Amazingly, Edna was awake shortly after sunrise, and while we lay in our tent for a couple of minutes enjoying the bright sun shining through the tent we were greeted by a view of the Moon...
Unfortunately, it was Tom's Moon, poking out of the tent door! Arrgh! I think that Tom's arse is now the most common thing that I have seen in the first half an hour after waking on climbing trips; that's got to be doing some psychological damage, I'm sure of it.
Getting up, Edna, Tom and I set about organising the gear and breakfast and various other aspects of camp life while Her Royal Highness lazed around in bed! A quick raid jumping on the bed soon destroyed any afterglow from the bad dreams of the previous night, and soon Megsy was up and about too...
So, what do we do first thing in the morning on a climbing trip? Why, have coffee of course. Meg had called me in a flat panic the day before asking me to bring my stovetop coffee maker as she had forgotten to pack hers; knowing that this would result in the unthinkable situation of us not having any coffee she wanted to make sure that she was not responsible for anything of the sort occurring. Getting out the stovetop I asked who wanted coffee while The feral went to get the coffee.
"Tom, did you get the coffee out already?" She asked Gump.
I felt a disturbance in the Force...
"Did you get the coffee off the breakfast bar before leaving yesterday?" Asked Tom.
"No, didn't you?" Came the uncertain reply from Meg.
"Aw Crap!" I thought.
Yep, you guessed it, no coffee.
*sigh* Oh well, at least we were up and ready to hike up to the face before noon. I think we actually set off before 9am! A record! This certainly was a weekend for firsts, Edna and I arrived in daylight the day before, and now we were on our way up at a reasonable time! Amazing! How many more firsts could there be?
Pausing for a minutes silence to remember the fallen at MOAF Rock we slowly made our way up the grinding 40 minute hike to the Junction, stopping at the usual rest stops.
"Man, I've got to get fitter," I thought casting an envious eye in Gump's direction. He was sitting there waiting impatiently for the rest of us to catch our breat, probably wondering what all the huffing and puffing was about. Fucking fit bastard.
Yeah, well not everyone has the aerobic capacity of a race horse Gump.
Once at the Junction we set about gearing up and deciding what routes would be attempted; I had tried to convince Edna and Meg into giving XXXXX a go, it looked like an awesome route with just enough potential for scaring them to a satisfactory level. Edna however was not too sure, I think he suspected a Sand-Bag in progress. I had entertained ideas of pushing myself a bit, giving the route Miles From Nowhere a try. While graded 18 I was a little suspicious of the grade due to the description and the year of the FA, and the fact that it was a Moonarie Route.
"Stop being such a pansy," I told myself, "how bad could it be? If it's too tough you could always aid it... if you knew how to aid that is." The voice of reason reminding me about my zero minutes of aiding experience "Okay, well lower off anyway." I conceded.
Quang decided that perhaps something a little more modest like Garden Refuse Removed Cheaply (13) was a more civilised option.
"Heh heh, you didn't do the hard stuff on lead last time," I thought smiling inwardly at this fresh opportunity for a Sand-Bag. GRRC, although graded 13 has some rather interesting moves right at the start that are quite committing with marginal enough protection to get you really thinking about the ground below in a rather uncomfortable manner. I also thought back to my moment on the supposed grade 9 pitch that I managed to turn into a 20 with some poor route finding:
"Yeah, that's a good idea, why don't you do that?" I sneakily agreed.
Edna and Feral agreed that they would ascend GRRC, so happy with another Sand-Bag notch in my belt I confirmed with Gump that he and I would do Miles From Nowhere, and we set off.
It was agreed that I would do the crux second pitch, so Tom geared up and headed up pitch one. Let's just say that after a winter of indoor climbing it took a little while for the outdoor heads to come back for both teams.
Poor Edna was very soon wondering just what the hell he had gotten himself into on the first pitch of GRRC (tee hee) and Gump seemed to me to be taking a rather unusual amount of time on the first pitch considering it was supposedly a grade 16... I started to think a little about the accuracy of the grading of this route.
Finally Tom was up on the first ledge and looking like a daddy-long-legs with those long legs of his cramped up on the tiny belay. Concealing (poorly) my amusement at the sight I started up. As I had suspected, the pitch was solid at the grade, and then I came to my least favourite move of all; a jam. Bugger! Some words of encouragement from Tom along the lines of "No, there are no other holds, just jam your hand in and