Thursday, October 06, 2005

Climbing high

For almost a decade, Fred From was a significant force in Queensland climbing. He refused to use either climbing boots or chalk. Raised on a farm at Coominya, just west of Brisbane, From soon acquitted himself on the Frog Buttress classics, leading Conquistador in fine style. By this time, the Brisbane Rockclimbing Club had fizzled out and a new University of Queensland Climbing Club had started up with From its ambassador. He had soon added new routes on the steep columns of Crookneck, at Girraween and Knapps Peak. In 1984, Fred From set out on his greatest adventure—an attempt on Everest via the West Ridge. Tragically, he fell to his death, tripping on his crampons, while searching for another Australian climber, Craig Nottle, who had fallen in the same way, at the same place. It happened on From’s 28th birthday—9 October. At the same time as From fell to his death, another Australian expedition was on Everest forcing a bold new route, White Limbo, up the Great Couloir the North Face, climbing Alpine-style without supplementary oxygen. Of the team, Tim McCartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer reached the summit.

Illustration: The Courier-Mail, Brisbane.

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