February 2024 Octopuses Garden Adventure

Date: February 18, 2024
Location: Octopuses Garden, Ninderry

Greetings, climbers! The BRC kicked off its 2024 season with a day trip to Octopuses Garden at Ninderry. Our team of nine climbers, including Annalisa, Scott, Hannah, John, Seb, Carlos, Amin, Liam, and Anna - and Anna's faithful crag furry buddy, Harley, embarked on a day trip filled with challenges, triumphs, and a few unexpected surprises.

The Crag
Although located near the Glass House Mountain National Park, Ninderry isn't counted among the "Glassies," making it one of the rare destinations where our beloved crag dogs can join in on the adventure! Despite the crag being slightly wet, our spirits were high as the weather was perfect—a welcome relief after the long, wet, and hot summer Queensland has experienced. The all-day shady, Eastern-facing crag provided excellent repair from the sun, and the temperatures were just right for climbing. Octopuses Garden boasted 29 climbing routes, predominantly sport, with a trad wall yet to be added to the guide. Offering a good mix of climbs encompassing various styles, it's a playground for climbers of all preferences. The rock's highly featured surface adds to the enjoyment, providing a pleasing experience on the wall for climbers of all levels!

The 8-legged Unexpected Thrill of the Day
As we began our exploration of the Octopuses Garden's rock face, Scotty experienced a memorable encounter with a different 8-legged creature while midway through his first climb of the day, "Lava Tube" (18). Despite the initial shock, Scotty managed to keep a somewhat composed demeanour. After a brief moment of contemplation, he devised an alternative beta and bravely continued his ascent. It's a testament to his resilience and quick thinking in the face of unexpected challenges - after all, climbers' words during cruxes and creepy crawly encounters are like chalk dust in the wind, fleeting and often amusing. Praise to the belayers who understand that fun and panic go hand in hand on the wall! Fortunately, the spider was easily avoidable, allowing us to proceed with our day's climbing plans. Tucked snugly in her little nook, our eight-legged friend diligently watched over her precious egg sack as we all took our turns on the climb. We made sure to give her a polite wave from afar and snapped a bunch of photos to mark the occasion!

Climbers Milestones
Carlos achieved a personal milestone by sending his first 23, "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash" while Hannah led her first 19 "Nemo". Seb spent part of the day projecting "Raptures of the Deep" (25), showing determination and skill - one to come back for!

The Adventure's Misadventures
While the hours passed in our nested shady piece of summer climbing heaven, not all adventures went as planned. Seb and Carlos took a detour on the approach and found themselves at the crag directly above, "The Eastern Seaboard." Their solution? They decided to rappel down "Just Add Water," a 30-meter, 2-bolt multipitch route that conveniently linked the two crags. Talk about perfect timing, as John had just set up the route! Meanwhile, Amin took a wrong turn at the 'big boulder' and accidentally stumbled upon Caves crag instead. Anna also found herself off the beaten path before being guided back by Harley through a bushier route than originally intended, joining the club of "lost climbers" in style. - Ah, the joy of tricky approaches!

Route of the Day
One of the highlights of the day was the route "Lava Tube," the 16m sport climb rated 18. Despite - or perhaps because of the spider encounter, everyone enjoyed the highly featured climb, especially the fun boulder problem coming out of the scoop. A word of caution: Mind the tree on the lowering!

Next time, let's do better
Looking back, there are always areas for improvement. Better directions to the crag would have been helpful, as most climbers ended up at the crag above "The Eastern Seaboard," causing confusion and delays for those arriving later in the day. For climbers new to the area, it's wise to buddy up with someone who knows the ropes and can lead the way and pay close attention to landmarks listed on The Crag’s approach description.

Trip report wrap-up
Overall, our first trip of 2024 was a great success, filled with challenges, achievements, and the camaraderie that makes our club special. The perpetual shade of the Eastern-facing crag made it the ultimate summer climbing spot. With a diverse range of grades and styles, it catered perfectly to our multi-level group, ensuring everyone could tackle routes suited to their skills and preferences while providing some fantastic opportunities for climbers to push their limits, conquer new challenges, and celebrate personal milestones along the way. Truly, Octopuses Garden offered something for everyone, making it a fantastic destination for summer adventures.

We look forward to more adventures together and hope to see you all on the rocks soon!

Happy climbing,
Brisbane Rockclimbing Club