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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion
General Climbing Discussion
I will never forget on a very early lead (Missing Link) having John suddenly abseil over me, without apology.
But as others have said, if it's much easier than 22, it isnt really climbing in John's eyes.
I haven't seen John for a couple of years now, but he was certainly still going strong when I last saw him.
It was at The Horn at Mt Buffalo. I was up there soloing some stuff and bumped into Fants and Geoff Gledhill, both of whom I know from previous meetings.
After the initial greetings and catch-up stuff, the conversation went something like...
Me: So what are you guys up to?
John: We're having a lay day.
Me: Oh, climbing is a lay-day sport now?
Geoff: Yeah, (laughs)... We've been bicycling.
Me: Yeah? Where have you been doing?
John: Oh, we rode up Buffalo yesterday.
Geoff: After the other hills first... (It turns out that means Falls Ck and Hotham!)... I kept Fants honest for the first few miles here by keeping up with him, then I put the pressure on and pushed ahead for a bit.
It didn't last long though because he saw what I was up to and took me on. The last I saw of him was about a mile later when he was disappearing around a bend well ahead of me, and I think he'd already had his afternoon tea at the top by the time I got there!!
A side note. John would've been 72 or 73 years old at that time, and I guess had maybe 5 years on Geoff?
The other thing I remember from that day is John being interested in my Silent Partner solo belay device, as he hadn't previously seen one in real life.
From Blind Corners, by Geoff Tabin, pg 142 "I agreed to go with John into Bungonia Borge to do the "longest, hardest free rock climb in Oz" called "Siblings of the Sun". John gave me all the climbing equipment to carry on the hike in to the route, while he shouldered a larger pack than mine, saying he was bringing the food. From the size of his load, I thought we would be dining in style. I imagined a two-burner stove, gourmet recipes and plenty of Cooper's Lager. Instead, I was shocked to see all he brought to eat were two bushels of bananas." Spoiler: they send.
Never met the guy but i heard this story from a climber from back in the day....
Early one morning, John Fantini walks into the pines campground at Arapiles from an early morning climb. People are only just rising from their tents and are making breakfast etc. He says to them:
"Look at you young c**ts, just sitting round. I just onsighted Orestes. I knew i would, 'cause i hadn't had breakfast, and so i had that strong empty feeling".
If that's not hardcore i don't know what is.
Ran into him at Skaha a couple of years ago, and he still seemed to be holding his own...
John still hangs out at Skaha in the Canadian summer and is still getting up 11ds and doing enduro cycling. Maybe he has mellowed in his old age, but he seems entirely supportive of other climbers. We would of loved it if he had felt like he could come to the Cirque of the unclimbables with us. He had a quick trip to Lake Louise and did the Sentinel 10d, and Dewline 11c. He should be back in Australia for summer.
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