A Punter’s Guide to Australia’s Well ‘ard Climbers

Just who will be the first Australian climber to climb a route graded 35? It’s a question that keeps us lying awake at night here at VL Manor. It troubles us deeply that no Australian has managed to haul their arse up one. After all, plenty of Poms have climbed 9a, even a fried–Mars–bar–eating Scot. We know that B. Cossey has come very close to doing what was the world’s first, Action Directe, in the Frankenjura, but we say close…

NZ Editorial – Like a Red Flag to a Bull

Vertical Life’s New Zealand editor, Tom Hoyle, contemplates the idea of the first ascent and what value it has What value is there in a first ascent? Silly question, you might think. It’s clear that gaining the top of a significant peak or even a stunning natural crack line is an inspirational achievement. The successful climber proves they have what it takes to go where others have failed and challenges future climbers to attempt to follow. The names of Hillary…

Blog – A Question of Grades

One of the Grampians’ most prolific developers, Simon Weill, ponders the ever-controversial question of bouldering grades in his usual inimitable style It seems that there are a lot of things that create serious angst amongst us climbers. When am I going to get out next? Who am I going to climb with? Has my pulley healed sufficiently to bear down on that hold? Does my arse look big in this harness? (Yes.) And, most importantly, what grade is the boulder or…

Column – Pure Motivations

In her column for Issue 4 of Vertical Life, Andrea Hah writes about the importance of seizing your independence WORDS: Andrea Hah/IMAGES: Josh Grose I met my first boyfriend at my local climbing gym. I was a young 18-year-old, ex-gymnast, all-girls’-school attendee from a strict Chinese family. This boy was older. Not Chinese. Not studying. And pretty damn cool. He wore socks with his climbing shoes and Dunlop Volleys in between. He went trad climbing at Mt Arapiles, had a…

Carelessness and mistakes

VL editor Simon Madden reflects on a moment of carelessness and takes consolation from it not leading to catastrophe The anatomy of disaster can be frighteningly simple. Generally, the soupy milieu boils down to human error. Sometimes there are external factors, but mostly it’s us. There are many progenitors of error; lack of knowledge, oversight, misplaced trust, abdicating responsibility to others, poor decision making, wilful and reckless abandon, and carelessness. In this case it was carelessness and not heeding the…

Review & Trip Report – Cape Woolamai Rock Climbing

You’re a Victorian climber and you can’t get to the Grampians? Sick of the heinous undercut starts of the Omega Block at Camels Hump? Scared of the ant colony bumblies of Werribee Gorge trying to kill you with torrents of clumsy-footed rock fall? Do you like your atmos-fear? Can’t decide if you want to surf or climb? Looking for adventure*? Then get your arse to Phillip Island and the mostly-forgotten and long-maligned Cape Woolamai – sea-cliff climbing within an hour-and-a-half…

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