Editorial – On you, on me, ennui

I have taken for granted the pleasures of a tactile world: dragging my hands along a cold steel balustrade, cupping porcelain whilst drinking a coffee, skin torn by sandstone gripped too hard. Instead, I find myself shying away from everything like a vampire fleeing an upraised cross. Where is this place that we are? We are not where we were and we are not where we are going. When I wake up in the morning it feels like nowhere, off…

Editorial – No Longer Solo

When it comes to climbing in the Grampians, the Good Old Days are done. For instance, the classic route featured on our cover, Sandinista, is no longer legal to climb.

Editorial – Blinded

Editor’s note to issue 29 of Vertical Life. Subscribe to the issue here. Climbing can be such a liberating, simple thing. I had my eyes lasered in the hope I would be able to throw away my glasses. I was as blind as a mole, contacts didn’t work for my prescription. I had wanted to do it for a long time and then when I finally had the operation it was not a success – a ‘sub-optimal result’ was the doctor’s assessment. The…


Editor’s note to issue 27 of Vertical Life. Download the issue here. Climbing has always been about newness. We have been obsessed with who climbed the hardest thing and who got to the top first, both of which are just shades of newness. When we look back, it is exploration that’s the main thread running through the lore of climbing, and exploration by definition is about charting newness. You can see that from the early science-driven ascents that sought to map the world…


Editor’s note to issue 26 of Vertical Life. Download the issue here. There is a famous story about a young climber who developed scurvy when he was living at Araps in the ‘80s. It goes that he was scrounging what food he could when he was told by a Horsham doctor that he had scurvy, that disease of history books that killed millions of sailors during the age of exploration before people realised it was caused by vitamin C deficiency. It could be…

Lifters & Leaners

Editor’s note to issue 25 of Vertical Life. Download the issue here. There are only two dreams I’ve had that have stayed with me. One features naked cannibals, the other is about my mother (of course). I only remember a fragment of this second dream. In it my mother leads an elephant around in circles on the front lawn of our house in the Grampians. The elephant is unsteady on its feet, perhaps sick, and leans heavily on my mum, who staggers around…

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