Candlestick

Go to Australia.
Go back to Bruny Island.

Cape Hauy

Candlestick and Totem Pole.

The Candlestick stands behind The Tote. The sea heaving and surging between them caresses the rock walls like a hot lover. The water isn’t that hot though, pretty freezing really, but hey, you didn’t walk all this way for some kind of disco-party.

The Tasmanian Climbing Guide book

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The Candlestick

Normal Route.

Favorable forecast the following day brought us back to Fortescue Bay with the idea of trying the 110 meter Normal Route on The Candlestick – a large sea stack standing directly behind the much more famous Totem Pole beyond the end of Cape Hauy.

After a 90 minute approach hike, we found ourselves looking at the two formations from the mainland. High intimidation factor! First, the place is a wind tunnel and the sea provides an incessant and angry thudding. Second, after 15 minutes of looking we finally saw the promised fixed anchor on the Candlestick that we’d have to use to get back to the mainland via a tyrolean traverse. Holy shit – not only are they about 40 meters away laterally but about 15 or so meters above the anchors on the mainland. This would not be an issue with three ropes but with our two…someone was in for a zip line ride down with a highly uncertain landing. I have to say that we were happy to have another party of climbers there for some lightening of the mood. Dave and Caroline were going for the Free Route on The Tote.

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The Candlestick

Normal Route.

With much trepidation, we fixed one of our ropes and rapped 60 meters into the cold and sunless “notch of doom” at the base of The Tote. Once there, we needed a volunteer to do the 10 meter long swim to The Stick through the surging blackness to drag the second rope for the first tyrolean traverse.

Standing there on a small ledge at the base of The Stick wearing my wet fruit-of-the-looms, I shivered uncontrollably while Shirley dragged herself and our gear across on the fixed line. When she was about halfway across, something popped out of the water and startled the hell out of us. It took a couple of seconds to realize that we were looking at the face of a curious, large seal. We pulled the tyrolean rope, I got dressed and we started climbing. Though the book makes the route sound like some 5.7 gully, the first two pitches were vertical with some overhanging bulges that felt peculiarly like mid 5.10s…pretty aesthetic crack climbing (fingers to fists) on good rock actually. The third 5.6ish pitch brought us to the fixed anchors where Shirley left our tether to the mainland fixed and we did the final (5.9ish) pitch to the summit.

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The Candlestick

Happy to be done.

One quick rap and we were faced with the crux of the day – getting back to the mainland. Shirley went first gently lowered by me along the fixed line using our lead rope. Then it was my turn. Man, Shirley and the packs looked improbably far away and FAR below my position. I did not want to use my belay device out of fear of getting stuck in the middle. Eventually wrapped two slings on the fixed lines and used them to lower myself hand over hand without burning my palms. To my surprise and delight it worked and I did not crash into Cape Hauy. Dave and Caroline waited for us after having finished their own climb – thank you (and thank you for the great photos!).

Despite a good forecast, we took a rest day.

Photos

The Candlestick

Approaching the tip of Cape Hauy where the stacks are located (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

The Monument sea stack …100 meter swim or paddle required to access. Perhaps someday (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Dave and Caroline at the starting belay for The Tote in the notch of doom as we’re rapping in (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Pitch 0 of the Normal Route on The Candlestick – a 10 meter freestyle through surging water…current strong enough to have nearly removed my fruit of the looms. Once I was out, a curious seal popped her head out of the water startling the shit out of me (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Dave starting up the first pitch of The Free Route on The Tote (Dec. 2015).


The Candlestick

Shirley on the dry footed crossing from the mainland to the base of The Candlestick (while I shiver). Caroline Viner – thank you!!


The Candlestick

Leading pitch 1 of the Normal Route (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Shirley belaying me on the first pitch of the Normal Route on The Candlestick. Photo credit: Caroline Viner (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

“Take the chimney/gully….follow the easiest looking way to the summit. It’s about grade 16…” Seems that’s Aussie for vertical finger to fist crack climbing (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Looking back at Shirley at the base of the Normal Route (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Shirley on pitch 1 of the Normal Route (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

The view (towards Fortescue Bay) from top of pitch 1 (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

More pitch 1 action (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Pitch two of the Normal Route – more aesthetic crack climbing including some wideness (not 16).


The Candlestick

Looking back at Shirley from the lead of pitch 2 (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

More views towards Fortescue Bay from high on The Candlestick (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Shirley enjoying the wideness on pitch 2 of The Candlestick (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Looking at Dave and Caroline atop the Totem Pole from pitch 3 belay on The Candlestick (Dec. 2014).

Totem Pole

Dave on the tyrolean back to mainland from the Totem Pole. View is from the starting point of our tyrolean…we’re both aiming for the same anchors (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Shirley on pitch 4 (final) of The Candlestick (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Views from the summit of The Candlestick…think that’s The Monument stack (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Shirley tagging the summit. Now for the sphincter clenching descent…


The Candlestick

Shirley on the long (~45m) tyrolean traverse from The Candlestick to the mainland (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

More tyrolean action. Photo by Caroline Viner.


The Candlestick

Shirley on the tyrolean with the Totem Pole below (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Shirley flying high over the Totem Pole during her tyrolean traverse. Photo by Carline Viner (thank you!!).


The Candlestick

Getting ready for the invigorating tirolean from The Candlestick (Dec. 2014).


The Candlestick

Yours truly on the tyrolean back to the mainland….with a ~15 meter vertical differential, it had some lively moments for me. Photo credit: Caroline Viner.


The Candlestick

Almost done…


The Candlestick

Happy to be done with The Candlestick…well, I’m doubly happy at not having shit myself on the 45 meter tyrolean. Photo credit: Caroline Viner.


The Candlestick

Hiking out along Cape Hauy with Dave and Caroline who have just ticked the Free Route on The Tote. The Monument stack is on the left (Dec. 2014).


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