Adventure Mag #1 OE#56

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7 continents. 7 billion destinations. On all of our small group tours, you get to know locals every step of the way — from the places you roam to the hotels you stay at to the restaurants where you enjoy your meals Because we believe it’s only by exploring our world that you understand how great it, and its people, can be.

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WELCOME TO ADVENTURE MAG We all have a little adventure within us, but only a few of us actually act upon our impulses and push ourselves to the limit. It’s certainly something Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson have done. Last year, we presented The Dawn Wall to audiences across Australia and New Zealand. It was an amazing event and the film was well received by everyone who attended. The only question was, “What else could we do that would be even better?” And so, we bring you Tommy and Kevin Live - where you - the audience - have the opportunity to chat to these inspirational guys. We’re proud to be able to bring this event to you - and we hope you enjoy it. Adventure Entertainment has been presenting adventure films to audiences across Aus and NZ for a few years now, but this year, we decided we’d go a step further. Incorporating Outer Edge magazine (which is 56 Editions in), we’re able to bring you this exciting best program-mixed-magazine. Working together means we can bring you stories from inside the adventure world, along with all the favourites from Outer Edge, such as Adventure School and Gear Reviews. It was an opportunity too good to miss, and we hope you enjoy this magazine. Stay tuned into the future as we bring you even more films, bigger and better events than ever before, and of course - our Adventure Mag, which we’ll be releasing 4 times a year in conjunction with some of our bigger film tours and events. Each magazine will be themed for the particular tour, and next edition will focus on WOMEN’S ADVENTURE! If you’d like to be part of this, get in touch (contact info on page 6). Welcome to a new era of Adventure Entertainment. We’re glad to have you along for the ride with us.

Photo credit Simon Carter

Toby Ryston-Pratt Founder & CEO of Adventure Entertainment (and part time climber -see pic below taken in Sicily)



DISCLAIMER The activities we include in Adventure Mag can lead to serious injury or death, particularly if you are not properly trained or under the correct instruction. If you are a novice climber, runner, or you are undertaking any risky adventure activities, ensure you do so under the proper guidance and instruction. Adventure Mag, our writers, and associates, all take our duty of responsible care seriously. If you attempt to complete any of the activities we include in our magazine, you do so at your own risk. We will not be held liable for any injury, loss or damage that comes from your attempts to complete any of the activities we include in our publications. Take care, and happy adventuring.



PUBLISHER Adventure Entertainment

EDITOR’S LETTER Welcome to our first edition of ADVENTURE MAG and our 56th Edition of Outer Edge. Wondering why we’ve had the change? Keep reading!



CONTRIBUTORS Michael Meadows Michael Meadows started bushwalking and climbing in Brisbane as a teenager in the mid1960s. Most of his climbing time has been spent exploring the crags of southeast Queensland although he was diverted from climbing when he started work as a journalist and later, a journalism professor. Dave Barnes Dave Barnes is a freelance writer and has been climbing and adventuring for more than 30 years including climbing El Capitan. He lives in Tasmania. Charles Werb Charles Werb is an innovator, publisher and adventurer. He is the mastermind behind The Swoosh, the world’s first commercial snowsailer. Over the past few years he has travelled the world attempting to break records with the snowsailer. From the USA to Antarctica to Iceland, Switzerland to Finland, and beyond - the adventures of Charles and The Swoosh continue. Kamil Sustiak Our feature photographer, Kamil is well known in Australian climbing. 6


E LOVE WHAT we do. We love adventure, and we know you do too. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. Our goal is to provide you with the best adventures and one of the ways to do this is through entertainment.


DV E N T U R E F I L M S CREATE a world that takes us away. They allow us to join someone else’s reality, to learn new and exciting things, and to master our skills as adventurers. And by joining up with Adventure Entertainment, we can do this.


UTER EDGE HAS recently teamed up with Adventure Entertainment to bring you the best adventure tours and news in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Our first joint edition comes to you from the world of CLIMBING and is brought to you in association with Tommy and Kevin Live - one of the most exciting climbing events to hit our shores.


E HOPE YOU enjoy this special edition, under the new ADVENTURE MAG banner - and stay tuned, we have plenty more adventure to come! ~ Tara Tyrrell



Welcome to Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson Live on Stage. These two are not just two of the world’s best climbers, but two of the world’s best athletes and inspirational speakers. Thanks for joining us.


14-year-old Angie Scarth-Johnson is young, vibrant and full of life. She has an exciting history and is now climbing for a shot at Olympic glory.

A U S T R A L I A ‘ S B E S T C L I M B E R S 34 We sit down with three of Australia‘s best climbers to chat about what inspires them, how they train and what advice they can offer to other climbers.

A T H L E T E B Y C H O I C E 46 Duncan Brown from Athlete by Choice is a climbing and outdoor sport coach and personal trainer. We chat with Duncan talking about climbing in the Olympics in 2020.

H I S T O R Y O F C L I M B I N G 50 Take a step back in time to see where climbing in Australia has come from - so you can truly understand how far it has come, and how far it can still go.

S W O O S H I N G F I N L A N D 58 The Swoosh is the world‘s only commercial snowsailer and the man behind the machine has been on a world breaking mission. His latest journey to Finland was full of adventure.

B E A U M I L E S : A M I L E A N H O U R 62

Beau Miles. Award winning filmmaker, poly-jobist, speaker, writer, odd. He shares his story on filming A Mile An Hour with our readers in the lead up to the RunNation Film Festival.



REGULARS 40 A D V E N T U R E S C H O O L We offer adventure seekers the best tips and tricks for their next journey - whether you are climbing, running, hiking, camping, or simply following your dreams.

68 G E A R R E V I E W S Whether you‘re looking for the right clothes, boots, equipment or accessories - our gear reviews have you covered for all types of adventure.

72 A D V E N T U R E F I L M S C O M I N G S O O N Adventure Entertainment has an array of first class events in the outdoor and adventure community - and they are COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU!

78 P H O T O G R A P H Y We bring you our favourite photographers each edition, letting you know what makes them tick, and how they use photographs to share their passions with the world. This edition: Kamil Sustiak



Atquis si sit quatem hillorit et molupturio. Modita quo et et adi dicias





Tommy and Kevin Live WELCOME to an evening with two of the world’s best climbers live on stage in their first Australian tour! This is an opportunity to see TOMMY CALDWELL and KEVIN JORGESON up close and personal as they share stories of their journey that spanned years to achieve what many people thought was impossible, the world’s hardest rock climb: the Dawn Wall.


SWISS CHAMP 33 Functions




Tommy Caldwell is a living

world, and in 2000, he was taken

less extraordinary. At a young age

legend in the world of rock

captive and held hostage for

he began climbing and discovered

climbing and has established some

several days by armed rebels in

bouldering, or more that he was

of the hardest rock-climbing routes

Kyrgyzstan, along with other

exceptionally good at bouldering.

in the USA. Tommy is most known

climbers. Upon his successful

He very quickly made a name for

for his big wall free climbing with 12

escape, he returned home.

himself, took out national

routes on El Capitan in Yosemite.

While trying to return to

championships, and established

Kevin Jorgeson is the boulderer

normality with his life after the

some exciting first ascents of his

turned big wall protégé who

frightening incident in Kyrgyzstan,

own. Through his exceptional

teamed up to complete the hardest

Tommy severed his index finger in

climbing ability, he began to seek

free climb on El Capitan with

a home remodelling accident. For

out other climbing disciplines, and

Tommy Caldwell. Together they

any climber at the top of their

made contact with Tommy

make an unstoppable team.

game, this would be the end of a

Caldwell after hearing about his

career, but not for Tommy Caldwell.

project on the Dawn Wall.

Tommy’s background certainly is an interesting one, built from

He came back stronger than ever

prevailing over some epic

before, to become one of the most

Kevin over the next six years, and

challenges. Tommy grew up with a

accomplished climbers ever in

in December 2014, they embarked

mountain guide father who taught

sport climbing.

on the 19 days journey to the top of

him to embrace fear and doubt and


Kevin Jorgeson’s background

Tommy mentored and trained

El Capitan where they completed

turn it into inspiration. His passion

may not have been as extreme as

what many say is the hardest route

for climbing took him around the

Tommy’s but his story is nothing

ever climbed.

Monique Forestier, It Takes a Lot to Laugh... (29), Barden’s Lookout. Photo: Simon Carter







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“Stand at the base and look up at 3,000 feet of blankness. It just looks like there's no way you can climb it. That's what you seek as a climber. You want to find something that looks absurd and figure out how to do it.” ~ Tommy

“It would be really easy to write off the Dawn Wall as impossible. In terms of climbing technique, I'm learning a new language on this granite.” ~ Kevin 16







climb every spring and every fall, and we had camera crews documenting the entire process. Tommy and Kevin failed repeatedly. There were times I considered pulling the plug on filming since the chances of success seemed so remote. But as I learned more about Tommy’s past and the complexities of his motivation, I became convinced the saga of The Dawn Wall climb, whether he eventually succeeded or not, would be the perfect backdrop for telling the fascinating story of Tommy’s life.

The Dawn Wall is a film about Tommy & Kevin’s awe-inspiring climb of El Capitan. The film toured in 2018 and has recently been aired on Netflix, providing a gateway for the world to witness the story behind this amazing feat. The following is the film Director Josh Lowell’s account. My fascination with Tommy Caldwell began in 1989. I was 16 years old and took a climbing lesson from his father, Mike, a guide in Estes Park, CO. During a hailstorm we retreated to his family’s cabin, and he bragged about his 9 year old son Tommy who could do 50 pullups. A few years later I started entering climbing competitions, and 14 year old Tommy won them all. By 2003 I was making climbing movies, and I filmed Tommy for the first time in Smith Rock, OR. I knew that in the intervening years he had been kidnapped by terrorists while on an expedition in Kyrgyzstan, and had cut off his index finger in a home remodeling accident. His maniacal passion for climbing, aw-shucks humility, and unflagging optimism were an inspiration to me. We began filming together year after year, documenting the 20

chapters of his life and some of his greatest climbs. In 2008 Tommy first told me about The Dawn Wall, a theoretical route up the steepest, most daunting section of the 3,000 foot tall El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park. He’d spent years re-defining the limits of big wall free climbing on other El Cap routes, but The Dawn Wall represented a quantum leap forward in difficulty. Our first foray shooting footage on The Dawn Wall was a revelation. Tommy was in the early phases of exploring the wall, searching for a line that might someday be possible, if not for him, then perhaps for future generations of climbers. He was a thousand feet up, taking huge falls, trying insane moves, like an 8 foot sideways leap through the air from hold to hold. He seemed like a man possessed, on a mission that was obviously impossible. I had the sense that for Tommy, the idea of The Dawn Wall was about much more than the climb itself. For the next six years Tommy and his partner, Kevin Jorgeson, returned to Yosemite to try the

In January, 2015, after 9 days of living on the wall, Tommy completed one of the hardest sections of the route, reaching a new high point in his effort to do the whole climb from bottom to top. It was a thrilling moment for those in the climbing world who had been following his journey. For the first time, there was a real chance of success. The next morning Tommy and Kevin did an interview via phone with John Branch, the Pulitzer Prize winning sports reporter from The New York Times. When the story ran, it ignited a media frenzy, with ongoing coverage of the climb from every major media outlet in the world. Suddenly, Tommy’s deeply personal, quixotic quest was elevated into a global phenomenon. Over the next 10 days, high drama unfolded as Kevin got stuck on the hardest section, while Tommy forged ahead. How would the two partners, who had toiled together for years to solve this puzzle, reconcile the conflict between their relationship and their individual desires to succeed? While the press speculated breathlessly from a distance, our camera team, living on the wall with the climbers, captured every intimate moment. Finally, after 19 days of climbing, Tommy and Kevin reached the summit, surrounded by cheering friends and family. President Obama congratulated them. Tommy seemed almost stunned that his impossible dream had actually become reality. And I realized that we couldn’t have scripted a better final chapter to this story that I’d long been wanting to tell.


MAIN CAST Tommy Caldwell Kevin Jorgeson

DIRECTED BY Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer

CREW Director of Photography: Brett Lowell Cinematographer: Corey Rich Edited by: Josh Lowell Co-produced by: Nick Rosen, Zachary Barr Produced by: Josh Lowell, Philipp Manderla, Peter Mortimer








PERTH 24 4 M




93 M

270. 5 M



Compare the face of El Capitan to the highest buildings in each Tommy and Kevin Live on Stage tour city.



A RED BULL MEDIA interview. Printed with permissions




BLURRING THE LINE AND Captivating The World

In January, 2015, American rock climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captivated the world with their effort to climb the Dawn Wall, a seemingly impossible 3,000 foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, California. The pair lived on the sheer vertical cliff for weeks, igniting a frenzy of global media attention.

But for Tommy Caldwell, the Dawn Wall was much more than just a climb. It was the culmination of a lifetime defined by overcoming obstacles. At the age of 22, the climbing prodigy was taken hostage by rebels in Kyrgyzstan. Shortly after, he lost his index finger in an accident, but resolved to come back stronger. When his marriage fell apart, he escaped the pain by fixating on the extraordinary goal of free climbing the Dawn Wall. Blurring the line between dedication and obsession, Caldwell and his partner Jorgeson spend six years

meticulously plotting and practicing their route. On the final attempt, with the world watching, Caldwell is faced with a moment of truth. Should he abandon his partner to fulfill his ultimate dream, or risk his own success for the sake of their friendship? Here we share a RED BULL MEDIA interview with Tommy. What initiated the idea of climbing the Dawn Wall? I’ve been climbing El Capitan for probably 25 years, and so for a long time I was sort of doing all the existing routes, or climbing the major crack systems. I got to

a point where I just wondered: What was physically possible? And I was probably the only person up there that understood, that the very blank face, this thing that seemed really impossible, could potentially be climbed. So, I started to search out this route on what became the Dawn Wall, and then the journey continued with Kevin when he joined. What was driving you for so many years? For me it started out as sort of this dream like: What is possible? And then I went




through a divorce it became this: “How do I cope with this sort of pain? And then it kind of came back around to: What is possible?” There‘s also a moment early in the movie that talks about my first expedition in Kyrgyzstan where we got kidnapped by Islamic militants. I had to endure so much during that experience that it showed me that we, as humans, are capable of way more than we ever think we are in a normal, everyday basis. I’ve had this curiosity about that, and the Dawn Wall was a way to try and fulfill that curiosity. Can you describe what a day on the wall looks like – from getting up until you go to bed? Generally, when you big-wall climb, you get up at first light and you climb all day long until it gets dark, no matter what. The Dawn Wall was completely different than that because we needed good conditions and 26

really cold weather. If it’s hot your fingertips cut much more easily and the rubber on your shoes is softer and falls apart, so we had to wait until it was cold, which often meant night-time. Our daily logistics were pretty funny: we would wake up with the sun – it’s impossible to stay asleep up there without shade in the blazing sun. So you‘d wake up and just hang out in your portaledge for the whole day until night-time comes around. We would climb from about 5 o‘clock in the evening when the sun would leave the wall until 1 o‘clock in the morning, under headlamp a lot of the time. It was a good combination of a lot of time to enjoy the place that we were in and joke around, and when night-time would hit it would be down to business and it would be really intense for a few hours each night. How important is a climbing partner in a long year process

like the Dawn Wall? The energy that is derived from having a good partnership is much more powerful than anything you could have on your own. It’s really important to have a good partner. It’s about having a good adventure, it’s about accomplishment, and we are also mildly competitive which made us try a lot harder, honestly. Can you describe the support of your family and friends along the way? My parents have always been my biggest supporters in a lot of ways and would oftentimes come to Yosemite and watch, even come up and belay me at times. And then the larger community would rally behind us and give us so much encouragement. It was interesting, the people who really cared about us would





rally because they saw that it was bringing a lot to our lives. But it did seem unlikely that it would ever happen, so we also had people that where like, “They‘re being dumb, why are they wasting their lives on this, on this giant climb that’s never going to happen?” I felt it most intensely from the people that were encouraging. And family and friends were really a huge part of that. Your climb attracted a huge media interest. How bizarre did it feel to have cameras on you and people watching you all over the globe while you are challenging yourself with the climb of a lifetime? The media circus was one of the weirdest things that has happened to me. I’ve never been someone who was hugely

comfortable being a public person and suddenly I was like really a public person. Which was cool in a way because it sort of validated the obsession – we thought it was cool for all these years but a lot of other people just thought it was crazy. But the fact that everybody was so inspired, was really great to see. Going on every television network in the US, and a lot of other ones around the world, still felt quite bizarre. How did you find out that the captor from Kyrgyzstan survived? We escaped from Kyrgyzstan by me pushing our one remaining captor at that time off a cliff and us running for it. So, I left Kyrgyzstan thinking I‘d killed somebody. About 3 months



after we got home, a reporter found out that the guy survived and had been captured by the Kyrgyz’s Military and was imprisoned. When they told me that he had lived, I couldn’t believe it. But we were able to validate the news, and in a way it was a relief. I was pretty broken up about the fact that I had thought that I’d killed somebody so the fact that he didn’t die definitely helped. I think what was the hardest for me, was the fact that I had it within me to kill somebody. I mean, it’s easy to think of the rebels as being the enemy but in a lot of ways I just saw them as being a victim of their own circumstances. Like, who‘s to say that if I didn’t grow up in their world I wouldn’t be doing the same thing?

Credit Lee Cossey and Climbing Anchors





When most kids are seven, they are learning about life, learning to read and write, ride a bike, and maybe doing some fun stuff with friends. At seven years old, however, Angie Scarth-Johnson started rock climbing. At just nine years old she became the youngest person ever to complete a grade 31 climb at ‘Swingline’ at Red River Gorge, in the USA. A remarkable feat for any amateur climber. Angie will star in the upcoming WOMEN’S ADVENTURE FILM TOUR with the film PACIFIC LINES, in cinemas from 29 August 2019.

Mostly a self-taught climber, with a few mentors along the way, she began writing her training programs and training herself so she could achieve her insanely high goals. Late in 2018, the 14-yearold returned from competing in the International Federation of Sport Climbing Youth World Championships in Moscow. She placed well in the semi-finals in lead climbing and revealed she is eligible to compete in the Olympics by turning 16 in time for the qualifying event for Tokyo 2020 games. Angie’s debut film, Pacific Lines toured with the Women’s Adventure Film Tour earlier this year, and we caught up with this remarkable teenager to find out more. Angie began climbing earlier than most, but she says that nothing, in particular, drew her to it. “It’s

just what I did; I climbed almost anything in or outside the house.” Just like any other little kids might enjoy drawing or to play with dolls, climbing gave her a similar enjoyment. The more she climbed, the more she loved it. “I saw a challenge in something like a door, an entrance, or the bricks on the face of my house. There were no two doorways the same in my mind; all I needed was a different technique, and my imagination to climb it and make it interesting. The first time I visited a climbing gym, it blew my mind! Climbing door frames was no longer required! A fire was lit within me; it was love at first sight!” Angie started climbing at her local climbing gym in Canberra. But the foundation of what she knows today was learned from climbing

outdoors. “In my first few weeks at my local, I met some older guys who brought me into their world of climbing; I started going to Nowra with my new 30-year-old friends and dad every weekend,” she says. “They showed me the ropes; I learned something new every time. It soon became a ‘must do,’ a routine of climbing outdoors on the weekend, train indoors during weekdays to be able to send those projects. Most kids when they start to climb outdoors will top rope, this was not an option for me, due to restraints from having non-climbing parents. So, I had to pick up things quickly and conquer any fears of falling. I enjoyed outdoor climbing more than anything else because of the additional challenges I faced.” Angie believes that she is very lucky to live in The Blue Mountains, which




is heaven for Australian outdoor lead climbers. “I live just minutes away from some of our best outdoor climbing, so the obvious choice for my weekend climbing would have to be the climbing down the road. When I’m looking to change things up, or it gets too cold in the mountains, a trip down to Nowra is always on the cards. The climbing there is uniquely different from anything you find in my backyard, with short, powerful climbs,” says Angie. When most people are climbing, many things go through their head and there can be a battle between what they are thinking and feeling. Angie tells us that when she climbs, she feels different things at different points. “When I get a good hold that I can rest on, after some serious hard climbing, my body relaxes, and I feel a sense of relief. When I climb through hard sections, my body can feel extreme pain from the skin on my fingers or an uncomfortable position.”

Credit Lee Cossey and Climbing Anchors

This is when thoughts of technique and self-doubt cross her mind. “I believe that the trick to getting through an intense section is not to allow myself to have any of those negative thoughts and if I do, to not allow them to stick for too long or I will come off. When I step onto the rock at the beginning of a hard climb, I always tell myself what I want to be thinking about, this could be self-encouragement or reminding myself to breathe and relax and of course, the beta to achieve the route. For me, my performance is mainly based on this control of thoughts. When I start climbing, I can only control what my body is doing. I try and let my mind


drift off. Therefore, I try and think about starting rather than when I’m moving through the climb.”

strong inspirational women fighting for dreams and ambitions that I’m truly inspired by.”

Angie says because she is proud of everything she has done, it’s hard to single out one single climbing achievement. She says it’s not just about the final goal but all the hard work that goes into the journey beforehand. “As I’m getting older, I am discovering the importance of climbing routes that inspire you, regardless of grades, this different type of mindset is an achievement in itself and it’s allowing me to look and explore different types of challenges that I want to achieve. I see it as ‘one achievement is the inspiration for the next.’”

For many people, rock climbing is a scary option; however Angie has some solid advice for anyone who has considered climbing, but can’t get past their fears. “Never to doubt your ability, never accept defeat, and never make assumptions about things you haven’t tried before. If you’re scared of rock climbing, don’t dismiss your fear, work with it instead. This will help you build to be a strong-minded climber, if you’re scared to fall then work on exactly that, fall a million times until its nothing to you, don’t take the easy way out. No fear can’t be overcome!”

Angie, as a young athlete has many inspirational people around her, and she says the people that inspire her the most a strong women that simply go for it and crush it, no matter what their goals may be. “Climbing in the past was a maledominated sport. Lynn Hill claimed the first free ascent of the nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley. She then repeated it in the following year in less than 24 hours she was one of the few female climbers who, despite other people’s doubts of her ability, went for something deemed impossible at the time,” Angie tells us. “This was a pathway for females to start to believe in themselves and just like Lynn there is now are the new generation of strong-minded women continuing to achieve the impossible, pushing the limits and empowering other women to do the same. Outside of climbing Malala Yousufzai is another example of

The future sure does look bright for this young climbing star. “With the inclusion of climbing in the Olympics for 2020, I decided that I would regret not at least trying to qualify in Oceania’s qualification next year.” Angie will still be 15 years old when the time comes to qualify, with not one attended open competition due to not being old enough to compete this year. “Indoor climbing is so different from outdoors. The pressure and intensity of competition climbing is next level in comparison to outdoors and something I am not used to. At this point in my climbing, this will be the greatest challenge, but it’s also something I’m willing to give a go whether I’m successful or not. I’ve always taken risks and challenges which seemed impossible and taken failure as a learning opportunity; I will take this challenge no differently.”



AMANDA WATTS, Photo Credit Kamil Sustiak




CONQUERING THE PEAK Australia’s Best Climbers

Rock climbing as a sport has boomed in recent decades across the globe, with many amazing feats being achieved, and many new peaks being conquered. This rock climbing feature approaches some of the best climbers in Australia, to get insight into their inspiration and motivation.



Amanda Watts is not just a rock climber, she is also Australia’s leading climbing dietitian. As a dietician, she prides herself on an innovative and evidence-based approach to nutrition, health and performance. As a climber, Amanda has represented Australia in World Cup sport climbing, consistently been on the podium at bouldering nationals and has performed at an elite level across sport and trad climbing. During the 1990’s she discovered rock climbing and the passion grew from there. As a child she took part in everything from junior gymnastics, state level Little Athletics and A-Grade Netball, however, once the climbing bug took hold, she moved to the Blue Mountains to live and climb in one of Australia’s greatest rock-climbing locations.

It’s safe to say that some people are natural climbers, and this certainly stands true for Tom O’Halloran. Tom grew up climbing everything. Trees, his house, buildings, and bridges, he loved it before he even knew what rock climbing was. When Tom was 12, his parents signed him up to a climbing gym, and it has all ‘climbed’ from there.

Amanda’s climbing is not just a passion, or simply a sport she is great at, she has made climbing her life. When she’s not climbing or travelling to discover new locations and challenges, she works as a climbing dietician. Having spent her life in the pursuit of peak mental and physical performance, Amanda’s life mission is to empower others to achieve their goals.

He now lives there with his partner Amanda, (also featured in this issue), and their daughter Audrey, climbing as much as time allows and constantly seeking out new challenges.

Throughout his teenage years, Tom climbed in competitions, representing Australia several times. He travelled the globe following his climbing passion. In 2011 after realising he wanted to live and breathe climbing every day, Tom packed his life up, drove 1000km south to the epicenter of Australian climbing, the Blue Mountains and settled.

ANDREA HAH Based in the Blue Mountains, the rock-climbing capital of Australia, Andrea Hah is an Australian rock

climber known not just for her appearance on Australian Ninja Warrior, but for her ascent of Tiger Cat, making her the first Australian woman to climb grade 33. In 2015 Andrea won the Australian bouldering championships, and in 2017 she gained media attention as the first woman to conquer the warped wall on Season 1 of Australian Ninja Warrior. Her husband Lee Cossey is also a climber, climbing teacher and physiotherapist, and Andrea is an Exercise Physiologist. Together they live in Australia’s Blue Mountains fitting in as much climbing as possible. Andrea’s childhood involved ten years as a gymnast, which made her an extremely determined, strong person. It’s the kind of determination that any champion rock climber needs, and as many climbers know, the gymnastics background certainly makes a difference in the competitive sport. When she retired from competitive gymnastics at age 16, she tried many other disciplined fields like hurdling, aerial skiing, Cirque du Soleil, diving, and trampolining, however nothing excited her and drew her in as much as rock climbing.




Of all types of athletes, rock climbers are some of the most resilient, physically, and mentally durable of all. The physical and mental aspects of this sport are incredible, and each of these aspects can be dramatically affected in a split second. Climbers are great competitors; however, what they compete against is different to in every other sport known to humanity. They compete not just against each other, but against gravity, fatigue, time, and most importantly, they compete against their own mind. This is what separates climbers from the rest of us. How long have you been climbing and how did you start? AMANDA: 24 years now! It’s amazing how fast that time has gone. I found out about climbing when a friend of mine started going to the climbing gym and wouldn’t stop talking about it. I asked him to take me the next time he went, he was reluctant and said I wouldn’t like it but begrudgingly took me anyway. He was wrong and I has completely hooked from day one

and spent as much time as I could climbing and ‘nerding out’ on climbing books and magazines. I still have my first climbing journal full of my drawings of grip positions and climbing gear placements. TOM: I started in the climbing gym when I was 12. Before that I used to watch my Tarzan video then go and try to do the same swinging around climbing stuff in the Mango tree in our backyard. I’d also be climbing all over the house hanging off windowsills and the gutter. I loved it! I think Mum and Dad joined me up to the climbing gym because sooner or later I was going hurt myself! ANDREA: I started climbing at an indoor climbing gym 17 years ago after needing to resign from gymnastics due to injury. My gymnastics coach wanted to help me transfer to a new sport and facilitated me in trying a few different sports. It didn’t take me long to realise climbing is all I wanted to do. When you’re climbing, what are you thinking / feeling?

AMANDA: On a bad day, you deal with a normal life commentary droning through your head, backed up with a chorus of reasons why you won’t climb well. Those days feel hard. But they are also the days that are excellent for learning and practicing that mental health first aid. You get to practice catching negative thoughts as they pop up and finding a positive or a win to focus on. On a good day, you are thinking less and feeling more and you get to have that awesome flow feeling. If it’s a hard climb, you still have to try really, really hard but it takes less effort to try that hard. For anyone who hasn’t climbed, it’s like that feeling of driving a car. When you are learning, you are thinking about your foot on the brake or clutch, changing gears and all the other bits in a clunky way, once you have driven for a while, it all becomes automatic and intuitive. TOM: Ideally, you don’t have anything going through your mind, and your body just climbs. Having a 5-year-old daughter means that sometimes I have kids TV show songs going through my head. They are super upbeat and happy, so

AMANDA WATTS, Photo Credit Kamil Sustiak

“If you want an awesome way to stay fit and strong, climbing is it.”


ANDREA HAH, Photo Credit Lee Cossey


“Fear, pain and doubt get overrun by strength and determination.”

that puts you in a good headspace. When there is too much other noise in your head, thinking about sore skin, poor conditions, the vacuuming that needs doing, that’s when you can’t climb well. ANDREA: One of the precious things about climbing is that while I am doing it, I am 100% immersed. It is one of the few times in my life that I feel a sense of “flow state” in which I have a highly energised focus without any distraction. I am completely absorbed in the present moment and I am able to string together perfect complex sequences and fight through physical and mental discomfort. Fear, pain and doubt get overrun by strength and determination. What was your biggest climbing achievement? AMANDA: Being brave enough to jump off the path I was on, leave my whole family and life in Western Australia and follow my heart to create a climbing life. Climbing has given me such an awesome frame work for a healthy life, the juggle is worth it. It’s fun having to think

outside the box to create a career and life that allows for enough climbing and climbing training time and that works in the Blue Mountains. Working as a dietitian I get to see inside people’s lives. As a general rule, the happiest people are the ones who have found a passion that keeps them engaged and feeling young, who feel purposeful and who have stayed the most active. Climbing ticks those boxes for me.

mental fortitude, physical resilience, trad climbing competency and diversity, sport climbing strength, on-sighting tenacity and skill. Pushing a grade of one area of climbing, like sport climbing for example, represents skill or strength progression, but for me it doesn’t represent all that climbing has to offer.

TOM: I think deciding to move out of home in Brisbane and driving 1000km south to the Blue Mountains is my biggest achievement. At the time, it didn’t seem like a big thing, however, that one little decision has completely shifted the course of my entire life. I am loving my life now and can’t imagine anything different!

What advice would you give those who are scared to try rock climbing? AMANDA: It may just be the best thing you have ever done. So, give it a go! If heights aren’t your thing, then try one of the bouldering gyms. Climbing has taken me to some of the most beautiful places in the world and through it, I have met an awesome community of people. If you want an awesome way to stay fit and strong, climbing is it.

ANDREA: My biggest personal climbing achievement is free climbing Freerider in Yosemite, ground up. For me, this accomplishment encompasses so many challenging and different aspects of climbing. It represents

TOM: Walk into the bouldering gym, grab some shoes and chalk and pretend you’re six years old. Kids don’t think about it; they just play and want to move around. Climbing is super fun! Get some friends together and go check it out. The ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56



problem solving, improvement and physical challenges are addictive! Soon enough, you’ll be falling asleep thinking of different sequences to help you get the blue slab done! ANDREA: I think it’s often scary to try anything new, especially as adults. But if you can break down the components of rock climbing and find enjoyment in it, then it’s a very rewarding experience. There are a lot of new indoor bouldering gyms opening that are a great starting point. You get to learn how to climb without the complexities of heights and ropes. Once that feels more comfortable, you can progress to indoor route climbing. Then, eventually climbing outdoors and if you want, trad. There really is no need to force it. It’s about enjoying the process and overcoming a fear, usually bigger in your head. “The best climber at the cliff is the one having the most fun.” Does this sound like you? AMANDA: Yes, even if its type 2 – suffer first and reflect on the fun later. I try to find the fun in every day. The older I get, the more I see that life is the perspective you have on it. I feel very lucky to have been born into the life I have, and I definitely try to see the fun in it. TOM: I always try to keep smiling when I’m out climbing or in the gym training. Sometimes I’m not that good at it, pushing your personal limits can be difficult. But I try to catch myself when I’m in that headspace and change it as quickly as possible. The days I remember the most are the ones where I smiled the most! ANDREA: I agree having fun is a very important aspect of life, and


especially climbing. But honestly, I strongly believe in delayed gratification as well. Sometimes in the moment of being tired, scared, uncomfortable and failing, you might not be having the most fun. But pushing through those situations puts you in good stead to be the best climber you can be later on. So, I suppose, I eventually do have a lot of fun in most aspects of climbing, like training, being scared and falling, so that puts me in an advantageous position to be persistent. What scares you? Have you had any close calls? AMANDA: The baby bear that was living at the base of Half Dome in Yosemite was pretty scary! Even though it was only interested in our food and not us. We hiked up during the day, so we could sleep at the base and then climb the route in a day, starting at 4am. The bear kept walking along the little mini glacier below the route during the night and I don’t think I slept a wink. Overall, I am not a huge risk taker when it comes to my climbing and since I had our daughter, my biggest goal is to live a long healthy life with her. Aside from freak things happening, most variables in climbing are controllable. TOM: Bad falls scare me. I’ve taken a few and have seen a few. Gravity acts quick! Always double-check you’re tied or clipped in. Always make sure your spotter or belayer is paying attention, and always be aware of a crazy curve ball! Someone on the route next to you at the gym might swing into you, or you might land on someone walking underneath you as you boulder! Accidents happen quickly, and there is often no warning!

ANDREA: Climbing on soft, unstable, or overgrown wet rock and slabs in the dark scare me. When you combine those things, I climb horrendously poorly. When Lee and I tried to free El Corazon in Yosemite there were several moments where I genuinely feared for our safety. What do you think the future holds for the sport? AMANDA: The impact of climbing in the Olympics will be interesting to watch. A national training institute and some funding would be huge for the performance of Australian climbers internationally and for the development of the sport. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to have an Australian on an international podium soon. Outdoors, I am keen to see how the boundaries of adventure get pushed. TOM: It’s going to be very exciting to see where the sport goes. Even in the last few years, it has exploded in a way I don’t think many of us saw coming. Climbing is soon going to become a mainstream sport like football and cricket. I also think we will be seeing many Australian climbers standing on world cup podiums. ANDREA: There has been a large amount of growth in numbers in climbing in the last 10 years and a greater interest in specific training. I think with the recent inclusion of climbing in the Olympics and increased population there will be an emergence of strong children, and adults pushing the grades. It’s hard to predict how much higher than 37 sport climbing will go, but I believe the standard as a population will increase with more people climbing these higher grades than

TOM O’HALLORAN, Photo Credit Kamil Sustiak


“The problem solving, improvement and physical challenges are addictive!”

just the occasional outlier. Where are your favourite climbing areas and why? AMANDA: In Australia, Mount Buffalo in Victoria is a definite favourite. The area is just completely beautiful because of the climate. Huge trees, lush grass and big boulders and cliffs. It feels like adventure as soon as we hit the top of the windy road. I also love climbing next to the ocean. It’s pretty cool climbing above crashing waves. Overseas, Yosemite Valley is pretty special. It would be amazing to go back there again with more time with a clear agenda. TOM: I love a small quiet crag in the Blue Mountains called The Underworld. There’s something about it that feels special; I’m not sure what it is. It’s also home to my longest project to date, Hump of Trouble. I’ve spent probably 70 days trying to climb it! I also love Elphinstone in the Blue Mountains. Internationally, I love Ceuse in the south of France. It’s a beautiful blue and white streaked wall that crowns the top of a mountain. The entire cliff stretches for kilometres. Some of the most famous and historical routes in the world are there! Plus the view from the cliff out across the French countryside is awesome. ANDREA: My favourite climbing areas are The Grampians and Mt Arapiles because they represent

the climbing lifestyle I wish I had, instead of the normal grind of work, laundry and bills needing to be paid. The climbing at these destinations is world class, with everything from hard challenges to cruisy easy multi-pitches. What is your fitness and nutrition regime before and during a trip? AMANDA: From a fitness point of view, it is about having as much consistency with training as possible. The training may be tweaked a bit depending on the areas we are going to e.g. if its trad, slab climbing then there will be more emphasis on that style of climbing. In contrast, if its powerful pocket climbing, the finger boarding and boulder training would incorporate more of that. We generally try to leave the country as strong as we can as your power drops off without that training. Nutrition wise, we are pretty routine no matter where we are. What you eat and drink sets a rhythm for your life. We aim for 3-4 cups of vegetables or salad every day, try to have a few vegetarian meals a week and make sure we have a good protein and carbohydrate portion at every main meal. We aim for an extra hit of protein after a training session or straight after a long day at the cliff. We steer clear of the fad diets, because as a sports dietitian I know too much to be drawn in to hype of them and we make sure we eat the foods we really love each

week. When we travel we do the same, just with some more food experimenting thrown in! TOM: Before a trip, I will usually have a goal in mind for what I want to achieve. That may be climbing a certain number of routes at a certain difficulty or just one route in particular. To achieve this, I train hard in the lead up to be in the best shape I can be. To train that hard, you need to make sure you are putting the right fuel in. Your training is nothing without the right nutrition! I’m super lucky that my partner is a sports dietitian, so I can always ask her what I should be eating to perform my best as well as recovery for the next day! I love checking out the local foods when I’m in a new country. I’ve been to a few countries which have a very different type of foods they eat, so checking them out is always fun! For me, though, skin preservation is the number one limiting factor on a trip. Making sure your skin doesn’t blow out is massive. ANDREA: My fitness regime before a trip is usually quite specific to the kind of trip I am going on. Before bouldering trips, I will focus on max power, but before Yosemite I was going out for big days and trying to get comfortable on obscure crack climbs and trying not to get scared. Nutrition is always constant and a balanced diet of vegetables, rice, pasta, beans, coffee and chocolate. ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56












54 0 pag es coffee -tab le size O ve r 1 0 0 a r t icle s by cl i m bi n g pio ne e rs

ADVENTURES AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD tells the epic story of Tasmanian rock climbing from 1914 to the present day. The pioneers recount their adventures in their own words through a series of compelling short stories. The land that their words evoke is brought to life in many stunning photographs, making this an inspiring celebration of Tasmania’s climbing history.


O ve r 6 0 0 s tu n n i n g a c t io n a n d l a n d s ca pe p ho to s



Pre-purchase for $80 via the pozible crowd fund website – BOOKS AVAILABLE LATE OCTOBER – To stock this book email or phone: 0490 830 922 ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56 See for more Tasmanian climbing publications.



HOW TO MAKE A CLIMBER “If you are climbing with an inexperienced climber, here’s my standard explanation that I go through at the bottom of any climb to help you both.” with Aaron Lowndes 1. Start by walking a few meters AWAY from the bottom of your chosen climb, to the left or right if you can. Then get out the harnesses and put them on. You can also get your rack out. I’m going to skip telling you to do things like fit helmets and check buckles here - this isn’t a lesson in safety. You probably know that already. 2. Unpack your rope and flake out a few meters leaving the bottom end free of course, you’ll need them to tie into that. Since you want your partner to feel valued, you can get them to flake the rest of the rope while you do the next bit. 3. Take a nut and a cam off your rack and put them into the wall at about chest height, a couple of meters apart horizontally, between where you are setting up and the bottom of your chosen climb. It’s just a demonstration so they don’t need to be bomber (but bomber helps). Put a quickdraw on the nut so it’s ready to clip. You can then continue racking up, clipping the nut tool to your partner’s harness. If you’re on a sport climb, put two quickdraws on tree branches nearby, or if you have to lay them on the ground with a weight. 4. Once the rope is flaked, tie yourself and your partner into the ends. Oh dear... I’m struggling here... no don’t say it... ah fackCHECKTHEFUCKINGKNOT! Ah... sorry, that just came out. Won’t happen again, promise. 5. All right, pay attention now, because here’s the best bit, the explanation, the proof that you are in full control of what you’re both about to do. Point out that you and your partner are tied to each other with the rope, and that you’ll stay tied in like that until both of 42

you have finished the climb, way up there. So since you are tied to each other, and either one or both of you OR the rope is attached to the rock somehow at all times... then you are both attached to the rock and therefore neither of you can fall and hit the ground. That’s teamwork, that’s a System. That’s also a bit oversimplified, but hey. So all of the rest of this equipment, belay devices, gear, and other stuff hanging off you is all just making sure that the System stays put. It’s also why you should go to the toilet down here and not halfway up. 6. Demonstration time. Put yourself on belay using your partners belay loop. Give them the quick lesson on letting out the rope and keeping it locked off. Keep this short, you don’t want to overwhelm them with scary thoughts like “if you don’t hold this bit here I might fall and die and it’d be your fault”. Oh, you don’t trust their belaying seeing as they’ve never done it before? That’s very smart, but there are still a couple of tricks you can use - either put them on a brake-assist device like a Grigri (my personal favorite is a ClickUp) 6, or have someone else backup belay (if the backup person is a beginner have them slide a prusik along the brake rope so that they literally can’t let go), and lastly... don’t plan to fall. Another good rea-son why you’re on a grade 5 and not a 14. 7. Pick up your end of the rope, pretend to “lead climb” to your first piece and clip it. Explain how you’ll continue “up” the climb, putting in gear and clipping it as you go. Now you’ve clipped both pieces and you’re standing a few meters away, which happens to be at the bottom of your chosen climb but you don’t need to say that. Explain that somewhere “up here” you’ll have stopped climbing and you’ll be taking a few minutes to attach your-self to the rock with a big ol’ anchor made of many solid pieces. You don’t need to actually do this, just wave your hands around to indicate “big” and “solid”. Your

newbie shouldn’t do anything until you call down (insert your preferred call here), at which point they’ll take you off belay and call up the answer (get them to do this and say this or else they’ll forget). They won’t be able to climb yet because there will still be a pile of rope at their feet. Pretty soon they will see the rope being pulled up (demonstrate by pulling it towards you, flaking it at the foot of the chosen climb), until finally it will look more like “this” (quickly finish pulling and flaking until it is tight on their harness, OR unclip the two pieces, walk over and grab the flaked rope, bring it back to dump it at your feet and clip their end back in before saying “...this”). 8. Just because the rope is above them now, they absolutely cannot start climbing until you have finished doing some stuff (demonstrate stuff) and they hear you call down that they can climb. Now get them to “climb” to-wards you while you pretend to belay. Have them remove the two pieces as they go, pointing out the nut tool etc. When they get to you, say that they will be standing right next to you and you’ll be able to tell them what to do next, so there’s no point in going through it now. 9. Then you’ll start again, using the same process (if on a multi-pitch that is), until you’re both all the way at the top of the cliff.




Boiled Frog SYNDROME Have you heard the story about boiled frogs? It’s an old fable that talks about a frog being boiled alive, slowly. The idea is that if a frog is placed into boiling water, it will jump out. But if it’s placed in water that is warm, then brought to the boil slowly – it won’t be able to recognise the danger and will be cooked to death. It’s a harsh story, but it’s one that Terry Hewett believes resonates with many people today. Terry is CEO and founder of Urban Descent and Adventure Out, and he likens the spirit of people, and practical life skills, to that of the boiled frog. “People have slowly and insidiously been spoilt and weakened by western advancements to an extent where we have all but lost all the practical skills and natural resilience passed down through the generations,” he says. The thing is, Terry believes that all people are good, and they all have boundless potential. But many are so weakened by society and

technology, they don’t recognise their potential and they don’t realise the importance of adventure and connecting to nature. Since 1984, Terry has been committed to connecting people with themselves, others and nature through outdoor programs - igniting the spirit through adventure. This is how Adventure Out and Urban Descent came into being. “The thing is,” Terry says, “people like Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell (of Dawn Wall fame) don’t just live. But rather, they are ALIVE. And they have wealth in the most important instance – they are following a dream, they have a purpose and they have resilience.”

struck and the men went off to work in the factories leaving women to raise the kids,” Terry says.

100 years ago, before the industrial revolution, generations of men and women raised kids, set standards, taught and mentored the perfection of life skills. Learning by experience was central to becoming a capable, purposeful, resilient adult.

“This led to an increasing skills and competency gap that have now reached a tipping point. And today, many parents don’t have the life skills to pass along. How do parents teach resilience, self-sufficiency, problem solving?

“Then the industrial revolution

“That’s where we come in.”

Adventure Out provides adventure based training programs to help people learn about interpersonal and intra-personal relationships. The programs present a series of carefully structured challenges, as people overcome these challenges they learn a great deal about their perceived limitations, potential capabilities, selfconcept and independence. By working in groups throughout each program, participants learn about aspects of teamwork such as cooperation, communication, trust, problem solving and leadership. Lastly, by learning to deal with change, uncertainty and risk through adventure, participants develop valuable coping strategies that can be implemented back at the workplace and in their day to day living.


Urban Descent is Australia’s leading provider of adventure fundraising events for charities and community groups. These events enable people to abseil from CBD skyscrapers, ride a zip-line from stadium light towers, and swing from iconic bridges – all while raising much needed funds for their chosen cause. It is a not-for-profit entity, so all surplus funds go to the organisations it serves. Urban Descent events offer a unique challenge for adventurers with a social conscience. These highly engaging experiences generate large incomes for participating charities at very low cost, without requiring a heavy work load on staff and volunteers.




ATHLETE BY CHOICE with Duncan Brown

Duncan Brown is a climbing legend in Australia. In 2011 he started Athlete by Choice, which provides programs specific to rock climbing based on an extensive history of coaching and training for elite level climbing performance.

Duncan is a Personal Trainer and Australian National Team Coaching Director for Sport Climbing Australia. Although rock climbing is his area of true expertise, he also has experience coaching swimming, gymnastics, and trampoline. Duncan is a professional rock climber himself, and knows the sport inside and out, and what it takes to become great at it. With the 2020 Olympics drawing close, and the recent inclusion of sports climbing to the selection of sports, who better to discuss climbing in the Olympics than Duncan Brown. Can you tell us what we can expect from climbing in the games? 2020 will be the first time that Sport Climbing has featured at the Olympic Games, and it is an exciting time for the whole climbing community worldwide. With climbing growing so much as a recreational sport in the past decade it is much more in the public consciousness. It feels like there will be a lot of attention in the sport and hopefully the Games will deliver a great show. What are different aspects of the sport focussed on for the Games?

Due to our first Olympic Games being only one set of medals each for Women and Men the IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) decided on a combined format of Speed Climbing, Bouldering, and Lead Climbing. This was to ensure all three competitive disciplines were included in the Games. It creates a very complex situation for athletes; to prepare themselves for all three different disciplines. It also creates quite a spectacular show for the spectators, especially in the finals round. How does a climber get to Olympic level in the sport? Climbers worldwide have for many years competed in the international World Cup series each year in all disciplines as well as the World Championships every second year. Competing in National and international events as youth climbers and on into the Open ranks is the pathway many athletes follow on their way to being Olympic standard athletes. What specific training schedules

would a climber put the focus on for Olympic games preparation? It’s tricky as the combined format is new in the last couple of years, and athletes and coaches alike are still working on the best way to prepare for all three disciplines at once. It is kind of like a runner having to prepare for the 100m, the 400m hurdles, and the 10km at the same time - something that few other sports have to face. How will the Olympic games change the sport into the future? This is a topic that leads to plenty of debate with competition fans excited about an Olympic future, and outdoor purists concerned about crowds and the loss of the core values of typically outdoor pursuit. I feel that both sides of the coin are not mutually exclusive. While more interest means more participants and potentially the need for more management of our outdoor resources to mitigate the effects of increased traffic, the increased participation rates will also lead to more funding both for the indoor and outdoor worlds.




This funding will allow for better management and a better future for both sides of the sport. What are the key aspects of the sport in its current form that will change the most? The main change for the 2020 Games is the use of the Combined format, but while this is new, it is also out of necessity so that all three disciplines are included from the beginning of our Olympic journey. The hope is always for separate medals for the separate disciplines. It seems this is already underway, for Paris 2024. It is yet to be confirmed, so the changes may only be temporary. How should a new climber train with the aim for Olympic glory into the future, compared with someone who wants to learn to climb for the fun of it? The beginning of the journey is the same - learning safety skills and basic climbing skills is the same for both. Once people lean towards


competitive climbing, specialisation is needed to learn the skills required for the styles of climbing seen in competitions. The early years are the same regardless, with a focus on fun and enjoyment while learning all the foundational skills. What are some of the most crucial aspects of training climbers for the Olympics? Right now, Olympic climbing is so new that globally we are just on the cusp of getting used to training athletes for this level and complexity of the competition. Without a doubt, the mental aspects of our sport, as well as getting the athletes as much international competition experience as possible, is crucial to their development. Tell us about Athlete by Choice and how it helps with training athletes? Also, why did you decide to do this? ABC has been operating for nearly a decade now and provides

coaching and remote training support to athletes of all kinds, at all levels, all over the world. We work with everyone from competitive climbers, to high altitude alpinists, to weekend warriors, to professional outdoor climbers. The variety and complexity of all the different needs and goals of athletes are what excites us! Being able to help such a broad spectrum of interesting and motivated people to achieve their goals is amazingly rewarding. With no two people being the same, or ever having the same situation, facilities, schedule, or needs, it keeps us on our toes and motivated to grow and learn more to help our clients better. Over recent years while the majority of our clientele has been climbers we have also branched out and worked with trail runners, mountain bikers, skiers, snowboarders, hikers, and all sorts of other outdoor and adventure sports people around the globe. We love being involved with such a diversity of athletes.


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EXPLORING THE HEIGHTS A brief history of rock climbing in Australia

LEFT: Albert Armitage (Bert) Salmon in the Glass House Mountains in the early 1920s. A. A Salmon collection

Jean Easton (top) and Muriel Patten on Tibrogargan in the Glass House Mountains in 1934. Cliff and Lexie Wilson collection.

ROCKCLIMBING IN AUSTRALIA has evolved from a range of disparate elements — social, cultural, political and technological. Our climbing history has been fundamentally shaped by exploration, scientific discovery and only much more recently, recreation. Australian rockclimbing was ‘invented’ by the first Europeans who pushed the boundaries of the possible as they explored the sometimes threatening mountain landscapes that surrounded them.

The popularity of rockclimbing here spread slowly after World War II and more often than not, climbers emerged from the ranks of bushwalking clubs. By the midlate 1960s, influences from the UK to Yosemite reshaped the nature of climbing through technological advancements in equipment, new ethical standards and new attitudes. Although rockclimbing culture here is inexorably part of a global project, at the same time it retains its Australian character. So how did it all begin? by Michael Meadows All features of the Australian landscape, including high places, were inscribed into Indigenous cosmology for millennia before the European invasion and sadly, much of this knowledge has been lost. It seems highly likely that Indigenous people had climbed most — perhaps all — mountain

peaks across the country, generations before Europeans began to contemplate the activity we now know as climbing. There are varied accounts of Indigenous peoples in Australia and around the world climbing mountains, usually because high places were accorded powerful religious or spiritual significance. That perception remains an important dimension for many climbers today. The first known ascents of mountains in Australia coincided with European exploration of the continent. George Bass failed in his attempt to cross the Blue Mountains in 1796 using ropes and ‘scaling irons for his feet’, returning to Sydney after a fortnight of ‘toil and unprecedented peril’. He climbed Mount Wellington in Tasmania two years later during his historic circumnavigation of the island state with, Matthew

Flinders, who himself made the first European ascent of Beerburrum in the Glass House Mountains in 1799. Almost three decades later in August 1828, the notorious commandant of the Moreton Bay Penal settlement, Patrick Logan, stood on the summit of Mount Barney, one of the highest isolated summits in mainland Australia. He had to cast off his boots, climbing alone up the last, steep rocky section of a ridge leading to the summit of the mountain’s East Peak. As settlements spread along the east coast and exploration slowly crept inland, a group of men made the first descent of Govett’s Leap Waterfall in the Blue Mountains in 1880 using a safety rope. By the turn of the century, carrying a rope for protection had become commonplace for those exploring the heights with many of the first known ascents of local summits by surveyors. There were a few ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56



adventurous individuals who bagged the more remote peaks in Tasmania but during the late 19th century, climbing was primarily a method of scientific pursuit.

But on the other side of the world, the era of modern rockclimbing in Australia quite probably began on a warm March morning in 1910 when a 23-year-old driver for the Royal Australian Artillery, Henry Mikalsen, scrambled onto the virgin summit of the 380 metre trachyte spire, Coonowrin or Crookneck, in the Glass House Mountains north of Brisbane. It took him three hours to make the solo ascent through the maze of shrubbery, loose boulders and cliffs that comprise the vertical and sometimes overhanging north face of the mountain. Three decades before his achievement, Scottish-born explorer William Landsborough acknowledged that rockclimbing as a sport in Australia was lagging well behind its British antecedent. He observed shortly before his death in 1886 that if

Crookneck was in England, ‘it would have been climbed a dozen times’. Two years after Mikalsen’s first ascent of Crookneck, three sisters — Jenny, 26, Henrietta (‘Etty’), 20, and Sara Clark, 18 — cycled from Brisbane with ‘male companions’ to climb the mountain, becoming the first women to do so. Wearing ‘voluminous gym clothes’ and carrying a safety rope, they used belaying techniques similar to those used by climbers today, which was just as well — one of the trio of women slipped and was held by the rope tied around her waist above a 30 metre drop. It was the vanguard of an era in Australian climbing history where women would play an influential role. By the early 1920s, the enigmatic Bert Salmon was a regular climber on southeast Queensland crags. His boundless enthusiasm perhaps inadvertently started Australia’s first mass climbing movement that included significant numbers of women — a unique feature of early Australian climbing culture. From the start, Salmon and his cohort used lightweight gear — sand shoes and small knapsacks — and shunned

Members of Bert Salmon’s climbing group high on Mount Beerwah in the Glass House Mountains in 1932. A. A. Salmon collection.

By the 1850s, mountaineering in Europe and North America was an accepted recreational activity but it would be three decades before rockclimbing as a stand alone sport emerged simultaneously in the UK’s Lake District and in the German alps. Australia’s first mountaineer was Emmaline Freda du Faur. In 1910, she became the first Australian — and the first woman — to climb Aoraki-Mt Cook in the New Zealand Alps. She also excelled as a rockclimber, honing her skills on the rambling sandstone outcrops of what is now Ku-ringgai Chase National Park in Sydney near her family home. She was 28 years old when she stood on the highest summit in Australasia. Some have argued that George Finch was Australia’s first mountaineer although he emigrated to Europe with his family when he was 14 and never returned. Regardless, Finch was an accomplished mountaineer and scientist, inventing the down jacket and high altitude oxygen

equipment. He was part of the 1922 British Everest Expedition, climbing with Geoffrey Bruce to a record 8321 metres on the North Ridge using the breathing apparatus he had designed. With the summit around 500 metres above them, Bruce’s equipment failed and Finch made the agonising decision to turn back.


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A record 15 climbers on the south side of Crookneck, Glass House Mountains, in 1933. A. A. Salmon collection.


the use of a safety rope. Salmon argued that rope was potentially dangerous because if a leader fell, others would also be pulled to their doom. But in his 80th year, he acknowledged that his ‘no rope’ ethic was misguided. ‘I’m older and I see the error of my ways,’ he confessed. ‘Not everyone has the ego that carried me through.’ By the mid-1920s in the Blue Mountains, a small climbing group headed by Dr Eric Dark was also active in Katoomba. Dubbed the Blue Mountaineers, unlike their Queensland counterparts, they used ‘32 mm yacht manila or heavy sashcord’ as a safety rope. In August 1931, the group made the first ascent of the Arethusa Falls and Lerida Gorge at the head of the Grose Valley, climbing 100 metres of sheer cliffline. They used a variety of techniques, including swimming across the gorge to attach a rope on one wall to enable the party to bypass a huge boulder blocking their path. The use of a safety rope and belaying techniques in the Blue Mountains was central to the 54

success of Eric Dark and the diminutive Dorothy English, later known by her married name, Dot Butler — the ‘barefoot bushwalker’. Together, they made the first ascent of Crater Bluff in the Warrumbungles in 1936. Although it was English’s first rockclimbing experience, she led one of the pitches — climbing barefoot — up what is now the descent route, the ‘Green Glacier’. Dot Butler’s mentor was Sydney solicitor Marie Byles. In 1928, she had extended on her existing bushwalking interests and travelled to the UK and Canada on a climbing trip, making a first ascent in the Rockies. She returned to Sydney in 1929 and immediately left for Christchurch, becoming the second Australian woman to climb the highest mountain in Australasia — Aoraki-Mount Cook. She was 28 — the same age as Freda du Faur when she made the first female ascent 18 years earlier. Throughout the 1930s until the onset of World War II, southeast Queensland was the undisputed centre of climbing activity in the country with large groups of men and women making regular

ascents of local mountains. Women were involved in the most difficult ascents of the day — often outnumbering men — with the exploits of climbers like Jean Easton and Muriel Patten well known to readers of the Brisbane Courier. In 1934, Muriel Patten became the first woman to climb the First Sister at Katoomba — without a rope, of course — with Jean Easton becoming the second, three months later. It was a halcyon period in Australian climbing history, particularly for young women, who were able to experience outdoor activities like climbing in an environment removed from the mores of polite society. The aftermath of World War II had a dramatic impact on climbing culture globally with the advent of new equipment and techniques. But in Australia and elsewhere, it also resulted in women virtually disappearing from the heights with societal pressure for them to refocus on family and home affairs as part of the postwar nation building process. Although there was a significant increase in the number of bushwalking and climbing clubs here — many associated with burgeoning university enrolments — women had almost vanished entirely from the ranks of climbers. The influential University of Queensland Bushwalking Club (UQBWC) formed in 1950 with a small core of adventurers who pushed the known boundaries of difficulty well beyond the limits established by Bert Salmon and his colleagues. The Sydney Rockclimbing Club formed 12 months later with the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club emerging around the same time. The Victorian Climbing Club was set up in 1952. Around this time, bushwalking groups were using ropes while canyoning in the Blue Mountains and it seemed a logical transition to extend their use to climbing. A key international influence was former Lakeland climbing guide Bill Peascod who emigrated to Australia in 1952. He made several first ascents (Tonduron and the Breadknife) in the Warrumbungles with Sydney rockclimber Russ


In the early 1960s, the discovery of the climbing potential at Mount Arapiles in Western Victoria would change the face of Australian climbing. It is arguably the country’s foremost climbing destination with thousands of recorded climbing routes ranging from easy to amongst the most difficult in the country. But it was early days. In Queensland, it was another expatriate — British climber Les

Wood — who was pushing climbing standards to new levels. He introduced the use of specialised boots with high friction rubber soles and other climbing technologies such as carrying brass machine nuts and ball bearing races on a sling for wedging into cracks — the earliest form of lightweight protection now used by all traditional (‘trad’) climbers. It was around this time that arguably the most influential figure in shaping postwar Australian climbing culture emerged. Sydneybased climber John Ewbank gained a reputation not only for his visionary climbing performances on the Blue Mountains sandstone or the Warrumbungles’ trachyte, but also for his often acerbic public pronouncements on climbing ethics. The brash expatriate Brit introduced into Australia an entirely new open-ended grading system for climbs that eschewed the clumsy British and American systems, bedevilled by a complexity of numbers and letters. Once his radical, yet elegantly simple scheme was adopted by his home state of New South Wales in 1967, the rest of Australia quickly followed suit. The system is now also used in New

Zealand and South Africa. Ewbank often clashed with mainstream climbers in the Blue Mountains when he attacked the destruction caused by overzealous drilling and placing of bolts in the soft sandstone cliffs — and for the clean climbing ethos he ruthlessly promoted. It was late in 1966 that the 18 year old pushed Australian climbing into a new zone, climbing The Janicepts at Wirindi. It remained Australia’s hardest climbing route for six years. It was the beginning of an era that applied a new climbing technique — jamming hands and feet into cracks and resting on steep routes — and new ways of protecting the leader, using artificial chockstones of various shapes and sizes. Discovery of the crag, Frog Buttress, near the regional township of Boonah, in November 1968 propelled Queensland climbers into a new era where pitons and the damage they caused to cliffs were superseded almost overnight. The vertical cracks of the Buttress were ideal for placement of ‘clean’ protection devices — lightweight aluminium chockstones. Eric Dark and Eric Lowe (facing camera) climbing on Boar’s Head Rock, Katoomba, in the early 1930s. Blue Mountains Library.

Kippax in 1954. Peascod brought with him knowledge of protection for the leader as well as access to pitons and carabiners — a rarity in Australian climbing circles at that time. Climbers in the Blue Mountains were soon carrying pebbles to wedge into cracks for protection — a common technique used for climbing on the crags in England and Wales. Use of expansion bolts, called ‘terriers’, drilled directly into the rock, appeared on the climbing scene in New South Wales around 1960, pushing the possibilities of protection for the leader to new limits with the difficulty of new ascents increasing accordingly.

A handful of climbers began to train specifically for climbing as a new European approach — sport climbing — began to gain in popularity in the mid-late 1970s. It involved choosing steep, often smooth cliff faces which required climbers to pre-place protection— usually by drilling and placing bolts. It pushed the level of difficulty of the climbs that resulted higher and higher. Another controversial international influence on the Australian climbing scene was gymnasts’ chalk, first used here in 1975 by visiting United States’ climber Henry Barber. Inexorably, the gap between the hardest climbs in Australia and overseas was narrowing and by 1985, Mount Arapiles boasted the equal hardest climb in the world — Punks in the Gym — the result of siege tactics by two international climbers, Martin Scheel from Switzerland and Wolfgang Güllich from Germany. Cams — spring-loaded devices placed into cracks for protection




— also arrived on the scene in the late 1970s offering a radical shift in protecting lead climbers on a route. But despite the availability of such devices, the growing popularity of sport climbing coincided with an ethical shift and by the mid-1980s, bolts — permanently attached to rock faces for protection — had become commonplace on most crags in Australia. As a direct spinoff from the sport climbing craze, Australia’s first indoor climbing gym opened in Sydney in the early 1990s with other large urban centres following suit. Interestingly, climbing gyms have attracted significant numbers of women as members, lured by the benefits of an allbody workout coupled with the challenge of rockclimbing. Female/ male membership of many of the climbing gyms across Australia is now close to 50:50, approaching the proportions of men and women who climbed in the 1930s on the crags of southeast Queensland. The influence of female role models like American Coral Bowman and the home-grown Louise Shepherd in the 1970s have encouraged more Australian women to see climbing as no longer the preserve of ageing men wearing ‘baggy pants and hobbers’, as the enigmatic John Ewbank once irreverently described the ‘old guard’ of the Sydney Rockclimbing Club. An answer to the age-old question of why we climb remains elusive. Jean Easton was paramount in the large group of women who climbed with Bert Salmon and others throughout the late 1920s and 1930s in southeast Queensland. She made many first ascents — and first female ascents — of crags and cliffs in eastern Australia. So why did she climb? ‘To realise fully the true majesty, beauty, and mystery of these peaks, one must become intimately associated with them,’ she once replied in a newspaper interview. Another of Bert’s climbing proteges was 16-yearold Val North, a family friend. She accompanied him on an attempt to climb one of the last remaining virgin summits in Queensland in 1939 in the Steamer formation, near Warwick. Seventy years later, aged 86, she recalled her climbing days: 56

‘Places we went to — it just felt as if it was the most wonderful place in the world. It was quite spiritual.’ The vast majority of postwar climbers I have interviewed reflect similar feelings about climbing and its impact. But change is in the air with environmental and cultural concerns threatening to limit or ban access to climbing destinations around the country. The damage to significant sites caused by some climbers has led to increasing scrutiny of bolt placement in national parks, for example. It has already led to closure of climbing areas in several places, most recently the Grampians in Victoria. And undoubtedly there will be more to come. These tensions are real and climbers must acknowledge them — they may be the most challenging future issues to resolve in the pantheon of Australian climbing history. Climber turned musician John Ewbank reflected on this very question at a gathering of climbers in the Blue Mountains 25 years ago. His prescient observations are worth recalling: ‘Obviously everything has changed; climbing has become a mainstream activity and the most accessible and high profile branch of it is sport climbing. It is up to climbers themselves to try to develop it in such a way that it does not ruin

trad climbing areas or create such a backlash among the non-climbing public and land management bodies that climbing is banned altogether.’ Little has changed in terms of climbing technologies since the 1980s: bolts are accepted as ‘common sense’; protection devices have become more sophisticated; everything has become lighter; training regimes are commonplace; climbing gyms are everywhere; and the difficulty of climbing routes continues to advance incrementally. Traditional (trad) climbing — where it all began — remains on the periphery. But regardless, the common element in all of this is people and our ability to choose to climb at a level which suits us. Writer Rebecca Solnit perhaps best sums it up: ‘The history of mountaineering is about the firsts, mosts, and disasters, but behind the dozens of famous faces are countless mountaineers whose rewards have been entirely private and personal.’ Despite the disagreements, rockclimbing in Australia — like its international antecedents — continues to offer individuals and groups unique, rewarding experiences and it is this dimension that seems highly unlikely to change.

RRP $39.95 plus postage from This book offers the first detailed account of the virtually unknown pioneers of Australian rockclimbing along with the story of the development of climbing in Queensland after World War II. It is based on a wide range of sources: existing literature on Australian climbing, archival documents, personal diaries and interviews with surviving post-war climbers. Author Michael Meadows started bushwalking and climbing in Brisbane as a teenager in the mid-1960s. Most of his climbing time has been spent exploring the crags of southeast Queensland.

One step at a time. We’re with you.

Adrenalin. Endurance. Fear. Strength. Relaxation. Out there is all about survival – getting you to the next challenge. The innovative Survival First Aid KITs are the most comprehensive kits on the market. Perfect for travel to remote areas, they’ll get you to places you’ve always wanted to go. Survival Emergency Solutions is proud to be the Official O Travel Partner of The Dawn Wall’s Australian Tour, showcasing the world’s best rock climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56





ONE DAY IN APRIL... FINLAND 2019 - WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT April 2 was here and after months of planning, the day of departure for my World Record Attempt had arrived. I had been watching the weather patterns in Kilpisjarvi closely for the best part of three weeks, and it was with excitement and anticipation that I boarded for my flight with Qantas and Qatar Airlines to Helsinki. While the travel would only take 24 hours, I then had a layover in Helsinki for 4 hours followed by a connection to Rovaniemi, and a 7-hour car drive to Kilpisjarvi in Lapland. It was here that the adventure truly began...

by Charles Werb

I finally arrived at destination Kilpisjarvi and not had a proper meal for 48 hours. My host suggested that I head to the local diner for a traditional Finnish buffet. What a great suggestion that was. Fully fed and ready to start this adventure, I headed straight to the local service station where my crate had been delivered. It was all starting to resonate with me now that I was here trying to achieve something really special. The rest of the afternoon was spent unpacking the crate and assembling The SWOOSH, putting on the new decals and preparing for the next two days. Exhausted but satisfied with the

day’s achievements, it was time to head off to my base camp in Skibotn, Norway with my host, a magnificent 50-kilometre drive through the Fjords. The cottage on the fjord was sensational and like all Scandinavian homes has a sauna about 100 metres from the house. I must confess that I used the traditional Scandinavian way every day for the next six days, sauna followed by a swim in the fjord in frigid 2-degree water. But we were not here to enjoy the sauna; this trip was all about setting a speed record as the fastest person to ever ride a Snowsailer. What followed over the next 24 hours was what this dream was

all about. I woke up at 5 am, had coffee, and breakfast, and went to meet Ville Eskonen, my guide, all by 6:00 am. Now, this guy knew his stuff. Ville has been guiding in Lapland for eight years now, and if you are thinking of heading up this way, summer or winter, be sure to contact Ville at www. Ville had the snowmobile and sled all rigged and ready when I arrived at the carpark in Kilpisjarvi. We loaded all the gear and Snowsailer into the sled and headed up the range, chasing the wind from the lake to lake. After 3 hours on the back of the snowmobile, it started feeling like Deja vu with regards to the wind. ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56



I have spent two years chasing this dream and had been thwarted time and time again. The fastest I have ever achieved has been 40km/h and never been able to achieve a 24-hour record. Was this trip, the dream to chase 100km/h going to come to naught as well? Ville and I decided that we would attempt to reach the top lake and set up our course there as it would give me the best chance of exceeding what I had previously achieved. I was determined that this was going to be the best opportunity and as this attempt was going to be a Guinness World Record attempt, and I had to follow their guidelines. This means I had to set a course 1000 metres in length that I could ride into, with a maximum decline of 6 degrees. After setting the course, I then spent the next 7 hours riding into and out of this course, with a tow back to the start line with Ville. Around 6 pm, the wind started to pick up again, and the opportunity 60

to do something amazing presented itself on what happened to be the last run of the day. To be in a position to explain and feel this shift in momentum is something that I will never be able to forget. People who I have spoken to, who have experienced similar events have said that when it starts, it was almost as if it is happening in slow motion. Sailing into the course for the last time, I can remember a slight wind shift followed by additional pressure on the main sheet. This was my time, and I knew it. Sheeting in and bearing slightly off on a broad reach, I immediately felt a massive increase in speed. This was what I was looking for, the chance to go faster than I had ever been, and the feeling of speed, being just 3 inches off the ground was intense. I remember bouncing on the Sastrugi and at some stage even getting some air. Sitting this low to the ground gave a ridiculous feeling of speed. Not knowing how fast I was going due to all my energy being devoted

to remaining in control and steer the course, meant when I stopped I grabbed for my iPhone, so I could immediately download the data from my Garmin Fenix 5. The results left me grinning from ear to ear, 62km/h, making me the fastest person to ever Snowsail. The best part of this had brought my circle to a close. From the start of the dream from 2014 to 2019 has been an amazing journey. The documentary covering this journey will be launched on the 17th of August 2019. It will be free to download from the website www. None of this journey would have been possible without my amazing band of sponsors, especially those who have been with me from the start. Please do visit these sponsors, who are all listed on our sponsor’s page. They are the companies that make these journeys possible, and I will be eternally grateful for their ongoing support. I am also proud to call all of them my friends.



Images Credit: Chris Ord



Beau Miles:


Backyard adventurer, filmmaker. On a recent crossing of Bass Strait in a sea kayak, BEAU MILES was voted 5th worst dressed in a party of 5. He’s a little offbeat and believes that we’re all weird. Before featuring in RunNation Film Festival in August, we asked him to give us a little insight into his world... albeit a quirky one.

I’ve been kindly asked to write about myself. Here are five questions I’m asking, and answering myself. Thanks for asking. No worries. Question 1. Hi Beau. Nice to meet you. Thanks. Nice beard, by the way. Answer. For the record, Beau, that wasn’t a question, you just said hi, and gave yourself a compliment. I tell you what, I’ll tell myself a little about my past, as if my past 39 years were represented in a paragraph. I started out in life as a redheaded kid, living on a small farm in Gippsland, near Melbourne. I loved to climb trees

and fish, and was obsessive about sport. I wasn’t great at anything. Running was taken up as a teen and I’ve never looked back, which took me over the Australian Alps in 2011 as the first person to run the famous 650km track. My red hair is now auburn (beige) as I’ve been wearing a hat for 20 years, drowning out the red. Much of the sun I’ve seen in from being at sea, in a sea kayak. A few notable journeys are paddling from Mozambique to Cape Town (5 months, 2000km) and more recently, across Bass

Strait. I have a PhD related to adventure, ethnography (people, the self) and expeditionary filmmaking. I know, I can’t believe you can become a doctor in such things. I’m married to Helen, who is the best person in the world (who is pregnant with a small tall person, or redhead), and I like to make things. Question 2. What is your favourite food? Answer. Nice question. Liquorice. I occasionally fast for a day or two, then eat liquorice as my first food. It’s my version of Nirvana. Question 3. Your recent ‘junk’ ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56



series of films (link) has you making cool stuff out of junk. What’s the deal? Answer. Pretty simple, Beau. We detest ‘made to break’ culture. So, I make things from junk, or crappy things to give them another life. Question 4. You make films with a tall guy called Mitch. Tell yourself about that.

channel are Mitch and Beau productions. I should check it out. Good idea. Question 5. What’s next in terms of films and adventures? Answer. I see what you’re doing here; getting people excited about something. Classy. I recently ran an old train line, a 43km railway that travels through all the towns that I know the most. The film is called Run the Line and will premiere at the Run Nation film festival. You should check it out. Thanks, I will.

IMAGES Credit: Chris Ord

Answer. Mitch is a great bloke, and my filmmaking partner now-a-days. I used to shoot trip footage myself, returning home

with a box full of tapes. I’d then hook up with an editor and production types, cooking up a story. I’m now slightly more strategic, and have Mitch along for the ride, who has become a brilliant editor and shot maker. Between us, we’ve become a well-balanced team, taking my filmmaking and ideas to another level- and a new online audience. Having a Mitch as my filmmaking partner is like having a comfortable pair of shoes that remind you of your potential when things are a good fit. All the new stuff on my YouTube


on sale now

Emil Mandyczewsky on Hard Reset (27) at Blue Mountains. Image Credit: Kamil Sustiak


By Dave Barnes

THE SEND My daughter, Charlotte is a gymnast. She trains like a soldier and her body is a machine. Before she uses any apparatus in the gym she chalks her hands as gymnasts have always done. John Gill, the American bouldering pioneer was also a gymnast. In 1954 this young fella would chalk up before mounting the bars. As he built strength he discovered climbing and started cutting loose on Stone Mountain, Georgia, coupled with clandestine buildering expeditions around his college. John brought the chalk from the gym to the crag and as they say in the classics, the rest is history. Climbing has adapted the use of chalk since that time. Even the cleanest climbers of each subsequent generation, Barber, Bachar, Croft, Florine, the Crazy Guy - Honner, they all climbed or climb as clean as a hospital ward but they all have used chalk. Hot Henry Barber did his bit for the chalk cause bringing it on his Hot Henry Tour of Australia in 1975. Even Chris Baxter could see no wrong and washed his hands in it.


The problem is chalk is not clean. Magnesium Carbonate is a compound of minerals. It comes from underground. Follow the chalk trail and 70% of the time you will end up in China. I tell you what, you think we have problems with chalk on rock, in China whole regions where they mine the stuff have turned white. Centennial Glenn in the Bluey’s or Millennium Wall in the Grampians could go on vacation in North Eastern China and be incognito. Magnesium carbonate is as tough as any metal and often used in industry to keep things lined and to keep liquid out. Climbing is small fry in industrial commerce but an array of climbing companies are selling you the same thing just with different wrapping. What John Gill realised was an aid to his bouldering is now used

by climbers everywhere and has now become an eyesore to the public. When there was once a small community of climbers, there are now climbing movies that win Academy Awards. Climbing is out there and people are watching. The visual aspect of a climb in the landscape is now frequently accompanied by lots of bolts and lots of chalk. There is no need to draw a line, just join the dots. Other people (those that don’t climb) like watching a climber doing Vogue poses, but aren’t sold on the bolting business and see chalk as environmental vandalism. Actions have been taken at crags around the world to lessen the impact from Fontainebleau in France, the Shawgunks in The United States and Arapiles to a degree in Australia. Ethical and environmental standards have been applied to the climbing community in these locations. There are some do’s and don’t’s but not a lot of muscle to ensure they comply. To counter the negative trends in climbing maybe we can rethink how we climb? As our sport, come way of life, continues to evolve and expand maybe we can too? Back in the 70’s the tip of the


climbing edge was being targeted. How far can we push, how hard can we climb? For many years this push was more about the aesthetics of climbing not the hardness of the grade. Clean climbing aspired to eliminate points of aid, to use natural gear instead of pins, the goal was to free up the routes. Instead of drilling into the rock, we drilled down on ourselves to be stronger, braver, smarter and also cleaner than previous generations. Then, the 80’s happened, and the world was about excess. Like all evolutions, something happened in climbing. People focused on The Gill, the gymnastic movement on the rock. To push the envelope, all effort had to be focused on moves. This style became the updated and rebranded free climbing but chalk and bolts became the news to get them there. By the 1990’s rock climbing had lost a bit of its soul, it became a sport. climbing became more accessible and gyms made climbers stronger meant that climbers multiplied and crags have born the brunt.

Train in the Grampians (Both routes 5.14d - 35)?

Maybe it’s time to raise the bar again as the clean climbers did in the 70’s? We can introduce a modern standard of free climbing. We can clean up those sport routes and the modern climber can climb them in a higher style and standard. Maybe we can redefine greatness not just by exacting hard pulls and wicked cross overs but by exacting hard moves, wicked cross overs and chalk-less ascents? Or by exacting hard moves, wicked cross overs, no chalk ascents and by clipping fewer bolts?

“No way, impossible.” I hear you say.

Who’s got the chops to raise the bar?

I wonder if they will be steely enough to pick the higher road and tie into the next climbing era with less bolts and no chalk and in the process eliminate the oversights of those of us who preceded them.

Climbing has not been seeking to build integrity it’s been seeking sponsors. In this article I have identified that we have been missing the challenges right under our noses. Just like when Hot Henry freed Kachoong (21) at Arapiles and breathed wow back into our vocabulary and Mike Law freed Janicepts in 1976 at Mount Piddington in that same era, maybe THE dude to redefine climbing in Australia for the 21st will be you? Maybe you could aim to do a chalkless ascent of a test piece or clip fewer bolts on Retired Extremely Dangerous in the Bluey’s or Groove

“We’ve heard this all before.” Walls on land or in the mind are meant to be climbed. It’s the human condition, it’s the drive behind every climber to keep cutting through, to push the limits and that’s good. I don’t know much but what I do know is that as I age the next generation keeps coming. Young climbers are always hungry to leave their mark.

This type of clean climbing presents a tremendous challenge to raise the bar to a whole other level. Safety is still the priority and you don’t need to be an Alex but temporing your fire to achieve a stronger send well, that would be worth texting mum about and that will bring a whole new generation of free climbing to the for. The edge is never far away if you look hard enough.

Images Credit: Jules Truo - Adam Hedgecoe Photography

Like the towns in Northern China the industry of chalk has left a mark on our crags causing conflict with land users, Parks and the wider community. We are on the news now for the wrong reasons.

I want to put forward an alternative. Stay with me.



RUMPL PUFFY BLANKET The Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket is amazing! It’s as small as a sleeping bag, easy to carry on your shoulder or to attach to your backpack. It’ super comfy and is a great addition to your belongings for your next adventure. Not to mention, the Original Puffy Blanket is guaranteed to keep you warm! Use it while watching Netflix on the lounge, or as you lie under the stars pondering your next climb, this blanket has synthetic insulation that is durable, water resistant, odour and stain resistant! It measures 1.27m x 1.78m when open, which makes it ideal if you’re on your own (or you want to cover the kids in their tent!). There are plenty of colour options and it’s definitely a great alternative to a sleeping bag or regular throw blanket.

OSPREY ROOK & RENN BACKPACK Osprey backpacks are certainly some of the best around and to be honest, we’ve never had a bad thing to say about them. The new Osprey Rook (men’s) and Renn (women’s) series is no different. There are some great features about this backpack that make it ideal for hikers and climbers alike. It comes in 50L and 65L, includes a zippered sleeping bag compartment with removable sleeping pad straps – making it amazing for overnight or weekend hiking trips. It has a mesh harness with 10cm of adjustability so you can tailor it to suit your torso length, and it comes with a range of added features – side pockets, hipbelt pockets, zippered fixed top lid, rain cover. And it’s only 1.5kg so you really can take it anywhere!

RUIKE LD51 As a climber and adventurer, you want to be prepared for anything. The Ruike LD51 makes this so. It’s a small knife at just 7.8 inches, and will easily fit in your back pocket. It’s a Swiss-style knife, without the hectic price tag, and is filled with all the tools you need. There’s large blade, pliers, wire cutter, fishing line pliers, scissors, wire bender, screwdriver, and wire stripper. It also has a wood saw, wrench, reamer with sewing eye, belt cutter, corkscrew and tweezers. It even comes with a bottle opener, perfect for celebrating after a long day of climbing! Whether you’re camping, or you’re hiking and climbing, don’t be without this amazing knife. It has everything you will ever need, and more and it is so easy to use. 68

AUSTRALIA’S FIRST NATURALISTS Climbing takes you to some amazing places and whether you’re looking for something to do when you’re travelling by plane, or camping under the stars after a great day on the mountains, this is it. Australia’s First Naturalists explores Indigenous peoples’ untold contribution to Australian Zoology. The book takes you into the world of the past, that is designed to heighten our appreciation of the previously unrecognised complex knowledge of Indigenous societies. There are five chapters in this book, with the first discussing pre-arrival of the colonial naturalists; the next three chapters talking about the partnerships between the Indigenous people and the colonials; and finally the impact and role of the Indigenous people when it comes to the modern world. It’s an easy to read book that is entertaining and resourceful.

ECCO EXESTROKE HIKING BOOTS If you’ve never heard of the material these are made from, Dyneema, it is the strongest material on earth, and can be up to 15 times stronger than steel. But here’s the thing, it’s also extremely lightweight and flexible, which is why it makes for such great material for boots that take a pounding. These hiking boots from ECCO are something else. With Phorene soles, they create an extra bounce in your step, quite literally. Compared to any normal PU soles, Phporene offers a far more advanced sole. And when hiking for the first time in these boots, it shows. Not only do these boots look fantastic, but they are also practical and comfortable. You can easily wear them hiking in the morning and wear them to a restaurant at night (maybe minus the mud), and that’s exactly what I do. They are stylish enough to match any of my finest going out gear, and they stand up to any test on the trail. Although they are slightly heavier than other boots I’ve tried, they are far stronger.

NIKWAX PRODUCTS There’s not a lot worse than getting stinky! You might be a climber, a cyclist, hiker, runner – or just skiing in the winter and loaded up on thermals. It might be snowing outside, but that doesn’t mean you’re not sweating up a storm under all those layers. That’s where Nikwax BaseFresh® comes in useful. It comes as a liquid that is designed to deodorise, soften your skin and make your clothes dry faster! When it comes time to wash your adventure gear, you use BaseFresh® in the wash, with your usual detergent, rather than using a fabric softener. It doesn’t just mask bad odours, it gets rid of them. It also leaves your clothes smelling fresh, which we love. Well worth the affordable price. NikWax also produce a number of other products, including the Footwear Cleaning Gel and Fabric and Leather Proof. Both of these are ideal if you need to refresh your climbing and hiking gear.



OUTBACK SOLAR PANELS, SATPHONE SHOP Beam has just released a new range of leading edge solar panels for power on-the-go and off the grid areas. These devices are made with the latest SunPower ETFE (Ethylene TetraFluoroEthylene) technology; a high strength polymer that makes them up to 20% more efficient than previous solar cell generations. This is due to them being more compact, lightweight and stable in performance. Each of the panel’s textured surface are embossed with a striped pattern that is more durable and improves light absorbance by 5%. All solar panels are fully certified and are tested with a 12-month peace of mind warranty. Currently, they are available exclusively from SatPhone Shop as part of a launch special where you can save 25% off MSRP. The Outback 6W solar panel is great if you’re looking for something portable you can take on the go. The four panels can easily fold up in your backpack with no issues. It only weighs 205 grams so it’s also one of the lighter solar panels on the market. If you need to travel light for outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing or cycling, then the 6W won’t over encumber you. The panels themselves feel very durable and are water resistant so you can travel with it easily in rural or urban environments. Charging power is good when there is lots of sunlight, however I did notice it will still charge slowly in overcast weather too. Charging my Iridium GO! to full capacity took a little under 3 hours when placing the 6W flat under full sunlight. I like that there is 2 LED’s that show how much power is being generated by the sun; and how much sunlight is exposed to your solar panel. With this information, I can decide whether I need to move the panel to a different location. In the box, there are two carabiner clips where I can clip the panel onto my bag while I charge my Iridium GO! in my pocket. The supplied USB charging cord has 2 connectors- micro USB and lightning adaptor attached so it will work with most portable smart devices. The 11W is in the middle of the Outback range with slightly more light absorbance due to its larger dimensions (330mmL x 258mmW) and slightly faster charging. The largest solar panel in the Outback range is the Outback 20W which has double the length of the 11W when laid flat allowing for better sunlight coverage. It is also 300 grams heavier, weighing in at 695g. The main difference with the 20W between the others is the dual USB ports.

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Address: 5/8 Anzed Court Mulgrave, Victoria ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56


Atquis si sit quatem hillorit et molupturio. Modita quo et et adi dicias



Atquis si sit quatem hillorit et molupturio. Modita quo et et adi dicias

Adventure Entertainment Upcoming Film Line Up

At Adventure Entertainment, we bring high quality outdoor adventure films to audiences around the world, all year around. From climbing and skiing, through to surfing, kayaking, fishing, running and much more - our short and feature length films are guaranteed to impress adventure seekers. Check out our upcoming films for 2019!

on sale now

RUNNATION FILM FESTIVAL is a touring film festival that showcases a selection of the best running focused short films each year. The films focus on human-interest stories that use all forms of running as the medium of storytelling, including road running, trail running, track running and more. 2019 marks the fifth year for RunNation. Founded in Sydney and now an international event, the festival is an original, inspiring event that has been attended by thousands of runners and non-runners, and running celebrities from around Australia, New Zealand & the world. It is not just about running; it is about the celebration of the human spirit, using running and film as medium of storytelling. This is the world premiere with a Q&A and extended films that will only be shown here on this night. This year’s film line up is truly international and is our best ever. Director(s): Various Run Time: 120 mins (excluding introductions) Australian Release Date: 15 August 2019, then screening nationally in late August.

The WOMEN’S ADVENTURE FILM TOUR is Australia’s original women’s adventure film tour, developed by Adventure Entertainment in partnership with She Went Wild! It features an original set of short films celebrating the inspiring women in adventure. This film festival is a celebration of the fantastic women around us who are doing extraordinary things.

This year’s film line up features an all new set of films starring cliff diver Rhiannan Iffland, climber Angie Scarth-Johnson, trail runner Jacqui Bell and much much more. Join us for this awesome community experience, screening at EVENT Cinemas, Village Cinemas and selected independent locations nationally.


The Women’s Adventure Film Tour is as an official part of Women’s Health Week in Australia

Director(s): Various Run Time: 110 mins (excluding introductions) Australian Release Date: 29 August 2019, then screening nationally 2-6 September 2019 TO U R S P O N S O R



ADVENTURE ENTERTAINMENT Atquis si sit quatem hillorit et molupturio. Modita quo et et adi dicias

For 13 years the PADDLING FILM FESTIVAL has been touring the very best films from around the globe showcasing the passion, action, adventure and paddling lifestyle. The For PADDLING FILM FESTIVAL like festivals 13 years the PADDLING FILM FESTIVALis has beenother touring touring the very best films from in the globe showcasing the adventure and paddling thataround includes a selection ofpassion, shortaction, films, but this tour islifestyle. entirely The PADDLING FILM FESTIVAL is like other touring festivals in that includes a dedicated to paddle sports such as kayaking, canoeing, SUP, kayak selection of short films, but this tour is entirely dedicated to paddle sports such as fishing, whitewater kayaking and more. kayaking, canoeing, SUP, kayak fishing, whitewater kayaking and more. Paddle sports is a growing industry with a strong community following across Paddle sports is a growing industry with a strong community Australia, particularly in Queensland, Tasmania, and communities near the coastal following Australia. Join us for this unique celebration of the and otheracross waterways. paddling community! In 2019 we will be running the first national tour of Australia across selected locations.

Director(s): Various Run Time: 120 mins (tbc) Director(s): Various Australian Release 120 mins Date: (tbc) From 19 September 2019 at selected locations. Run Time: Australian Theatrical Release: September 2019 Entertainment. New Zealand Theatrical Release: not distributed by Adventure Founded in 1992, Available To Screen: September/October 2019

Teton Gravity Research (TGR) has produced over 39 award-winning films, numerous televisions series, and more. They work with the top athletes in their respective disciplines to capture, celebrate & bring to life the passion that drives outdoor enthusiasts. In 2018 they produced the award winning story of 3x world champion surfer Andy Irons in Andy Irons: Kissed by God. In 2019, we are pleased to be distributing TGR’s latest annual ski film, WINTERLAND.


WINTERLAND features the very best snow sports athletes from around the world and explores their connection to the roots of skiing and snowboarding while showcasing the pure joy and adventure associated with these sports. By exploring the history, places, and people in the world of skiing and snowboarding, we learn how intimately connected we are with those who came before. From the first Norse skier over 4,000 years ago, to riding first descents on unnamed peaks, this connectivity is palpable to those who love the mountains. WINTERLAND, is a celebration of ski and snowboard culture.


Director(s): Various Run Time: 120 mins Australian Release Date: Late September 2019

ADVENTURE IS WAITING: E.O.F.T. is a collection of the most inspiring and thrilling adventure films of the year. This brand new ADVENTURE IS WAITING: E.O.F.T. is a collection of the mostfilms inspiring and thrilling programme is packed with inspiring short from the great adventure films of the year. This brand new programme is packed with inspiring outdoors, breath-taking athletic feats and inspiring stories. short films from the great outdoors, breath-taking athletic feats and inspiring stories.

E.O.F.T. is the renowned outdoor adventure film and event E.O.F.T. is the mostmost renowned outdoor adventure film event across Europe is across Europe is We spreading We brought the tour Australia spreading and globally. brought theglobally. tour to Australia and New Zealand for theto very first time lastZealand year, and are back with morefirst this year. E.O.F.T. is seenand by more and New for the very time in 2017, arethan back 250,000 people annually, 15 countries in 300 with more this year.across E.O.F.T. is seen bylocations. more than 250,000 people annually, across 15 countries in 300 locations. Unlike other short film tours, every film in E.O.F.T. is handpicked and edited by a team of expert film makers in Europe.

Unlike other short film tours, every film in E.O.F.T. is handpicked and edited by a team of expert film makers in Europe. Various Director(s): Run Time: 120 mins (excluding introductions) Australian Theatrical Release: Late October each year New Zealand Theatrical Director(s): Various Release: Late October each year The(excluding 2018/19 film introductions) set is available to screen now through August Available To 120 Screen: Run Time: mins 2018. New content is available for the 2019/20 from October 2019. Australian Release Date: Late Octoberset 2019


Atquis si sit quatem hillorit et molupturio. Modita quo et et adi dicias FILM TOURS COMING UP

REEL ROCK is the world’s premiere climbing film tour, released annually in October / November. REEL ROCK delivers jaw dropping action, soulful journeys and rollicking humour in a brand new collection of the year’s best climbing films. Each year, these short films are produced for the film tour ranging in scope from slacklining and highlining to rock climbing and ice climbing. This means you are guaranteed an all new set of films each year, not seen previously in other tours. This year’s REEL ROCK 14 will include a special feature starring Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. Each night of the REEL ROCK tour is a chance for the climbing community to come together to celebrate the best films of the year. Director(s): Various Run Time: 120 mins Australian Release Date: November 2019

Get ready for the summer with the all new season of International OCEAN FILM TOUR. International OCEAN FILM TOUR features the best ocean adventures andConservation. environmental isforpacked Adventure. Ocean Life.documentaries. This is the ultimate film It tour OCEAN with theLOVERS! most inspiring short film from the seven seas and the best watersports action of the year. International OCEAN FILM TOUR features the best ocean adventures and environmental documentaries. It is packed with the most inspiring short film from the seven seas and the best watersports action the year. premier ocean International OCEAN FILM TOUR is theofworld’s

film tour. Each year the films are hand-picked from across the International OCEAN FILM TOUR is the world's premier ocean film tour. Each year globe and shown across from more than 11 countries. It ismore relatively the films are hand-picked across the globe and shown across than 11 countries. It is and relatively new to Australia and presents an to alternative to the Ocean new to Australia presents an alternative the Ocean Film Festival which has been running here successfully for several years. Festival Film which has been running here successfully for several years. Director(s): Various Run Time: 120 mins (excluding introductions) Australian Theatrical Release: November 2019 Director(s): Various New Zealand Theatrical Release: November 2019 Run Time: 120 To mins (excluding Volume 5 set isintroductions) available to screen through to March 2019. Available Screen: Volume 6 is planned to release here in November Australian Release Date: November 2019to lead into summer. Earlier screenings are possible upon request. ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56


TOP ROW Photos by Bligh Giles



grown year on year. Each year REEL ROCK tours to over 500 locations with 150,000+ attendees worldwide and is produced by Sender Films, the team behind THE DAWN WALL. REEL ROCK also produces the annual REEL ROCK FEST in selected locations.

BOTTOM ROW Photos by Corey Rich

MIDDLE ROW Photos by Cameron Maier and Brett Lowell

REEL ROCK 14 will feature an all new collection of climbing and adventure films from some of the world’s best adventure film makers. REEL ROCK founders Josh Lowell

and Peter Mortimer have been producing and directing climbing and adventure films for over a decade, with devoted audiences around the world. Their work has won them dozens of awards at international film festivals. REEL ROCK was started in 2006 and has




Macciza Macpherson proving that it is never too late to push your limits. Trad project at Carne Walls, Blue Mountains

Doug McConnell on Orbital Drift (32) before the storm rolls in, Crag X, Grampians National Park


Kamil Sustiak



In 2014, Kamil Sustiak was accepted to take part in the legendary Eddie Adams workshop for emerging photojournalists and it totally changed his view on the adventure photography.

Kerrin Gale getting closer to the stars. Gateway, Blue Mountains

“The opportunity to meet and get feedback from the best photojournalists and editors was life-changing (as cliché as it sounds). While the killer action photos are still important eyecatchers, for me the main part of what adventure sports are about is in the little moments in between. Capturing them does not only show what the adventure

sports are about but more importantly, why are people doing them? “Questions like ‘why is it so attractive to spend weeks sleeping in the tents in the middle of a desert or surrounded by mountains where hot shower feels like an unnecessary luxury’?. What makes it so much

fun and so addictive to hang out there in the nature with your mates? It is my primary goal to answer these questions with my photos when working on a project.” Based in the Blue Mountains, it’s not uncommon to find Kamil hanging on a rope with a camera in his hands. ADVENTURE MAG EDITION 1 - OE EDITION 56



Hardest shoot It is still hard to beat the Lorax Project. The goal was to film a feature movie about climbing and BASE jumping off the remote Frenchmans Cap in the Tassie wilderness. It provided the perfect mix of hard work, creative collaboration, having a lot of fun with mates and we were surrounded by beautiful landscape on top of that. The one moment which stands out is definitely the abseil into the sheer 500m high west face of the Frenchmans Cap to shoot the climbers on their way out. It definitely was one of those trouser-filling experiences which makes you feel small but alive at the same time and which makes adventure photography so exciting. Andrea Hah belayed by her new husband Lee Cossey on Pitch Blank (30), Blue Mountains

Not all mornings are equal. Doug McConnell bathing in the early morning sun on Tiger Cat (33), Blue Mountains


We needed a better adventure camera bag. So we made one.


Stepan Novikov enjoying the crazy sunrise over the Moai in his own unique way, Tasman Peninsula

Technology I have always been a big fan of Canon but these days I don’t think it really matters what people shoot with as long they know what is their camera capable of, its limitation and know the camera controls inside out without taking their eye off the scene which is unrolling in front of them. To me being fluent with your camera is far more important than what brand it is. Having nice lenses always helps to achieve great pics though!

CAMERAS: Canon EOS-R & 5D mIII, 1Dx mII LENSES: Canon 24-70 F2.8L & 16-35 F2.8L & 70-200 F4L & 85mm F1.2L 82

Tom O’Halloran about the break the old climbing rule of three points of contact. Milk Bar Extension (34), Elphinstone, Blue Mountains

Take nothing to the base of Scarface. For cold belays and limited space, desert camping and unexpected monsoons, open bivies and long approaches. For never again having to choose between weight, space and warmth. We made it easy. The Micro Puff is the only jacket you need to pack. Alix Morris re-racks at the base of Scarface in the fading Yosemite light. AUSTIN SIADAK Š 2018 Patagonia, Inc.

The Micro Puf f ÂŽ Hoody Our lightest, most packable insulated jacket ever.