I was asked to write a report for Rock Magazine.I did. They didn't want it, and rightly so, it was a re-hash anyway, so here it is reheated and served up again. How embarrassment.
Readers of jjobrienclimbing.blogspot.com know that round here style triumphs over substance. Bookmark it, climber flavoured light infotainment. Fewer climbers get their latest hard ticking news from jjobrienclimbing than any other loosely climbing and fashion related excuse for a promo vehicle on the web. But they do get a face full of over-saturated snaps, gauche graphics and the occasional insight into the inner workings of Australia's climbing legends and crag hopefuls.
It's bright and brash and the text can be read from the top of a Chinese multi pitch, but for those who are unfamiliar, or just have no crimping idea what the blog is on about, I'll tell you what's driving it.
It's the desire to recognise the extraordinary in the familiar. To see the hero in everyone, Numpty to Rockgod. Lee Cujes (Rockgod) put it well, it's "The rockstar treatment for the everyman".
My desire to expose every climber to a wider online audience outgrew the reach of my blog and my camera. And so "I Fucking Love Climbing" the bastard Facebook child of the illegitimate blog was born. The jjobrien photo search team have invested inappropriately long and late hours to digging through YOUR online albums. You thought Google was invasive? If you climb, and you don't want to appear on the run-away success page, then tighten your privacy settings, wet down your firewalls or risk becoming the latest unwitting face of IFLC.
So in case you missed, or thought you had avoided, Queenslands' highest rating year in climbing and style here's a little re-chalk for you.
The female of the species, Monica Wormald, was the late surprise hit on IFLC with this leggy panorama from Kenny's secret crag high above the Rural A hinterland elite zone of Mt. Ninderry.
I was falling up neighbouring Zazen 26 when I spotted Mon unfolding some extraordinary limbs on the steep and nasty Funnel Web 25.
It's a must-do route starting on a broken ledge, in a razor sharp cave, half way up a rotten cliff. Still wanna try it? It's got a Funnel Web too.
Well bouldering photography is a lark. You stand on the ground and press the button, answering the question "Why is the web awash with block shots?".
I've never been able to hang on to the things, so the beach-style team at jjobienclimbing got Nate Foster to bounce some golden rays back off the reflector with his abs.
Issy Morgans-Johnson flexed some serious style strength at Coolum Cave for a sponsor shoot. Always a strong performer on jjobrienclimbing, as she is on the steep stuff.
Tracey Hua, sister Red Phoenix Emporium sponsored climber to Monique Forestier, went dark and dangerous for this shoot on Nitro Glycerin 25
She wears "They Only Come Out at Night" accessories from the Skulls and Crosses collection at www.redphoenixemporium.com
Style cast: What will the top styling climbers be wearing on the rock in 2013? The look will be edgy but feminine, sleek with a hint of darkness. And for the girls - probably Lycra.
The year in review includes climbing, shooting, writing and cooking the Winter away with the Carters as they climb every hard route and document every crag in the corner of SEQ.
Mike Law featured on the blog. In what I expect was an attempt to atone for his ethically bankrupt climbing youth he notched up some honest multi-pitch ticks on two Sunny Coast crags in one talk-drenched day.
And the photographic high point of the year. A few belayers dropped their gri gris when this image hit the screens. Hanging free on a sling from the roof in Cave 5 Tibrogargan, belaying with one hand, shooting with the other as the sun set over Pumicestone Passage. Lee Cujes narrows his focus on the Creationism project.
jjobrienclimbing all started when fellow Queensland cave man and encyclopaedic gear nerd Brad Babel hooked me up with Expedition Equipments' Matt Adams. EE were looking for a Red Chili brand rep, and I knocked together a few posts to shop my wares. Deal. What is less known is the Wild Country link.
So then it happened that on a high friction, low carb, winter day, in the hallowed Cave of Mt. Coolum, Steve Foster (UK) the marketing director of Wild Country, explained to me that Wild Country, Red Chili and DMM were all owned by the parent company Excalibur Wales. Climbers, you know I love to weave a myth. And with these words to Matt, "Get this guy into some Wild Country gear, we can't have him climbing on that French rubbish" Steve Foster brought Excalibur gently to rest my shoulders. I arose a loyal Knight of the Wild Country. And so, as long as I have strength, kneepads, and a willing belayer, I will spend my remaining years gratefully doing battle in the jaws of the most terrible beasts in every cave across the realm.
And of course, bring back the look. Yours, jj
Photo: Matt Schimke