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…

Interview – Eli Mercado

Can you give us the Eli Mercado 101? Hello! I’m Eli(jah) Mercado, just turned 19. Part-time engineering student, part-time hold washer and all-of-the-time boulderer. I’m 168cm with an ape of +14cm. How did you get into the funny business of climbing rocks? Hahaha. So I used to be really into computer games, mainly one that involved tapping the keyboard to beats of music. My forearms kept getting pumped though, so I thought to myself ‘Hey, I need to train my…

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…

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…

Shoe review – Scarpa Drago

Dispelling the myth that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, Simon Madden and Denby Weller find out that they both live happy and comfortable on Planet Drago Simon Madden I like the Drago a lot. Light and soft, as sensitive as a 19th century English dandy. Not to big the shoe up too much but it has shown me that you can teach an old scarred insensate to feel again. Firstly, a little about me; I am a…

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…

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