Mountain Designs – an Australian icon

In the wake of Mountain Designs shuttering its doors Michael Meadows looks back at how it all began Fifty years ago CSIRO technical assistant Rick White acquired his first, albeit small, collection of climbing gear. He bought all of the climbing-related stock from Brisbane-based Graeme Lacey who was winding up his own failed attempt to make a living by selling quality equipment to local bushwalkers and climbers. Apart from Paddy Pallin’s Scout Shop with its limited supply of steel karabiners and…

Filipino cragging

In ‘In the End Everybody Sings’, Simon Madden goes slow-paced jungle cragging in the Philippines ‘Glasses off!’ I squealed having just awkwardly smeared my sweaty face up the rock and sent my specs tumbling to the ground 20m below. Despite being the self declared weakest-climber-anybody-knows, I had flashed through the campus roof of Blackfoot (7a+/24) looking hilarious and ungainly, and was awkwardly pulling up/whaling onto the headwall huffing and puffing and pouring with sweat. The 100% humidity made it feel more…

South American Altiplano

In ‘The Wind Will Carry Us’, Pirmin Bertle and his family explore the arid, windy expanses of the Altiplano from Bolivia to Chile The wind will carry us away… maybe. If we don‘t move it probably will. Gusts up to 144 km/h push salty air up the hillsides from Salar de Atacama, the sprawling salt lake covering the plains a thousand metres below. Sand and dust coat our bus and creep into every interstice. Our kids – two- and five-years-old…

Atacama Desert new routing

Chile-based Australian, Patrick Mikelsons, is absolutely frothing over the desert-delights of climbing in Rio Salado in the Atacama Desert I vividly remember my first glimpse of climbing in Atacama. We were sitting in a cafe in rainy Mendoza after being washed out of Arenales – one of Argentina’s top climbing destinations – dreaming of dry rock and we’d heard various people throwing around comparisons of the Chilean Altiplano crags to Indian Creek. We unearthed a video and some photos of an…

Workin’ ‘Oliday – Oli Grounsell in Oz

In ‘Australia, It’s Just Not Miserable Enough’, British nice-guy-crusher, skidmark-cleaner and sometime-party-boy, Oli Grounsell, spends a year down under #STRAYA // TL:DR Roped climbing – 5/5 Bouldering – 4/5 People – 2/5 Summer Weather – 1/5 Winter Weather – 5/5 Cost of Living – 5/5 on AUD, 2/5 on GBP Party scene – 4/5 (certain elements could be cheaper) Food – 5/5 (great Asian food in #Melbourne) Booze – 4/5 Pubs – 3/5 (you just can’t beat British pubs) When I…

Arapiles: Song of the Sirens

In ‘Song of the Sirens’ first-time Arapiles visitor, Andy Szollosi, discovers the timeless magic of climbing at the Mount I. Rising on the horizon is the silhouette of Mt Arapiles – a sprawled out giant turned to stone, slumbering on the plains of northwest Victoria. I’ve been driving for hours, and the mountain waits ahead of me, like it’s waited for so many others before. Local Indigenous people knew it as Djurite, and they climbed its steep cliffs to find…

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