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By Josh Janes
May 17, 2007
|Mentz discovered, bolted, and got the FA of the second (and crux) pitch of the Free Route and should probably be credited first for the FFA of the Totem Pole as opposed to Monks. Not that Monks isn't a visionary climber himself!|
From: Morrison, CO
May 18, 2007
Interesting, I hadn't heard that. My guidebooks (and Carter's book) seem to indicate that Monks was the driving force behind the route. I met Monks in the Yesterday Gully at Arapiles, but we didn't discuss it.
I'm surprised you thought the second pitch was harder. I thought the first pitch was the crux, for a number of reasons: 1) Although the hard part is short, its more powerful than anything on P2; 2) The bolts are all carrots, so you have to hang out a lot to clip; 3) the sea is literally heaving all around you, and your belayer is getting drenched. FWIW, my guidebook grades pitch one 25 and pitch two 23, but I thought P2 was more like 25.
By Josh Janes
May 20, 2007
Here's an excerpt from a chockstone interview with Simey:
Chockstone: You and Steve Monks managed the first free ascent of Tasmania's Totem Pole (25), an incredibly wild-looking sea stack made famous by Simon Carter's pictures and Paul Pritchard's accident and subsequent novel. Steve led the first pitch and you the second. Prior to your route, there had only been a handful of aid ascents. How was the exposure on this wave-washed 65m free-standing pillar far from help? Were there moments of doubt or did the climb go according to plan?
Mentz: When Steve Monks invited me on the trip (along with Jane Wilkinson and Simon Carter), I jumped at the chance, although I only expected to tag along and second Steve to glory. Whatís interesting is that we almost never did the free route. After reaching the summit via the aid route and doing the tyrolean back to the mainland we almost went home. In fact Steve and Jane did leave because Steve wasnít very confident about the free-climbing possibilities. I thought I had better swing back to the summit and abseil down the other sides of the Totem Pole just to make sure we werenít leaving behind a potential mega-classic. Simon Carter waited for me on the mainland and Iím sure he remembers my whoops of delight when I saw just how climbable it was.
Bolting the line and then climbing it was pretty much a formality as we had the moves sussed after checking it in on abseil. Steve had the honours on the first pitch, while I nabbed the second pitch. I spent a fair bit of time bolting the second pitch and making sure the clips were okay for shorter folk. I remember Steve complaining that I was taking too long and faffing around, but I really wanted to get it right. I could have easily climbed the thing with half the number of bolts (I ended up placing ten), but I always bolt things for the ground-up climber. One of my pet-hates is people creating ridiculously run-out climbs after rap-inspection.
By Camster (Rhymes with Hamster)
Jul 10, 2007
My entire family is from Tasmania. Dad tells me that back in the 1930s there used to be many more towers like the Totem Pole and that the Australian Navy bombed them for target practice. Too bad.....Cammo