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A trip to the Moon!

I’ve been on a bit of a whirlwind of trips lately, largely because I’m working on a new coffee-table photo book on Australian rock climbing. My 1998 book Rock Climbing in Australia has been out of print for several years, so a new book is well overdue. I’m really excited by this project, it’s a big challenge and I have been really really enjoying visiting and photographing some great Australian climbing areas that I haven’t been to for years.

So here’s a little, very overdue, report from a quick trip to the Moon a few months back. They just call it the Moon, it’s an appropriate name, but of course I mean Moonarie in the Flinders Ranges, about 5 hours drive north from Adelaide in South Australia. On the edge of the great Australian Outback, the Moon sure does feel a little out of this world…

A trajectory to the Moon...

On trajectory to the Moon…

The Moon. That tent bottom right corner was "Base Camp".

The Moon. The tent bottom right corner marks our “Base Camp”.

Base camp, with astronauts Rob Saunders and Suzy Goldner prepping for a space walk.

Base camp, with astronauts Rob Saunders and Susy Goldner prepping for a space walk.

Simon Wilson on the 1 hour non-user-friendly approach.

Simon Wilson on the 1 hour non-user-friendly approach.

The Rampart sector of Moonarie, home to some exceptionally fine routes.

The Rampart sector of Moonarie, home to some exceptionally fine routes.

Swinging straight into action, Suzy Goldner get sucked into the Vortex (17).

Swinging straight into action, Susy Goldner gets sucked into the Vortex (17).

Simon Wilson, But Holland is a Country (26).

Simon Wilson, But Holland is a Country (26), in the Ramparts.

Sleeping out under the stars at Top Camp, the stars seem, well, so bright! 30 second exposure with cliffs painted by headtorches.

Sleeping out under the stars at Top Camp, the stars seem, well, so bright! 30 second exposure with cliffs painted by head torches.

Rob Saunders, Pagoda (17), Moonarie, South Australia.

Rob walking the gangplank on Pagoda (17). He’s hard to see (on the ramp below the roof in the middle).

After a few days it rained which was great to get a much needed rest day and a chance to go exploring in the area. Here's Burke and Wills... oops, Suzy and Rob and a big tree.

After a few days it rained, which was great! It gave us a much-needed rest day and a chance to go exploring in the area. Here’s Burke and Wills… oops, Susy and Rob and a big tree.

Such great country...

Such great country… It’s Australia, mate!

I spy with my little eye something beginning with E...

I spy with my little eye something beginning with E…

Something beginning with...

Something beginning with… ?

Suzy Goldner and Rob Saunders at Top Camp, Moonarie, South Australia.

Back at Top Camp we readied ourselves for an attempt on El Great Wall.

Suzy Goldner staying Downwind of Angels (19) on the really great Great Wall.

Susy Goldner staying Downwind of Angels (19) on the really great Great Wall.

Under the stars at top camp again. So good!

Another night under the stars again at Top Camp. Rock climbing eh, so this is what it’s about!

Rob Saunders on the classic three pitch Hangover Layback (15) in The Ramparts.

Rob Saunders on the classic three pitch Hangover Layback (15) in The Ramparts.

So that’s really about it. I hope you enjoyed the photos and can understand why I think this is a very special place. Visiting climbers from overseas can be forgiven for not getting much past Arapiles, the Grampians, and the Blue Mountains, but for local climbers it’s kinda an obligatory part of the Australian experience. Actually, no, scrap that, the place sucked; we kinda enjoyed having it all to ourselves.

This is just a teaser of photos from the trip, look out for more in the World Climbing Calendar 2014, and the new coffee-table book which should be out later next year.

Finally a big shout out to fellow astronauts, Susy Goldner, Rob Saunders, Simon Wilson, Peter Matulich, Matthew Cojean and Anne-Katrin Haag. Thanks for the good times and help with the photos. Great sharing this brief adventure with you all!

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy climbing!

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Rock Climbing Down Under: Australia Exposed is coming Pre-order on Kickstarter until October 15th