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Showing posts from February, 2017

Interesting Follows

I collect blogs to read, and podcasts to listen to at an amazing rate, eventually if gets too much and I start to cull them down a bit. Here's a sample of interesting follows that made it through the last cut. . 
Semi-Rad - if anyone is not following it, this is the one I would start with. Think the wit, humour and brilliance of XKCD before it got popular, in articles and flow charts, but with an outdoors slant.
Outside Online - The most prolific of this list, a variety of articles on different topics from Outside's website. 
Adventure journal - a collection of articles on a number of different topic, similar to Outside, and also includes contributions from Brendon Leonard of Semi-Rad
Gear Junkie - will keep you up to date with the latest in gear, including ones that get pulled from kickstarter. It's been a good way of seeing some stuff I might like there, without falling into the wormhole of fund swallowing that is Kickstarter. 
Climbing - mostly a who's done what recently…

Why do we solo?

And don't even get me started on my free climbing rant! Of course I'm free climbing, the part you are worried about is the soloing.
Why do we solo? Many far more talented climbers and authors have written on this topic, (Matt Cousins - Why Soloing, Alex Honnold several times) often coming to the same conclusions. And yet we can't seem to describe it in a way that makes sense to the people that ask the question.

Are we so far apart, those that do and do not solo, or do they just not want to accept the answer?


From Honnold:
"I like the simplicity of soloing," he says. 
"You've got no gear, no partner. You never climb better than when you free-solo." 
He also finds that the sport fits his psychological makeup. 
"If I have any gift, it's a mental one," he says. "Keeping it together."



I love to solo climbs, the freedom of movement, the speed with which you can climb, the state of mind throughout, and the feeling on the top are all inc…

Camper changes after a few nights out

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I've had to get new T-handles for the back so I can lock it up effectively. Sadly these needed a 30mm hole, rather than the existing 20, and the edge of the glass was within this radius. I was able to make it work with a Christmas tree bit, a little force, and a file to do the last few mm. The handles can be pushed flush, making them more secure, and snagging the insect netting a little less.






 The flip up part of the bed now flips down (less strong, but more practical as I can then access food, and toilet bag easier, and do so while having stuff siting on top of the bed, with the stove on the tailgate, and the esky handy.
It also means that I can open and close the bed without opening the tailgate if need be


I've added a few hooks for bits and pieces, and found that a sunshade does a good job of extending the rain shelter offered by the back door.

I ditched one of the thermarests, it's not needed and it was too slippery.


The windows seem to leak a little, so they will need…

Nowra Checkup

It's been at least a few years since I was last climbing at Nowra, but
in preparation for Yangshou I think it'll become a little more common.
The sandstone jug routes and slopers are the closest I'm going to get to
the tropical limestone routes.

Considering the amount of routes I've climbed in the last year or two it
was a pretty good day, an 18 and 19 to warm up, then worked the moves
on a few 22's.

I also finally had a crack at Butterfly Direct, an imposing route up the
intimidating face hanging over the track, right up and over the
'butterfly' feature high on the wall. I've been eyeing it off for years,
but never really felt up to having a go at it. I jumped on not expecting
much, even pulling off the ledge at the start was hard, mostly
intimidation rather than the moves.

Once I was on the wall things got a little easier, I was happy dogging
the route, so I'd climb as far as I could, sit on a draw and study the
next moves, the lower crux up to th…

Midnight Runs

Is there anything better than a run when you can't sleep? instead of lying there agonizing for hours over being unable to sleep, you get to go do something active, and collapse into bed a few hours later.

It's long been a staple of mine on those nights too hot to sleep, just pull on some runners, grab a key, open the door and run into the night. I prefer a moon, but if need be I'll use a light. In summer when the temperature finally drops the running becomes pleasant, in winter it's dark whenever you go for a run.

Whether it's an hour or more round the ridge, a hill climb and return, or a short session of hill sprints, few things make sleeping surer when you finally return to bed.

Arapiles, Sept 2016

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A loosely affiliated ANUMC trip, with a constant battle with the elements and the flakiness of people. 

Following a wet spring, the weather just never let up, the long range forecast was concerning going into the pre-trip, half the group was non-commital, the rest of us were keen to go to Araps in particular, and were prepared to wait and see on the weather.

A week out the forecast was ok, getting better for a few days in the middle, and certainly good enough for me to risk it. Apparently Bonnie, Jin and Paul felt the same. We committed to going down, I tried for a friday evening departure, but we weren't able to make it work, I did manage to wrangle an early start saturday morning, meeting at Bonnie's at 6:15 in the hope that we could get a climb in in the afternoon.

Saturday 24th Paul and I swapped shifts on the uneventful drive down, reaching Araps at about 4:30, with just enough time to setup camp before the rain came down. A trip into Horsham to acquire some additional foo…

Canopy Camper Fitout

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This has been a back of mind idea for a while, but recent events have accelerated it a bit.

I just acquired a canopy - it's an older one, but fibreglass, with a few windows and it fits adequately. I still have to check the waterproofing, but it looks good so far.


I want something that can be set for camping in a few minutes, and is a practical way to live out of the car. Unfortunately the tub isn't quite long enough for a comfortable night's sleep, and I want some of that space to be available for other things, like bikes or bouldering mats.

I chose to fit a platform on the left hand side, with storage space underneath, storing clothing and other things at the back, and the food box, stove and water at the front. A flap folds up from this to extend the sleeping platform, and I'll use an insect net over the back.

I've fitted flyscreens to the windows of the canopy, and rewired the lighting so I can cook and read in there. It's tight, there's only 40cm or so a…

A Run of Injuries

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It's a common refrain that people that are starting to train get injured more often. I'm just starting to train a little more seriously for climbing, I'll try it for a few months and see how far I can get, and I can confirm that injuries have been prevalent - however all of them have been acute, due to blunt force trauma, and with no connection to the training.

The first was a few weeks ago I was assisting with the rigging and supervision of a ropes training weekend with ISS at Nowra. I went to the ute to grab a tube of sunscreen from the glovebox, trying to avoid the inevitable sunburn. I put the sunscreen on the roof and reached back in for something else. Due to the angle of the car, I rested my left hand on the door pillar. As I turned to go I must have bumped the door, slamming it onto my hand, pinching the end of the middle finger. I swore a bit, opened the door and grabbed the first aid kit from under the drivers seat.

Handing the first aid kit to dad, I grabbed a b…