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  :)