Interview – Tom Farrell

Vertical Life speaks to long-time boulderer, Tom Farrell For someone who’s not even 30 it feels like Tom Farrell has been on the Australian climbing scene for a long time – and he has. Having started as a six-year-old, Tom’s now been climbing for 26 years. For much of that time he’s been one of the leading lights of the Oz bouldering scene, whether it’s competing indoors or out on the rock. Tom probably first entered the Australian climbing consciousness…

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…

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…

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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