Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Day with Mike Law

When I first started buying Rock magazine, probably back in '89, like most of you I was in awe of all the heroic characters. Bold, competent, even handsome. But the one who most summed up that period , for me, was Mike Law. AKA The Claw.
I was guiding a group along the Grand Canyon track in the Blue Mountains one day in the early Nineties and recognised Mike, from magazine pictures, coming the other way. I couldn't believe my luck. A real rock star, live, in person. So naturally I stopped him, and surprisingly he gave me all the time I wanted, chatting about stuff, you know, stuff. And even suggesting I come and climb at the gym where he worked. I don't know where my group got to. I caught them up some time later.
But, in my mind, I came away with an invitation to climb with Mike Law. The Claw!
I never did.
Till one day, recently on a dash trip to the Bluies with Lee, we met again. Vector: Neil Monteith.
That's me sort of looking smug mixing it up with the big boys.
I was taken as much by Mike's story telling as his climbing. He's like a TV that's always on exactly the right channel, the imagery is rich, and only just believable.
So I can scarcely believe all the amazing people I've been hangin with lately. The latest buzz was a day at my local crags with Mike.
Starting with breakfast.
We told stories while Sandra roasted coffee from our tree, free range, low food miles, organic, but saddly, tainted with child labour. Grandson Judd helps pick it.

 We had chili eggs on Turkish bread. Fav Saturday morning food.

Then out to the crags. Starting at Tinbeerwah. Yes, I took the Legend of The Claw to the Slabs of Tinbeerwah. What of it? It was fun. I left my bolt plates at work, so we used wires.
How embarrassment?
Then we dropped in at my work for lunch - Nachos and chocolate cake - and down the highway to Mt. Tibrogargan.
My human guide book, Lee was away in Kentucky, so I sent him a message. What to do with Mike?
"Remains of the Day" 5 pitch, mixed.
So here's Mike climbing past the notice declaring the route closed for Falcon Nesting.
Settle down climbers, don't get your nuts in a knot, the date on it had expired. Mike led first. We swung leads.

I snapped a couple of shots along the way, on his following pitches.

The Claw has been credited with the dubious honor of the Mastery of "Jiggery Pokery" in climbing.
Here he carefully disguises a kneebar from the camera, but this grasshopper sees all.
 So named when Gareth and Ross found human remains on their first ascent. Funny guys.

 I look forward to climbing again with him. And Sandra and I wish Mike and Vanessa the most joy and happiness on their next, most extreme, unpredictable adventure they will ever undertake.
Call anytime, day or night, if you need help with that one Mike.


  1. I had a great day climbing with you, and visiting new cliffs is always inspiring. It's such a new world up there, definately a great winter's destination. Is all volcanic rock that twisted and funky? It will take me some time to get used to it. I think the child labour is what gives your coffee it's distainctive flavour. I think the story behind the climb name is pretty good too. mikl

  2. You're a Rock-star yourself JJ! ;-)
    Good sandbag trick - forgetting the bolt plates.

  3. Had a lovely Saturday afternoon wandering around in your world via your blog.

  4. Thanks Freefalling. Saturday afternoons are well spent "off task"