Waiting for the bus…

Well the time has come once more to fly off over the horizon to go have some fun. I’ve been back in ol’ Hobart for the last month doing some work before heading to the Euro summer. The last few moths have been pretty hectic, living in the Grampians whilst squeezing in a trip to China seeking out and equipping virgin limestone. Right now however i sit on a friends couch munching delicious scones, ready to jump aboard a plane. I’ll meet up with my gal, Liz, in Marseille in a few days before heading to Ceuse for a bit. After a month or so there we’ll head across to sunny Spain!
As someone whose head firmly resides in the clouds, I’ve always found the concept of waiting at a bus stop intriguing. More importantly the endless possibilities awaiting you. In those moments before the bus pulls over the horizon into view, the whole world is your oyster whilst you imagine the path ahead. You can imagine the future ahead any way you want. Play out the scene’s we’re everyones super happy, on the same wave-length and enjoying life as much as you are. This mindset is a really important aspect of being a happy person.
When people travel often their mind is open for business. Ready to meet new people, ideas and experiences and wrestle with them. Usually these are straight up type one* fun, sometimes the type two** fun creeps in but all the experiences ultimately end up combine into a life-affirming hoot! It seems strange to me though that often as people integrate back into what they know as ‘daily life’ they lose this open-minded engagement with their surroundings. I guess humans are creatures of habit but i still find it interesting that so many people allow their preconceived ideas to somehow impact on their happiness. Then again it amazes me how many people are unaware that all happiness comes from the choice to be so!
I used to live in a house in Hobart many people will remember very fondly, 11 Fitzroy Place. While i was never on the lease(like most residents) i still feel a resident of the place that was Fitzroy. We were the worst house on a good street. Fancy neighbours looked down at our dirtbag antics such as slack lining, hanging out and generally just having a good time. The best bit of my time there was having the many travellers that the open-minded travellers mindset penetrated everyones psyche. Being able to view the world that usually is just the mundane ‘daily life’ was a bit of a personal revelation for me. Realising the simple truth that viewing all the possibilities that await and reasons why somethings going to be so fun will make it exactly that. On the flip side negative nelly’s get exactly what they think and expect.
So let your mind wait at the proverbial bus-stop. Get lost in what could be just around the bend, and where the bus could take you in all aspects of your life. Open that mind and let the possibilities and people in. That’s what this monkeys gonna do, bus my way through Europe having a blast with the raddest person i can imagine doing it with!
Life aint too bad…

Will Bartlett on Bourinator. Picture Glyn Hudson

Will Bartlett on Bourinator. Picture Glyn Hudson

* Type one fun:
Actual fun, enjoyable whilst it’s taking place.

** Type Two fun:
Fun in retrospect, horrible at the time. Generally not appreciated till beer is in hand after the fact.

On the Road

“We all have dreams, but they don’t mean much if we don’t act on them. If we put them in a drawer we label ‘someday’, for when we think we’ll have more time.”

Life seems so sweet when it’s possible to sit back and enjoy profound changes that have been too long in the making. I’ve quit my job, kitted out my van into a plush abode and set off with my amazing girlfriend Liz. Vince the van is home for our heads this evening, with the immediate plan being no plan, just climbing.

I could write endlessly about the complications of quitting jobs, changing your scenarios and all that rubbish. It seems every other day there’s a feel good picture up on your facebook feed, inspiring you to live your dream. Imagine if  instead of wishfully looking out the window dreamily for a few moments before returning to the spreadsheets we could capture those few seconds of ultimate freedom felt before our cynical minds dismiss the possibilities those clichéd little pictures arouse. Turn those seconds into a lifetime.

I’m psyched, keen as mustard and chomping at the bit. I have the rest of the year to just go climbing rocks and try to get stronger fitter and have more fun than I ever have before. I received a copy of the new Grampians guidebook a few weeks ago, boy did that put a smile on my dial. It stoked the fire of a naïve bumbly once more, a feeling that anything’s possible, its all out there and all I need to do is try. It might be a little bit more complex than that, but I’m just psyched to go try!

We’ve been heading up to Taipan lately with the rest of the psyched hordes. I’ve never seen it so busy, and rarely is the vibe so friendly and inclusive. It seems to me more and more people are venturing off the beaten path. Open Projects have been going down and some might fall any day now.

So Liz and I will be out that way for a little while, climbing, slacklining and generally having a good time. There’s always a place by the fire and an extra plate of food so come say hi!

Marin crushing the beautiful stone of the Sentinel

Marin crushing the beautiful stone of the Sentinel

Limbo

The summer feels like its slowly fading away. Many of the fun idea’s concocted through the distant winter months were not given the chance of life they deserved. Things change, situations arise forcing decisions to be made that aren’t always what you envisaged.

Sometimes that’s the most beautiful thing. Sometime just before that magical date of christmas that makes life so busy and intense, I added to that somewhat by quitting my job. I’ve been working full-time for a while now, and enjoyed it immensely. Learning heaps along the way it has most definitely been a time i can already look back on with a sense of gratitude. An understanding of the stepping stone along the road of life that it was. The next step is the one i really look forward to. The one where i climb rocks, lots of rocks. All. The. Time….

It does mean I’m stuck in limbo right now tho. It’s only a few months to go before Liz and I cast of together in the lovely VW transporter known as Vince. That means work. Lots of work to earn the cash needed for fun times on the road. The rough plan is to head to Natimuk sometime around Easter, from there we’ll follow our noses about the country climbing on the many different pebbles about the place. Hope to see you there!

Sometime in the new year I was chatting to a mate, who told me about an awesome thing happening. A ‘trip of a lifetime’ if you will. A chance to get flown to Nepal, paid to hang out on the Khumbu icefall with some sherpa’s. I invested some time and effort to make it onto the shortlist for this trip, only to be left in the lurch waiting for an answer. I was supposed to hear last tuesday, yet still no word. Waiting, waiting everything has time to roll around my little skull. Was it all a cruel joke? Is it happening at all? I guess time will tell, for now i get to enjoy limbo…

And what is a lad in limbo to do i ask! Well given the impending winter months, I’d say sport climbing sounds like a good option! Yesterday saw an awesome day up at the Boneyard ledge of Fingal. Plenty of psyche with lots of routes going down, and some very near misses! I’m waiting for this pesky flu that has been hanging around to bugger off, so I can get on with the task at hand! Having had Ross River Virus slow me down also I just can’t wait to feel healthy again so I can make the most of my time left in Tassie!

JoshWP

Josh Grose coming agonisingly close to a quick repeat of White Powder(31). Belayed by CJ, also getting close!

The CCT, Get amongst it!

I’d be lying if I said I loved, clubs, formalities and red tape. Its a cruel twist of irony in this world however that the people in charge of making the decisions that affect us are greedy for it. With this in mind, a few of us resurrected the Climbers Club of Tasmania to give all climbers a voice for all things bureaucratic.

Recently we had our Climbers Club of Tasmania Inc AGM. While nothing ground-breaking happened, we maintained existence. That really is a great thing. It may seem that from time to time the CCT can be relatively quiet, but I can assure you there are often murmurings happening in the background that are building good friendships and foundations within the community. We are engaging with stakeholders, and we are giving climbers a voice.

I stumbled across this the other day, climbers in strife for unsavory development in Joshua Tree.

What I can mostly gather is that because a relationship existed with the Joshua Tree Parks and climbers in various formats, the climbers were able to preserve the ability to climb at all in J-Tree. This is exactly the kind of relationships the CCT is trying to form, and is doing quite well in that. So rather than having climbing tossed to the side in the ‘too-hard basket’, its great that we can liaise with Councils, Parks and other stakeholders to preserve our privilege to do the things we do.

A club is only as good as its members. While I probably won’t ask you directly for help, I will ask that climbers sign up, and help add to the numbers that give us clout in all these matters. Ask your friends too, it’s free and there’s zero commitment unless you decide you’d like to volunteer to contribute more. I realise that the CCT has been reasonably quiet up the northern end of the state. I’d love every climber to feel welcome sign up, regardless of whether your from north south east or west, whether your out there every day or once in a blue moon. Get involved with the community, stay abreast of what’s going on. I also realise there are plenty of ‘mainlanders’ that frequent our shores, again we welcome you to add your voice to the quorum!

In the last 12 months some good things have been coming out of the relationships the CCT is forging. There is extensive track work plans to be carried out across the organ pipes, hardening many before too much damage is done. The CCT has also been involved in the Hobart City Councils purchase of the land beneath Fruehoff. There is talk of creating a proper track to the base of the cliff. But what is even greater is that HCC members came out to meet with climbers, and are all for us using the space as we always have. Again proving that if we can engage, bureaucracy doesn’t always end badly for climbers.

We have also formed an ‘Anchor Replacement Committee’ consisting of myself, Stu Scott, Alex Lewis and Dean Rollins. We plan on taking on some responsibility for the replacement of un-safe fixed anchors. We can organise to raise funds for various projects, and can be contacted here with any ideas, if you’d like us to hold ‘bolting’ workshops, or know of an area that could benefit from having anchors (bolts) replaced you can send an email to cctanchors(at)thesarvo.com and we’ll all get it.

Daylight savings just around the bend, with summer on its heels. Things will be happening this summer, so get involved. In December there will be some search and rescue workshops going on. I’m keen to hold some informal ‘self rescue/learn to multi-pitch climb’ sessions as well if there’s interested people.

So click on this link and sign up to the CCT, that’ll just be the starting point!

Simon Young

CCT President

 

Artist’s impression of recent CCT AGM….

Death of Winter

Well what a quiet boy I’ve been lately. I’d like to think that’s because I’ve been doing my usual cram-all-I-can-in styley thing. It has been a rad few months in the life of Simon.

SPORT CLIMBING:

On the last weekend the Boneyard was open, I managed one of my best failures to date. I’d been putting heaps of time and effort into the route White Powder (31/8b) after climbing a bunch of the other routes. It was a re-incarnation of that awesome process so many have experienced before me. The desire to find something hard and inspiring, then finding that awesome line to throw yourself at. It became that all consuming desire. The reason to train, my reason to dream, a reason to smile. I think life is just better when you’re psyched.

The clock had unfortunately ticked is way down to the very last tock. Warm weather and general weakness meant I had gotten agonisingly close. One last shot before the doors of possibility closed for the time being as the falcons re-claimed the crag for nesting. Without knowing what to expect I fired off initial easy moves I knew so well by now. Through the first boulder I desperately tried to shake some life back into my flailing forearms. Battling my way into the final crux I felt a pang of hope. With two moves left before the next jug my chicken-winging arms could take no more and off I went. With no send under my belt I solemnly shuffled my way home that afternoon. I couldn’t be too upset, it was still the hardest piece of climbing I’d probably ever done.

Having that focus was a great training tool, and boy did I feel like something was going right with my climbing. With Fingal closed so the falcons could get their freak on, it was time for Freycinet, namely the Star Factory.

On my return from Europe I’d had a quick play on the classic route, Backyard Surgery (29/8a). A classic power-endurance test-piece, on immaculate water-washed granite. On my return from what was essentially a mountain-climbing trip I was pretty weak. A bouldery start on Backyard Surgery shut me down pretty quick. However after a few months of training and climbing a bunch I was back and feeling fighting fit. I wasn’t finding the start too bad, but kept bungling the top section. To break it down I would say a V6-7 into a 27, all of it awesome! I came back the next day, and after some more bumbliness on easy ground I got my sorry arse up there!

SAREX:

For a little while now I’ve been the President of the CCT. While that in itself is actually entirely unremarkable, it has meant I’ve become the point of contact between climbers and the Police Marine and Rescue guys. They’re basically in charge of most of the search and rescue (SAR) stuff. Combined with my rope access stuff, I’ve actually become reasonably involved helping facilitate some kind of integration, in the way of training and rescues etc.

Every year they hold a big Search and Rescue EXercise (SAREX). This year it was held at Lake St Clare, involving all the volunteer organisations that work with the police. They also had the Westpac chopper flying about. The rough plan was to test communications in the area, while also familiarising various groups with using the chopper. Alex Wilson, Alex Lewis and Emlyn Jones and I would be part of a group that were tasked to head up to somewhere on the base of the Acropolis and stage some kind of rescue that could be filmed for the cameras.

We packed warm knowing there would be a bunch of snow, and made our way down to the lakeshore. They threw some life jackets on us and stuck us in the Fast Response Vessel, their speedboat that could get us there quickly! The chopper soon greeted us on arrival, and the first of us loaded on board.

The Westpac Chopper comes in to give us a lift.

Hurry up and wait…

They couldn’t land due to the snow, so as they hovered as we made the jump to the ground. From there we trudged off in search of a good cliff. Pretty soon we were joined by the second load of crew, and had a bit of a plan. With some ropes rigged it was time for a game of ‘Hurry up and Wait’, a favourite at these events it seems. Finally the chopper came back with a film crew and we carried out a basic mock rescue, all the giving our best ‘Blue Steel’ for the cameras.

Carrying out our mock rescue in trying conditions.

Unfortunately we had to walk out. Before the chopper took off we did manage to throw the wet ropes and gear in (also the officers), making for light loads to carry out. It was a great chance to hang out with the SAR types, and get some integration with climbers to help expand their rescue capabilities. If you are interested in becoming involved, head over the thesarvo.com and sign up to the Climbers Club of Tasmania, especially you northerners!

ARAPS:

I was about due to do a rope access course, so as I was booking that, I organised myself for a quick trip to Arapiles. The plan was to go over and try a few specific tricky routes, but it came pretty apparent to me red-pointing on a trip like this was not what I was after. Liz and I set about climbing a bunch of cool stuff at every grade. We even made a quick trip out to the Grampians. Oh me oh my how rad is Muline! I’d never been and was itching in me jocks to go try kranking and dangling up in that awesome cave. I put some draws up on Path of Yin (30/8a+) and fiddled around with some moves. While it felt kinda close there was in no way any cigar. The motivation gained was pretty rad though! If you ever wanted a reason to climb grade 30, that cliff is it!!

What a cliff! Climber on Eye of the Tiger (29/8a)

The following weekend saw me getting out for a climb with HB. He’d been telling me all about his latest project and I was keen to check it out. Boy can that guy crush! There exists a gnarly crack, about 10m long, super steep and only accepts flaring fingers. He made some good progress, while I repeated some of the established classics. Will surely be one of the harder trad rigs in the country!

MERSEY:

On my first weekend back home I was missing that amazing stone, so a plan was made to head off and check out the newly developed Mersey Cliffs. Rumours of rock identical to Araps were getting round, and I had to see for myself. We weren’t disappointed. It’s like Araps, but with bolts and no dodgy claims of purity while shoving hypocrisy in your face. Mark Polinski has done a sweet job equipping the crag. There are routes from 20-31, so it makes a sweet edition to Northern Tasmania (not that there was any doubts as to the quality of climbs in the north. Or any doubt as to how far superior northern climbers is in general; you should have seen ‘em….)

Check out this video of Mark Polinski on his classic-to-be Get What You Need (31/8b)

So that’s where I’ve been, and where to now? Well with summer a-banging away on the door I’m super psyched to keep climbing like a loon! Might go check out this amazing sounding bouldering at Hillwood I’m hearing rumours about, “best bouldering in the state” and the like. Need to build up some of the power for all the routes I plan to talk about this summer…

Tasty Treats

Lately I’ve become pretty OCD with climbing. I cant get enough of it. I’ve only been getting out on rock one day a week and its not enough for this little monkey-junkie. What this does mean though is I’m always manically searching for more climbing porn online. Lately some cool articles that have come out that had something cool to say. Whether an interesting take on risk or a piece on why its cool to care, i thought you might appreciate reading some of the following:

 

Lucky Chance Interview:

I love this guy. A one in a million kinda personality i reckon! Its an article on Australia’s boldest climber/BASE jumper and what changed when he had a horrible accident. We all often pay lip service about risk, consequence and everything in between. Its a first-hand account from someone who’s been closer to the edge than any of us, and come back to this world.

 

Its Not Cool To Care:

This is a great blog that touches on something very similar to something that pisses me off, with a particularly with the traditional ‘Aussie’ way. It closely mirrors ‘Tall poppy syndrom’. For those who dont know what I’m talking about, it basically means never letting anyone enjoy accomplishments, dragging someone back down to your level. When the poppy gets tall we chop it right back down to the other poppy’s level.

Maybe some people like this, but i think its helped create the same attitude that caring ain’t cool. Fuck that, I care. I wanna be strong. I wanna be good. I love this ridiculous game called climbing we play. I just want to be able to climb everything else. You probably do too.

So don’t sit round the pines bagging someone with a long-term project. You just dont have the commitment they do, that’s ok. Don’t tell someone they are trying something too hard for them, your only trying to justify not trying yourself. Don’t mutter i’m trying something too hard for me, last I checked that’s a great way to get better! Theres always going to be someone stronger than you, and you’ll always be better at something than someone else. So stop comparing apples with oranges! Of course i want to have a laugh, take the piss, but please dont throw bad vibes my way!

 

Splinter:

Vertical Life shared a pretty awesome video of the legendary Malcolm Smith crushing! Do yourself a favour and watch.

Interesting topic is that many people are starting to consider Hubble to be 9a, which would have made it the first in the world. Hmmmm discuss….

Fingal

Why hello! So much of the same thing’s been happening its a little ridiculous really! The hot word on everyone’s lips has been ‘Fingal’ lately! And by Jove it’s a good little cliff!

Up near the township of Fingal the massive Bare Rock towers 200m over the surrounding valley. Unfortunately tho most of the rock is loose, slabby choss. There is however some of the best sustained steep climbing on offer in Tassie! One sector, dubbed the Boneyard, has offered up many a classic! Its here that I’ve found the project I’ve been looking for…

I had been working my way through the classic 28/7c+’s, and had the best intentions one weekend to try the last one I haven’t done. To warm up for these routes I had been climbing the first 5 bolts of White Powder (31/32 or 8b/+). But for some reason gravity seemed a bit lower on this particular day so I thought sod it, ill go try these hard moves hey! Before I really knew what was happening I found myself staring back down the length of the route to the belay, having unlocked all the cruxes.

Luckily for me there’s no stopper moves, its a power-endurance classic. I’ve since been trying it a bit and getting some good links, but need to get a bit fitter for the send! It’s such a cool process to set some goals, work hard and see tangible results. I’ve been putting in the hard yards, on a woody, but almost more importantly get my body sorted out.

After years of abuse my spine was a chiropractic nightmare. I’m sure the first time I went in, Travis could see one of his kids Uni tuition fees in my back! So I’ve been working hard, having regular adjustments to get my spine right, and I think its working! I always kinda knew it was bogus, and now wish I had sorted it out years ago! Just goes to show the rewards of being pro-active, and making things happen!

My main man Chris cranking hard on the classic Atomic Vampire 28/7c+

Im also pretty stoked to say a massive thank-you to Steve at climbinganchors.com for sending me a new rope to keep going hard on! these guys do some pretty sweet stuff and im keen to try out my new tendon 9.7! i remember using my old tendon rope, Bluey. We shared some good times Bluey and I… Your my boy Blue!