There’s no way around it, Taipan Wall is a proud and awesome slash of a golden orange stone. Smoother than the “Piles” with a very sunny disposition that requires a committed approach during the hot months for success.
Returning home to Oz for a few short weeks in ’89, while based out of the US’ premier “hard crag” Smith Rock in central Oregon, the pressure to be productive was great. Regardless of the southern summer temperatures, we couldn’t ignore the visionary main effort, up the “apex” of Taipan Wall in the Grampians, cousin to my spiritual climbing home – Arapiles.
Taipan Wall… It’s not that simple as sauntering over to the crag, as at Arapiles, you need willing support. I was fortunate to find that in two, then new, now “old mates” – Dave Filan and Rob LeBreton and an even older one, in Mike Meyers. While many can perform the mechanics of a belay, it’s a different experience with your brothers or sisters from “different mothers” on board.
Typical Western Victoria summer conditions, with temps cruising over 100 degrees daily – with the route going into the full sun early, we knew climbing time would be thin. With no apparent cold front on the horizon offering respite in sight, and on a tight travel schedule, we calculated an actual “late alpine” start of 4 am, would be required!
Rob and Dave put their plans on hold for my benefit and agreed to let me drag them out of their bags at that ungodly hour.
In all my years living in the pines I’d never warmed up on the boulders in the pre-dawn darkness, apparently with good reason, it’s terrible. Even Peter (Croft) waited for the dawn. Driving then hiking and finally in the belay pod below the pitch which serpentine’s around an impending tower at the peak of the Taipan.
No chalk or info on the route the conditions apply the final pressure to move. Pink with sweat – even at that hour – and under the gun the beat the shade line and the encroaching wall of “blast furnace” air.
Our plan works, and I manage to keep my core temp below the sweat “flood line” until I’m done. With a vault over the crown at the top, Mike is there, his motor drive still whirring away – we all celebrate, for the shared effort. I “made” Rob follow it, for the experience.
For me, 1st ascents were always prime, but sometimes a 2nd reaches almost as far. This was one of those…
Michael Meyers – Photographer
Serpentine (31) – 29/5.13
2nd Ascent – 1989
Grampians| Victoria |Australia
Top Left – Wide view starting out on the business
Top Right – On the head-wall near the top
Bottom Left – Crux Sequence
Bottom Right – Campus moves to start