Text contributed by Bruce Cameron and Glenn Short.
The rock-climbing community was stunned recently by the news that Australian climbing legend John Ewbank died in New York on 2 December 2013. Ewbank was undoubtedly one of the most influential, if not the most influential, Australian climber of the 1960s and 70s.
Born in England in 1948, Ewbank first learned to climb in Yorkshire before emigrating to Australia as a teenager with his parents. He initially settled in Wollongong but was soon lured to the sandstone escarpments of the Blue Mountains by members of the Sydney Rockclimbing Club. The crags of the Blue Mountains were to become his spiritual home, as well as the source of his legacy to Australian climbing.
Leading climber of the day, Bryden Allen, must have seen potential in the young Ewbank and soon Read More
See you later 2013! There were some fun times eh; we saw some great places, hung out with some good friends, we tried to do some good work, captured a few good images and perhaps even came close to snagging a great one — close enough at least to keep the psych high. But let’s be honest here; at times you were a shit of a year too. So thank you 2013 for some good times, but I’m happy to be moving on.
I’m super-excited about our plans for 2014 but before we get too far into that I wanted to wrap up Two-Zero-One-Three. Here are some quick highlights, some lowlights, a mention of some places that I never found the time to write up — and some things that needed to be said.
First up, 2013 actually marked quite a milestone — the 20th anniversary of Onsight Photography! I’m actually very stoked to have made it thus far. I just started out as a kid with a camera (well a grown up kid I guess) who was following his passion and climbing full-time. I saw a lot of goodness around me — inspiring people and beautiful places. I wanted to share the things that I saw; I loved the creativity of photography – and it got me excited. It has taken me to some of the most spectacular places on the planet. Thank you to everyone who has supported my work — I’m very very grateful indeed for all the support and opportunities that I’ve been given!
So what happened at Onsight in 2013? Well, the year started with Read More
When 9-year-old Aussie Angie Scarth-Johnson recently cranked her first grade 31 climb, she became the youngest person anywhere to have achieved that. Yes, even Adam Ondra didn’t crank that hard until he was 11.
A friend had described to me Angie’s ability to pull on the tiniest of holds — holds that most of us wouldn’t even consider using. I commented that it’d be cool to see how hard she could crank if she could find a route where she wasn’t shut down by her height, now it seems we’ve found that out. But after watching the video footage (it is out of focus so probably will not be publicly released) of Angie’s send of Swingline in the Red River Gorge (USA), a route she sent on just her third day of attempts, I suspect she is capable of much more.
Especially given that Angie’s parents (Claudia and Tek) are not rock climbers, we were curious to find out more about this young crusher and what makes her tick (in both senses of the word). So Read More
Want to become a stronger and better climber? Wondering how some of the best climbers in the world train? Gimme Kraft! is the answer and it is now available in Australia — right here!
Yes, I’m delighted to announce that we are distributing Gimme Kraft! in Australia — AND last night we received our first shipment, unexpectedly early!
If you don’t know what Gimme Kraft! is, and are serious about climbing training, then this is something you really should know about. All the info is here.
It’s now 50 years since the first recorded climbs at Mount Arapiles. That’s right, The Siren (9), Introductory Route (5) and Tiptoe Ridge (3) were cranked out way back on 16 November 1963. And so Arapiles is now celebrating a milestone!
Having travelled the world for climbing, I’m sure Arapiles is one of the world’s best crags for easier trad climbing — and that’s significant. It isn’t quite the cutting-edge crag it once was Read More
For the third year in a row I’ve scored the cover of the German Klettern Magazine’s annual calendar; very stoked about that. They sent me some copies and it sure looks great — so be sure to get yourself a copy! Klettern’s is a massive poster sized wall calendar; props to them for producing something so big and unique.
And some of my shots from inside… Read More
Thursday 17th October was already shaping up as a bad bush fire day in the Blue Mountains. The winds were extreme and the large fire near Lithgow, that had started the day before, was fanning fast. Then I heard a fire had broken out near Springwood, later we learnt it destroyed 200 homes. Meanwhile we were working from home in Mount Victoria until a blackout put an end to that, so we were outside doing some fire prep work around the house. Little did we know that power lines had started another fire — less than a kilometre from our house. We smelt smoke, heard sirens nearby, and thought the Lithgow fire might have somehow spotted all that way. Word on the street soon became “GET OUT!!!”. We grabbed a few valuables, saved my slide collection, then I plugged the gutters, turned on the taps and drove away. We thought for sure our house would be gone. In a strange mixed-emotion kind of way I was at least happy to have saved the slides; I’d always assumed I’d never manage that, and years of scanning and digitising them just isn’t the same.
Some people in a street nearby had little or no warning before the fire was upon their homes; there were some seriously close escapes. Eight houses were destroyed there. Read More
Last month Chris Sharma visited Australia and before heading around the country on his speaking tour he snuck in a few days climbing in the Grampians. I had the pleasure of catching up with Chris and producing this video for Prana, which they have now just released. It was great fun putting this together; I hope you enjoy it. For best effect, go full high-definition and full screen.
We had two days to film Chris climbing — in fact the footage of his attempt at The Wheel of Life (v15) “boulder problem” comes later the same day after sent the Groove Train (33)!
Massive thanks to the truly fantastic crew who helped me put this together: Gareth Llewellin (rigging and camera), Brett Williams (camera), John Binstead (editing), Stephen Bartlett (music production) and Darryn Rogers (graphics). You guys are awesome!
Well I’m stoked to announce that our World Climbing Calendar 2014 is available now. This year is special, we are celebrating 20 years of Onsight Photography and this is the 20th annual wall calendar that we’ve produced! I find that a rather strange thought, and it brings with it some mixed emotions. When I started getting serious about this stuff over 20 years ago some people’s predictions weren’t entirely encouraging. Honestly I didn’t expect to be in the game for particularly long, I just had a burning desire to create a certain sort of imagery and decided to give it a serious go. Keeping the wheels turning takes a lot more than just taking and selling climbing photographs, but despite the bump and grind I do consider myself lucky to have found a way to make it work in a fast changing world. I feel extremely fortunate to have followed my dreams; to explore my vision of climbing and capture climbers doing their thing in many spectacular places. Obviously, I couldn’t have done any of this without an incredible amount of help from many climbers — as well as the amazing support of the greater climbing community. Thank you everyone!
And so let me present our special 20th Anniversary Edition calendar – the World Climbing Calendar 2014!
Each calendar has a bonus Anniversary poster inside (measuring 550 x 295mm), showcasing a collage of 90 favourite photographs. Read More