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Welcome to the
Chockstone Articles. Here
you'll find interviews with local climbers, trip reports from the Chockstone
team, and other loose documents.
Interviews With Climbers
Chockstone sometimes manages to rub shoulders with prominent
and interesting Australian climbers. Please contact
us if you know anyone that would make for a good
interviewee (be they hard
core climbers or whatever).
[ All interviews have been prepared and conducted by
Michael Boniwell with generous input in the form of questions and pictures
from numerous fellow climbers. ]
Simon Mentz -
Local reader's will probably best know Simon's name as the
co-author of those outstanding guide books Arapiles Selected Climbs, and
Grampians Selected Climbs. Other's might have come across his name against
numerous starred first ascents that are now considered classics in the
Grampians, Mt Buffalo and deep in the heart of the Northern Territory
where he established one of the hardest routes of the time. Simon's
climbing life has taken him to more distance places like The Nose of El
Capitan and the Matterhorn, but his nucleus remains the appealing country
life of Natimuk.
Dave Jones -The
man with a quiet voice and supernatural shoulders has a reputation for
bold, run out, trad horror shows, including one such ascent captured
on film during the making of the well known climbing movie "Hard
Grit". With first ascents that include the hardest route at Mt
Arapiles, Punks Addition (32), some scary stuff on Taipan Wall and a
wealth of bold FA's and repeats throughout the world, it's a wonder
Dave has time to earn a living. As a film maker/multi-media designer
Dave runs a company called
Transience out of Natimuk.
Louise Shepherd -
well as authoring "A Rock Climbers Guide To Arapiles/Djurite", which is still very popular, Louise was probably
the strongest female climber of the 80's, being the first woman to climb
grade 25/26 with leads such as Tales Of Power (26/27) and Separate Reality (26) in the US, Lord Of
The Flies (26) in the UK, and at home the first onsight ascent of Trojan (25) at Mt Arapiles. Needless to say this caused a stir
among what was then a very male-dominated sport.
Chris Dewhirst - Chris was at the forefront of climbing in Australia
during the late 1960's to early 70's. He put up many hundred first ascents
including the pen-ultimate
Victorian aid routes Ozymandias (M4 now 29) & Lord Gumtree (22 M6) at Mt
Buffalo. Visiting the US he became the first Australian to conquer the
5.11 grade and is acknowledged as having bestowed chalk upon
Australian climbing. Chris has been an actor in films, he's run a
business specialising in Himalayan trekking, he holds the Australian high altitude balloon flight
record and led a combined British and Australian expedition
on the first successful balloon overflight over Mt Everest.
Monique Forestier -
possibly thought that being the first person to onsight the entire The
Totem Pole (25), in Tasmania, was going to be the highlight of her
year. She was, however, launched into the spotlight in May when she
became only the second Australian women to climb a grade 30 route with
an ascent of Pigs In Space Direct (30). She quickly followed that
success with an FA of Mission To Mars (31), making her the only Aussie
women to date to tick this grade. Not content to rest on her laurels
Monique rose to the further challenge of grade 32 with an ascent of
Intergalactic Lactic Spastic, to effectively push the Australian
women's barrier by two grades.
Kevin Lindorff - Climbing since the early 70's Kevin has put up hundreds of new
routes in Australia and beyond and cultivated something of a reputation
for bold run-out horror shows with often under-graded technical
he's freed grades around 27, Kevin has always avoided sieging sport routes
and number chasing preferring instead to seek out new routes, and
sometimes tagging them onsight and ground up. His efforts have put his
name against countless routes at Mt Buffalo, particularly the North Wall
and been instrumental in the early development of Arapiles and the
Julian Saunders -
climber, Dr. Julian Saunders has degrees in Sports Physiology and
Osteopathy as well as several impressive first
ascents to his credit including well known grade 31 Grampians routes.
He's also a keen boulderer, repeating numerous hard problems and creating
bold new lines. His picture appeared on the front
cover of "Rock Climbing In Australia". This interview gets to
the crux of the big issues, as we extract such closely guarded details
as Julian's secret recipe for crag power food!
Simon Carter - Simon
Carter is well known to Australian climbers for his stunning climbing
photography. Climbing for the last 20 years, his work, which has taken
him to all corners of the globe, has won awards and found it's way into
publications. He's done FFA's such as Evil D (29) and Not To Bad (28). But
who is the man behind these amazing images and what has his climbing
life been like? Chockstone had the opportunity to ask him while
he was on a rest day in Natimuk, between photo shoots and climbing
Malcolm Matheson - A
name that conjures an image of incredible strength and style owing to
an impressive tick list of hard, ground up, often trad ascents in an
era when the top end of the grades are increasingly the dominion of
sport climbers leading on pre-placed gear. With local first ascents
such as Serpentine (31), which was possibly the hardest route by an
Australian at the time, big walls in the US, and a climbing career
spanning back as far as 1978, Malcolm has quietly achieved things
others only dream about.
Dr Simon Parsons - Living proof that balancing a successful career and
climbing hard on rock and ice is more than possible. He's been ticking grade 30 in
Australia, 8a in France, 5.13c in the US and Canada, and Ice climbing VI+ M9.
He's done the North Face of the Eiger in just 2 days, run up the
Nose of El Cap in a day, bagged the second Australian ascent of
Cerro Torre in Patagonia, and the first Australian ascent of the Cassin
Ridge on Alaska's Mt McKinley... the list is almost endless.
Martin Lama - A local Melbourne
climber, Martin has been blasting his way to the top of many hard
routes both here in Australia and overseas including France, Germany
and the US, as well as competing in, and sometimes winning, an
impressive array of indoor competitions. Leading grade 28 was par for
the course until he recently incurred double elbow injuries. Martin is
now focussed on triathlons, though he still manages to boulder hard
Monteith - Sport climbing up to 27, Neil is also keen on trad,
aid, ice and mountaineering, his adventures having recently taken
him up the biggest cliff in the world on Baffin Island in the Artic
Circle. Neil has put up a large quantity of new routes in Australia
though recently focusing on the Grampians. Chockstone
extracted this interview, which touches upon many aspects of Neil's
climbing life, after attending one such trip.
Tempest - Locals will immediately recognise Glenn's name as
co-author of numerous well presented guide books and his outstanding
climbing photography. Chockstone managed to fire a few
insightful questions towards Glenn, who regales us with stories of
epic climbs and vibrant characters from as far back as the late 70's
when the "new wave" of climbers hit Arapiles and the
Grampians pushing ever further into harder and bolder routes.
Michael Law (aka "The Claw") - Founder of thousands of
new routes, many of them well known Victorian classics, this
colourful character has been climbing since the early 70's having
lead routes as high as 30 and still cranking nearly as hard today. Chockstone
probes Mike's long and impressive climbing career, touching on
controversy, epic routes, bolting issues, and more.
caught up with Jacqui, the Melbourne
based sport and trad climber ticking grades in the mid to high twenties,
while on a trip to Bundaleer. In an interview, Jacqui tells us a
little about her climbing career to date, motivations, training, and
life as a women in an unfortunately still male dominated sport.
Climbing Trip Reports
Occasionally a trip will stand out as being worthy of writing up. This
section includes selected reports from Chockstone members. Feel free to
submit your own reports
or view the full list.
|"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and
exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have
really been men. It is hard to return to servitude." (Lionel Terray, 1965)
Selected Member's Contributions:
Brad & I climb Simpleton (18), Spillway (18),
Navarre (17) at Stapylton and Heretic (17) at Rosea.
Owen, Johno, Brad & Michael. Routes include
Entertainer (18), Tannin (19), King Rat (18).
A weekend in the Gramps; Summerday, Hollow Mt
& Black Ians.
Lots of great routes, lots of sun, lots of fun
on the long weekend
Queens Birthday long weekend. Routes include:
Watchtower Crack (16).
Ben, Kent & Owen do Summerday Valley, Van Diemans and Black Ian's
Rocks over two days.
Neil Monteith and I take on some of the more
remote Victoria Ranges crags over the Australia Day long weekend.
days of multi-pitching at Mt Rosea, plus a couple of routes at Bundaleer
and bouldering below Taipan Wall.
Climbing In Queensland
For a non-climbing holiday we still managed to
tick some lines.
Hounded by gale force winds a day trip is cut
short after only a single pitch.
Mt Arapiles / Grampians
The rainy long weekend allowed us to get a few
climbs done between showers. Featured routes include "Golden Showers
and Group Sex" grade 20, "Tannin" grade 19, and several others.
routes include, "Saracen" 114m Grade 16, Pitch one of "Oceaniod" 45m Grade 17,
"Death Row" 45m
Grade 18, Eurydice 70m Grade 18, "XI" 30m Grade 18.
International Grade Conversion - Charts Australian, American, French,
plus links to UK grades.
At Mt Arapiles - The "Tick List", lists 3 and 2 star climbs.
Rec.Climbing Recent Topics Of Interest - Links to some old but good
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