Fortescue Bay

At the end of February 2021 and after fixing my car (I even needed to replace my spark plugs, as they started to misfire on Bruny island), I finally left Hobart after about a month. I had an early coffee stop in Sorell and got some last groceries before I drove to Port Arthur where I met with Will and Jon. It was raining quite a bit, and none of us was up to pay hefty entrance fees for the convict site, which is now a tourist attraction. Jon complained about Will, as he destroyed his brand new JetBoil stove, which he never used before, by reversing his car 🙈. So in the end we decided to setup camp at Fortescue Bay and wait for better weather. As it was raining we didn’t camp at the official camp spots, but occupied partly the shelter with our camp kitchen. I slept anyway in my car, and the ranger couldn’t be bothered.

As the weather cleared the next day, we drove to Remarkable Cave car park in Safety Cove. We approached a sport climbing crag, but that meant walking almost all the way towards Mount Brown (well good planning – at least we found the crag). I can’t recall what we climbed there. But we would’ve done a few routes, as it was already dusk once we retreated back to the camp…late dinner included.

Remarkable Cave and…
…the approach to Mount Brown

The next day we started walking to The Moai…at midday. After about 2h of approach (Again, I wasn’t planning it, and hence not aware of the lengthy approaches here) we finally reached the abseiling point down to The Moai. Just when another party came towards us, and wasn’t sure why we would start now…well, now I know why they were dazed and confused 🤔. So after abseiling the two pitches, Will and I were at the bottom at about quarter past four. But Will didn’t want to start climbing until one of his other friends (who is a stronger climber) arrived, so he could lead a harder route…well nice plan for the morning, maybe not for the late afternoon (perfect organisation, if you’ve to manage 6 people and consider all their individual wishes). Thus, I waited for at least another hour or so. They abandoned the 24 graded route, and opted for a 20. I think we only did the first pitch. Will succeeded eventually over the crux. And I second it with some swearing and collecting all the gear (as far as I can remember I did it clean). Seconding is not always easier in trad, in particular when you can’t get out the cam or the nut. But it’s typical always nicer to have a rope from the top. On the way down I collected some other gear from the abandoned route. Thus, at about 20:00 o’clock we were ready to climb the cliff up again at the fixed rope we left earlier. Jon and his friend went first. Then I let Will go, as he takes longer for walking back. And I was the last to be on the top of the cliff at about 21:30 o’clock, way after sunset. I coiled the rope and had a short break from the uphill climb. I caught up with Will much later just on the beach shortly before the campsite.

Fortescue Bay
Will is preparing the fixed rope to abseil…
…down to the Moai
My view, while I was waiting for the others “to sort things out”

We returned at midnight to camp…then we started preparing dinner. I think that was the night, when Will grabbed a naughty possum by its tail and threw it into the ocean. That happens to naughty possums when they try to steal our food from the kitchen. And yes, thanks to that scientific experiment, we could prove that possums can also swim in salt water and clearly find their back ashore 😜.

At least we had a nice view to The Candlestick and Totem Pole (two other popular climbing monoliths – the middle ones, partly covered)

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