8c First Ascent in Australia for Robbie Phillips

by Duncan Campbell - UKC Jun/2014
This news story has been read 6,697 times

Scottish climber Robbie Phillips has just returned from an extended trip to Australia this Spring. Highlights include the first ascent of Haggisaurus Rex, 33/8c, at Coolum Cave and a repeat of Tigercat, 33/8c, in the Blue Mountains and Mt Arapiles classics such as Punks in the Gym, 32/8b+, and Lord of The Rings, 31/8b.

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+Robbie Phillips making the crux V10 traverse on the first ascent of Haggisaurus Rex, 8c, Coolum Cave, 145 kb
Robbie Phillips making the crux V10 traverse on the first ascent of Haggisaurus Rex, 8c, Coolum Cave
UKC News, Jun 2014
© Brenton Owens

Whilst in Australia, Robbie spent some time climbing at the relatively unknown Coolum Cave in Queensland. Coolum is a massive cave made from Rhyolite (think Welsh mountain rock) but has formed into strange and rare columnar formations.

+Robbie Phillips heading to the slab finish on the Arapiles classic Lord of the Rings, 8b, 143 kb
Robbie Phillips heading to the slab finish on the Arapiles classic Lord of the Rings, 8b
UKC News, Jun 2014
© Tracey Hua

Robbie quickly repeated the hardest routes in the cave; SingularityThe Don and Friction Addiction, all 32/8b+ and then went on to start looking at an unclimbed project. After working the route over a number days, Robbie managed to make the first ascent of Queensland's hardest route; Haggisaurus Rex, 33/8c. Robbie described the climbing on his new route:

"The route starts out with a tricky starting boulder that tires you slightly before a kneebar no hands rest. The no hands was restful but rather painful and didn't bring you back to full recovery before heading into the real crux... a V10 boulder traverse sequence on slick glassy crimps and slopers. This took me 3 days of work to figure out, but when I did it felt really do-able! The V10 leads into an upper section of around 7c+ climbing but without any rest and again on quite delicate terrain and very beta intensive sequences."

In addition to this impressive first ascent, Robbie Phillips travelled to the Blue Mountains, making a quick repeat of Tigercat, 33/8c, in around five attempts, Robbie described Tigercat:

"This climb takes an incredible feature of the Elphinstone crag, a swooping wave of rock that feels mega exposed as you are already on a ledge 30+m from the ground from the point you start. Behind you is miles upon miles of endless valleys of orange rocky sandstone amidst seas of green jungle with a blue haze emanating from the Eucalyptus trees."

Robbie began his trip in the classic Australian venue of Mt Arapiles where he repeated the classics such as Punks in the Gym, 32/8b+ and Lord of the Rings, 31/8b.

You can watch a video of Robbie climbing Punks in the Gym below:


Robbie Phillips is sponsored by: Edelrid and Evolv


Forums ( Read More... | 15 comments, 07 Jun 2014 )
Thanks :) I am always striving to push myself but for me it's not solely about the grade... More just getting to climb lots of routes that challenge me. I would like to climb harder grades for sure though and I think...
Robbie_Phillips - 07 Jun 2014

Hey Chris, yeah I did meet JJ and Lee :) I have known Lee for years and it was pretty much his inspiring chat that convinced me to go to Coolum! I have been waiting years to visit that cave just from the stories hew...
Robbie_Phillips - 07 Jun 2014

Apparently it's the second largest monolith in Australia. After a few days rain; it forms multiple waterfalls over the east face. The south west aspect is dark, whereas facing west north west it looks no more than...
koalapie - 07 Jun 2014

Well done, Coolum cave is a special place, superb rock and takes no prisoners. Did you get on Evil wears no pants ? I shot my mate on that back in 2008 did you bump into Cujes or JJ, they basically live there !!
chris fox - 07 Jun 2014

Thanks Guys! It wasn't easy for me :P Definitely the best feeling I've had in climbing managing this First Ascent! What a great thing to do at any grade :) Just to be the first to climb a bit of rock hahaha Thank God...
Robbie_Phillips - 06 Jun 2014

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