Club day at the local
Maybe some people are club people and others aren’t. Macquarie Uni Mountaineering Society, Navy Ski Club, Canberra Canoe Club, Canberra Bushwalking Club, Southern Tablelands Four Wheel Drive Club, had been or are a big part of my life.
We chatted companionably as backpacks of gear were sorted in the carpark. Zac, the current president of the Canberra Climbers Association, filled us in on what he knew of the earthquake situation in Nepal. Climbing groups were allocated and we hiked up the hill.
Over at the northern slabs I spied two new shiny bolts on a climb I had taken many years to psyche up for and develop the skills to do. It was extremely dangerous but if your technique was solid and your mind in lockdown it was fabulous. The bolts now made it much less of an undertaking. Diminished. They stuck out like shiny silver flags in an acre of almost pristine granite.
Charles, an ex Pom, pushed through the first tricky section on lichen damp steeps. Both of us are not monarchists but we still chatted about the new baby princess born the day before. Fourth in line for the throne. Lady Di would have been her Grandmother. She was one of my heroes. I still can’t believe how one of her best mates could sing “Candle in the Wind” at her funeral in Westminster Abbey with such composure. While writing this I stopped and relived it again on youtube……..”we’ll miss the wings of your compassion more than you will ever know”. I hoped that Club Royal and the baby’s despicable grandfather, soon to be our head of state, would treat her better than her departed too soon grandmother. Forty years prior I would like to have been able to be a Pom and stay on in England.
I led the stunning second pitch of Counterbalance. “If this was in the UK you would have to book up a time on the Internet six months in advance” joked Charles. At the belay ledge another party from the club crossed over our route and I could hear another of our groups further across. Later we abseiled to a ledge and did Hurricane Cracks, another classic. I top roped a harder crack system nearby. On the top when questioned Zac explained about his clever rescue knife that he carried on his harness. He’d been caught upside down in a bunch of old ropes descending the second rock step on Everest and nearly died. The knife was a present straight after. Clubs have a huge amount of shared knowledge and experience that can be transferred. My break from work had finally enabled me to have enough time to become involved with this club that I had been on an email list for about eight or ten years. Comeraderie at the crag.
All we needed at day’s end was a local English pub in the village nearby where we could swap yarns about the day together.
Goodbye England’s Rose – Elton John. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A8gO0Z818j4