Vision – Townsville town cragging

Simon Madden finds an absolute ball-tearer of an urban rock route in an unlikely location, way up in FARKNQ, in Townsville The curtain of pink granite glows weakly under the floodlights that shine up from the dirt slope below so that the big face can be seen by the city’s inhabitants even in the dark of night. Right in front of me, the weak glow is burnt by my headtorch, which focuses a searing cone of light. The rock’s surface looks incredibly…

Contributor Swag – Vertical Life no 25

Every issue of VL we give away a bunch of great gear from our advertisers to people who contribute to the magazine. This issue the lucky winners are: Simon ‘Shim Sham’ Bischoff (who wrote a wonderful piece about climbing on Flinders Island) wins a pair of Butora Comet shoes (RRP $129.95) courtesy of Climbing Anchors. Madoc Sheehan (who contributed to our article on the best highballs from around Oz) wins a year’s supply of Black Diamond chalk courtesy of Black…

Cash Prizes in Climbing Competitions

Western Australia is a pretty long way from the person-choked urban centres on the East Coast, but if you’re a comp climber you just got some added incentive to fly West. On 18 August, Portside Boulders is throwing a comp with cash on the line – for Open As there’s a grand for the winners, $750 for second place and $500 to round out the podium. Not to be sneezed at. The lure of money led us here at VL to…

Climbers’ Feet: a Horror Story

The climber’s foot, in the scheme of horrors, is up there. We are not talking murdered-body-cut-into-pieces-and-stuffed-into-a-44-gallon-drum-type horror, more an everyday malformed ugliness. Why are the feet of climbers so unfortunate? The answer is common to all those with disasters for feet – ballet dancers, the wives of wealthy 17th-century Chinese dudes and climbers – tight shoes. Climbers like tight shoes. Very tight shoes. For example, my running shoes are a European 46.5, while my climbing shoes are 42 (US 9.5),…

Blog – Not Safe

One of our readers reports on a worrying trend that could have disastrous consequences ‘SAFE!’ The call rings out across the climbing gym, and the dutiful belayer responds by lowering their climber – the one who just yelled ‘safe’ – to the ground. It’s not the first time I have heard it and every time I do I roll my eyes and shake my head. Each and every person who is taught to say this in the gym is putting their…

Save Yourself

SYS (Save Yo Self) Over the weekend at least two boulderers were rescued (one by helicopter) after falling off highball boulder problems in the Grampians. These accidents, plus a few others, have inspired us to remind you dear readers of something profound: bouldering is dangerous. In fact, in many ways bouldering is more dangerous than climbing on a rope, something we are not sure that most noobs understand. When you’re bouldering you’re always falling off and (unlike roped climbing) you’re…

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