Bunny Bucket Buttress – Round 2

In my last post, I told you how a climb called Bunny Bucket Buttress whipped my butt and reduced me to a teary, blubbering mess.

Over time, that day turned into my favourite campfire story.

As my memory faded, I started thinking that I might go back and try it again.

This is the tale of BBB 2.0.

Round 2

I found myself back at Bunny Bucket Buttress about a year after the first attempt.

I had a bit more climbing experience under my belt and thought it was high time to go back and show that rock who was boss.

I had a work Christmas party in Sydney on Friday night and intended to be on the rock around 9am on Saturday morning.  I wobbled back to my hotel room full of champagne and a little unsteady on my too-high high-heels.  At the end of the bed was a bag full of make-up and climbing gear.  I set the alarm at some awful number that started with 4.

The alarm went off.  Dirtbagjens and I snuck out of the fancy hotel and into our trusty ford laser.

We met a friend in the carpark at Pierce’s Pass.  She greeted us with a mischievous smile, then ducked back into her van.  She brought out homemade bunny ears.  We stuck them on the sides of our helmets and set off through the bush.

I’m still hopeful that costume climbing is going to become a thing. Seriously, dress as your favourite climb, then climb it, and tell me all about it. Climb Sweet Dreams in pyjamas. Do it!

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Our ears flapped around in the breeze as we climbed.  I found myself assuming that my fellow climbers were SUPER EXCITED when their ears were up, and sad when they were down.

This trip was much more relaxed that the last one. The only real drama this time around was a party of 5 who were climbing above us.  At least two of them were in well over their heads.  They were moving slowly and we had to sit and wait at each anchor for them to make upward progress and clear some space for us to climb into.  A tiny part of me was frustrated that we had to wait around so long.  A much bigger part of me was just trying to ooze encouragement up at them because I knew how awful it was to feel overwhelmed on a big climb and feel guilty for holding others up.

The group above us took a long time to get through the infamous roof.  Our own bunny eared trio enjoyed chilling out on the lunch ledge and bribing the local lizards.  We bribed them with food which we hoped was tastier than our toes.

Lizards on the lunch ledge

After a long lunch and  a short nap, it was our turn to climb the roof pitch.

I was seconding this time and swuuuuuuuuung out into space.  In my last post I included a diagram showing how you can ascend a rope using ‘prussiks’.  A prussik is basically a loop of cord that you can attach to your rope in a particular way.  You can slide the cord up the rope, but as soon as you try to pull it down, the knots in your cord lock onto the rope and can’t move back down. If you have two of these loops, you can  use them to climb back up your rope.

So there I was, dangling above the Grose Valley once again.  Not that much lower than I was on my first fateful bunny bucket adventure.  I was much calmer this time.  And just needed to use my prussiks to climb back up.

Only, I didn’t have any prussiks on my harness.  I had left them in our backpack full of food and water.  That backpack was halfway up the pitch, on the back of the lovely Dirtbagkate.

I couldn’t see Dirtbagkate.  She couldn’t see me.  We couldn’t really communicate while I was under the roof.

So I had to improvise.  I had one dyneema sling and the purcell prussik I was using as my personal anchor system.  These worked just well enough to get me back onto the rock. From there, I was able to climb the pitch that had been so dramatic last time. It was nice to climb this stressfree.  I climbed past the place where I had fallen without any trouble.  This time around, I was able to enjoy the sunshine and the beautiful views.

IMG_3908We ended up overtaking the other party on the last few pitches.  The other party were very gracious about it. Usually we wouldn’t have bothered, but Dirtbagkate had a birthday party to get to that night. It was her birthday party, so we thought we’d better get her there somewhere close to on time.  We topped out in the late afternoon and charged off  to a park in Katoomba for the birthday festivities.

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It was great to go back to this place and climb a route which had been so far out of my league on the last attempt.  It’s a beautiful place and  a beautiful climb. The climb was now a fun half day adventure, rather than a grueling ordeal.  I felt like I had finally conquered Bunny Bucket Buttress.

I was wrong.

My next post will tell the tale of how BBB whipped my butt once again.  There were no big falls, no slow parties ahead of us, no need to prussik… Depsite all this, it was probably the most epic and exhausting climbing adventure I’ve had.   Solid type 2 fun.

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