Totem Pole, Tasmania

What a ripper of a start to 2015!

The year began with a quick trip over to Ahmedabad, India, for a keynote then straight down to Tassie for another presentation. Ive said it for years- although its great to travel to all these exotic destinations- you’re there for work and very rarely do we get the chance to enjoy some of these beautiful places.

Fortunately, when I saw a presentation locked in Hobart for a Tuesday, I excitedly called one of my best climbing buddies (Julz) to see if he wanted to head down to the “Tote”. With a quick… I better check with my wife (I thought I should probably do the same too!) we were booked in and off!

The Totem Pole is an iconic pillar dramatically rising 65m out of the ocean. It’s located on Cape Raoul, in Tasmania’s South East corner. Most climbers around the world know of it… and pretty much all of them dream of climbing it one day. Since the day I started climbing over 12yrs ago, it was also a long held dream of mine too. Not only is the access a challenge (2hour walk in, remote, wild weather) but the climbing is also quite spicy- pitches: grade 24, 25 with a bit of trad thrown in.

On our first day at Cape Raoul we “acclimatised” to the area by climbing Sacred Site (18) on the Moai. Stellar. Here are a few pics:

Julz topping out on the Maoi. Unfortunately the Go pro on his head was knocked off at the top of the totem pole and all the footage lost!

We woke Sunday to ominous weather but as the trip was short, we though we should at least head out to the Tote and check it out. The Southern Ocean was thundering at its best. 5-7m SE swells pounding the Pole with rain showers constantly passing through for added excitement. Julz wasn’t too psyched given the conditions, but I was keen to head down to check it out. After abseiling down to the sea, I was on the radio trying my best to convince him “look.. its not too bad down here”… a big wave engulfed me. I squealed like a ban chi! we both laughed. Although most of the route was pretty dry, the first 8m was soaked. Given where there first bit of gear/ bolt was, and how wet it was, it was beyond bold. It would’ve been dangerous. We bailed.

The following day we returned, and had one of the best days climbing in our life. Here are a few pics of our ascent: