8c First Ascent in Australia for Robbie Phillipsby Duncan Campbell - UKC Jun/2014
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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.
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 quickly repeated the hardest routes in the cave; Singularity, The 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: