Hanging Rock, North Jawbones, cold rides in the back of utility vehicles to the Sugarloaf. Early instructing at church camps in the Grand Canyon. My mentor, Harley Burke chatting away whilst we climbed. Oh what happiness those early years were. The joy of discovery, warm camp fires after a good day out. Mike March burning the jaffles and then melting the jaffle iron! Nick Reeves, Mike and I singing on the road to Arapiles. Eight new climbs in a day at the Weathered Wall in the Grampians with Mike and our first grade 17.
My first lead above grade 12; the Watchtower Crack. Nick loosing my father's camera down the cliff, then taking a 10m fall from the top pitch with me just having a waist belay back then. Nick cascading off Bridge of Sighs at Hanging Rock in front of a group beginners from a Baptist church. Mike calling on the Almighty whilst leading Vampire Crack at Hanging Rock. Episodes with masked gunmen at Horsham; not so good.
Balls Pyramid, wow, what an experience with Peter Watson and Kevin Lindorff. Those were great years and much of it without modern gear, ah yes, the leader must not fall. I remember my first fall off Androcles (16) at Werribee Gorge.
A few pics
|Australian Rock Climbing and Mountaineering Accidents.pdf|
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From about 2002, later becoming www.arapiles.info
Around 2016 this became Arapiles.Rocks
Iain had a love of rock climbing from early in his life. Iain was secretary of the Victorian Climbing Club in 1975. He served three terms as president from 1978 to 1980. In 1989 he was appointed an Honorary Life Member of the VCC. He had also been librarian, guidebook distributor, editor of ‘Argus’ the club’s newsletter as well as acting treasurer for around one year whilst he was also president.
He has written guidebooks to Flinders Island, The Rock (in NSW), Eastern Victoria and The Golden Triangle as well as sections in The Black Range and North West Victoria guides.
His photos appeared in The American Alpine Journal in 1976. He has been a regular contributor to ‘Argus’ over the last 50 years. In 2002 Iain organised a climber’s memorial service at Mt Arapiles as part of the VCC 50th anniversary celebrations.
Book - Climber’s Guide, First guide to Eastern Victoria
Book - Climber’s Guide, First guide to Flinders Island
Book - Climber’s Guide, Co-Editor 3rd Edition ‘The Golden Triangle’ (Nth Western Victoria)
Book - Tree Goannas – Leviathans of the Wimmera Mallee (1st ed 2018)
Booklet - Climber’s Guide, First widely distributed guide to The Rock, NSW (August 1987)
Newsletters - Victorian Climbing Club, ‘Argus’ 1979 to 1980 monthly editor for two years.
Sydney Rock Climbing Club’s 50th anniversary edition of ‘Thrutch’ – One of few Victorian’s mentioned
Victorian Climbing Club’s 50th anniversary magazine – Several articles
Major paper on Climbing Accidents involving Australians
Rock Climbing Achievements
- 1969 First abseils at a school camp at Mt Egerton, Victoria
- 1969 First climbed at Grand Canyon and Sugarloaf
- 1972 Watchtower Crack (first lead above grade 12)
- 1973 First nutted ascent of a formerly aided route in Victoria, Sentinel, Mt Buffalo
- 1974 Founded the Australian Climbing Museum
- 1974 Commenced recording (ACAD) and Research into Climbing accidents
- 1974 FRA Lizard Procrastination Pinnacle – Mt Arapiles
- 1974 5th Ascent Death Row, 4th person to lead it
- 1975 FA Balls Pyramid NE Face on a route named ‘A Dream of White Pointers’ graded 17. Iain was a co-leader and organiser for this expedition.
- 1976 Longbow (20) First Free Ascent The Cathedral, Mt Buffalo
- 1979 FRA Flinders Island and pioneering ascents over eight trips
- 1981 Devils Tower via Bon Homme (Grade 18), USA
- 1981 Royal Arches. Yosemite Valley, USA
- 2004 Published Major Paper on Australian Climbing Accidents over 50 years. Download is available above.
- Sedgy’s Buttress – Cliff named by others after Iain at Flinders Island (very rare in Australia).
Victorian Climbing Club
- Honorary Life Member
- Whilst President, turned around an inherited VCC multi-thousand dollar debt to leave over $10,000 for the next committee.
- Founded VCC Safety Sub-committee about 1979
- Assisted Chris Baxter with advertising for early VCC 'Rock' magazines
- Founded the annual Christmas VCC BBQ to Burnley Wall
- Suggested many ideas for VCC 50th celebrations.
- Organised memorial service for deceased VCC climbers at Mt Arapiles and a tree planting.
- Regular contributor to the VCC Argus newsletter, over six decades, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000, 2010 and 2020s.
- In 2006 I wrote three articles on climbing safety that appeared in 'Argus'.
- Wrote obituaries for my friends (RIP), Harley Burke, Nick Reeves, Keith Egerton, Mike March, Eddie Rawlins, and Roland Pauligk.
VCC Club Service
- Librarian 1972-74
- Secretary 1975
- President 1978-1980 (at that time equal longest serving)
- Editor 1979-80
- Guidebook Distributor
- Treasurer (about a year whilst I was President!)
- Honorary Life Membership 1987
Lectured at SRC Meeting in 1980 about Flinders Island climbing
Lectured at VCC Annual Dinner (about 2003) at Natimuk
Lectured at VCC Trip (about 2010) on safety and subsequent article in ‘Argus’.
First deliberately nutted ‘clean’ ascent of a route previously utilising pitons for direct aid; Sentinel NW Face, Mt Buffalo
First Track repair at Mt Piddington, NSW Feb 1980
First Track repair at Mt Arapiles (Organ Pipes descent with Bill Andrews and others)
Caused controversy by taking out an ad in Thrutch magazine along with Glen Tempest, encouraging people not to deface cliffs with gymnast's chalk.
Negotiated access with Parks at You Yangs whilst VCC President, with Big Rock being restricted as part of keeping rest open.
Other Related Memberships
- Melbourne Climbing Club (1976 Informal club)
- Western Vic Climbing Club (about 1987)
- CFA Volunteer from about 1999 to about
- SES member in ‘Arapiles Rescue Group’, 2000 to 2012, assisted with many cliff rescues and in 2014 was awarded a certificate for ten years’ service.
- Horsham Rural City Council (one term from 2005)
- Wimmera Development Association (2 years)
Cliff Rescues and Evacuations
- Rescue of Climber from Right Watchtower Face (1972)
- Scout Climber at Eastern Wall in seventies (1975)
- Mt Buffalo, major cliff rescue, drove from Melbourne and worked on haul lines. (1981)
- North Jawbones Rescue (R. Burke - 1984)
- Evacuation of Climber from Werribee Gorge (1987)
- Night time rescue of Climber from near top of Syrinx with Rod Young (1980s)
- SES member in ‘Arapiles Rescue Group’, 2000 to 2012, assisted with many cliff rescues at Arapiles
Rock Climbing Infamy
- Victim of an armed holdup at Green Lake, near Horsham in 1974 whilst heading to Arapiles.
- I probably hold the record for the most police cars overtaken legally in one go, about 22 during an early eighties truckies dispute whilst driving to Arapiles.
- Inventor of the Reverse Mantelshelf move on the Golden Streak Boulder. As at 2021 apart from myself I have only ever seen one person climb onto the ledge using this unusual manoeuvre and they did not complete the route. In 2019 I saw another complete the route.
- Caught in cyclone on Balls Pyramid and ate just honey for three days.
- Caused controversy with the environmental ‘Stop Chalk’ ad in Thrutch
- Also the Write Up or Shut Up campaign in Argus in relation to New Routes
- Drove probably one of very few 2WD sedans ever into Castle Rock, Grampians and Red Bluff (Big Desert) (about 1976) with Keith Egerton (RIP) and John Chapman.
- 1972 National Meet at Moonarie, one of few Interstate people there, and with a car that needed push starts. SA mechanic helped and after all of the people at the meet pushed us about 1km I remembered the choke was not out! I kept going when it started!
Pioneer of Cliffs for Rock Climbing
FA The Junction Hole Cliff, Werribee Gorge
Early First Ascents – You Yangs, e.g., at North Western Outcrop
FA Green Hill Cliff (with David Lia)
FA Campaspe River Cliffs
Early ascents at Melville Caves
FRA and pioneering of Mt Korong
FA Mt Terrick Terrick
Early ascents - Mt Hope
FA Mt Egbert
North Eastern Victoria
FA Mt Meg – Wangaratta area
FA Mt Pilot
FA Flat Rock, Beechworth
FA Mt Stanley Cliffs
FA Chalwell Galleries, Mt Buffalo
FA The Monolith area, Mt Buffalo
2nd Route on Leviathan – Mt Buffalo
FRA and pioneering at Rocky Ned, Strathbogies
FA Mt Victoria, Strathbogies
FA odd other cliffs, Strathbogies
FA Cathedral Gorge – Cathedral Range (1976)
FA Mt Ben Cairn
FA Four Brothers Rock Outcrop, near Gembrook
FA Cannibal Creek Reserve Outcrops, near Pakenham
Early First Ascent – Buchan Rock, East Gippsland
FRA Mt Oberon, Wilson’s Promontory
FA Mt Bishop slab
FA The Cave, in Buangor State Park
FA Sisters Rocks, near Stawell
FA Clematis Falls, Wonderland Range
FA Wonderland Cliff (Ayesha Grade 16)
FA Weathered Wall – Wonderland Range
FA Paddy’s Castle
FA Camp of The Emu’s Foot Cliffs
FA Death March Wall, Grampians
Early First Ascents Grand Canyon, Grampians
Early First Ascents Wall of China, Grampians
Early First Ascents Burma Wall, Eastern Wall
Early First Ascents – The Battlements – Grampians
FA Bordel Buttress, Northern Grampians
FA Tunnel Cliff, Summer Day Valley, Northern Grampians
Early First Ascents, Summer Day Valley
FA Iskra Crags area, near Summer Day Valley, Northern Grampians
FA High Tek Wall, Northern Grampians
The Black Range
FA Ross Walls, Black Range
FA Black Range Road Outcrop
FA Summit Boulders – Mt Arapiles
FA Shangrila cliff – Mt Arapiles
FA Possum Rocks – Mt Arapiles
FA Menagerie Walls – Mt Arapiles
FA Christmas Walls – Mt Arapiles
FRA Lizard Procrastination Pinnacle
Early First Ascents – The Deep South, Mt Arapiles
FA The Nose Outcrop, Mt Arapiles
FA Western Creek Outcrop, Mt Arapiles
Tasmania, Flinders Island
FA Beak Peak, FI
FA Ball Rock, FI
FA Farmyard slabs FI
FA next cliff FI
FA Mt Strezelecki – FI
Early First Ascents at Mt Killiecrankie FI
New South Wales
FRA The Rock, NSW and early ascents
FA Ball's Pyramid SE face
Two FA at Moonarie on same wall as Mighty Maggot
Iain’s Climbing Partners
I have climbed with too many people to mention but some of these included: Alethea Sedgman, Peter Watson, Peter Canning, Glen Donohue, Andrew Webb, Roland and Anne Pauligk, Peter Cunningham, Harley Burke, Phillip Gledhill, Geoff Gledhill, Nic and Matt Taylor, Roark Muehlen, Giles Bradbury, Kim Carrigan (NSW), Ben Madison, Wayne Maher, Glen Tempest, Phillip Armstrong, Keith Egerton, Nick Reeves, John Chapman, Reg Marron, Kevin Lindorff, Mike Wust, Sandi Martin (NSW), Ron Spence, Lincoln Hall (ACT), Dave Pryor (NSW), Lesley Roberts, Andrea Wall, Malcolm and Doug Matheson, Colin Reece, Ray Lassman (NSW), Chris Jackson (NSW), Keith Lockwood and Norm Booth as well as the late ultra-distance runner, Mike March. I also have climbed with Henry Barber (USA), Doug Scott (UK), Burt Levy (USA) and Prof. John Hopkins (UK).