Middle Earth, Week 1

A place yonder, full of surprises and full of wonder.

5am, we wake with excitement as make our way to Sydney airport.
12 hours, a free rental car upgrade and several thousand kilometres later we arrive at Milford Sound in New Zealand.
It has been one year since our last visit to this majestic place!
A little daylight remains as we enthusiastically set up camp at Milford Lodge.
Morale and psyche are high as conversation and humour flow freely into the night.
Not long after the sun is set the rain arrives drumming gently on the land below.
The next morning the gentleness of the rain is no more, beating heavily unto all.
We get reminded yet again as of why this is one of the most wettest places on Earth.
After a quick breakfast, short drive and mostly well prepared we set off on the half hour trek/scramble to the wall of choice.
Arriving at little Babylon is always one of my most fondest memories I dream of to this day.
As the canopy of thick, almost pre-historic forest lifts slowly and gives way to the first glimpse of the massive looming, smooth but featured rock face above, my pulse quickens with excitement.
Luke makes quick work of his previous years project “No Country for Old Men” 8a, and keeps his psyche pants on for the next.
“Hey Zeus” 8a, a magnificent variant in its own right, boasting a big wing span move for the final crux section.
Matt also jumps on the wagon dispatching this line within several efforts. A great start indeed.
Little did we know that the great divine was about to throw a spanner into the works..
Luke Styling his way up “No Country for Old Men”
Apart from one (un-named) team member forgetting his sleeping bag we where battered by a storm so severe it temporarily wiped out Matt’s Tent completely. Luke’s and mine only “just” survived!!
The next morning I awoke with a sore throat and heavy head, the cold & damp seemed to have taken their toll.
As the last day climbing before a double rest day I decided to make the most of it, making progress on my project none the less…
Luke back on “Hey Zeus” climbed the first crux with ease making his way into the big wing span.
Hitting his elbow along the way, he grabbed the hold not quiet right but managed to re-adjust, only to be followed by a foot pop.
Unfortunately this was not the only thing that popped, as his shoulder also gave way, only to re-live an old injury.
It is always hard to see a fellow climber & good friend get injured, especially one that is so highly motivated!
Not being able to move his shoulder after it re-located, things where not looking good…
Kea’s!! The only Alpine Parrot in the world and one of the smartest creatures around.
Their sharp talons for claws are only matched by the ferocity of their razor like beaks.
Much like the Cockatoo of Australia their nature is that of playful destruction!
Perhaps Karma was paying me back for something I had done, something I surely was not aware of.
Allas my tent was in shreds, the outer literally torn to pieces without any chance of salvation.
Sorry Rick :-/
End of Week One.

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