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Castle Hill New School Classics Vol. 1
Derek's captured some mean ascents up at Flock recently including Zac Orme on the intimiating "Liquidius Line" and James Morris on "Hyperspace 500" and "Chaos out of Order".
Check out Derek's other videos here.
Beyond The Plains Trailer
Brett Williams' expose of South Island rock will be available for retail purchace soon - here's a teaster for you in the meantime:
NiBS 2010 Round-Up
Forget heat pumps and down jackets—New Zealand’s bouldering community found a better way to stay warm this winter: the first ever National Indoor Bouldering Series. Just like its venerable outdoor cousin the NBS, the Indoor Series is all about getting amongst it with your mates and a bunch of chalky strangers and having a climb without all that wasted time belaying. Unlike the NBS the weather is guaranteed and the holds come in a range of attractive colours! Exciting.
The Roxx in Christchurch kicked off the series with a colossal event. The organisers arranged for Porters Pass to be snowed under so that no one could make it to Castle Hill and an army of route-setters made 56 awesome problems. That was scarcely enough though, with over 80 eager entrants ranging in ability from psyched first-timers to the A-team and everyone in-between. Massive crash mats from CircoArts allowed the problems to spill right out onto the main wall, with some problems rising close to the fourth bolt. After two hours of non-stop sendage the massive arsenal of spot prizes was distributed as the six finalists battled it out for the top placings, Rach ‘The Mus’-grave and Damon ‘Gadget Arms’ McNeill took top honours on the highball finals.
The locals at Hangdog in Wellington are no strangers to bouldering events. Their round of the NIBS was the high point of a great social bouldering series of their own. Brook Powell and route-setting barbarian Conrad Murray put together a sweet bloc party with their biggest turnout of the year. No bit of wall was wasted with problems in multiple areas, including a swing move off some Uprising Skyhooks. Rach once again took out the event, this time on countback with local strongwoman Amy Jones on 50-move pump-fest finals problem. Local U16 strong-lad Josiah Jacobsen-Grocott, the youngest in the male category, showed no respect for his elders by mercilessly cruising the finals routes for the win, making it two wins out of two events for the teenagers in the Mens category.
You will never find anyone else as keen on bouldering as Stu Kurth—a man who leaves an oozing trail of psyche behind him wherever he goes. So who better than Beast Kong to run a boulder comp? The Extreme Edge in Auckland hosted the third event in the series with big-city hype, big-city lights, and big-city slopers. 75 of the city’s boulder fanatics and a decent contingent of out-of-towners kept the aircraft hanger toasty, fuelled by adrenalin and a selection of tasty curries from some talented climbing mums. Ashley Doyle showed the girls how they throw down in the USA and Aucklander James Field-Mitchell hiked the finals with his headphones on to secure a victory for post-teenagers everywhere.
The series finished off with a night of mayhem at The Rockhouse at Mt Maunganui. Big ups to Ken Mac for organising a wicked event. Problems went right out onto the big blue main walls courtesy of some extra pads from the local gymnastics club. It was locals all the way with Karl Boielle and Liesel Carnie taking victory.
So, congratulations to our inaugural Indoor Series Champs: Rachel Musgrave and Josiah Jacobsen-Grocott. And a massive thank you to the venues, the organisers, all the helpers and our generous sponsors Bivouac Outdoors, ChalkyDigits, Uprising Climbing Holds and the New Zealand Alpine Club!
See nbs.org.nz for the full results.
–report by Sefton Priestley
Gottlieb-Erica Scholarship for Aspiring Women Alpinists
To celebrate the life and climbs of Erica Beuzenberg and Gottlieb Braun-Elwert, the Erica-Gottlieb Trust wish to contribute a financial scholarship towards the alpine instruction of an aspiring young women climber. To apply, you must be female, under thirty years old and passionate about mountaineering. The scholarship is available to NZAC members and non-members. Click here to learn more at the NZAC website
Big Up Productions - The Insiders
A short film about indoor climbing from the producers of "Progression"
IFSC Bouldering World Cup - Vail 2010
IFSC Bouldering World Cup in Vail, Colorado - Men's Final Highlights
NBS 2009 - Interview With Co-Ordinator Chris North
Like the people who write guidebooks, event organisers invest a huge ammount of personal time and money just to make sure climbers can have fun in the outdoor sunshine. Uprising caught up with the co-ordinator of the legendary NZAC National Bouldering Series.
How are the preparations going?
I've heard rumors of shipments of spot prizes so big they need to be carried by elephants...
Chris: The first elephants backs were broken. We needed to get African Elephants rather than the smaller ones used for courier services. Lots of prizes have arrived at the NZAC and will sadly (for me) need to be sent around the country to the different competitions. Prizes don't just go to the top competitors but there are a good number of spot prizes for the less competitive. They range from clothing and climbing gear to the toughest phone in the world.
For those readers who might not have been to an NBS event before - what kind of vibe can they expect?
Chris: Last year was my first NBS competition. I went along with my 3 year old, our newborn baby and my wife Emily. We juggled the baby, the three year old and climbed ourselves silly. Nearby, the top climbers in the country, school students and older folk were testing their limits. Everybody was keen to help each other and cheer on others as they attempted to push themselves. At the end of the day, we stretched our tired forearms, sipped a cold beverage and munched on a sausage. It was loads of fun.
My mate Dangerous Dave has never climbed before but likes the idea of bouldering, will there be something there for him to have a go at?
Chris: For $15, Dangerous Dave can enter the recreational category. He will follow a trail of problems including all levels of difficulty (from something my three year old could attempt to the hardest problems you can imagine) and work out which ones will be fun for him. There are lots of problems at a level that a beginner could have a crack at and generally you end up climbing with the same group of people and get to know them over the day. For every successful climb, he will get a point and he can have as many goes as he likes. The person with the most points wins the recreational category. It is a great way to explore a new area and get lots of ideas for future visits. At the end of the day Dangerour Dan can have a drink, something off the BBQ and try his luck in the spot prize pool all for $15.
Will you be expecting a few boulderheads to travel around and do the full circuit this year?
Chris: There are some really committed athletes that go to every event. They travel down over the four weeks visiting the limestone boulders of Waitomo, the wind swept beach climbs of Wellington, sun-drenched Queenstown shist amongst the tussock and the limestone boulders of Castle Hill. It is common for traveling climbers from overseas to visit each event as they get hooked on the fun. The expert and junior categories are ranked according to the difficulty of the top 8 problems they can climb, and to win the whole series, we take the top 3 scores out of the 4 competitions into account.
So this is your second year in the role of NBS co-ordinator - any new changes or improvements?
Chris: As my second year coordinating, I'm keen to maintain the really high standard that previous organisers have reached. We have some new sponsors that I'm excited about and the T-shirts from Chalky Digitst look awesome. It is a really great event to be involved with and I can't wait to get cranking on the boulders and watch the unbelievable strength of the top climbers. Hope to see you there! Check out www.nbs.org.nz for more info.
Marty Blumen Interview
We were stoked to find out that Marty has won the Grand Prize in the Banff Mountain Photography Competition - a huge award for climbing phototography. We caught up with him to find out how to take a photo which beats 1900 others in competition:
(You will recognise some of Marty's photos from our Photo Gallery)
Your background is in more that just still photography isn’t it?
Yep, absolutely. It’s been mainly in visual effects for TV but I’ve been shooting photographs since about 2001.
Has your experience in film & animation influenced your work?
What I do in visual effects is study an image deeply. I’ll sit on a computer and look at an image and have to really study how the light’s working. On big movies you are working with Directors of Photography who are very well trained in the art of filming a scene so my expectations of myself are up there with the work I’ve been working with.
When you start out in visual effects you only become proficient after about 3-5 years so you always start out working under someone who is very well skilled and you are made to look at things that you don’t normally look at. By the end of say 5 to 10 years, I’ve been doing it for about 13 or 14 years now, you start getting into strange areas like the physics of light, and you also get into the physical properties of recording film, lenses, everything. You actually pull apart the system to understand what’s happening. It’s certainly a deeper level than buying a camera off the shelf.
You have obviously put a lot of thought into the physical properties of light; you have likened immediate, brightly coloured, visually gratifying photos to the quick hit of energy drinks – how do you take a photo which tells more of a story?
It’s absolutely true; your eye is geared to respond to a few primary colours, mainly towards red. It’s – to make a deeper image you have to look past that – it harks back to the day of the red-shirt school of photography in the 60s, 70s and 80s. When colour photography became popular in magazines everyone worked out that if the person in the scene was wearing a red shirt the photograph would ‘pop’ – it would stand out. And so, just the overuse of that oversimplified messages. In the industry you have to sell stuff, and someone who was wearing a red shirt would sell.
To make something deep and meaningful you have to look at the story behind all that. It’s a lot more complex to have a decent story – it’s all context-based. As with any editorial photojournalism it’s the message behind the photograph that will make it more enduring. The viewer has to have some context before they get something else out of the photograph.
You’ve had works in National Geographic, Outside magazine amongst others, how did those opportunities come about for you?
It’s just like any business, there’s a few different ways. People can search images on the Internet, popular images on photo-sharing websites. The audience will vote on the photos and editors of magazines will pick from that range. But also just friends who know other friends, sometimes it’s who you know.
What file-sharing websites have you found useful?
Initially a photo website called photo.net, another is rockclimbing.com, I’m sure there are some new ones now. Flickr is also good for people finding photographs.
Do you shoot only digital?
Currently yes, absolutely.
What cameras and lenses do you use for your climbing work?
Pretty much just a standard SLR, lenses go from a wide-angle to telephoto. There’s no favourite lens, just what’s best in the situation. It’s making the best of what you got.
I imagine in some of your locations you can’t exactly be carrying bags and bags of equipment.
Yeah exactly. You have to go fast and light, sometimes that means taking one lens instead of four. You can’t just rely on your old standby techniques and that allows for new creativity.
What kind of processing and editing software do you use?
I’m using Lightroom right now; I can pretty much do absolutely everything with the latest Lightroom.
You were recently awarded the Grand Prize in the Banff Mountain Photography Competition – that’s about as big as it gets in climbing photography – did that come as a surprise?
Absolutely. It’s a total surprise – not that I didn’t think the photograph was good, just based on the number or rejections I’d had trying to get it to publication
It’s not the most glaring photo is it? It’s a bit more subtle.
You put it on the cover of a magazine and it might not stand out, but you don’t get sick of this photo, I find. I think it will still be fresh in many years.
You have said:
“Personally, I now recognise that I am on the correct path when people start telling me that I am ‘doing it wrong’, that ‘no one does it that way’.”
Do you feel there is still a lot of potential for exploration of climbing photography, in an artistic sense?
Absolutely, I think that’s the only way to go forward. Personally I haven’t seen any photograph like the one that won the Banff competition, and that’s quite poignant because there were a few other people there that day taking photographs but none of them turned out like that. There’s always opportunities for new ways of looking at things.
Any advice for the novices out there who want to take better photos?
It is easy to take a nice-looking picture – you just have to go to Flickr to find out – but it is much different to take something that’s going to set you apart. But it’s a profession that’s been running now for close to 100 years and there is a lot you can learn from the past masters – and the current ones – you certainly can step above everyone else if you take the time to learn what’s already been done. There’s a hell of a lot of very good photographers right now that go beyond the normal photo-sharing website.
Check out Marty's website www.martyblumen.com