Ben grew up in the Blue Mountains in NSW and first started climbing with his brother Lee, and did indoor rock climbing for school sport at the local gym. After a while he started climbing outdoors more and more, as he was able to score free car rides from the older guys at the gym to whatever crag they were heading out to.
During my fledgling years of getting into outdoor climbing I was competing in most of the bouldering comps around the country. It gets a bit hazy as far as results go but I think I’ve won the bouldering nationals a few times, I don’t exactly remember how many… competing is fun though it hasn’t been my number one focus.
For me, climbing outdoors is what climbing is all about, especially new crag/route development in exiting new places as well as old stomping grounds. Even recently, I’ve bolted and climbed a bunch of new routes at crags that I’ve climbed at for years, on pieces of rock I’ve scoured many times for holds and ways to climb up them.
Over the years, as you grow as a climber your idea of what is and what isn’t possible changes, that’s really exciting and inspiring and fun and keeps you going back for more. It’s not always about difficulty either, I mean, hmmm yeah, I must say I love climbing both routes and boulders that are physically demanding, I mean your maximum effort over say 5 moves on a hard boulder or maybe 20-30 moves on a route long where everything has to come together, both physical oompf and technical know-how, to get through a sequence of moves that’s stumped you for ages.
But what was I saying… it’s not all about boning down on fingernail-sized edges on some radically overhanging wall, a lot of what climbing can be about is being in amazing places and sharing awesome times with all the great people you stumble upon as you trounce around the place…the beautifully scenic areas and bowel-emptingly scary and exposed situations you can find yourself in are a major reasons why I love climbing too. Climbing really has so much to it, so much potential for awesome experiences!
Benjin Benjin The Fire Engine
I prefer not to eat, if I do I tend to go for big gulps of air…. haha, no I’m a bit of a fiend when it comes to asiany stuff, I like cooking little asian noodle soups… lollies too.
What music you listen to?
Nick Cave, Joy Division, Gay Paris, Snowdroppers and anything yee-oldy blues such as Rev. Gary davis, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Son House, Robert Johnson…yeah, oh yeah, that stuff makes me melt, uh ha, B.L.U.S.E. – Blues. Uh ha, Lawd ‘ave mercy.
Yeah, I try to be as rakey as I can be when I’m intending on peaking performance wise. It can be easy to let that side of your preparation for climbing eclipse some other more important elements, I don’t know why…I find the more obsessed I get about losing weight the fatter I feel J
Three things you always pack?
Chalk bag – even when I’m not climbing I’ll chalk up. I hate fondling holds without chalk. It’d be like a blind man trying to read Braille with mittens on…it just feels wrong. What else do I pack? Umm.. I guess I’d always pack a pair of soggy and floppy shoes that I’d be able to run some training laps in, especially at the moment because I have a bung foot from playing soccer…normally I wear a size 46 walking shoe but wear 39 climbing shoes and at the moment it feels like my bones are breaking just trying to put my shoes on, well, more than usual!
Amelie. That French flick with Audrey Tautou, I love it! I am also a bit mad about cooking shows, they almost tranquilize me; calm me down after a long days’ work.
I don’t know, I’m not sure I have one as such…maybe just keeping on keeping on.
Maybe the tendency to stop when I should just keep on keeping on.
Proudest Sporting Moment?
These are hard questions! Again, doing The Wheel Of Life was pretty ace. I guess too some other first ascents around the place – Groove Train (33) and Gilgamesh (32) both in the Grampians. They were both really great.
Favourite TNF Product?
I think it would be my TNF Inferno sleeping bag…I’ve lived in that since I got it. All winter long it is my cocoon from the cold winter nights. Sometimes I might pop my downie on too if it’s really cold but yeah, my sleeping bag!!!
Favourite destination for your sport?
I love The Blue Mountains. The best climbing in the world is in the Bluies and the surface is barely even scratched!
Favourite piece of history in your sport?
I love Wolfgang Güllich, a German climber who (you really should just google him) put up the route called Action Directe in the Frankenjura, Germany. He had so much vision and determination, of where climbing was, where it could go and how he could help take it there …I don’t know, does that make sense? He created some really ace ways of training for the top level of climbing. He is rad just believe me.
Who inspires you most?
Wolfgang Güllich :D
Ahhhh that is so hard to say. Maybe I’d have to say doing The Wheel Of Life (V14) in the Grampians, VIC. It must be the single greatest boulder problem in the world. It’s about 60 moves long (quite long for a boulder) and is nigh on horizontal for its entire length. It is a blissful combination of difficult and technical moves out the most outrageous rock feature I’ve ever seen. The rock is outstanding and moves and sequences flow into one-another so nicely and it just feels awesome to climb on. It was also a great difficulty for me at the time, I had to climb really perfectly to have any chance at success and I had to battle poor conditions and the cruel mistress that is uni holidays that are soooo not long enough in the middle of the year when conditions for hard climbing in Australia are at their best. Yeah, so that would be I guess the one thing that really sticks out in my mind… though there really are too many things to say.