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better than life

Leah Dempsey, Better Than Life (32).

This week I have the pleasure of presenting a good ‘ol fashioned photo essay of Leah Dempsey on the old-school classic Better Than Life (32), at Centennial Glen here in the Blue Mountains, which Leah impressively climbed just recently. The 12m route has a reputation of being quite the test-piece for powerful, technical, bouldery and incredibly thin climbing. First climbed by Saxon Johns back in 1995, the route has seen not much more than a dozen ascents in that time. Leah’s ascent is the first by a female and marks a significant step up in her personal climbing as well. Clearly Leah has the ability to pull down on the tiniest of holds, but she also has flawless technique, moves lightning fast, and has a real “lightness of being” on the rock, which makes me think that we’ll be seeing a lot more from her yet that’s for sure. About the photos, starting with the photo below, I have arranged the images in the order that the route is climbed so that it makes sense, but — for better or worse — that also somewhat gives the sequence away. You’re welcome. ;-p

It’s great to see more Australian women climbing at a high level. And that is also in keeping with global trends. Speaking of which, in case you missed the big news last week, Austrian woman Angela (Angy) Eiter just became the first female to climb a grade 9b route, that’s grade 37 in our scale. That is, quite literally, next level! I think it is just so damn awesome. Notably, only two guys, Ondra and Sharma, have grade-wise climbed harder than that. There’s some more info about that and a great interview with Angela here –> on Planetmountain.

What else?

Speaking of the Blue Mountains, Blue Mountains Cragcare are having their last workday of the year this Saturday (4 November). Meet at Centennial Glen car park at 8.30 am. However, you must email beforehand to register. I’ve supported Cragcare for years, with donations, photography and promotions, and the occasional sweat and grunt. I think it’s doing really important work and its a great way for every climber to give something back.

Next year Monique Forestier, one of Australia’s best climbers and climbing coaches, and I, are hosting our second World Expeditions trip, this time its to Paynes Ford in New Zealand. It’ll be heaps of fun and we’ll help you improve your climbing. There are still some spaces available. Hope you can join us, all the info is –> here.

And I’ve released another free computer desktop image for you –> here. Exclusive for newsletter subscribers.

Thanks for reading. More soon.

~ Simon

Leah Dempsey, Better Than Life (32). Getting into the business. 

Into the crux. Tiny minging crimpers!

Left hand bop to a tiny weeny poc.

Hitting the sloper.

A long move off rubbish to a gaston… And yes, Leah skips that bolt.

Now set feet on bits of nothing and pounce!

Then it relents somewhat. And that’s The End.


This weeks free desktop wallpaper. Get it –> here.

Thanks to my sponsors: PranaSterling Rope and La Sportiva.


Order here now (and stockists info).

Up your skills with Monique and Simon in NZ! Info here.

Preview and pre-order the new guidebook –> here.


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