Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Climbing!!!

Christmas in Australia means hot weather, sweaty climbing, less than ideal friction, sun burn... in short, not the best climbing conditions. Nonetheless, I am loving climbing right now! Sure, it might not be perfect conditions for working and sending hard problems or routes, but it is perfect conditions for being outside, enjoying the sun and having a great time!
After a little bit of time up in the Blue Mountains I made a short detour to Jervis Bay, near Nowra, NSW to visit my good buddy Jack Folkes. We spent the first day hanging out on the Shoalhaven River at his new deep water soloing crag, Big Red. I sort of chickened out on the roof crux of the mega project (being upside down 10 metres off the water is a bit scary in my books haha!) but I managed to put up a big traverse that girdles the crag only a few metres off the water that I called 'No Heroics' and goes at about grade 23.
The next day Jack took me to a few of his new bouldering areas to try some projects he had cleaned up. First stop was a steep roof under a waterfall at a place called Falls Creek where I polished off the first ascents of 2 projects - 'Spare Batteries' V5 and 'Down The Rabbit Hole' V7. The rock is a little bit less than perfect, but the problems climbed super well. Great, pockety roof climbing!
Afterwards we checked out one of Jacks other seaside bouldering areas in Jervis Bay, but my skin was far too sore to climb, so after Jack had a play on a project we headed off.
Now it's family time, relaxing here in Mystery Bay with my parents and sister and nephews, going to go on a little local crag search today then it's time for a fresh seafood feast tomorrow for Christmas  :)
Merry Christmas everyone, hope you all have a fantastic and safe festive season!

The view from Jack's porch in Jervis Bay

Jack on the 'Big Red' Project, Shoalhaven River, Nowra

The walk ins to the crags around here are pretty awesome

Jack Folkes bearing down on yet another superb seaside project in Jervis Bay

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Getting out climbing a lot is fantastic. Getting out climbing on a lot of different types of rock is even better.
Recently I have had the chance to climb on a bunch of different types of rock at a lot of different crags and in a lot of different styles; from bouldering on sandstone and granite to trad climbing on quartzite. Right now it is clipping bolts on crimpy Blue Mountains sandstone. 
I haven't spent much time on a rope recently as I have been focusing on bouldering and putting up new problems so it's nice to mix it up a little and climb some longer pieces of rock. 
As they say; variety is the spice of life.
Today was day one here in the Bluies and it was stellar conditions down at Porters Pass. Some fun warm ups and a few burns on 'Self Portrait', a sweet, gently overhung, technical 29 (8a). Hopefully these conditions keep up while I'm here!

Evan sticking the crux throw on 'Self Portrait'.

Flowing water endlessly trickling do to the valley below.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


With only a few short days left for me here in the Wimmera I am sitting here in the Mt Zero Olives Cafe, looking out towards the boulders and walls up on Mt Zero that we will be heading up to this afternoon for a late afternoon bouldering session, sipping my coffee and reflecting on what has been a fantastic couple of weeks.
Over the last 7 months of being back in Australia after moving back here from China my life has been far from the normal sort of thing that my friends are used to. I work for myself mostly, I study, I travel, I climb. It's pretty darn good, and I have some aces up my sleeve that will come to the table later next year, but it can be hard to explain to people what I 'do' and sometimes even harder to reconcile it all in my own head and be content in it all.
Being here in the Wimmera I have had time to reflect on my life and make sure I am on the right track to achieving my goals, and I think things are going pretty much according to plan, so I'm pretty happy.
Climbing here in the Grampians and Arapiles on this trip has been sensational - bouldering on the impeccable sandstone of the Grampians, exploring new areas in the Southern Grampians, plugging trad gear in Arapiles, playing music in a fun bar with a great crowd, hanging with fantastic old friends, meeting great new friends, eating amazing food, drinking tasty wine and generally having a stellar time.
I didn't come down here to try and climb harder stuff, I more approached it with a goal of climbing a large volume of great problems and trying to get on as much new stuff as I could. Goal achieved.
I've done somewhere around 50 problems V4 and harder, up to V7, flashed a bunch of V5's, did quick ascents of 6's and 7's, some amazing highballs, even a few first ascents. All in all great result and exactly what I was after. I also managed to squeeze in a few classic trad routes at Arapiles for good measure. Perfect.
Being able to hang out in the campground with my Goal Zero solar kit and have wifi so I can study and work from anywhere has been amazing. Absolutely loving the #solarlife  :)
I may have some great news coming up soon regarding myself and Goal Zero, so stay tuned  ;)
For now it's back to my coffee, back to some study and then off to the blocs for the afternoon.


Go out and enjoy it  :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Photos of shenanigans in Arapiles and the Grampians :)

I'll post a story about the last little while really soon, but for now here are a bunch of photos from Arapiles and the Grampians, including a bunch of photos from the 'Valley Of The Giants' in the southern Grampians. Such an AMAZING place  :)


Friday, November 29, 2013

Music and Mayhem!

What a crazy couple of days! Had one last day of bouldering at the Kindergarten with Saxon before he headed home to Sydney today. Last night we headed over to Halls Gap to meet up with Rhys and Courtney to hang at the Open Mic night and the Mountain Grand where I got up and played / sang a few tunes for the first time since coming back to Oz, and it went down well which was great. Super fun bar with a super fun local crowd of musicians. 
Then on the late night drive home to Mt Zero I blew a fan belt on my van and broke down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere at 12:30am. Within 5 minutes a couple of young guys drove along and stopped and it turned out one of their fathers was a tow truck driver / mechanic who live down the road. He turned up, got the car running and didn't even want me to pay him (I managed to get $20 in his pocket, but that's it. I drove cautiously to Stawell, slept there till morning and went to a repair shop who fixed me up in about 20 minutes and I was back on the road. Felling pretty darn lucky right now! 

Now studying in the Horsham library and then off to Araps this afternoon for some trad climbing for a few days. 
Life's pretty darn awesome sometimes 

Saxon warming up at The Kindergarten, Grampians.

Saxon warming up at The Kindergarten, Grampians.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tasty Treats...

What a roller coaster ride being back in Australia is proving to be. With a seemingly endless amount of study, climbing, training, travelling, competing, festivals, new friends, old friends and more boulders than you could poke a stick at!
It has definitely turned into a return to the small stones. With all the new potential out at North Black Range, who could blame me? Endless granite first ascents only 40 minutes form my house.. . it's hard to resist!
After a small scare with a shoulder injury aside I have been mainly bouldering now for several months, and it's been fun!
I spent considerable time doing a new free guidebook to North Black Range including all of the new, partially developed sectors, and then we had ourselves a little bouldering festival! close to, or maybe just over, 100 people came over the 2 days and lots of new problems were scrubbed up and then taken down. The bouldering psyched in Canberra is high now and I couldn't be happier with the results  :)
Right now I am taking a little sabbatical from the capital to escape down to my other favourite place in Australia - The Grampians! Hanging out here with a bunch pf good folk, bouldering every day with my old buddy Saxon. Good times all round. I'm on a little mission to climb just as many boulders as I an for a week or two to get used to the style again and really get my bouldering head back on, then some projects will be in order!
Here's some photos from North Black and from the Grampians. I'll do my best to get in here with more updates soon. And don't forget to go check out all our new holds available at www.fortisclimbing.com !!!
Also, to see more regular photos, etc of what I'm up to, check my Instagram feed at @duncanbrown1980

Some shots from North Black Range...

Lazar on 'Attack Of The Shortness'

Marty on Laidback Luke'

Me on the first ascent of 'Two Pad Cheetah'

Some shots from the Grampians...

James Kassay on 'Annagramma'

Me on 'Master Bates'

Me on 'Master Bates'

Claire Langmore on 'Annagramma'

Aiden on 'Palm Beach'

James Kassay on 'American Pie'

My Goal Zero kit charging at the crag - I love living the solar life!

Van Life