Feature – Stacks Bluff winter mixed climbing

A new mixed route is added to the speckled history of winter climbing at Stacks Bluff, and not without a shitload of drama As a kid living in Kuna, Idaho, I played in the snow a lot. After a big dump, my cousins and I would hold onto the rear bumper of my stepdad’s truck and he would tow us – skiing in our cowboy boots until we couldn’t hold on any longer. We called it hooky-bobbing. Kuna was the…

Old School Air Time

Ollie Kerr shows you that the process of learning to fall on trad – if you manage to survive – may be long and hard, but it is incredibly rewarding and absolutely worthwhile You know it’s a long fall when you can swear twice on the way down. Fuck fuck fuck. ‘How are you doing up there Bert?’ Shit. I listen to the waves crashing below me. I glance down at Carl, his blue beanie blending with the white-grey rock….

Get Lucky

Australian Editor’s note to issue thirteen of Vertical Life. Download the Vertical Life App from iTunes or the Kindle Fire App Store here. Luck is a strange slippery thing. In climbing the difference between being lucky and unlucky is often miniscule; the fraction of a second you lose attention, the footer that snaps, the leg behind the rope. I have been lucky myself; I’ve fallen off the final jug of a route only to run back onto the ledge next to my belayer; pulled off a two-tonne block bouldering but…

In the Shadow of the Mountain

Tom Hoyle and friends brave the crevasses, tourists and, most brutal of all, the withering stares of mountaineers, to discover the bouldering potential of the Aoraki – Mt Cook National Park in New Zealand Like many other ambitious climbers from New Zealand it was inevitable that, sooner or later, we would find ourselves in the Aoraki – Mt Cook National Park with a bold objective. Our party of four surreptitiously slipped into the Alpine Club’s sumptuous Unwin Lodge after a…

Letter to My Older Self

In the latest issue of Vertical Life (no 13) we asked a bunch of Australia and New Zealand’s young up-and-comers to write a letter to their older selves. We couldn’t fit them all in the magazine, so here’s the rest. Enjoy! James Gunn Dear old friend (older) Gunn, I write this from the lounge of my flat in Christchurch. It is a Sunday afternoon in mid-April, 2015 (yes, the years do date back this far, even though you probably can’t…

Profile: Decoding the Dispatcher

Tom Hoyle talks to Derek ‘The Dispatcher’ Thatcher, the self-confessed climbing nerd, master of the slopey, frictionless Castle Hill top-out, and indubitably the most productive New Zealand climber of the last ten years BANNER IMAGE: Daniel Jenkins Derek earned his nickname ‘The Dispatcher’ a long time ago. The moniker’s due to his uncanny ability to send things no matter how unlikely the solution might seem. Since earning the handle he has relentlessly refined this ability to solve climbing problems, applying his…

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