Last week Dave Graham made the ? ascent (if anyone knows please share) and I think the second American ascent (Ethan Pringle was the first) of The Wheel of Life in the Grampians of Australia. Dave had this to say on his 8a.nu scorecard:
A rig of legend, and one of my all time favorite rock climbs. Massive respect going out to Dai Koyamado for his FA, and as well the efforts of Toni Lamprecht, Klem Loskot, and Fred Nicole, who all helped pave the way! Super visionary!
In 2011, I did all the pieces of the puzzle over three days, but wasn’t ever feeling super confident on the link. I turned to the plethora of problems in Buandik, but vowed to return another season for the send.
Fast forward to 2012, I was back in the Gramps with the same crew, headed to the cave. Straight off the plane, we began to work the climb, unlocking better methods, and training ourselves within the climb. We seemed to go once a week for a massive session, until I found a breakthrough method on the ending, unlocking it mentally, enabling tries from the start. On my 5th session, and only my 4th attempt from the start, I managed to climb through to the top.
Its a very tricky climb to put a number on. For myself, Its not possible to compare it to other boulder problems, due to its length. I must regard it as a route. The breakdown of the climb puts it in a league above 9a’s that I have climbed, which makes me believe its 9a+. You may not clip any bolts, or have to worry about your belayer, but for all intensive purposes, the line climbs for a long time, and reminds me of the psychological process one finds on a rope. I used kneepads, mastered my beta, climbed without mistakes, did it check point to check point, and truly enjoyed it.
Life goal complete. Now back to the hunt.
Always great to hear from Dave, and this is the feather in the cap of an already legendary climbing career. It’s relieving that Dave called it 9a+. Not to be outdone, his climbing partner and friend Ian Dory, a local climber from Ft. Collins, made the 3rd American ascent yesterday. Very nice effort Ian, and it’s great to hear the Americans are climbing so well down under.
Dave and Ian, including Nalle Hukkataival, have been hard at work in a new bouldering area Dave mentions in his comment called Buandik. They have put up a number of new problems there on perfect sandstone, and the photos I’ve seen of the place from Dave’s trip last year (and some new ones from this year) look outstanding. Well done boys!