North OR South? Aug 2016 travel blog

"Foot lock" climb (no mechanical assistance) - two competitors race to the...

climbers in Orange - Judges in Yellow

those are very tall trees

Saturday 27th Aug at Biggriggen

We weren’t up too early this morning and had decided yesterday to have a brekkie burger from the stand selling them over two days. We almost missed out. The lady informed us that she had closed up because she had sold out of food. However she found just enough to make us bacon and egg burgers but she only had hot-dog rolls. Thats fine we said. We were too hungry to care. They were beautiful.

Today is the final day for the QAA (Qld Aboricultural Assoc) competition. First up we watched the Speed Climb up a fir tree. Average time was about 25-30 secs to the top to ring the bell. Then we saw the last climber with the Aerial Rescue - except today the “dummy” in the tree was called Bob - yesterday he was Tim. The climber timed out (max 5min) unfortunately. Just before lunch we listened in as one of the judges told the climbers what they had been looking for and where some of them had gone wrong. It was so interesting because it was constantly compared to a real-life situation. From here we watched the Foot-Lock climb where the climbers raced in pairs up two ropes to ring the bell at the top. They were timed for point scoring and no equipment could be used to climb the rope; they had to secure the rope in their feet push up, hold, push up with feet etc. till they reached the top about 10m up.

After lunch we all assembled with our chairs over at two huge gums on the top of the river bank. This was to be the setting for the final climb for the three highest scoring climbers over the whole comp - called the Masters Event. It was a Work Tasks event similar to what we watched yesterday. The main difference being that they had to climb the trees unassisted. The trees were about 50m tall and had been set with 5 bells to be reached and rung. Each climber had been removed from the area prior to his climb so that he was unable to benefit from watching previous errors or successes. The climber had 35min to complete the climb including debriefing the judges on his intended route through the trees, and at the end, time didn’t stop until the last rope was retrieved and on the ground. One of the hardest parts is setting the first rope over a branch in the uppermost part of the tree. Two used a standing sling shot to toss the 12 ounce weight skyward trailing a very light line. The second climber used a manual throw technique to hoist it up 50m. Wow! Climber 1 completed all tasks with about a minute to spare, Climber 2 timed out just before ringing the last bell. And Climber 3 using a different route through the trees completed everything with about 6 or 7 mins to spare.

However the winner of the Masters Event was Climber 1 who has won the event for the four years in a row. He wins the right to go to the USA to compete against the best from nations around the world. Climber 3 had lost too many points for technique and safety errors during the climb.

What a day - such a lot of excitement. What a privilege to be here on the weekend that it was run.

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