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Welcome to the Chockstone Articles. Here you'll find interviews with local climbers, trip reports from the Chockstone team, and other loose documents.


Trip Reports

Interviews With Climbers   Push For The Summit
Chockstone sometimes manages to rub shoulders with prominent and interesting Australian climbers. Please contact us if you know anyone that would make for a good interviewee (be they hard core climbers or whatever).

[ Most interviews have been prepared and conducted by Michael Boniwell with generous input in the form of questions and pictures from numerous fellow climbers. ]
Kevin Westren Kevin Westren - 23.9MB MP3 Pod-cast Audio Interview made by Paddy Pallin of Kevin, in 2008.
Simon Mentz Simon Mentz - Local reader's will probably best know Simon's name as the co-author of those outstanding guide books Arapiles Selected Climbs, and Grampians Selected Climbs. Other's might have come across his name against numerous starred first ascents that are now considered classics in the Grampians, Mt Buffalo and deep in the heart of the Northern Territory where he established one of the hardest routes of the time. Simon's climbing life has taken him to more distance places like The Nose of El Capitan and the Matterhorn, but his nucleus remains the appealing country life of Natimuk.
Dave Jones Interview. This photo by Glenn Tempest. Dave Jones - The man with a quiet voice and supernatural shoulders has a reputation for bold, run out, trad horror shows, including one such ascent captured on film during the making of the well known climbing movie "Hard Grit". With first ascents that include the hardest route at Mt Arapiles, Punks Addition (32), some scary stuff on Taipan Wall and a wealth of bold FA's and repeats throughout the world, it's a wonder Dave has time to earn a living. As a film maker/multi-media designer Dave runs a company called Transience out of Natimuk.
Louise Shepherd - As well as authoring "A Rock Climbers Guide To Arapiles/Djurite", which is still very popular, Louise was probably the strongest female climber of the 80's, being the first woman to climb grade 25/26 with leads such as Tales Of Power (26/27) and Separate Reality (26) in the US, Lord Of The Flies (26) in the UK, and at home the first onsight ascent of Trojan (25) at Mt Arapiles. Needless to say this caused a stir among what was then a very male-dominated sport.
Chris Dewhirst Chris Dewhirst -  Chris was at the forefront of climbing in Australia during the late 1960's to early 70's. He put up many hundred first ascents including the pen-ultimate Victorian aid routes Ozymandias (M4 now 29) & Lord Gumtree (22 M6) at Mt Buffalo. Visiting the US he became the first Australian to conquer the 5.11 grade and is acknowledged as having bestowed chalk upon Australian climbing. Chris has been an actor in films, he's run a business specialising in Himalayan trekking, he holds the Australian high altitude balloon flight record and led a combined British and Australian expedition on the first successful balloon overflight over Mt Everest.
Monique Forestier Monique Forestier - Monique possibly thought that being the first person to onsight the entire The Totem Pole (25), in Tasmania, was going to be the highlight of her year. She was, however, launched into the spotlight in May when she became only the second Australian women to climb a grade 30 route with an ascent of Pigs In Space Direct (30). She quickly followed that success with an FA of Mission To Mars (31), making her the only Aussie women to date to tick this grade. Not content to rest on her laurels Monique rose to the further challenge of grade 32 with an ascent of Intergalactic Lactic Spastic, to effectively push the Australian women's barrier by two grades.
Kevin Lindorff Kevin Lindorff - Climbing since the early 70's Kevin has put up hundreds of new routes in Australia and beyond and cultivated something of a reputation for bold run-out horror shows with often under-graded technical difficulty. While he's freed grades around 27, Kevin has always avoided sieging sport routes and number chasing preferring instead to seek out new routes, and sometimes tagging them onsight and ground up. His efforts have put his name against countless routes at Mt Buffalo, particularly the North Wall and been instrumental in the early development of Arapiles and the Grampians.
Julian Saunders Julian Saunders - Local climber, Dr. Julian Saunders has degrees in Sports Physiology and Osteopathy as well as several impressive first ascents to his credit including well known grade 31 Grampians routes. He's also a keen boulderer, repeating numerous hard problems and creating bold new lines. His picture appeared on the front cover of "Rock Climbing In Australia". This interview gets to the crux of the big issues, as we extract such closely guarded details as Julian's secret recipe for crag power food!
Simon Carter Simon Carter - Simon Carter is well known to Australian climbers for his stunning climbing photography. Climbing for the last 20 years, his work, which has taken him to all corners of the globe, has won awards and found it's way into many publications. He's done FFA's such as Evil D (29) and Not To Bad (28). But who is the man behind these amazing images and what has his climbing life been like? Chockstone had the opportunity to ask him while he was on a rest day in Natimuk, between photo shoots and climbing time.
Malcolm Matheson Malcolm Matheson - A name that conjures an image of incredible strength and style owing to an impressive tick list of hard, ground up, often trad ascents in an era when the top end of the grades are increasingly the dominion of sport climbers leading on pre-placed gear. With local first ascents such as Serpentine (31), which was possibly the hardest route by an Australian at the time, big walls in the US, and a climbing career spanning back as far as 1978, Malcolm has quietly achieved things others only dream about.
Simon Parsons Dr Simon Parsons - Living proof that balancing a successful career and climbing hard on rock and ice is more than possible. He's been ticking grade 30 in Australia, 8a in France, 5.13c in the US and Canada, and Ice climbing VI+ M9. He's done the North Face of the Eiger in just 2 days, run up the Nose of El Cap in a day, bagged the second Australian ascent of Cerro Torre in Patagonia, and the first Australian ascent of the Cassin Ridge on Alaska's Mt McKinley... the list is almost endless.
Martin Lama Martin Lama - A local Melbourne climber, Martin has been blasting his way to the top of many hard routes both here in Australia and overseas including France, Germany and the US, as well as competing in, and sometimes winning, an impressive array of indoor competitions. Leading grade 28 was par for the course until he recently incurred double elbow injuries. Martin is now focussed on triathlons, though he still manages to boulder hard problems.
Neil Monteith Neil Monteith - Sport climbing up to 27, Neil is also keen on trad, aid, ice and mountaineering, his adventures having recently taken him up the biggest cliff in the world on Baffin Island in the Artic Circle. Neil has put up a large quantity of new routes in Australia though recently focusing on the Grampians. Chockstone extracted this interview, which touches upon many aspects of Neil's climbing life, after attending one such trip
Glenn Tempest Glenn Tempest - Locals will immediately recognise Glenn's name as co-author of numerous well presented guide books and his outstanding climbing photography. Chockstone managed to fire a few insightful questions towards Glenn, who regales us with stories of epic climbs and vibrant characters from as far back as the late 70's when the "new wave" of climbers hit Arapiles and the Grampians pushing ever further into harder and bolder routes.
Mike Law Dr Michael Law (aka "The Claw") - Founder of thousands of new routes, many of them well known Victorian classics, this colourful character has been climbing since the early 70's having lead routes as high as 30 and still cranking nearly as hard today. Chockstone probes Mike's long and impressive climbing career, touching on controversy, epic routes, bolting issues, and more. 
Jacqui Middleton - Chockstone caught up with Jacqui, the Melbourne based sport and trad climber ticking grades in the mid to high twenties, while on a trip to Bundaleer. In an interview, Jacqui tells us a little about her climbing career to date, motivations, training, and life as a women in an unfortunately still male dominated sport.

Climbing Trip Reports   Push For The Summit
Occasionally a trip will stand out as being worthy of writing up. This section includes selected reports from Chockstone members.  Feel free to submit your own reports or view the full list.
Chockstone Quote
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude." (Lionel Terray, 1965)

Selected Member's Contributions:  [ More ]
2004 Sep European Sport Climbing Extravaganza 6 Aussies, 9 weeks, lots of tickage & fun!
2004 Jul Peru - Laguna Parron Locals Anthony & Matt bag Caraz II at 6000m.
2004 Jul Denali/McKinley "Don?t make plans in Alaska" by local climber Rob Baker.
2004 Jul High Altitude: Cordillera Blanca of Peru Local climber Brad Miller in the Peruvian Andes.
2004 Apr Castle Hill Trip Part 1, Part 2 Alister heads to NZ for bouldering bliss.
2004 Apr Barely Legal Live Hardcore Climbing Jono's humerous take on a Grampains trip.
2004 Jan A Quick Trip To The Grampians An enjoyable read from Rupert.
2004 Jan Tasmanian Adventures Phil gets hit by rock fall on a Tassie trip.
2003 Oct Chockstone Gathering Mt Alexander Comments, photos and vid from the gathering.

Editor's Contributions:

2005 Jan Grampians Brad & I climb Simpleton (18), Spillway (18), Navarre (17) at Stapylton and Heretic (17) at Rosea.
2004 Oct Mt Arapiles Owen, Johno, Brad & Michael. Routes include Entertainer (18), Tannin (19), King Rat (18).
2004 Jul Grampians A weekend in the Gramps; Summerday, Hollow Mt & Black Ians.
2004 Mar Mt Buffalo Lots of great routes, lots of sun, lots of fun on the long weekend
2003 Jun Mt Arapiles Queens Birthday long weekend. Routes include: Watchtower Crack (16).
2003 Mar Grampians Myself, Ben, Kent & Owen do Summerday Valley, Van Diemans and Black Ian's Rocks over two days.
2003 Jan Grampians Neil Monteith and I take on some of the more remote Victoria Ranges crags over the Australia Day long weekend.
2002 Dec Grampians Four days of multi-pitching at Mt Rosea, plus a couple of routes at Bundaleer and bouldering below Taipan Wall.
2002 Dec Climbing In Queensland For a non-climbing holiday we still managed to tick some lines.
2002 Sep Ben Nevis Hounded by gale force winds a day trip is cut short after only a single pitch.
2002 Jun Mt Arapiles / Grampians The rainy long weekend allowed us to get a few climbs done between showers. Featured routes include "Golden Showers and Group Sex" grade 20, "Tannin" grade 19, and  several others.
2002 Mar Mt Arapiles Featured routes include, "Saracen" 114m Grade 16, Pitch one of "Oceaniod" 45m Grade 17, "Death Row" 45m Grade 18, Eurydice 70m Grade 18, "XI" 30m Grade 18.

Miscellaneous   Push For The Summit
International Grade Conversion - Charts Australian, American, French, plus links to UK grades.
Starred Climbs At Mt Arapiles - The "Tick List", lists 3 and 2 star climbs.
Rec.Climbing Recent Topics Of Interest - Links to some old but good articles.



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