"I'm going but I'm scared", this cult phrase, has never so well represented our state of mind before leaving for the Totem Pole!
|Atmosphere at R0|
It all started almost a year ago when an adventurer friend from Centrale, Flo, sent me a photo of the pillar and told me that some crazy people climbed on it. It stays in the back of my mind without thinking about it too much: I'm not going to Australia anytime soon anyway! Then, a combination of circumstances, another friend, Pierre, a climber this time, left to study for 6 months in Sydney. The opportunity is so good! It's decided, I'll join him for a month.
|End of first pitch, Deep Play|
So we start thinking again about the beautiful pillar placed in the middle of the water and we start to find out! It climbs, two lengths in 7b. It is partly equipped, a priori rather involved and it must be supplemented by a few friends at the ends of the length... But above all the access manipulations and the adequate weather conditions leave me perplexed: abseiling, pendulum, zip line for the return to the dry land, swell, tides, waves. It's not like we're going to do a long route in Riglos!
|Second pitch, The Free Route|
In short, thanks to Arnaud Petit and Mayan Smith Gobat for their information, they who had done the route quite recently. Once convinced, with Pierre, that we can do it, the plane tickets are booked and we find ourselves scrutinizing a surf weather site for the first time in our lives! Good joke! The wind seems to be in the right direction so as not to rush into the gorge where the Totem Pole is located, the sea rather calm in our opinion, tomorrow we will try our luck!
|Pierre at the end of the second length|
So 5:30 a.m.: low tide is forecast for 8 a.m. and there is an approach of 1.5 to 2 hours. The approach path is incredibly well laid out, stone steps, wooden footbridges etc… and we are lucky enough to come across a few wallabies at this early hour. When we see the totem pole for the first time, from the top of the neighboring cliff, two sensations clash: “is it that little thing!? », the cliff overhanging the summit by almost 40m and a ball forms at the same time in our stomach, of fear for me, of excitement for Pierre; the setting is still impressive and austere! We're lucky, the sea is ultra calm, the weather is beautiful. Unless the route is too hard for us, we should make it to the top!
|Friends are here!|
From there, everything went smoothly. Installing the abseil, Pierre succeeds in the pendulum on the first try and I join him at the belay suspended 5m above the water! We feel a little alone, even if the dolphins are not far away, hanging from our piece of stone and surrounded by 100m of cliff all around us. Fortunately, friends are above to keep us company! The first length is slightly damp, you must remain vigilant. Pierre is doing wonderfully and I join him on the turn of the first relay. Half the work is done, we are happy, the climb is beautiful but the feeling in my stomach is still there, especially when I look up to see the second 40m pitch on the edge of the ridge! Unlike the first, this length is completely dry, on beautiful rock, large distant rulers alternate with the flats of the ridge. The climbing there is truly magnificent! I gave myself a few scares with a nice zipette and struggled mentally given the spacing of the points but ended up overcoming the difficulties without falling and arrived at the place where it was necessary to place some protections. A beautiful network of cracks offers me multiple choices. I don't hesitate and with three (!) new points freshly laid, here I am at the final relay! Pierre takes his turn, once again without difficulty. There are the last 5 meters left and here we are standing on the summit!
|At the top !|
We did the Totem Pole, in the most beautiful way. Everything went perfectly, without any hitches! Amazing ! We may have put a little too much pressure on ourselves but it's better than arriving ill-prepared and we enjoy the summit all the more!! At 10:30 a.m., we are back on dry land via the zip line.
We have all day left to bring in the friends who supported us along the way. They enjoy the second pitch while Pierre satisfies his desire for a highline! We even took the opportunity to take some “shocking” photos which won’t appear here but which will allow us to have a free day in the van!!
|Oliv' in the second pitch while Pierre prepares for the highline|
Finally, the Totem Pole is a magnificent route, which lives up to its reputation and is worth the trip. The climbing is beautiful there, in a magnificent and impressive setting. A climber’s dream come true… among many others!