There is always something special about walking along single lane roads which are hundreds of years old, made entirely of cobblestones. Surrounded by buildings that have endured the ages. With their stone plated roofs and aged wooden exteriors. Detailed to the very window fittings which are decorated by a colourful array of seasonal flowers. Days where often filled wandering curiously through these Swiss Villages, with much appreciation for their sense of warmth and homeliness.
Climbing day’s on the other hand where spent in the Valley of Ferrera, a small but mighty place, with of some of the finest boulders Switzerland has to offer. I am extremely thankful to have had the opportunity to return once more..
Having mixed feelings about the impact from people on this Magical Place, taking great care to minimise my very own footsteps, realising that I too am part of this wear and tear and its inevitable change. Grateful still to Thomas and Nettida Saluz from Bodhi Climbing and Gasthaus Edelweiss for their ongoing hard work and endless efforts to maintain and keep Magic Wood open for all to enjoy..
This journey was more than just about grappling with rock, although there was plenty of that too.
Taking every day as it came, resting when I needed and trying hard when I wanted.
I embraced every moment and paid attention to every detail. Every subtle change around me, the land, the people. The seasons changing, one leaf at a time, a reflection of myself, my inner peace and transformation..
Here a short video of my journey to and in Switzerland with some experiences summed up in but a blink of an eye, including my final days attempt at one of the coolest boulders I have had the opportunity to climb on, Riverbed 8b/V13
Winter has come around once more, as too have the words on this page..
Life’s moments become but a distant memory as the details wash over each other.
Yet we continue to push forwards, for a better world, inside and out, here and now!
Towards the end of last year Luke, Cairo and I ventured to the Grampians National Park, to make the most of what was meant to be a stellar time of year. In search of adventure into the partially unknown, searching for climbing that one dreams about through the darkness night. Without doubt this is what we found. The horizon was filled with some of the best sandstone on this earth, heaven to say at the least. We quickly found a very suitable and convenient camp, not far from where we would explore the hollows and valleys beyond. The first week started with high motivation as we set our sights and scaled numerous walls and boulders alike. The weather was impeccable and the gods smiled upon us..
A short lived experience, as we then spent the majority of our time with what was a very unusual and most hindering heat-wave. The days where no longer crisp, as we now struggled to keep our cool, with our energy reserves where being cooked alive.
The unpredictability of the weather is what often gives this unique outdoor sport an edge that one can only gracefully embrace. This did not stop us from doing some most amazing climbing and being a part of what is timelessness itself. Taking some great footage we made a short film to replenish our minds when the memories begin to fade into the distance. Check it our here:
2016 came around the corner and was soon in the rear view mirror as the cycle of time continues.
I had one goal in mind for this year to come. To be the best version of myself!
What that exactly is, I am still working on, but on the short hand it includes, eating healthy, staying positive, sleeping early and rising early.
When I try, I try hard. When I rest, I rest well. Letting motivation take me to the place it desires the most.
This might all seem well and easy, but I can assure you that life itself proves its own challenge day after day. Patience, Practice and Persistence, as always are my closest ally on the path that I have chosen.
With no immediate travel in sight, the year so far has proved positively challenging in many ways.
Allas my inner traveller is getting restless and eager to head out into the vast world and explore the unknown. For now weekly trips to Sydney will have to be satisfactory enough until the time comes once more…
I am grateful for everyone that has shared some steps with me along the way, for your support, encouragement and enlightenment.
May our paths meet again so we can once more share in wisdom, humour and motivation.
As winter came upon us, so did the friction that we all so crave.
The Rock was no longer slick with spooge and allowed skin to fully grip each grain & crease.
One of the prime times to head to the big smoke.
Sydney offers countless so called micro crags with hundreds of top quality boulder lines.
With these right at the doorstep it would be rude not to make the effort!
Many missions were undertaken in search of never ending climbing goals..
Some solo and some in the good graces of others.
As the mountains were covered with a blanket of white, the foothills came greeting with their warm breeze and mild temps.
Chosen wisely the Blue Mountains offers some of the best experiences for winters climbing in the sun. But be aware the beast of winters deep lingers in the shadows nearby.
Allas who could resist the sweet taste sensations from the the Milkwood Bakery in Berry. Still the best the heavens have to offer!
And so back to the underworld of burning rubber & cursed words to Nowra we drifted. Tasting the steep nectar of pure white dotted chalky sandstone cliffs with the ever so lingering smell of some sort a glue accompanied by the not all too distant thumping of jackhammers…
Winter has ceased to be, as the seasons cycle once again.
This time to come will belong to those who seize the day..
As South we travelled in search of blue skies, a cool breeze & world class rock climbing..
12 hours later we arrived in the Grampians National Park, to find exactly that!!.
As the days ensued we lugged, thrashed & carried ourselves, each other & countless kilos of crash-pads, climbing gear & filming equipment across the never ending sea of rocky slabs stretching far into the distance.
We sweated, screamed & bleed as much as possible in order to get in touch with our primitive & feel every molecule of our existence.
Only to return back to camp with our last ounces of remaining energy and the final rays fleeting on the far horizon.
Taking rest days only to lick our wounds & grow fresh skin to be ready for the next sacrifice..
The days grew dark..
As the mist rolled over the mountain, we huddled closer to the fire licking at our souls.
Loosing not even our motivation, we endured with strength found from the very depth of our existence.
The rock gave friction as the air have us wind..
Our fingertips tingling we climbed until the rock was stained with the very dark red essence from which we are made.
As the sky cleared our days where numbered with the inevitable end to this incredible journey in our lives..
So we laughed into the night’s darkest hour, rising for our final days with a blanket of white frost covering the earth beneath us.
With much excitement on our efforts made, we returned to the place from whence we came.
Thankful for all that we shared & experienced in a place so vast & full of beauty…
Check out our Video:
The beginning of the final week saw our energy and motivation reach their high.
It was a great feeling being on top of it and able to give it our all!
Focus, power & determination, all was now working in harmony.
Colossus 8c, one of NZ’s finest & hardest routes, thanks to the dedication of Derek Thatcher.
For me by far, a most sustained & challenging climb I have yet attempted.
A very particular style I was not used to, being grabbed from the very first moves, as one of the best climbs I have so far tried.
I was intrigued by every attempt to learn more and evolve as a climber. Making constant progress & improvements on the very minutest of details.
On my final attempts as my energy returned I was able to make constant progress getting closer than I could ever fathomed during the previous weeks.
Despite not sending, I have come away with having learned immensely and feeling left humbled and full of motivation.
Again I am thankful to these majestic mountains which despite their fierce and jagged edges have allowed us sanctuary once more.
Without too much hassle and with the holler of a loud “Woop”, Matt clipped the chains of his second and perhaps hardest 8b!
With his send in pocket, the pancakes flowed freely as the overcooked bacon clouded his now “at ease” mind.
Perhaps this cost him what would have seemed like a quick ascent of yet another crag classic “Hercules” 8a/+. Instead the added pounds and the lingering taste of maple syrup caused a series of unfortunate last day mishaps.
Some would indeed call this a holiday..
I call it anything but, with its constant physical and mental challenges, being pushing to ones absolute limit.
Luckily this time to follow was a week exploring NZ’s far northern beaches.
With Josie and a little Camper-van in hand, we ventured into the sunsets afar.
Rejuvenating with fine company as we visited a long not seen Lady of the North.
Among the kittens & Possum tails, my mother served up the finest of wines & the best of homegrown meals.
Ones reserves where sure to be recharged for the next adventure just around the corner!!