Saturday, September 27, 2014

Vertical Living

Photographed and reproduced without permission from neither jjobrien nor Vertical life.

Struggling through the toughest months of my working life, I kept a bright shining target in sight. Just keep it together till I get to the Grampians with the Vertical Life guys. I almost made it. I dropped my shit a week early. Never been much of a goal setter.
I'd been chatting online with magazine moguls Simon Madden and Ross Taylor, they'd kept me laughing for ages. Years? To be honest, I mostly laughed at my own jokes, I am my own favourite comedian, but it's good to have an appreciative audience too.
A full immersion experience in intelligence and wit would be therapeutic. It was cathartic.

They pick me up at Tiger Air's big shed at Tullamarine in a hire car that fools me for a while.
We join the Western Highway and fill in the life stories and details you don't get on a Messenger chat. I try to be fascinating but it's a long way to Wartook.

I raided the Red Phoenix Emporium storeroom on the way and snaffled a pair of pants each for Ross and Simon.
No time for gift wrapping. Good idea at the airport. Get Victoria's Secret gift bags, send the guys a photo and say "I got you a gift".
Pretty sure they'd be bang up for the joke. Turns out I spooked them. OK, I know the limits now.

Ross Taylor - Simon Madden.
Whether you are sharing a quiet evening with another gentleman on your mother's couch in country Victoria, or sporting your ripped abs while draped in gorgeous girls on an inner-city photo shoot, satin brocade pants are the indispensable style piece for any climber. 
Traditional Chinese pants, now sadly absent in China, re-introduced by jjobrien climbing & style.

Click on the logo to shop at the Red Phoenix store.

I met Tim Lockwood and snapped a moment of his "Groovy" attempt.
Taipan is the real deal. You can feel it.
This is Rosses' home crag and he works it like a local.
(Ross, I googled the apostrophe rules, but I'm not confident)

See this is how I like it, world class climbing with some time to smell the flowers. BTW Canola is redolent of a jar of old fish oil, maybe it was the fertiliser, but in the low spring sun and with nothing to do and nowhere to be it was perfection.
I never got to see their office but they told me all about it. Chrome and leather couches, huge windows, with a commanding view of the city and bay from the 43rd floor.

I keep thinking Simon is the ridiculous one, loud mouth, edgy humour. Ross is the straight man. But then they switch it up and I never really got a handle on it.

The setting sun washed the Difficult Ranges the way it probably has for thousands of generations.

Accidentally coming across aboriginal cave art many years ago was one of the most mystical moments in my life. Not the same thing, but seeing The Gallery dabbed (bombed, says Ross) in chalk awakened my spirit climber.

Weave World 23. Simon Madden puts the draws on for me, as promised. The sweetest red steepness, the immaculate granite finger dyke, the rest, the jug haul to exposed glory. Could this be the best route in the world?

The desolation wrought by fire.

Thanks Dr. Dre for the beat cave reprieve. Couldn't have done it without you.
Here's my playlist for recovery. Songs to soothe the savage soul. Click the image.

I love what these guys are doing with Vertical Life magazine. Get onto it, if you haven't already.

Half an hour to spare in Melbourne, Breakfast in Brunswick with hired enthusiasts. Thanks, whoever you were for your unconditional super happiness. And strawberry cream porridge.

Thank you Ross and Simon, I'm a lifelong supporter.
Follow them on Facebook - Vertical Life, that's where I stole the "Life's too short" photo.