In episode 5 I interview Dr Ashlee Hendy, a Melbourne based climber who has been climbing in the Victorian scene for almost 20 years. Ashlee has carved out an academic career in exercise science and neuroscience, and is currently on a career break and as I write this, climbing her way across North America with her partner Chris and dog Lulu.
Ashlee stopped through Melbourne en route to the US after a stint climbing in Tasmania this past summer, and I took the opportunity to sit down with Ashlee to record this episode at her family home.
We cover a lot of ground in this interview – Ashlee’s experiences climbing in Melbourne and Victoria throughout the years. Her academic career and the insights she can share where her research applies to climbing. She tells us how she attempts to manage the work life balance of that career around climbing and I ask her about her recent send of Serpentine, a route she had long dreamt about. We talk training the mental approach to climbing and the use of visualisation. Finally Ashlee tells us about her experiences climbing in the Grampians and Arapiles over the years, how that’s changed, and she gives us a peek into her climbing ambitions for the future.
You can follow Ashlee on instagram here, and check out the articles she wrote for Vertical Life magazine on Mind and Muscle Training.
Also, big thanks to Ashlee’s mother, who made a tasty lasagne for us to eat when we finished up the interview!
The Tokyo 2020 games are coming up fast, and in this episode I interview Olympic hopeful Lucy Stirling. She is one of Australia’s top competition climbers, and currently Oceania lead champion. Lucy is from Brisbane, Queensland, and has been climbing since age 13. She quickly found success in competition climbing, taking her to multiple Youth World Lead Championships. In 2014 Lucy became Australia Open Lead Champion and in 2017 Australian Bouldering Champion. On the international scene, Lucy represented Australia at the World Games in Poland in 2017 and has competed at Multiple Open World Cups!
Lucy was down in Victoria to train for speed climbing a month ago, and we sat down to talk about her climbing life, and the path ahead of her to get to Tokyo in 2020.
We cover Lucy’s progress through climbing, and the successive challenges she has faced throughout her competition climbing career. We get into how she trains, travelling for comps, outdoor climbing and those other non-climbing things in life.
You can find Lucy’s blog here, and follow her progress here on Instagram.
A selection of shots of Lucy competing and climbing outdoors throughout the years.
Going for the Dyno on Hairline (28) Photo: Slavik Titov
Grampians Photo: Patrik Banda
IFSC World Cup 2016 Photo: TeamAUS
World Games 2017 Photo: Polski Zwiazek Alipinzmu
2017 Bouldering World Cup Photo: Yanne Golev
2014 Australian Lead Titles
I sat down with Simon Carter at his place in the Blue Mountains about a month ago, to record episode 3 of the Lay Back Podcast.
Since the early 90s Simon has been producing climbing photography and is described by the editor of Rock and Ice Magazine as “arguably the greatest climbing photographer of all time”. Simon took a chance on the climbing photography career path, not knowing where it would lead, and he’s worked immensely hard in pursuing that dream.
Many Australian climbers would be familiar with Simon’s Onsight Photography, which has published guidebooks for a range of Australian climbing destinations.
You can check out the Sloper App, talked about in the podcast, which Simon’s guidebooks will be available on. Simon also mentions Climbing Australia, and you can find his Onsight Photography site here.
Climbing photographer Simon Carter using his ‘photo frame’ at Hanging Rock in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. Circa 1997.
Simon Carter with his photo pole thingy at Frog Buttress, Queensland. 2012. Photo: John J O’Brien.
Some shots of Simon over the years, including his camp setup in Arapiles and climbing on buildings in Canberra.
Monique Forestier leading and Ashley Doyle belaying on pitch six of The Regular Route (23, 25, 24, 21, 24, 22, 23), at Perrys Lookdown in the Blue Mountains, Australia.
Monique Forestier, Superstyling (25), Point Perpendicular, NSW, Australia. Nikon D3S with 14-24mm f2.8 lens @ 15mm. ISO 200, 1/200 @ f8.
Monique Forestier, Daedalus (29), Taipan Wall, The Grampians, Victoria, Australia.
Chris Coppard on The Sorcerer (27) with Garry Phillips belaying, a new independant route that they established on the Totem Pole in 2015 — some 20 years after the first free ascent of the 65m high pillar. Cape Hauy, Tasman Peninsular, Tasmania, Australia.
Chris Hampton, with Andy Kuylaars belaying, climbing The Moai on the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania, Australia. D600 with 14-24mm f2.8 lens @ 14mm. ISO 400, 1/5-0 @ f5.6.
Monique Forestier (@moniqueforestier) tackles a hard and high “deep-water solo” out to a stalactite ten metres above the ocean, at Turtle Cave, Halong Bay, Vietnam. Nikon D3s with 14-24mm f2.8 at 24mm. 1/1250 sec @ f5, ISO 200.
Lee Cujes making the first ascent of License to Climb Harder (7c), on The Face — one of 2153 limestone karsts in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Nikon D3s with 16mm f2.8 lens. 1/400 sec @ f11, ISO 200.
Mike Doyle, pitch two of The Backbone (13a), with Monique Forestier belaying, Monkey Face, Smith Rock, Oregon, USA.
A selection of Simon Carter’s favorite shots.
All shots are copyright, and used with permission of Simon Carter. Thanks Simon!
On episode 2 of the Lay Back Podcast, I interview Neil Monteith in the Fallout shelter under his house in the Blue Mountains.
Neil has been climbing for 27 years and has established more than 1000 new pitches of both sport and trad in Australia alone. We discuss his early beginnings climbing with an electrical cord and tow rope in Queensland in the early 90s, his trips to the US and an expedition to Baffin Island in the 2003. We dig into what motivates him to discover and develop new crags, and he gives us some insights into Australian climbing culture as he sees it, having lived in QLD, VIC and now NSW.
Neil’s enthusiasm for climbing is contagious. Upon finding out I was going to the Blue Mountains to conduct interviews, but not planning to climb, Neil insisted I bring my gear and head out. We rapped into a multi-pitch only for it to rain on the pitches we had to climb out. I thought Neil was getting me into an epic, but he’d judged the conditions well and the pitches dried out with plenty of time for us to climb out. We filmed the podcast into late into the night and the next day, Neil was back up at 6am to head out climbing again.
I filmed this episode, and you can watch it on YouTube, which I have embedded in the post below.
Neil and I after an afternoon of climbing, and a photo from Neil’s expedition to climb Mount Pieter Botte in Far North Queensland.
You can find Neil’s old website on the Internet Way Back machine here
You can also watch the film put together on the Baffin Island trip – Forty Days and Zero Nights here
Donate to CliffCare in Victoria here
Join the Victorian Climbing Club here
Donate to ACAQ in Queensland here
Join the Sydney Rockclimbing Club here
On episode 1 of The Lay Back, I sit down with Kim Carrigan. Kim had a significant impact on climbing in the 70s and 80s, pushing standards and establishing some of the hardest routes of the time in Australia. He travelled extensively to world class crags in the US and Europe, challenging the status quo and climbing the hardest routes of the time. We dive deep in the interview, Kim discusses everything from his youth, to his post-climbing successes as an entrepreneur, his thoughts on the current state of climbing and its future, as well as his own ambitions to return to the rock.
Podcast is available through the following links, or you can listen here on the Soundcloud player.
Kim Carrigan on the Ring Route, now known as Lord of the Rings.
Photo courtesy of Glenn Tempest.
Kim Carrigan and I after 3 hours of recording.
Thanks: Andreas K, Steve H, Dylan G, Nate B, Mark A, Chris W for helping guide research and questions for this episode.
Featured Track on Episode: Cold Funk – Funkorama – Kevin MacLeod