a ramp in my book. I got a cam in on the ramp and went a bit higher, filling Marty in on what I thought of the climb. (No need to repeat the words now) This was now the highest point that I led to and it started to go even smother with no sight of the anchor. This is when I copped out and started to down climb leaving all the gear in, thinking that leaving four cams behind was the best investment that I had ever made. Send in Marty.


He did his thing shimmying up getting more gear in here and there until he was well and truly run out and completely committed on some seriously shitty rock which I’m still glad I didn’t have to lead. Two other climbers walked passed at this time, they had no info on the climb or where to go. Probably put off by the blurb in the guide there only advice was ‘hope you have a torch’ which was not very comforting. To cut it short we got to the anchor which consisted of as upside down piton a wire and a slung rock right on sun set and it was starting to get pretty cool. We fought the bird’s nest which was our anchor under head torch and abseiled off in the pitch black minus some carabineers and slings. On the bright side we did get one carabineer back when we got back to earth......it was the one that I dropped, Marty’s favourite, what are friends for.


All in all it was quite an eventful day and more fun than sitting at home.


Mark James