Rock climbing: Sweet Dreams reprise

On holidays in Australia I thought it would be good to climb Sweet Dreams with my significant other in order to show her the merits of a Sydney lifestyle. Sweet Dreams (5 pitches, 17 in the Australian grading system) is a relatively straightforward but exposed multi-pitch climb in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney that Toby and I did together a few months back. It was raining and foggy in Katoomba when we arrived in the morning but the guide said the forecast for the rest of the day was looking good so off we went.

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The walk down to the base of the climb from Sublime Point was clouded-out so there were none of the spectacular views. However, there were a few lyre birds – the renowned mimics of the Australian bush – to be seen. By the time we got to the start and roped-up the fog and drizzle was lifting. I had been a little worried about how my girlfriend would find the exposure – she sport climbs regularly but this would be her first multi-pitch climb and experience of the resulting exposure. Any concerns were soon dispelled – she was relaxed enough to return a missed mobile phone call whilst hanging off the third belay station.

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6 responses to “Rock climbing: Sweet Dreams reprise

    • A sport climb is where the route has been bolted to provide fixed protection (the climber puts a quickdraw on each bolt and then the rope through the quickdraw as they go up) and is to be contrasted with a trad climb where the climber has to place temporary protection as they climb using things such as nuts, cams, hexes (which are basically things which can be jammed into cracks in the rock). Sweet Dreams is bolted but trad gear is also used to reduce run-outs because on some pitches there is a large gap between the bolts so if the climber fell between bolts it could be interesting. Roughly, a single pitch climb is where you climb up one rope length or less in height; a multipitch climb is where you climb up more than one rope length in height i.e. the climb is done in several successive segments or “pitches”. For example, a single pitch climb would be around 30 metres or less whereas the 5 pitches of Sweet Dreams add up to 117 metres. It would have been better if I had wrote that my girlfriend has done lots of single pitch climbs but that Sweet Dreams would be her first multipitch climb.

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