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…

The Feeder

Let me tell you a little secret: when it comes to climbing it’s not how hard you climb that’s really important, but how hard you climb in comparison to your mates. Nothing is more important than this. And, as they say, knowledge is power (and power is where it’s at*). Armed with this knowledge you can begin to think more laterally when it comes to improving, or, should I say, getting better in relation to your mates. You can begin…

Grampians Fire Reflections

On Wednesday 16 February 1983 dark smoke filled the skies above the Grampians. In my eight-year-old’s memory it was like the end of days, thick smoke rushing overhead, casting a dark pall over the day. We had just moved up from Melbourne and were renting a tiny portable hut with no electricity on a bush block just down the road from the property where our new house was being built. We had no idea where the smoke was coming from,…

Ultralightweight, the curvature of spacetime and enemas – a few thoughts on quickdraws.

I always try to choose my quickdraws based on the same logic as I do my intellectual sparring partners – lightweight. Though the two might seem poles apart the rationale behind both is the same, and that is winning. When you look at it like this, crushing debating partners and crushing a project are one and the same thing. When it comes to ‘draws though, how light is light enough? And is ultralight too light? Taking somewhat literally the mantra,…

2013: The Australian Climbing Year in Review

Here at Vertical Life we love nothing more than to judge and rank achievements and then pontificate about them at length – we think it’s what we do best. So it is with great pomp and circumstance that we bring you 2013’s Top Five Australian-flavoured ascents (of sorts), ranked in our own extremely subjective order of preference. Swingline (5.13d/31), Angie Scarth-Johnson In November, Angie Scarth-Johnson redpointed Swingline at the Red River Gorge in the USA, and at only nine years of…

The Hex – Six Sides of Security

I really love hexes. And I wasn’t born in 1965. They could be the most maligned of climbing gear, sneered at sometimes and scoffed at often, but the geometric gems are bombproof. Whacking one in over your head and having it set deep in a crack with a thick thunk generates a wave of comfort. I’ve just recently started throwing a bunch of new, pretty and perfectly noisy CAMP Carvex hexes in the bottom of my climbing pack, in fact the full…

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