I had been warned, or let’s say even deterred, to visit Coolum crag, mainly due to the knee bar, knee pad shenanigans to be found there, basically anything goes. I love trying new things and felt compelled to give it a go. To my surprise I very much enjoyed this style of climbing. The entry level is grade 20, but the 23/24 is a far more enjoyable warm up. I discovered that the way to become ‘at one’ with the routes at Coolum is not to fight and muscle your way through the moves, but instead,  use body positioning to optimise the holds available. Think of the climbing at Coolum like playing a 3D game of Tetris, a metropolis of skyscraper buildings turned 90 degrees. Now imagine that you are the falling piece, imagine morphing and molding yourself into the rock slotting in sideways into the fissures. Cool hey!

Coolum is funky and John (aka JJ) O’Brien is the master of funk and a Coolum groover from way back. He has all the moves and has done some of the routes here over 100 times. For a warm up he’ll easily romp up Holey Calamity (26) or even Call of Duty (28) in his Volley’s, putting me to shame. I may be left floundering, but I’m loving this new beat and besides with JJ as my guide I’m in very good hands.

Coolum Send Fest weekend (28th and 29th July) was busy and to escape the queues we (JJ and I) spent most of our time on the upper tier, left side. Wafts of freshly brewed coffee kept our minds buzzing and our boodies boogying. We managed a few crag classics before coming back to earth.

Coco getting into the swing of things.

preferred warm-up, Has It Got a Chevy Motor (24)

JJ O’Brien cruising up Call of Duty (28), this time not in his Volleys’.

Tetris climbing style. Photo: Phil Box

Gasoline Rainbow (28)

JJ and me on the belay of Gasoline Rainbow Photo: JJ O’Brien

One of the crag classics is Screaming Insanity (26). But a few more bolts will give you Wholly Calamity (26).

Stepping up to the Call of Duty (28).


Leave a Reply