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Rock Climbing : News : Ascents : 46 year old Queenslander sends 5.14a/b

46 year old Queenslander sends 5.14a/b


Submitted by philbox on 2007-08-07 | Last Modified on 2007-08-09

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 7 | Comments: 15 | Views: 5770

by Phil Box


Duncan Steel, a 46 year old Queenslander, has finally sent Whistling Kite and at grade 32 (5.14a/b) 30 to 35 metres high this is no mean feat. Five days and thirteen shots this season alone were necessary to put this monster to bed. Duncan has finally got this monkey off his back. WK is THE hardest climb in Queensland and in fact is one of Australias iconic climbs. This send is is only the third by an Australian, the first by a Queenslander and there have only been five recorded ascents. WK is of course at Frog Buttress in SE Queensland.

I witnessed several of Duncan's unsuccessful attempts. He came very close to sending on several occasions. This climb requires a very focused aproach and the least amount of a break in concentration will see one spat off. It is very delicate and balancy. Three quite brutal cruxes will tire out most climbers. One needs to be very fastidious about body position as mere millimetres will make a difference. The route ascends an improbable closed and fused seam that somewhat splits an otherwise seeming blank wall. I doubt if this climb will ever be onsighted, how's that for a gauntlet thrown down.

So come on world, step up to the plate and show the Australia what you are made of. Oh yes, it is a trad climb to boot.

The send occured this morning so this news is hot off the press folks.

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15 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

 wzrdgandalf
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 2007-08-08
did he place gear on the send or was it a pinkpoint?
 nappy05
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 2007-08-08
I really hope it doesnt take me that long to ascend a 5.14a LOL...but seriuslly good job
 sed
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 2007-08-08
Why is his age in the title?
 philbox
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 2007-08-08
Pinkpoint. His age is in the title cos' he is an old fart like me.
 chancel
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 2007-08-10
His age matters to me, because that means I have 16 years to jump 3 grades. Good work Duncan or should I say Mr. Steel.
 overlord
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 2007-08-10
4 out of 5 stars thats quite an achievement. any pics?
 caughtinside
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 2007-08-10
that is awesome, thanks for the update phil. Looking forward to seeing some photos!
 jpseals3
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 2007-08-11
It's good to hear that at any age you can still accomplish major goals. It would have been nice to know how long he has been climbing, if age matters. That would be the tell tale of this story. Because, if this is his first and most difficult then what happened before today?

 duncansteel
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 2007-08-20
I have climbed at Frog Buttress for 22 years and i have done every 27 to 29 at the cliff in fact I have done almost 300 routes there. Whistling Kite was only a dream until last year when i thought i would get on it and see if i could do it. It took me 8 days af effort before I thought there was a chance that i could do it but i didn't get it the weather turned bad. This year I have been bolting new lines at another cliff Gaytime 15m 26, Gaylord 15m 29, One Hit To The Body 30m 30, Beastly Behaviour 15m 30. After this I thought I would get back on the Kite. and after 5 days and 13 shots I did it. Actually 3rd shot of the day. You can only do it when it is in the shade so you only have from 6.00am until 9.00am to do it. When the sun gets on it you cannot stand on the micro edges or pull on the small edges. I still have a lot more climbing in me yet. This is my first climb at this grade.
 Achilleus30
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 2007-08-21
5 out of 5 stars Wow! A reply from the man himself. Duncan Steel nice job! Can I ask how close you live to Frog Buttress? Does a person have to live within walking distance of a 5.14 to have any hope of climbing one? The nearest climbing to me is a tiny place called Whipps Ledges. Several hours from me is a slightly better place called Logtown, but if I want real climbing I have to go out of state.
 duncansteel
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 2007-08-21
I live 1 hours drive from Frog and 1 to 1 1/2 hours drive from most crags around Brisbane.
 boadman
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 2007-08-21
Good job on the send Duncan!

Frog Buttress looks pretty rad.
 philbox
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 2007-08-21
I have put a pic of Duncan climbing the kite up on this site recently. Just go to my pics via my name and you'll find it. There should also be some pics in Rock and Cruxmag soon.
 reecebrown
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 2007-08-27
You Rock Mr Steel!!! its Reece Brown from school, Go Wynnum!!!
 thomasribiere
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 2007-09-02
There's a famous Italian writer, Erri de Luca, who climbed his first 8a and over at age older than 50 (he must be 57 right now).

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