Thursday, September 08, 2005

Hooked on climbing

This is the story of adventure climbing in Australia—a philosophical approach to exploring the landscape that barely survives in the new millennium. But it is equally the story of special groups of people who developed a special relationship with their local environment.
Like many others you will hear from in my story, I moved into climbing through bushwalking. With my brothers Chris and Tony, I climbed Mt Barney for the first time in the winter of 1966, beginning a lasting association with that peak which has seen us climb it by various routes close to 100 times. And like many young climbers, we read anything to do with climbing we could lay our hands on. One of our great inspirations was the University of Queensland Bushwalking Club magazine, Heybob, which, over the years, has documented the exploits of some of the early pioneers of climbing in Queensland. We began retracing their steps and in February 1968, we climbed the first ascent of the north face of Leaning Peak on Mt Barney—a 410 metre climb over two days on steep slabs of granophyre which entailed a bivouac on a ledge 60 metres from the summit. We were hooked!

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