I have decided to start working on a podcast interviewing prominent Australian climbers... it's on the down low over here, but I need a name for the podcast, was hoping I might get a different perspective... here are a few of my current ideas.
The podcast will be nothing revolutionary in style - think Enormocast profile style, but with Aussie climbers.
- The Australian Approach - Australian Crux - Crux Convicts - The Australian Lay-Back - Stoked - Runout Down Under - Choc a Bloc
Haha, I have a climbing partner who hates carrots and actively retro bolts them - he would love that name
Having discussed with a few friends since I made the post, couple of popular ones are;
The Lay Back - this one references that many foreigners describe Australian's as 'Laid Back'
Chockablock - Choc a bloc is a saying that means 'packed full' - i.e. "that crag is choc a bloc full of classics" and double meaning with chock and bloc both being climbing terms. Just not sure how uniquely Australian it is, and these days we probably more that "That crag is chockkas!" - i.e. that crag is packed full of people, maybe we should go elsewhere.
I'll add carrot-cast to the list and throw around some thoughts for more carrot names.
Post by jetjackson on Oct 15, 2018 14:45:19 GMT -7
I'll add Chris to the list.
I have a list of about 20 climbers at the moment, a mix of what I'm calling, Old School, Middle School and New School climbers, across Trad/Sport/Bouldering and Competition climbing disciplines. I want to get across disciplines and generations to help bridge that mentorship gap.
On a positive note, Kim Carrigan just e-mailed me back and is open to being interviewed. Stoked!
I'm doing some research for my first interviews, and it's dawning on me that I need to brush up on some of my climbing history, to better inform myself while
I've listened to A LOT of podcasts, but I'm eager to pick up some books - particularly for history and development of the disciplines, Yosemite climbing history - particularly through the 80s and 90s... Smith Rock history - potentially history on European climbing - British climbing. Any books you think could help flesh out more knowledge, would be keen to hear your thoughts
Post by MarkAnderson on Nov 12, 2018 10:01:14 GMT -7
Have you read the history sections of the (now-old) Metnz/Tempest guides for Arapiles & The Grampians? That's how I learned about Australian rock climbing.
For the US, the best book out there is Wizards of Rock by Pat Ament. This is a must-have for anyone interested in rock climbing history. What's great about this book is that its mostly a compilation of each climber's own accounts of their climbing, and it goes year-by-year, attempting to capture all the important ascents. Ament decides what to include of course, and he editorializes on the climber accounts. He is quite biased for/against certain climbers so you have to keep that in mind when you read his comments. It makes you wonder if some key things have been excluded, but it seems like his MO is to include things he things are controversial and then criticize them, lol.
Unfortunately there isn't a definitive European sport climbing history that I'm aware of, so you have to piece it together by reading auto/biographies and guidebook introductions. The best I've read are Revelations by Moffatt and A Life in the Vertical by Tillman Hepp (rare).
For Smith, the Alan Watts guidebook has the definitive history, although you can piece it together pretty well from Wizards of Rock.
There are lots of sources on Yosemite's golden age, but I would recommend Camp 4 by Steve Roper. John Long wrote extensively about the 70's/80s in Yosemite. Off the top of my head I can't think of a proper history book of his (he generally writes short stories), but there probably is one.
Post by jetjackson on Nov 12, 2018 14:30:25 GMT -7
Thanks, I have those guidebooks and have read the history sections. The Victorian Climbing Club here has a library and I have a few people with all the old guidebooks, magazines and even a 'zine' that was published here for a while that I can dig into. So Australian history I think I'm covered on, and part of this process will hopefully add more to that.
A lot of the people I want to interview travelled overseas and were influenced by things happening in climbing media etc. so I think it's important that I have all the fundamentals, so I can place things in context.
Last night I ordered Camp 4, Lynn Hill's book, and the Origins of Bouldering by John Gill.
These will help, I'll pick up Wizards of Rock if I can - it looks like the only copy in Australia is from one of those places on Amazon that charges stupid amounts for rare books - it's $1200. I'll keep searching. Looks like the Gullich bio might also be hard to get my hands on. Might need to use a re-shipping company and just order them in the US.
Post by jetjackson on Dec 13, 2018 18:28:57 GMT -7
Hi All, I'm interviewing Kim Carrigan this time next week - I've come up with a list of questions, and I'd appreciate any feedback you could give, as you all give really good feedback.
Keep in mind, that the audience I'm aiming at are not as significantly into climbing - so I'm trying to at leaast touch on topics that will teach newer climbers somethign about the history, but at the same time, get some good tid-bits for those who are familiar with the history, as well as those who climbed with Kim Carrigan at the time.
I'm not attempting at any 'Gotcha Style' questions. I'd say I have about 80 minutes to ask questions - these are the main questions, but I have another sheet with kind of optional sub-questions to explore concepts further.
I'm trying to balance a mix of open questions, questions that are essentially assertions that seek comment. I want to dig into the Who, what and why? Particularly the why. I hear that KC is quite outspoken, and given his subsequent successes in business I expect he will speak his mind. I am going to send him these questions and do a pre-interview call in order to see if there are any glaring mistakes or omissions, and give him the opportunity to flag any things that he may not wish to discuss.
1. You grew up in the 60s in Sydney - can you describe what that was like?
2. How did you first discover climbing?
3. Why do you think you took an interest in climbing over other pursuits?
4. In those early years, what did climbing look like?
5. I understand you and Mike Law hitchhiked to Arapiles, in 73 or 74? You would have been 15/16 and still in school? What impact did that have on you?
6. How did your climbing progress while you were at school?
7. 1978 would be a breakthrough year for you, with numerous first ascents, but before we get to that, can you detail the in-between from finishing school, up until you ended up ‘at the pines’ - I understand you went to University? What did you study?
8. Who were the influences in your life at that time?
9. This ambition to push climbing further in Australia, how did that ambition develop?
10. So history remembers 1978 as a watershed moment in Australian climbing - when you free’d Procul Harum in Arapiles - going at grade 26, the hardest route in the country at the time - why did that line appeal to you at the time?
11. You went on a bit of a rampage after that - freeing multiple aid lines and pushing the grades higher?
12. The current Arapiles guidebook details ‘the Carrigan Regime’ and it suggests that it was your training, work ethic, and methodical approach, rather than a particular gift for climbing that was the reason for your climbing prowess. These ‘types’ of comments feature occasionally in references to your climbing - what are your thoughts on this viewpoint of your climbing?
13. What did training look like for you during that time? Was it just climbing? Did you use training apparatus, like a Bacchar ladder?
14. What was the scene like at Arapiles in the late 70s?
15. How did climbers of the time make the lifestyle work financially?
16. What were the cultural influences of the time that impacted the climbing scene?
17. Yo-Yo’ing was the ethic of the time - for the benefit of the listeners a bit newer to climbing, can you explain the yo-yo ‘ethic’ for us?
18. Reportedly Henry Barber would pull his rope after every attempt - on his trip out in the mid 70s - did that catch on?
19. How did ethics change and evolve over the years during your time climbing?
20. So the late 70s you were putting up the hardest lines in the Australia - then into the 80s you’re very actively travelling the world for extended periods - Was there a particular catalyst for leaving Australia?
21. You end up in Yosemite early on - many climbers have heard of Camp 4, what were your first impressions?
22. What did you get done on that first trip?
23. Later you go back to Yosemite in 1980 - this time with Lousie Shepherd?
24. You got the second ascent of the Pacific Ocean Wall with Greg Child on this trip?
25. Did you hang around Yosemite long - I heard that you skipped up to Smith Rock on a bit of a whirlwind tour of the US that took you cross-country to the Gunks?
26. What were the regional differences in climbing approaches and styles that you experienced on this trip?
27. While we are on travel, and what it was like to travel the world in the 80s compared to now? This is pre-lonely planet, before internet, before your friends and family were just a free phone call away.
28. So you go to the UK to base yourself there for a while - where is your first stop to climb?
29. You worked in London for a time? London these days is a very well trodden path for young 20s Australians - was there a big Aussie contingent there?
30. The British have a notoriously bold approach to climbing - does that fit with your experiences there?
31. Did you get on a lot of gritstone? Or mostly just British limestone?
32. You return to Australia with a significant breadth of climbing and travel experience. How did you feel on returning?
33. While you were away, Mark Moorhead had pushed the hardest Australia grade up a notch with Cobwebs - you made quick work of that?
34. You continue to push the envelope on difficulty - going on to put up India - giving it 29 at the time, making it Australia’s first 29. It was downgraded later to 28. A fair amount of time has passed since then - what are your reflections on grading, downgrading in the climbing world?
35. You suffered a shoulder injury in there at some point - were you plagued by injuries during climbing, or did you manage to avoid them for the most part?
36. You had a lot of projects at the time - did you even refer to them as projects?
37. What was your approach to a new line? Today we talk about ‘projecting’ but the word that gets thrown around back then a lot was ‘siege’?
38. You establish Masada, and Ethiopia in 1984, grades 29 and 30 respectively - again pushing the standards higher in Australia, and arguably the world. Ethiopia would have been one of the hardest routes in the world at that time?
39. Let’s talk about the Rings route, a route many may have seen because John ‘The Verm’ Sherman has a fairly famous photo where he’s hanging off of it on flip flops while drinking a beer - a photo that still hangs on the wall in the Natimuk pub.
40. You had started work on this pretty early on - in 1982. These days it goes at 31, or 5.13d - you were really pushing the limit. Did it seem possible at the time?
41. In the end, you got awfully close on the route - at some point you decide not to keep pursuing it - why?
42. In 85 you go on another world tour, taking down many of the US’ hardest climbs of the time - Tony Yaniro’s Grand Illusion, in two days, Cosmic Debris in Yosemite.
43. On this trip you free’d the Rostrum at Yosemite - and I understand you onsighted the final pitch?
44. You relationship with the Yosemite locals was somewhat contentious - you and Geoff Wiegand made the first ascent of a 5.12 on the Cookie Cutter wall and called it “America’s Cup” - challenging them to “take it back” - how did this challenge go down - does one just walk into Camp 4 and raise their voice? How does that not end in a fist fight?
45. Climbing these days doesn’t seem to have the rivalries of the past - do you think sponsorship could have something to do with that?
46. Around 1986 you move to Switzerland with your wife Meg - reportedly to become a Triathlete?
47. Was there a defined point in time were you moved away from climbing, a specific moment of realisation or did it more fade as other things in your life took prominence?
48. These days you run a company here in Brisbane - Wild Breads, which ships bread around the world - how does entrepreneurialism correlate with climbing?
49. You have two children? I recall seeing a photo of you holding a child up to the rock, almost encouraging them to climb - big grin on your face. Did your children take to climbing at all?
50. You are really into cycling these days - do you ever get back on the rock to climb?
60. I understand that someone is eager to write a book on your climbing career - and a lot is written of your climbing achievements in various magazines, guidebooks and online. If you wrote an autobiography though, how much of that book would be dedicated to climbing?
61. Any final reflections on your climbing career that you would like to share?
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2018 21:57:21 GMT -7 by jetjackson
Post by MarkAnderson on Dec 13, 2018 21:11:49 GMT -7
I recommend you go back and number your questions so that we can provide specific comments.
In general, you have some great questions. I recommend shortening them as much as possible. No need to be so leading. It’s like you’re trying to guess the answer to the question, or show off to Kim what a big fan you are. That’s not necessary and it makes it hard for him to give an unexpected answer. Many of the questions will result in “ya, that’s right.” Which isn’t very interesting.
For the questions that aren’t actually questions (the statements that end in a question mark), I recommend ending each statement with an actual question, like “what was that experience like?” or “what was the highlight for you?” or “what do you think was the impact of that ascent?” Think about what aspect of the event you or your listeners want to know more about and ask about that specifically.
For the biography question, maybe ask if he’s read any of the other autobiographies of his contemporaries (like Moffat) and if he’d ever consider writing an autobiography (you can gush here about how much everyone would love that). If the Ben Moon book has taught us anything, it’s that nobody wants a biography!
I would also ask him what he thinks about the current state of climbing, what’s better, what’s worse with today’s climbers/crags/etc? In Kim’s day, Australians and Australian crags were right at the world standard. What made that possible? What needs to change to make that happen again? What does he think about climbing in the Olympics? If that were a thing in the 80s would he compete?
Also, since everything has to be about me... I fell on Cobwebs, ripped out a cam and landed on Kate, hyperextending her thumb. That’s when I figured out that nuts are better than cams at Arapalies.