After a few months sweating it out in the office it’s good to be on the road again, this time to The Grapiles (The Grampians and Arapiles – you heard it here first?) for a few weeks – which is flying by all to quickly. We’ve been climbing of course but there is no such thing as a holiday for us really, we have been very busy with photography and a couple of different projects that I’m currently working on (more on those later).
Mount Arapiles feels like home in a way, I spent nearly eight months camped here just prior to starting my photography business nearly 19 years ago. The place still feels magic…
Over in the Grampians Coco has been getting her bush walking game on…
And Monique has been doing her thing too…
Our calendar for 2013 is out and I’m stoked with the result again this year!
The marketing departments word is below. If you are thinking about getting a copy then don’t wait, we’ve cut the print run fine this year and there’s a good chance we’ll sell out.
This is the 19th annual calendar to showcase the work of World-renowned climbing photographer Simon Carter.
Seamlessly merging action and landscape, the dazzling imagery inspires and captivates climbers across the globe.
Features climbing destinations from Australia, China, France, New Zealand, Spain, UK, USA and Vietnam.
The design is stylish and functional and includes international holiday dates and moon phases.
Presented in a large 30 x 30cm format, shrink-wrapped and stiffened for protection. Opens to 30 x 60cm (12 x 24″).
Update: we have now sold out of the 2013 calendar!
If you’d like to know which Australian retailers may still have it in stock in your area, please email us with your location.
Congratulations to Mayan Gobat-Smith from New Zealand who yesterday climbed her long-term project Punks in the Gym (32) at Mount Arapiles, Australia. A superb personal achievement, hers also happens to be the first female ascent of the route.
“Punks” is a famous Australian test-piece with a colourful history. The beautiful line was first climbed by Wolfgang Gullich in 1985 and originally graded 31/32 by Wolfgang. The second ascent was by Stefan Glowacz and the third by Jerry Moffat who confirmed the 8b+ (32) grade. Despite that, for a while there the route was graded 31 whilst it was the subject of the NSW/Victoria grading wars in the early 1990s. Since then the route has seen numerous ascents and some years ago the grade firmly settled back at 32. So the route is not only the first 32 in Australia but it is often said may well be the first 32 (5.14a/8b+) climbed anywhere in the world. When Andy Pollitt was attempting the route in the early 1990′s a key crux hold disintergrated and so Andy recreated the hold out of sika. Some claimed that the recreated hold, since dubbed “the birdbath” (a harsh term given it’s only a 15mm incut edge), was bigger than the original but I think there are few people, if anyone, apart from Andy who actually know the truth of the matter. Andy eventually suceeded on the route in 1992 after three trips to Australia from the UK and a total 70 days on the route. If you think 70 days is a lot of time to spend on the route then spare a thought for Australian woman Jarmila Tyrril who moved to the area in part to be close to Punks; the route has been the main focus of her climbing for the last three years. With Jarmila spending a lot of time on the route and with Mayan making four trips to Australia with the route the main focus of those, there has been a lot of speculation who would snag the first female ascent. Recently someone was putting up posters around town hamming it up as a competition — “who will be first”? And so Mayan’s send has at last put an end to all the speculation. Successful punters are advised to make their way to the nearest TAB office to collect their winnings ASAP.
Last year I took some photos of Mayan on Punks when she was out here trying it for a few weeks. No doubt largely because of the reach factor Mayan’s sequence into the crux is entirely different to everyone elses. She links directly from the lower hard climbing straight up into the crux, entirely avoiding a really good rest just before the crux — the only good rest on the route. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Mayan’s sequence is a really hard way to do the route but obviously sticking to her sequence has finally paid off for her. Congratulations again!
Here’s one of my shots of Mayan on Punks that I will show you now. I hate to have to mention this but I ask that people respect my work and my copyright. I say this because recently someone who runs a very popular and somewhat commercial site on Facebook recently took one of my photos from my site without permission and sprayed it widely around the internet. If people like to help support my work by purchasing a calendar or book then I really appreciate the support. If businesses want to help promote my work and my publications then I am very open to proposals and I certainly like to support people who are doing good and valuable work where I can. But Apparently I need to point out to some that I do retain the rights to my work and say in where and when my photos are used. In short, you need my written permission before taking my photographs from this web site and using them anywhere else. Thanks to everyone for your support and understanding!
Monique has been on a bit of a roll with her climbing for the last 12 months or so. It has been great to watch her enjoy the process as well as do some really cool things with her climbing lately. In the last year Monique has climbed several “routes of her dreams” including Fish Eye (her first 33) and recently she won the both the Lead and Boulder Australian Nationals. You probably wouldn’t know it but she has worked hard to overcome several injuries over the years, no woe-is-me sob stories, she was patient and just got back on the horse. Success in climbing can be fleeting and only gets harder as you get older so I think you’ve just got enjoy the good times when you can.
Whist we were up in Queensland Monique found herself a really cool project, the classic Whistling Kite (32) which tackles a beautiful proud buttress at Frog Buttress. I believe this was the second 32 established in Australia. Monique managed to make the sixth ascent of this route which had not seen a repeat in five years. It really is the most incredibly technical route I’ve ever seen. A big shout out of thanks to Duncan Steel for his inspiration, I’m sure his encouragement was instrumental in getting Monique so psyched about the route. Monique blogged about it here and now belatedly here are a few more photos from me …
When we were up in Queensland we split our time between all the Sunshine Coast crags, which I covered in the previous post, and Frog Buttress, which I will quickly cover here.
Best known for the incredible concentration of high-quality crack routes, Frog also has a lot of high-quality face climbing.
Sorry I can’t show you more of my photos from here at the moment, they will be appearing in a feature article soon…
At Frog I employed my Photo Pole apparatus, Photo pole 2.0, for the first time. A few modifications have made it a lot faster and better to work with, compared to the previous design. Here I set it up to shoot Duncan Steel on Whistling Kite. The results were awesome, stay tuned for when my new Australia book comes out to see those.
Frog Buttress, not the only one but another great reason to visit Queensland for climbing!
A few months ago I mentioned that we were up in Queensland shooting and climbing. A lot of the shooting that I was doing on that trip is for a new coffee-table book on Australian climbing, among other things, but the other big project I was working on was a guidebook to several crags in South East Queensland. There were so many times when we were travelling around up there that I wished there was already a guidebook like this, so I’m sure this new guidebook will be a handy thing for many climbers. The guidebook is a collaborative effort with several local climbers but more on the guidebook later. The result for me was that as soon as we returned from Queensland I basically locked myself in the office and spent the last two months in full-on guidebook production mode. For a while it was a nice change to spend some time at home and have a bit of break from travel for while. Producing guidebooks is really satisfying but it’s not my main business and so when I work on one I don’t have the luxury to spend years pottering away at it; I need to fit guidebook production in between trips. The upshot has been that I’ve had my head down and been focused, neglected blogging and even emails, but because I was working with a great team we got the job done and the book should be in the shops before Christmas. Psyched!
So anyway, here is then a little photo essay on our trip up to Queensland. It really is an awesome winter climbing destination.
We arrived in time to compete in the Queensland Bouldering Competition, it was a really fun event run by Urban Climb. Somehow I managed to snake my way into second place in the mens Masters category. Don’t know how I managed that but it’s good to know this carcass still has a little crank left in it even if you wouldn’t know it judging by my performance on rock of late… But of course we were up there for real rock. We split our time between Frog Buttress and the crags up on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane. Frog Buttress is famous for its amazing crack lines of course; there were photos that I wanted to do there and Monique found a project but more on that later. The great surprise for me this trip was just how much great climbing there is up on the Sunshine Coast so I’ll start there… Just an hour north of Brisbane you have the amazing Glass House Mountains:
John J O’Brien got this shot of me abseiling into position for a shoot on Clemency Wall, Mount Tibrogargan.
And the result from the shoot…
And some antics up in the Summit Caves…
And Mount Coolum is a well-known sport climbing crag super close to the beautiful Sunshine Coast beaches. The climbing is funky and requires a lot of knee-bars. People seem to either love it or hate it, Monique loved it.
And close to Noosa there is the generally, but not entirely, slabby Mount Tinbeerwah with a swag of good routes.
Nearby we jigged and poked our way two pitches up Mount Cooroora to get some shots of a stunning arÃªte which John O’Brien (JJ) had established.
And if you head a bit further north there’s a popular bunch of sandstone crags at Brooyar.
So much great climbing! But you know, one of the things I really loved about the Sunshine Coast was that there was more than just the climbing. It’s a beautiful place to visit and hang out. I’m already looking forward to escaping next winter and heading north again, putting the new guidebook to use, and gosh, hopefully having a holiday!
So until next year, a big shout of thanks to John J O’Brien, Sandra Phoenix, Rob and Donna Saunders, and everyone else who helped make our trip up there so awesome!
Each year the German magazine Klettern publish a massive poster sized wall calendar and most years I get a few shots in there. For 2013 I’ve scored the cover again and few inside shots. The calendar is huge! I don’ know it works out with the postage but if you live in Europe it may not be to bad, you can get it from there shop here.
Snow, in October, in the Blue Mountains, does not happen very often. Turns out this was the best dump we’ve had in 20 years. A good excuse to get out and play and snap a few pics…
It started dry and sticky, perfect for making snowmen…
Afterwards I tried to do some work in the office, honestly I did. But the lights were flickering and I didn’t trust the electricity, so I shut down the ‘puters just before the blackout. The snow was getting wet and heavy and bringing branches down on to the power lines. Only one thing for it, time to go for a walk….
Coco is nearly four so if think that by now she should be walking, well so did I. Out you get lazy girl…
Up on the highway I came across Angus Farquar seizing on the opportunity to attempt possibly the first ever ski descent of Victoria Pass. Not sure how that went…
Yeah I know, to all of you in North America and Europe a bit of snow is hardly worth writing about but around here this much is novel. Since I’ve been crunching hard on the computer for weeks now on a guidebook project, I appreciated the break. And since the mail didn’t go, that’s why mail-orders were delayed yesterday.
Anyway, good times!
Busy times indeed, hence why things have been quiet on the blog here. My apologies for that. We recently did a trip up to Queensland and absolutely loved it — but were working our little arses off however. I was mainly shooting for a new coffee-table book on Australian climbing and also a new guidebook project we have in the works. I’m delighted with my photos and satisfied that after all these years I now have some good coverage of Queensland’s awesome, varied and really interesting climbing. Between all the work Monique managed to squeeze in a send of the iconic Whistling Kite (32) at Frog Buttress. More on all those things soon but now I wanted to quickly fire of a quick news report because today I heard some very cool news…
One of the things I photographed up in Queensland was Lee Cujes and John J O’Brien (“JJ”) attempting to free climb the first two pitches of the Beerwah Bolt Route on Mount Beerwah in the Glasshouse Mountains. For those not familiar with it, the Beerwah Bolt Route (akaÂ Stainless Anticlimb) is a famous, no, THE famous, four pitch aid bolt ladder blasting up to – and through – the massive overhangs on the mountain’s north face. It is so popular it’s pretty much a rite-of-passage for Queensland rock climbers. Photographing Lee trying to free climb the second pitch (it was his first time trying the moves) was a laugh actually — the moves looked absolutely ridiculous! I thought “good luck with that”. Lee did all the moves that day but it looked to me like he was settling in for a long-term project – and a very cool one at that. But not so! I just got news that Lee and JJ returned to the route today and fired the first and second pitches at around grade 26 and 27 respectively. Well done guys, absolutely awesome job. I think Queensland just got a couple more mega-classic hard free pitches. And I’d just like to add that I had a look at the massive overhangs and I’m pretty sure they will also go free, just at grade 40 or thereabouts, so maybe we’ll have to wait a bit longer for that.
Here a few pics of the route from the distance. My best work from the shoot might soon be appearing in a magazine, book, or as a limited edition print, so stay tuned for that.