Monday, August 3, 2015

Opal Ridge Traverse – Alpine I, 5.4

Traversed the length of Opal Ridge from the North Summit to the South Summit, and yes I threw in a YDS grade of 5.4.  I solo traversed the ridge crest for the whole distance, and hit the top of each hit point. The ridge crest proper presents several short steps of 5.4. Most obvious is the rock step mentioned in the scrambler’s guidebook where Kane recommends dropping about 200m instead of tackling the short vertical rock section.  When travelling from north to south the best spot to ascend the wall is right on the ridge proper, there is a small col like spot on the ridge.

View to north summit block.

From this section follow a nice 5.4 broad open book face up to the top, about 30 metres of climbing with excellent holds on good rock.  Lots of great hand holds, but feet take some care, including several sections of feet only with smears, the super positive hands make these moves feel secure.  Several other sections included up and down climbs at the 5.4 level, including my descent from the northern high point, heading south from the summit; the ridge crest was super exposed, loose and quite blank for feet, some huge reaching down steps.

The biggest 5.4 step (the step Kane recommends dropping 200metres for, not sure why)

Had a lot of fun with perfect weather conditions. Left the car parked 1.0 km south of the Rocky Creek bridge, up the steep grass/small tree slope, hard to stay on the trail in this section. Once heading up the north ridge the trail is a highway all the way to first high point. After that trail comes and goes. I stayed on the ridge crest, hit all high points; which was much more time and energy consuming, all the way to the South Summit.  6 hours from the car to the South Summit, then back to the Fortress Junction gas station, where I had left my bike, then biked the highway back to my car.  All in, just over 8 hours car to car.  In my Opal 35 Project I include both summits in my list.  Great day out!

From south summit view to northern summit

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