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.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Home in 50mm

Saturday. I'm exhausted from a hard week at work. Sandra and I have been out for coffee, and to a Gemfest in Nambour. We bought a beautiful 9crt gold ring set with three untreated sapphires from the miner himself.

Early afternoon and I have to find an activity to stop myself from going climbing.
Challenge: Photograph our house with one lens only. Easy choice; 50mm.

Sandra always has flowers in the house, dead or alive.

 Javanese day bed.
Table - recycled timber made by Sandra's brother Ray.
 Old round table we've had forever. 
Art: Peter K. O'Brien, my brother, oil/wax/oil paint/petrol/sand and canvas on canvas. c 1969
 The bookshelf Ray and I built for our old mud brick house, painfully relocated. Never again.
 So many things from so many places. Printing block from India, Tjantings from Java.

 Our dear friend Jenny, no longer with us, made this Ganesh, gold painted.

 Saraswati keeps and eye on the phone. My favourite knife is the Shun, folded Japanese steel.
 We sleep here. The Buddha reclines. The bedroom is separated from the rest of the house.
 Sandra's collection of True Religion jeans. Mine are G-Star.
 Versace, DVF, Hermes,
 Pearls and beads from all over the world.

 Sandra pads around the house making things and just looking beautiful.

 Afternoon sunlight illuminates the cobwebs on the stool that Ray made from discarded wood.
 Museum collections in every corner. We never quite achieved minimalism.

My Sitar, now unused, I studied when I was a teenager. Ravi Shankar was my idol.

 Take in the detail.
A collection of all the Christmas cards that Sandra has made.
 Shells, bells, clocks.
 Things on top of things, filled with things. All of them beautiful.
 Sandra makes intricate blankets for every baby born to family, relatives, friends.
 Quiet afternoon sun.

 Climbers, I couldn't do it. I went out for a climb at Tinbeerwah. Having a crag a few minutes away is just too tempting.
When I return it's getting dark, Sandra is still making things. The Singer treadle machine is 110 years old.
A blanket for our Niece's new baby.

The very legendary Mike Law, AKA The "Claw" arrives in the morning to go climbing.
That's a nice thing to think about tonight.
I should have been in bed hours ago.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

I/O Merino and jjobrienclimbing&style

Climbers, you know I love wool. So I felt an instant affiliation when I got the chance to shoot some promos for South Aussie company I/O Merino.
This is the first of several posts we'll be doing for io.  It's good looking gear, and the Principal Style Editors at jjobrienclimbing&style are psyched to be involved.  

   Look out for the mens collection too.

Remember my Strictly No Synthetics tour of Tibet and Everest base?
Silk, Cashmere and Merino. Love the stuff.

The promotional photographic team at jjobrienclimbing&style, after some deliberation, decided the best approach for this job was to put one of theses merino tops on an awesome climber, get her on a classic steep route, put her through her paces, and take a sheepload of photos. And they did. 

Issy cranking hard on a hot 35 degree October day. Climber and top still working at peak performance.

Issy twists and stretches, like only she can, but that merino keeps up with every move.
Neither climbing nor style was ever in danger of compromise.

"The I/O Sport Crop Top is a snug sports bra that wil feel luxurious against your skin whilst keeping your chest warm. It is designed with flat seams and no scratch tags so that it will hug your body and feel fantastic all day".  $39.95

Stop press: Just for being loyal and stylish followers of jjobrienclimbing, you can use the discount code iom30 and get 30% off when shopping online. Click the icon to go to the store.

Turns out wool is good for climbing. Who knew?

Look out for the logo. jjobrienclimbing endorses it. You should too.

& jjobrienclimbing