The girls piled off the coach, chatty and ready to go. Harnesses, biners and helmets were distributed and fitted and checked. There were two other young guides, internationals, climbers, adventurers and Lyndsay who took the lead. The atmosphere was vibrant and colourful as we snaked our way across the hillside in a long line to the crag. Jindabyne Rock sits high above the Snowy River opposite the dam where water release for the river fountained in a dull roar below. No clouds – a perfect day. It’s a great venue for an intro group with a good variety of abseiling and climbing possible with safe access routes up and down and a large view spot set back from the cliff edge at the top.
I set up the ropes for my abseil while Lyndsay did a safety talk and outlined the session for the group and their teachers. This was mainstream work for K7 Adventures who were providing the staff, equipment and the overall structure for adventurous activities this group were doing across the Snowy Mountains. They are the industry leaders in the region for roping and backcountry activities for schools, groups and individuals in summer and winter. Their activities range from guiding Mount Kosciuszko for “seven summits of the world” mountaineers to family bushwalks in the alpine areas. The company is run by Peter Cocker, a renowned climber who pioneered some of the Canberra region’s best rockclimbs (eg, Jetts Sett, Equilibrium, Integral Crack) in the earliest days of climbing locally. Together with his partner Acacia, they have built a network of very skilled and experienced guides. I was just helping out as backup while Peter and Acacia were tied up elsewhere. My introductory abseil went well. The girls psyched themselves up, pushed themselves to get over the edge and then felt the exhilaration of success as they descended.
After overseeing establishment of the other ropes Lyndsay worked the arête adjacent to my wall. He top belayed from a small ledge as his climbers worked their way up the most difficult climb. He supported, coached and challenged them then shared in their achievement while he anchored them to the belay. He then instructed them patiently as they abseiled off and down to their friends below. He’s a very capable and mature leader. As the morning progressed he kept a watchful eye on the other ropes and checked in on the abseiling groups higher up.
As we derigged and rolled ropes at the end of the day Lyndsay told me a little about his climbing in Yosemite, France, England and Wales and of his love of steep Spanish limestone. He articulated his dream to work towards his own absolute peak performance at the cutting edge of climbing. It struck me that he was at one extreme of roping and our school clients were at the other. And that Peter had provided the structure and mentoring within his business, tradition, history and experience to bring these together beautifully for the benefit of both.