Reinvigoration, Repetition, Legacy, Sharma

The giant forms of our heroes provide grand canvases for rendering the classic myths, those themes that are the swirling undercurrents in the stories humans have always told. Of superhuman feats and unshakable intent; of the young bull’s tenacity and the old bull’s wisdom; of the confusion of mentor and usurper and nemesis; of the immutable momentum of History’s cyclical return and of the process of reinvention; of competition and cooperation; and of the legacy left by legends. When Chris…

The Art of Climbing

Australian Editor’s note to issue eight of Vertical Life. Download the brand new Vertical Life App from iTunes or the Kindle Fire App Store here. Climbing is complicated. After years of skill-aquisition, conditioning, adaptation and storytelling it may not always appear so, but it is. Training theories, approaches to conditioning, the satisfaction derived from competence, discipline through dieting, applying mental focus, disarming fear, achieving proficiency with technology, understanding forces and protection, learning to fall, the warmth of camaraderie, confronting challenge and relishing achievement, compartmentalising frustration, being in nature…

Arapiles: 50 Years of Climbing at the Mount

For 50 years now they have come. The young and the old, bumbly and gun, all have marvelled at the magnificence of Mt Arapiles. The quality of the rock and the beautiful movement its features elicit, the perfect holds that appear as if by design, the cruxes that confound and smears that break hearts, the cool gullies, the sharp prows and sought-after pinnacles. Vertical Life asks some key players to pay homage to the Mount that means so much. A…

Obituary: John Ewbank, 1948 – 2013

It was amidst the vertiginous sandstone walls and smooth-trunked gums of the Blue Mountains that John Ewbank became one of Australia’s foremost climbers of the 1960s. His accomplishments were many. At 18 (in 1966) he climbed Australia’s first 21 (with a rest), the powerful crack of Janicepts at Mt Piddington, a line which would have to wait another eight years before Mike Law finally freed it (Janicepts still repels plenty of people today). At the venerable age of 19, he…

John Ewbank – Ironmongers of the Dreamtime

John Ewbank passed away recently (you can read his obituary here), and as a tribute to him we are publishing the brilliant keynote address he delivered at the Escalade Festival in 1993 at Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains. What follows is the text from that speech. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.  It’s a great pleasure to be here and I’m pleased to see you all here as well, it would have been a real pain in the arse talking to…

Fifty Years of Climbing at Arapiles

Australian Editor’s note to issue seven of Vertical Life. Download the brand new Vertical Life App from iTunes or the Kindle Fire App Store. It’s when leaving Natimuk – just after crossing the bridge over Nati creek – that most climbers see Arapiles for the first time; the low bulk of the Mount dominating the horizon. And more often than not they report the same emotion on glimpsing it: disappointment – it looks low-angled, moss covered. Steve Craddock, who, with his brother Bob, ‘discovered’ Arapiles for climbers…

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