Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dodging bushfires and climbing rocks

So I'm hiding away here in Natimuk, near Arapiles in Victoria. I came down this way to go out and put up new problems in the Grampians but last week we had 5 days of well over 40 degree Celsius weather and bush fires took hold and destroyed the northern end of the Grampians National Park.

Brooding clouds and the glow of distant bushfires in the Grampians


I was yet another devastating series of fires and as a result the Grampians are closed until further notice. As a result I have been hiding away here in Natimuk, training and bouldering out at Arapiles.

Training in Natimuk


 That's not such a bad thing as the climbing and bouldering at Arapiles is world class. It's just been a matter of waiting till the late afternoon and getting amongst it  :)

Heres a little video I just made about the bouldering in Arapiles. The video is perhaps a little lower quality than I hoped so when I have a little more room on Vimeo I will upload a high res HD copy  :)

https://vimeo.com/84560051

Bouldering on the 'Swing Wing' boulder. Arapiles, Victoria

The hot weather has sort of demanded a bit of swimming time too  :)  Heading either to a friends pool across he road or venturing out to the local billabong. Here's a little clip of an afternoon at the billabong.

https://vimeo.com/84368645


Before leaving Canberra I got to spend some time caching up with one of my best of friends - Chris Webb Parsons. It was great to get to spend some time together, catching up, going for a boulder in our old haunts, lots of cafe time and relaxing. Psyched for him to get out and crush the World Cups again this year  :)

Caching up with Chris over coffee in Canberra


One last video before I go. This one is from just before Christmas. A first ascent of a V7 roof problem at Falls Creek near Nowra, NSW - one of the many new areas my good buddy, Jack Folkes has been developing down that way. The footage isn't super high quality, but it's a bit of fun anyway. Enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/83740912


Until next time... stay jazzed!
~ Always psyched  :)
Duncan


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goal Zero - Ambassador? Oh yeah!!!



So, with a little bit of trepidation, here we go launching a FB page dedicated to all the shenanigans I get up to 

Check it out here:  https://www.facebook.com/DuncanBrownClimber

I am super excited and very proud to have been announced today as an official Ambassador for Goal Zero -  http://goalzero.com.au

Today marks the launch of Goal Zero's first Ambassador Program outside of the USA and I couldn't be prouder to be on such an amazing list of outdoors athletes and photographers. The Australian ambassadors are a star studded bunch of names that you need to check out, if you don't already know them; Stu Gibson, Simon Carter, Mark Watson and myself, and we are joining the US Ambassadors amongst company that I feel humbled to be associated with, folk like Alex Honnold, Ueli Steck, Mike Libecki and Andy Lewis.

Check out the first post about us at:http://goalzero.com.au/blog/introducing-our-new-gz-ambassadors

I'm excited as one can possibly be for this year and everything it will bring! Right now I'm down near Arapiles in Victoria, dodging the 48 degree heat and getting psyched on developing some new areas in the Grampians and making some fun little films.

Watch this space for regular updates. Like it, share it, get inspired by the new GZ Ambassadors and live the ‪#‎solarlife‬

Psyched!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Let The New Year Begin!

2014 has landed. Yet another new year comes in to being and with all the usual festivities and celebrations we are off to a flying start.
Christmas was spent enjoying some quiet family time at my family home down on the south coast, sleeping by the beach, eating amazing food, and jumping on trampolines with the kids. Always a great way to spend Christmas. Boxing day was the usual, slightly out of control revelries by the pool with my friends in Canberra. New Years saw myself and my friend Kerryn do a little road trip down to Jervis Bay to camp by the beach, swim in the ocean, relax at my friend Jack's house and take it pretty easy for a few days.
Now it's back in the Blue Mountains for some slightly sweaty summer bolt clipping for a week or two before heading back to Canberra briefly and then back off to the Grampians and Araps for a month.
There is so much exciting news just on the horizon, with some amazing announcements coming up that I am bursting at the seams to tell you all about, but some of them will have to wait  ;)  One that I can tell you about is that my good buddy, Chris Webb Parsons is on his way to Australia right now, sitting on a plane as I type this, and I just can't wait for him to get here. It's been years since we last climbed together and now after a long time we will be hitting the road to the Grampians and Arapiles together again, road tripping just like the old times - super psyched!  :)
Now it's coffee time and then off to the crag, hope you're out climbing something today!

Jack struggling at pool whilst wearing a 200 year old diving helmet on New Years Eve

Tianjara Falls, NSW - a little stop off for a beautiful view during a drive between Nowra and Canberra

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Climbing!!!

Christmas in Australia means hot weather, sweaty climbing, less than ideal friction, sun burn... in short, not the best climbing conditions. Nonetheless, I am loving climbing right now! Sure, it might not be perfect conditions for working and sending hard problems or routes, but it is perfect conditions for being outside, enjoying the sun and having a great time!
After a little bit of time up in the Blue Mountains I made a short detour to Jervis Bay, near Nowra, NSW to visit my good buddy Jack Folkes. We spent the first day hanging out on the Shoalhaven River at his new deep water soloing crag, Big Red. I sort of chickened out on the roof crux of the mega project (being upside down 10 metres off the water is a bit scary in my books haha!) but I managed to put up a big traverse that girdles the crag only a few metres off the water that I called 'No Heroics' and goes at about grade 23.
The next day Jack took me to a few of his new bouldering areas to try some projects he had cleaned up. First stop was a steep roof under a waterfall at a place called Falls Creek where I polished off the first ascents of 2 projects - 'Spare Batteries' V5 and 'Down The Rabbit Hole' V7. The rock is a little bit less than perfect, but the problems climbed super well. Great, pockety roof climbing!
Afterwards we checked out one of Jacks other seaside bouldering areas in Jervis Bay, but my skin was far too sore to climb, so after Jack had a play on a project we headed off.
Now it's family time, relaxing here in Mystery Bay with my parents and sister and nephews, going to go on a little local crag search today then it's time for a fresh seafood feast tomorrow for Christmas  :)
Merry Christmas everyone, hope you all have a fantastic and safe festive season!
D.

The view from Jack's porch in Jervis Bay

Jack on the 'Big Red' Project, Shoalhaven River, Nowra

The walk ins to the crags around here are pretty awesome

Jack Folkes bearing down on yet another superb seaside project in Jervis Bay

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Getting out climbing a lot is fantastic. Getting out climbing on a lot of different types of rock is even better.
Recently I have had the chance to climb on a bunch of different types of rock at a lot of different crags and in a lot of different styles; from bouldering on sandstone and granite to trad climbing on quartzite. Right now it is clipping bolts on crimpy Blue Mountains sandstone. 
I haven't spent much time on a rope recently as I have been focusing on bouldering and putting up new problems so it's nice to mix it up a little and climb some longer pieces of rock. 
As they say; variety is the spice of life.
Today was day one here in the Bluies and it was stellar conditions down at Porters Pass. Some fun warm ups and a few burns on 'Self Portrait', a sweet, gently overhung, technical 29 (8a). Hopefully these conditions keep up while I'm here!

Evan sticking the crux throw on 'Self Portrait'.

Flowing water endlessly trickling do to the valley below.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Reflections...

With only a few short days left for me here in the Wimmera I am sitting here in the Mt Zero Olives Cafe, looking out towards the boulders and walls up on Mt Zero that we will be heading up to this afternoon for a late afternoon bouldering session, sipping my coffee and reflecting on what has been a fantastic couple of weeks.
Over the last 7 months of being back in Australia after moving back here from China my life has been far from the normal sort of thing that my friends are used to. I work for myself mostly, I study, I travel, I climb. It's pretty darn good, and I have some aces up my sleeve that will come to the table later next year, but it can be hard to explain to people what I 'do' and sometimes even harder to reconcile it all in my own head and be content in it all.
Being here in the Wimmera I have had time to reflect on my life and make sure I am on the right track to achieving my goals, and I think things are going pretty much according to plan, so I'm pretty happy.
Climbing here in the Grampians and Arapiles on this trip has been sensational - bouldering on the impeccable sandstone of the Grampians, exploring new areas in the Southern Grampians, plugging trad gear in Arapiles, playing music in a fun bar with a great crowd, hanging with fantastic old friends, meeting great new friends, eating amazing food, drinking tasty wine and generally having a stellar time.
I didn't come down here to try and climb harder stuff, I more approached it with a goal of climbing a large volume of great problems and trying to get on as much new stuff as I could. Goal achieved.
I've done somewhere around 50 problems V4 and harder, up to V7, flashed a bunch of V5's, did quick ascents of 6's and 7's, some amazing highballs, even a few first ascents. All in all great result and exactly what I was after. I also managed to squeeze in a few classic trad routes at Arapiles for good measure. Perfect.
Being able to hang out in the campground with my Goal Zero solar kit and have wifi so I can study and work from anywhere has been amazing. Absolutely loving the #solarlife  :)
I may have some great news coming up soon regarding myself and Goal Zero, so stay tuned  ;)
For now it's back to my coffee, back to some study and then off to the blocs for the afternoon.

Life.
Is.
Awesome.

Go out and enjoy it  :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Photos of shenanigans in Arapiles and the Grampians :)


I'll post a story about the last little while really soon, but for now here are a bunch of photos from Arapiles and the Grampians, including a bunch of photos from the 'Valley Of The Giants' in the southern Grampians. Such an AMAZING place  :)

Enjoy!








































Friday, November 29, 2013

Music and Mayhem!

What a crazy couple of days! Had one last day of bouldering at the Kindergarten with Saxon before he headed home to Sydney today. Last night we headed over to Halls Gap to meet up with Rhys and Courtney to hang at the Open Mic night and the Mountain Grand where I got up and played / sang a few tunes for the first time since coming back to Oz, and it went down well which was great. Super fun bar with a super fun local crowd of musicians. 
Then on the late night drive home to Mt Zero I blew a fan belt on my van and broke down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere at 12:30am. Within 5 minutes a couple of young guys drove along and stopped and it turned out one of their fathers was a tow truck driver / mechanic who live down the road. He turned up, got the car running and didn't even want me to pay him (I managed to get $20 in his pocket, but that's it. I drove cautiously to Stawell, slept there till morning and went to a repair shop who fixed me up in about 20 minutes and I was back on the road. Felling pretty darn lucky right now! 

Now studying in the Horsham library and then off to Araps this afternoon for some trad climbing for a few days. 
Life's pretty darn awesome sometimes 


Saxon warming up at The Kindergarten, Grampians.

Saxon warming up at The Kindergarten, Grampians.