Blue Summer…

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One might indeed feel rather overwhelmed at times with the fortune to live in such a stunning and diverse environment & culture.

Wildlife in so many forms and sizes, hopping, flying & crawling in all the colours & sounds of the universe.

The Blue Mountains-Home.

One of the oldest lands on the planet & the only country to occupy an entire continent.

Funnily enough it happens to be also the most driest country on earth.

So funny that raincoat sales have boomed in the past few weeks.

The beginning of 2013 saw the entire state soaring into temperatures well into their forties. Hundreds of fires erupted and raged out of control as people feared for their lives & land.

This was until about two weeks ago when we where slammed & I mean slammed, like a winning slam dunk in the final game of the season.

Rain!

One memory came to mind, at least this time I was not under a tarp in my tent for more than thirty hours non stop. This I have only experienced in Milford Sound of New Zealand where it seems to be a constant part of the climate.

Here although not very common.

The rain has been steady in its cause, leaving no stone unturned or dry for that fact.

Days in and days out, as more days have been spent in than out.

BBC2

Thanks to the local BBC (Blackheath Bowling Club), now converted into a “top of the line” training facility.

This newfound discipline has been a steadily & large part of my climbing in the past months.

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Before the weather turned for the different a few stunning and classic lines I managed to enjoy.

Such as:

SATS

“Staring at the Sea” 31/8b, photo: Josie Hofmann, belayer: Sophie Prior

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“Garth’s Arete, Right Hand” V11/8a

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Fingertips are itching for the feel of cool & sticky rock once more as the end of summer approaches.

With a vast sea of rock & other many opportunities to explore in this majestic place, one can only but ponder of which dreams to make into reality first.

I give thanks to all those around me and all those who believe & support this great cause of nature & man with the combination of raw power & grace.

May we spend many more days being inspired by the things which truly make us feel alive.

Land of the Roo & Mountains of the Blue

After long last my journey takes me back to the mountains of the blue in Australia.

A place I have long yearned to return to.
Here where I was schooled in the discipline of redpoint, crimping hard and much more.
I return once more with great excitement to spend much time in this stunning and exhilarating place.
So many world class routes in so many stunning locations, met only by great conditions so far.
After spending the past four months bouldering I realised that I needed to allow a little time to get used to route climbing once again.
Allas after two months I have managed to work through most of my tick list with much enjoyment.

Don’t Believe The Hype 31/8b

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August 1914, 29/8a
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Temptation 30/8a+
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I carry on discovering many a inspiring new route to keep my mind & body challenged.
Cherishing every moment I get to spend in this wondrous place doing the things I love, with many a great folk.

“Halfway cross the World and then Some!!”

Allas after the wrapping up of Europe I headed quick smart to what I believe is still the best climbing “holiday” destination in the world to meet up with my longtime missed dearest sweet Josie.

Tonsai Thailand. The perfect stopover to any European Journey. Great People, fantastic food & stunning climbing for all levels. Yes it is hot, it does rain and the hygiene levels are not the best. But hey for round 20 dollars a day you get a place to sleep, all your meals catered for, and the closest climbing is only 10 metres away from the nearest restaurant/bar on the beach!!! There ain’t a place in the world that offers so much diversity!!

So see for yourself in “160 seconds of TonSai” Video.

So back at last in the beautiful Blue Mountains of Australia, a place where I have spent much time and look forward to spending much more, learning, growing and living.

Stay tuned….

Magic Wooo

It feels good to be in the Hood of the Magic Wood.

Nearly four months has passed since my first arrival at the end of winter snow of the Ferrera Valley.

Surrounded by white peaks, icy streams and snow covered world class granite boulders.

And not a soul in sight…

My first trips into the majestic wood did not take me much farther than the smooth and weather protected lines of the river block “Bruno” as the icy and steep approach made it almost impossible and rather hazardous to head further up into the unknown.

Zero degrees and snow gently falling above, much of my first month was spend chilling sipping steaming tea and trying the moves of the unique “Never Ending Story”. Both a level of difficulty and style new to me, but one of much teaching and enjoyment. For those new to this line, it can be done in two parts, Part One V12/8a+, Part Two V11/8a, the entire link first done by none other but the legendary Chris Sharma many a year ago at V14/8b+.

Allas the inevitable happened and the snow which now came and went every other day became less and less and allowed more a reasonable access to the boulders yonder.

So keen like a…. I headed off into the fields of joy, and much I had there indeed, scrambling up, down and along some of the best lines in the world.

Another month passed and I managed the two halves of the “Never Ending Story” within about twenty minutes of each other, wow, perhaps the whole line is possible….

After yet another month and repeating both parts of this line within minutes of each other and each part at least thirty plus times I was only stopped by the first move of part two, arriving a little tired after 10 powerful moves, this move fresh or not always seemed super hard, not the case for many a few inches taller……

Yet I am content and humbled for the teachings I received in this most Majestic place and believe relevance and balance have been perfectly maintained through my practice.

I also worked for a month, got a nasty cold for a week afterwards, both which reduced my performance but where necessary as it seems, as part of the circle of life.

Here I had the chance to improve my filming and editing skills and decided to make a short film about Magic Wood.

Especially for those who have not had a chance (yet) to spend some inspirational time here, and for those who have.

Just to give a little idea and different perspective on some of the old and some of the new classics. Along with some other exciting and interesting recordings of special interest.

Here you can watch “A Magic Calling”

And for more photo’s “PhatPrictionPhotography”

Thanks all for reading.

“May your inspiration be only limited by your imagination”

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Magic Wood

 
 
Where have I been, what have I been doing?
Relevant, perhaps.
Where am I now and what am I doing?
Perhaps more relevant.
“Magic Wood”, the name says it all.
Arriving keener than a French Bagel on my wife’s plate, I had to endure the first weeks with the company of rather a little more snow than was expected.
It was the should’a brought the downie kinda weather.
None the less climbing was still possible and the weather grew finer as the weeks went on.
Bouldering to be specific, on finely carved grey spotted Granite.
The kind you would serve up with your grandmas best cutlery.
After spending time in other bouldering ares of Switzerland over Winter I was sure not be disappointed by the likes of a little Magic Wood, or a lot…
So practicing moves of power. Power to gain power to make power to use power, this is something I have keen spending more time with in the last year and has sure been beneficial to my overall climbing.
Humbled by this majestic place I continue on the search of personal development.
Time to concentrate also on more specifics, like speeding up the body’s recovery time, suppleness and the reduction of injury potential through Yoga.
Also capturing some great video footage and turning it into something worthwhile for others to enjoy and captivate their imagination.
See for yourself in Video’s and stay tuned for more…

 sending “Sideways” 7c+/V10 second go

.The “Never Ending Story” Part I 8a+/V12

Winter Bouldering

After spending around six weeks climbing only indoors around southern germanys top indoor climbing gyms I was eagerly ready to get some outdoor climbing done once more.
Now, finally a little crisper and dryer, the rock was calling louder than ever.
Charged with motivation, new bouldering buddy’s and crashpads we visited some of Europe’s historic bouldering areas in Ticino Switzerland, which where made famous by the likes of Fed Nicole and Dave Graham.
We found countless grey and black granite boulders of all angles and sizes as far as the eye could see. I certainly was very impressed and inspired by the sheer amount on offer.
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The Real Shield V9
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Keen and ready like kids fresh outta play school we set to work.
Like fine cheeses, we sampled many of the best blocks on offer.
Three trips all up with a total of ten days spent on these majestic boulders,
barely scratching the tip of the iceberg.
The last trip saw us battling the coldest temperatures yet. With daytime temps as low as minus seven, seriously frikking cold as it was almost too cold to stay warm and actually boulder. All up though it was bearable as it got a bit warmer which in turn melted the snow and turned many boulders into waterfalls. Despite this we managed to send some very cool problems with many more to come back for in the future.
Check out the Switzerland bouldering video to get an idea of the area.
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Perko on the Rocks V10
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During the last month I also checked out a few sandstone blocks closer to home which offered some good lines, see Perko Video.
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So now with warmer weather hopefully hanging around and not too much rain to come, back to the Frankenjura we go…..

White Winter

So here we are.
Some might say there are many a better climates to be.
The south of Germany for Winter.
Living and enjoying the company of family long not seen.
Learning more to the trade of building,
for a sustainable future in the use of only the most natural of products.
Making use of many of Germany’s top indoor climbing facility’s
as the seasons of change are taking place.
Once winter is set in full and proper and days of sun may follow,
good outdoor climbing we shall seek to further nourish our souls.
Till then plans shall be hatched and training undertaken both physically and
mentally so we may unleash our body’s and mind’s once more.
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In my spare time I put together some videos from the past years climbing, find these on the right of the page…..enjoy.
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Happy 2012 to all, good spirits, much health and lotsa fun & fortune.
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View from home

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Lounge-room activities

Welcome to France

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Bonjour!
First of a huge thanks to my beautiful wife Josie for all her patience and encouragement.
Second to Mayan from NZ for helping out with more than just transport, for without this trip would not have been.
Thirdly to Simon and Monique from OZ for sharing our time, getting psyched and helping with the capture of some wild photos.
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After arriving in Germany at the end of July we drove in a little white van across the border to France.
We visited the famous climbing area of “Ceuse”………for a day. Due to the summer holidays, unfortunately we found it to be more populated than Tonsai (Thailand) in the high season, without the added perks of beaches, bars and bungalows. The hour or so slog uphill did not do much for our psyche & not a place for free camping, unless you want to wade through forests littered with mountains of poop and toilet paper. If we return we shall do so between the Euro holidays and camp at the camping ground not far down the road for a small yet very reasonable fee.
So, we departed to a little place called “St. Leger” (Saint Light), located in the clear blue valley of the Tolourenc River next to the Mount of Ventoux.  A quaint little place with many ancient ruined buildings, overlooking a large array of beautiful orange, white and black limestone outcrops. With much camping both paid and free scattered between lots of great swimming holes. Perfect!
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As most of the routes in this area seemed to be between 25 and 35 meters high, getting used to this style of tufa’s, pinches, radical pockets and anything over 25 meters was very new to me.
My previous three months spent bouldering in the Grampians and the unusually hot end of french summer was perhaps a very different challenge to be met.
Let us call this the “Euro-fitness”. This I started to gradually gain and enjoy more and more as my body, mind and spirit learned this new style and approach to climbing.  Mental work was also a very big part for me at this time and strengthening and using more efficiently my biggest muscle certainly contributed to my efforts.
We joined up with Monique and Simon from Australia and visited a newer crag in the area called “La Baleine” (The Whale). A crag with walls of up to 40 meters in height, riddled with many single long and steep tufa’s of up to 20 meters in length on huge steep, white, yellow and black faces.
In the middle a massive cave with several impressive headwalls, I very soon found my place to focus my newfound energy and ability on.
Over the next few weeks I proceeded to increase my fitness once again and climb one of the longest and hardest routes at the crag, “Collection Automne Hiver” (The Autumn Winter Collection). At no less than 35 meters journeying through several roofs and headwalls with many incredible sequences testing both body and mind.
A true prize in such a fine place:

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The incredible “Collection Automne Hiver” 8b+ (32), pulling round the first and biggest of its three roofs at about 20 metres with another 15 to go.

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Approaching the 3rd and final crux on “Collection Automne Hiver”

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One of many Crag Classics, Le Zerquesteur 7c:

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Our last weeks where spent exploring other smaller crags in the region. Which there are many of, hosting a jewel in many styles.

Guidebooks covering a large majority of these scattered crags can be found online and in various shops and are very handy if one wants to discover these historic places.

One of which we visited by the name of Venasque, a short one hour drive to a quaint little Village surrounded by shorter yet countless crags.  Spending five days here concentrating mainly on on-sighting, I managed to onsight several 26’s, one 27 and my very first 29.  The harder routes 26 and above flowed very nicely, mainly due to the large blank sections on the steeper walls that had some obvious and rather well thought out french manufacturing.  Baguette anyone?

Our journey then took us north back to the land of much a great car, masses of high-tech solar powered networks, beer and lederhosen.
Here the coming winter will be spent in the search of………………………………………………………………..to be continued.

Grampians Concluded …

Approximately 9 weeks were spent in this sacred place that is known by the Aboriginal name of Gariwerd or to most others as the Grampians National Park.  With a total size of 167,000 hectares & over 15 campgrounds, one may perhaps need a map.  Above is the stunning and world-famous Taipan wall at sunset with an illuminating  almost full moon rising above.

Among the many activities catered for, is some of the best climbing on some of the finest orange burned sandstone in the country.  Many of the original routes are a mixture of both natural gear and old carrot bolts, yet many a proper equipped route can be found amongst. As for pure sport-climbing crags, they are few and far between, none the less all are most spectacular and are sure to satisfy the senses.  For more information you can find most routes and crags listed on climb.org.au.

If you prefer the more shorter and powerful style of bouldering then you have also come to the right place. From a 10minute stroll to a 1hour hike to the more remote areas, the Grampians offers the most concentrated and accessible amount of boulders in Australia, ranging from V0 all the way to one of the worlds only V16’s. The quality of these boulders is of the finest and a huge range of styles is indeed available. All this is complimented by the recent edition of the new Bouldering guidebook by David Pearson & Chris Webb Parsons, covering all the major areas with colour topos etc, not to mention loads of other relevant info on camping, eating out and so on. A must for any new arrival. Keeping in mind this guide only covers the Staplyton area as covering all the rest would take a sherpa to carry. A car is also essential in getting around this majestic and colossus area.

Josie and I spent our weeks working on a local olive farm and in an ECO YHA in Halls Gap, this allowed us to stay in a bit more comfort in the often rainy winter month of July (April-June being ideal for cooler conditions).  In the afternoons we would venture out into the maze of the unexpected in search of the unknown, finding many a great piece of rock to conquer. Among which where:

Bridesmaids Anonymous V9:

Snow Mike V10:

Many more great highlights, like the flashing of no less than three V8’s, and the send of Etch A Sketch V11.

This in conjunction with the only route I tried and successfully redpointed on the 30th of June:

The often attempted and rarely repeated United Nations 32 8b+:

A place of certain return we leave humbled in the search of the now warmer climate of Europe.

On our way there we stoped off in the Blue Mountains to farewell friends and family.

Many thanks to Josie for all her  hard work, getting incredible photos and dealing gracefully with many new situations.

And to SPELEAN who have taken me on board and provided some great gear and support for upcoming events.

Tour de Grampians Australia

And here we are in one of the finest climbing places Australia has to offer, both world-class routes and boulders are available on request.

Featured below is Taipan wall, legendary in its own right as one of the finest in the world, surrounded by numerous top end boulder areas.

Only time spent here will give us a glimse of this sacred and vast realm of true magnificence.