Monday, November 30, 2009

Bunny Bucket Buttress: Rebolted


Following Claw’s decision to entirely re-bolt Bunny Bucket Buttress and replace all the carrots with U-bolts, Jimbo and I decided it was time to climb this consumer classic.

Despite reports of horror runouts and recommendations that we carry a trad rack to supplement the bolts, we decided that we were too old and lazy to carry so much gear.

Mike’s post re-bolting recommendation was 16 draws, a cordelette and long slings. So we took 16 draws, three of which were extendables: In Law We Trust.

After a liquid breakfast of Get Up and Go we got up and went, leaving the lower campsite at Pierce’s Pass at 7am. After some leisurely mucking around at the Mirrorball rap – shiny new rings replacing maltreated tree – we were at the base of BBB (270m, 18) for a 9am kick-off.

The U-bolts were readily apparent as were the carrots that were still in place beside them. And that’s how the rest of the route was to be. Claw’s effectively created a DBB belay for most clips with a carrot beside or close to a U-bolt. He also seems to have added a few U-bolts.

The net result is an incredibly safe and fun route that is only marred by the combined 70m grade 8 pitches 4 and 5. But in saying that, both of these low-grade pitches are on rock rather than the bushwalks that most Blueys linking pitches seem to be.

Anyhow, at the risk of giving away beta, here is how the trip went.

Pitch 1: (18, 20m) The bouldery start gives way to easier climbing and a nice top out ledge.

Pitch 2: (18, 20m) Slabby start to a fused cornered followed by a rock over to an arĂȘte. Jimbo led this one and missed the belay on a comfy ledge and ended up creating a semi-hanging belay on the third u-bolt/carrot combination placement of the slabby start of pitch 3.

Pitch 3: (18, 40m) (Or 34m thanks to the off-route Jimbo) Up slab, across well-protected by quite delicate traverse then up well-bolted arĂȘte to top-out on big ledge and new DBB (rings) closer to the top-out than the original carrots which are more to the left (if you're facing out from the cliff).

Pitch 4: (8, 30m) Jimbo wander off up the slabs and then kept going until he ran out of rope. So this pitch was effectively 60m which includes a small overhang.

Pitch 5: (8, 40m) I only led the remaining 10m of this pitch which went up a rubbly wall to the foot of a big orange overhand and the TBB for the start of pitch 6.

Pitch 6: (17, 20m) Up wall out short overhang up headwall to big belay ledge. Jimbo led this bit. I seconded it but left the ‘draws in place so that two speedsters – CitationX and mate – could scream past us, using our draws, and get ahead of us. (I was amazed at their speed. They were still rapping down the Weaselburger rap – the three-pitch alternative to the two pitch Mirrorball rap – when we had just begun pitch 4! Shows you what two blokes on a single rope – hence the Weaselburger rap – and knowledge of the route – Steve had climbed it before – can do.)

Pitch 7 and 8: (18, 40m) Claw reckons that if you string pitch 7 and 8 together the single 2 x 17 pitches go at 18. Maybe. Each pitch up this towering, slightly overhung, headwall has a technical start for the grade but after that wherever you place a hand is a jug. Unless you get too gripped and start overgripping then the actual climbing feels like 16! However it is a long pitch and I can see how it would be good to retain the two pitches.

Pitch 9: (13, 40m) After gorging myself on the jug-fest before it, I felt a bit guilty when Jimbo had to lead the uninspiring final pitch – 20m rising traverse ending in juggy, chossy wall. Ah well, next time Jimbo.

Pics here: