Conquering New Heights

By Angela Case 27 November 2013
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TNF athlete Lee Cossey claims route after 10 years of trying.

AFTER A DECADE OF ATTEMPTS, The North Face athlete Lee Cossey has made the first ascent of a new route, dubbed Sneaky Snake, on Taipan Wall in Victoria’s Grampians National Park.

Sneaky Snake is a 33-grade line joining a series of pockets, scoops, and edges stretching from the bottom to the top of the wall in one 55m pitch. Lee has completed several of the established climbs on Taipan Wall, and enjoyed the creative process of making a new line on the well-known rock.

“It’s special to find a route on a wall that’s that famous” he says. “To be able to do it yourself is a pretty cool process.”

The new climb is one of the most difficult on the wall, and it took Lee roughly half an hour to complete. He first bolted the line as a teenager in 2001, and has attempted the climb it about 50 times since then.

His successful attempt was a near miss – as he launched up the crux near the top of the route, he realised blood was gushing from one of his fingers. Not willing to give up, he taped up the cut and tried again.

“Next thing I knew I was snatching at the crux hold again, except this time I found myself still on the wall,” he said. “From there it’s just victory jugs to the top of Taipan wall!”

Now that he has achieved his decade-long goal, Lee is focusing on climbing both new and established routes near his home in the Blue Mountains.