Australia’s Best Highballs

The Highest and Mightiest of all the Land – we tap into local knowledge to unearth the contenders for the best big blocs in Oz Here they are, ten of the most tremendous highballs from around Australia, one from each state and (nearly every) territory (except the Northern Territory because it’s a land of mystery and should remain so). This list is not like other lists, which are completely subjective, instead this one is filled with FACTS. Because, as people…

Zeitgeist Climbs

In ‘The bridges everyone else is jumping off’ Simon Madden gets drawn into the zeitgeist My brain is a big, whirring association machine. In 2017 every time I wasted precious lifeforce scrolling through Instagram, caught snatches of gym conversations or heard people plotting at the crag, I started singing the theme to Rocky under my breath. Like a dog salivating over a pavlova. That was because invariably I was either looking at or hearing someone talking about Eye of the Tiger…

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…

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