Uluru bei Sonnenaufgang

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After 36C and hot, sticky air in Bangkok, 10C and a stiff breeze welcomes us to Tasmania. We pick up our rental car at the airport and drive into Hobart looking for a camp ground. Not an easy task on a holiday weekend. All sites are occupied. Culture shock of a different kind.

We drive up to Mount Wellington and set up our tent in snow drift. At night a storm is raging over Tasmania. And the next morning the Organ Pipes are covered in snow. Welcome to Australia's wild island.

Hobart behind rain clouds

Snow covered Organ Pipes in February

We drive to Fortescue Bay anyway, to check the conditions on the Totem Pole. A 65 m tall and 4 m wide Dolerite needle in the stormy Southern Ocean. With 4 - 6 m waves climbing it is impossible, the start is from a platform at sea level. Every wave is running over the platform and spraying the first 10 m of the route.

The upper part of the Totem Pole

Echidna, an almost blind egglaying mammal, that feeds on ants

Remarkable Cave
Remarkable Cave with 4 - 6 m swell

The swell situation doesn't change for the next days, so we drive back to Hobart to climb on the Organ Pipes.

Sebastian in Chopstick - The Squeel (25)

During the week a second storm front rages over Tasmania. We drive further north to the Freycinet Peninsula. This is a national park with beautiful beaches and rugged mountains. But first we meet curious locals, that would like to check the contents of our esky.

Red Neck Wallaby

The hiking trails are phantastic and pretty empty once we are more than 30 minutes away from the car park. We watch dolphins play at Wineglass Bay. Where is the 300 mm tele lens when you need one?

Wineglass Bay

Within the national park is a granite climbing area called "Star Factory" with 30+ excellent bolted routes between 23 and 32 (6c to 8b). The route "Anti Matter" (23) is one of the best routes I've ever done on granite. Only the one hour approach is quite hard. But after rain the previous night most routes are wet from seepage.

Star Factory

The weather is not improving so we drive south to Bruny Island to see some Little Penguins at the rookery there. In late February the nesting season is almost over but a few chicks are still there changing their feathers.

Bruny Island (with Southern Ocean on the left
and the bay between the island and Tasmania on the right)

Little Penguins crossing the road at night

For the last day the forecast is good with only 1 - 2 m swell and sunshine. So we drive to Fortescue Bay again and get up early. It's a two hour walk to the Totem Pole. I rap down first and cross the cold water. To get to the belay I have to climb 5 m 18 (6a) on wet rock and with soaked shoes.

Carrot at the belay

Debbie takes a picture of me before rapping down

Checking the waves

Tyrolian traverse to get back from the summit

The climb is surprisingly good and entertaining. But the bottom half of the first pitch (Free Route direct 24 or 7a+) is really wet. My soggy shoes and the water in my chalk bag doesn't help much either. The second pitch is quite a bit harder (25 or 7b), but better protected with bolts. The sun is out and seals are playing in the raging waters below us.

In the evening we drive to Hobart and fly back to Melbourne on Monday morning.
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