Eighteen Again

4

Eighteen Again

March 8

Booroomba Rocks

Multi pitch rockclimbing

Driving to the crag for another day climbing Charles chats about his work and his week. He’s a very smart guy (18 on his Google Scholar index I discover later). Previously an astronomer he is now an energy scientist. We discuss the current energy situation. The price has plummeted for oil. The USA, now wealthy with its own huge supplies of shale oil, has recently changed the geopolitical landscape of the energy world.  Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest reservoirs and decades of oil supplies. We range over fracking and coal seam gas. One solution I find interesting is the geosequestration of liquid CO2 from coal fired power stations into empty gas and oil wells.

We climb Denethor, swapping leads on three good pitches. By chance a piece of gear is dropped so we decide to try a more serious slab climb nearby so we can retrieve it. Equilibrium, one of my favourites from the past. The first pitch tunes me in to the harder run out moves up the sheer expanse of striped granite. The second pitch pushes me into a real climbing zone where I have to concentrate the psyche on staying in control when a long way out from protection. I feel like I’m climbing well again. Charles cruised up smiling.

“Well I didn’t think I’d be able to do this 6 months ago”. He had squashed his middle finger in the Simpson Desert. “Me neither”. I had been struggling with fatigue, arthritis and an out of whack immune system. I could now envision working up to climbing at a solid grade 18 again with a bit of training.

On the way home we stop at a wild apple tree beside the road. All the lower ones within reach from the ground are gone. “Come on. We are climbers. Surely we can get some from higher up”. It felt good to say that. They’re crisp and a little tart but they’re free.

Next day I read in the paper that the Indian government is pulling out all stops to develop renewables and cut back severely on fossil fuel imports in the near future. Adani, the Indian company driving the development of the huge Galilee coal basin in Queensland, is also switching to investment in renewables. At the same time Australia is ploughing ahead with Galilee as it tries to become the most backward focused energy nation on the planet. Wake up electorate!

Charles on Equilibrium 17
Charles on Equilibrium 17

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