Somewhere Yonder

At some distance in the direction ahead” BlogOpen.

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.

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CairoBlog

Cairo Hazel on the FA of “Pingu’s Last Stand” V9

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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..

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RomanBlog

“Who’s a Naughty Boy” 8b

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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.

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MattBlog

Matt Burnett on “Lazy Mooneli” V10

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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. 

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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…  

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Middle Earth, Final Days

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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!
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Focus, power & determination, all was now working in harmony.
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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.
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Despite not sending, I have come away with having learned immensely and feeling left humbled and full of motivation.
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Again I am thankful to these majestic mountains which despite their fierce and jagged edges have allowed us sanctuary once more.

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Without too much hassle and with the holler of a loud “Woop”, Matt clipped the chains of his second and perhaps hardest 8b!
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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.

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TGT-LR1_FotorMatt on the final crux of “The Giving Tree” 8b

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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.
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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!!

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Middle Earth, Week 2

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After several rest days & with no immediate improvements to his shoulder Luke made the call &
booked his return ticket for departure several days later…
This for sure was one of the most unfortunate events I have experienced on any trip so far!
Counting our lucky stars things where not worse or farther away from home, we farewelled Luke on his return journey.
Being left with an empty space that was once filled with pure motivation we now huddled closer together to gather our strength for the time ahead.
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It took us several days to recover from the path of destruction left behind by the Kea’s,
alas the tent was temporarily fixed thanks to the team at the Lodge.
Sleeping Bags where no longer in short supply & my cold now seemed like on its way out.
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Yet my energy had not returned and I struggled even with the walk to the crag.
Pain was followed by any pressure, as a cut in my ring finger got infected due to my low immunity.
Like a puffed pastry, but without the enjoyment, movement in my finger was drastically reduced.
Making minimal progress on my project I gave all I had, refining the parts I could manage.
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Matt on the shoulder busting “Hey Zeus” 8a
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Matt made great progress on his previous project “The Giving Tree” 8b.
Now climbed as one single line he had several high points beyond the last draw.
Content with his efforts so far, reflected only by the calmness in his presence, or so I thought.
A little slip in an unexpected place, and the air was suddenly filled with a blood curdling roar,
“Blaaaaargh, Faaaaaaark, Motherf#@&%$, Sonofa&!%$#” was echoed through the valley below..
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Still the week progressed without our Handsome^ number three.
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As the weather became more stable so did my energy within.
Infection almost vacated, on now our last day of the week.
Letting go of all expectation & outcome, focusing on the single most effort at hand.
I was now once more able to fully appreciate the serenity of this Colossal place with all its might.
Being ever thankful for having such amazing opportunities with great folk at hand, I was able to fully direct all my focus.
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Matty Mac Fat decided he loved climbing The Giving Tree so much he let go three moves before the anchors…
Taking a Cool-Whip he did indeed almost received a free gift from the tree below.
Another few attempts for ole times sake later, we called it “a day”.
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End of Week 2
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Middle Earth, Week 1

A place yonder, full of surprises and full of wonder.

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5am, we wake with excitement as make our way to Sydney airport.
12 hours, a free rental car upgrade and several thousand kilometres later we arrive at Milford Sound in New Zealand.
It has been one year since our last visit to this majestic place!
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A little daylight remains as we enthusiastically set up camp at Milford Lodge.
Morale and psyche are high as conversation and humour flow freely into the night.
Not long after the sun is set the rain arrives drumming gently on the land below.
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The next morning the gentleness of the rain is no more, beating heavily unto all.
We get reminded yet again as of why this is one of the most wettest places on Earth.
After a quick breakfast, short drive and mostly well prepared we set off on the half hour trek/scramble to the wall of choice.
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Arriving at little Babylon is always one of my most fondest memories I dream of to this day.
As the canopy of thick, almost pre-historic forest lifts slowly and gives way to the first glimpse of the massive looming, smooth but featured rock face above, my pulse quickens with excitement.
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Luke makes quick work of his previous years project “No Country for Old Men” 8a, and keeps his psyche pants on for the next.
“Hey Zeus” 8a, a magnificent variant in its own right, boasting a big wing span move for the final crux section.
Matt also jumps on the wagon dispatching this line within several efforts. A great start indeed.
Little did we know that the great divine was about to throw a spanner into the works..
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Luke Styling his way up “No Country for Old Men”
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Apart from one (un-named) team member forgetting his sleeping bag we where battered by a storm so severe it temporarily wiped out Matt’s Tent completely. Luke’s and mine only “just” survived!!
The next morning I awoke with a sore throat and heavy head, the cold & damp seemed to have taken their toll.
As the last day climbing before a double rest day I decided to make the most of it, making progress on my project none the less…
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Luke back on “Hey Zeus” climbed the first crux with ease making his way into the big wing span.
Hitting his elbow along the way, he grabbed the hold not quiet right but managed to re-adjust, only to be followed by a foot pop.
Unfortunately this was not the only thing that popped, as his shoulder also gave way, only to re-live an old injury.
It is always hard to see a fellow climber & good friend get injured, especially one that is so highly motivated!
Not being able to move his shoulder after it re-located, things where not looking good…
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Kea’s!! The only Alpine Parrot in the world and one of the smartest creatures around.
Their sharp talons for claws are only matched by the ferocity of their razor like beaks.
Much like the Cockatoo of Australia their nature is that of playful destruction!
Perhaps Karma was paying me back for something I had done, something I surely was not aware of.
Allas my tent was in shreds, the outer literally torn to pieces without any chance of salvation.
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Sorry Rick :-/
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End of Week One.

Maximum Effort ‘Summer’014-15

Training Blog..! IMG_7523_Fotor_Fotor

Say What?!
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And yes indeed it would be a pleasure to travel the world chasing Autumn.
No matter I am super lucky to have and have had so many amazing worldly trips.
Having a home base is still one of the best things to return to,
even having a pretty darn good Job with great folks is hard to come by these days.
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The Season is hot, the weather unpredictable, random storms leave trails of debris swirled at the roadside..
FullSizeRender_Fotor“Another Storm Cell Approaches”
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Lets go climbing!?
This a term I will save for the months to come.
Apart from the one day a week to remember how to move on rock.
I do live in the Blue Mountains after all, one of the climbing meccas of Australia, be rude not to.
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Training? YES!
A discipline I have become more familiar and experienced with in recent years.
I have continued this practice in the past two months,
pushing body & mind well beyond my previously known limits.
Starting with writing up a program to help guide me along this path was crucial for both focus & consistency.  Making adjustments along the way was key to further this development.
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IMG_4259_FotorBLOG“Luke Campus”
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4-5 days a week climbing specific & cross training, clean & green diet & plenty of rest!
This was to be my routine for the next 7 weeks.
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“Superfood Power Smoothy”
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My body ached almost every day, my mind was fighting hard to stay sharp.
Week 6 was by far my hardest, having an injured Rib and Gastro did not add to the joy &
the end was not yet near.  This week was by far mentally & physically the hardest,
as training was at an all-time high, energy & mental focus was stretching thin..
How much is too much?
A mobility scooter to get around would have been great at this time…
Shuffling around and struggling with the basics was not something I was used to,
allas the week was complete & rest days upon before the final week.
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“HIT that Thang”
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Recovered and psyched for the last & final week I soldiered on feeling good.
Every day went well and progress was made.
The final day was here & the hardest of them all, with the last round of HIT.
Right from the word go I was at my wits end, yet progression was made through the blood, sweat & almost tears…
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I was recently asked what motivates me to get out of bed at 5am and start training?
My first thought and answer was, “Because I can”.
Realising that having the means and the life to be able to do these things is a pure blessing!
My training these past months is not only for my climbing, but for my life.
So that I may tackle the challenges ahead and lend a helping hand along the way.
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RRG USA

The Red River George in Kentucky, oh yeah!

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“Did you hear that”?!!
“Sounds like trees falling”…
We soon where surrounded by fridge size Icicles crashing only metres from where we where climbing!
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The middle of our trip saw temperatures plummeting well below -15 degrees Celcius.
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“Yet we endured, so the sun could once again thaw our icy limbs”.
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How could this not be a good time?
Coffee $1, Camping $2, Pizza $4..!!
Thanks to everyone at Miguel’s for the warmth, the wifi & the timeless originality of this historic and timeless campground.
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“Every day I valued this new & exhilarating place, cherishing each and every experience in its own”.
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“Rain, Sun, Wind & Snow.
We saw it through & had it all”
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“Praise those for the journey shared,
those who laughed & those who cared”
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“Moments in time which we all had,
trying our hardest for that I am glad”
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“Disregard none, worthy as the next one”
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“Still the single effort remains.
The one that truly matters & cannot be explained”
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Many Big Thanks to ALL the Amigos, especially Willis, Masel, Barber, Nat & Amanda.
To those & more that made this experience truly unique & lent a helping hand along the way.
To all the amazing places & friendly faces, that blessed us with their graces.

Autumn/Winter ‘014

{dedicated to Aunty Angelica 1953-2014}
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Let me start off this post by giving “thanks” to being healthy, fit and blessed with the opportunities at hand.  Having support all the way, from friends to family & some of the best brands that drive this outrageous and so very happening sport!

Much more than a sport it is indeed as the term “discipline” would be more correct.
An ongoing dedication to learning and evolving, patience & practice over its many years.
“The Master must forever remain the Student”
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The Past
Having returned from NZ at the beginning of Autumn, I took a week’s rest and settled back into the life in the Blue Mountains.
Full of motivation and psyche I hit the crags of the surrounding Valleys.
One crag in particular which is fresh out of the oven (well, maybe a few million years out of the oven), but only bolted in recent year’s is the Mega-Cliff of “Elphinstone“.
As this is only a personal encounter so far I asked for ease of judgement for those who have their own experiences in such a spectacular & stunning place.
First off, “top job” to all those who have given their time and effort into putting up many of these incredible lines on offer!
Second, leave the kids at home, this place is an epic all round.
A 20 metre via ferrata marks the end of each day and the total annihilation of energy reserves.
I don’t think I ever left this cliff feeling any other way.
Rad!!
Indeed Monique & I had plenty of fun out there over several months of this years Autumn.
I say this only once, compared to last years Autumn, “this year’s conditions sucked!!”
Making climbing a lot harder with very consistent humid days.
Dedicated to the cause we both Soldiered on, getting ridiculously close to our projects on a very few rare days, when a cool & dry breeze did enlighten our efforts.
As winter sneaked in only to numb our extremities,
We called it a Season!
Good times had and to be had once more, when we re-convien as the cold of winter fades into the horizon far.
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Blog1Logan Barber enjoying the winter Sun
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The Now’ra
Yes thats right, for those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing this solid & compact sandstone near the southern coast of Sydney, hosting some of the countries hardest, steepest & oh so many routes in between.
Perhaps the word for this place to be used is “Nowra Strong”.
Generally short, steep & bouldery on a unique array of holds, slopers, pockets & crimps, one is sure to find a climb to suit.
A fine destination to escape the wintery chill from the Mountains, you can find this unique area just three hours drive away.
A contrast in more ways than one, Nowra has plenty of new experiences to offer.
Ignore the town & make for the suburban cliffs, coke bottles and chocolate wrappers make up a part of the scenery as you hear the kookaburra’s call at the crags overlooking bush reserves, just a stones throw away from the nearby houses.
Not to worry, most of the cliffs are overhanging so the TV’s & Fridges won’t fall directly on your head.
Plenty of free and paid Camping will suit all pockets.
Give it a go sometime, and if you get a chance check out the Berry Sourdough-Bakery for a darn tasty treat to reward or charge up for your efforts.
Really happy to be spending some time down here during the winter months, climbing lots of new routes with friends who are equally psyched.
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Trying hard at Nowra
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Future Hits
As Winter winds down Spring is just around the corner.
What will be will be & we will all have to wait and see.
Very excited indeed of the opportunities on the horizon.
One of which will be the Red River George in the US at the end of the year.
I have dreamt about this place for many a year & and super happy to be finally going there.
Many thanks to Ablaze Printing for helping to get me there and back.
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Cairo Hazell having fun in the sun @ Nowra
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Training
Due to most people not having ample time in their lives to climb outdoors five days per week, training is a good solution for those wanting to subsidise their climbing.
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“Training is good and will make those who are dedicated stronger.
As long as those who train find a good balance of rest to remain injury free.”
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This recent round of training I just completed is called HIT and was developed by the famous climbing training author Eric Hörst.  For this training and much more you can find on his website Nicros.
Thanks to Monique and Simon who have the setup for this, I was able to try this unique principle.
I recommend extreme caution and an easing into it.
This training is very intense on the whole body & requires instructions to be followed precisely.
In my final week feeling close to breaking point, I was very happy and glad to have completed it, followed by a minimum of one weeks rest.
“Constant revision and adjustment was a necessary and vital part of this undertaking”
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Rest & Recovery
One of the most important aspects in life and climbing is rest & downtime.
It is also the number one most important aspect of getting stronger.
If not undertaken regularly injury may be a realistic end result.
Loosing psyche and motivation are also a real danger.
After my A2 pulley injury this time last year my main goal for this winter was to remain injury free, while gaining strength’s in other areas.
This I am doing through pushing my onsight climbing, here many challenges can be found & overcome through digging deep and finding out what you are truly capable of.
Training ones biggest muscle, the Brain is always a worth while undertaking.
I also subsidised my climbing though specific training such as HIT, followed by targeted recovery.
To stay on top of all this, undertaking daily stretching and active recovery i.e. cross training is essential.
Thanks to Alex Pigott-Acupunture, any arising sprains & strains where quickly taken care of.
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Practice, Patience & Persistence.
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Thanks for reading.
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