ADVENTURES AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
The epic story of Tasmanian climbing
“Truly this is edge of the world territory, its ruggedness and beauty, its fierce storms and primordial scrubs and forests are part and parcel of the thought.”
So said John Bechervaise in 1949 after the first ascent of Federation Peak, a remote mountain in the South-West wilderness of Tasmania.
Tasmania’s wild landscape is made for adventure and adventure has always been at the heart of Tasmanian climbing, From the first recorded rock climb on Cradle Mountain in 1914, people have been seeking adventures here at the edge of the world.
This professionally designed book tells the epic story of Tasmanian rock climbing from 1914 to the present day. It is a celebration of Tasmanian climbing, honoring the pioneers and their exciting adventures, and celebrating our precious wilderness.
- 540 page coffee-table-size
- Historical narrative of the key events and climbers over the last 105 years
- Over 100 articles by pioneer climbers of their epic adventures and first ascents
- Over 600 photos of historic ascents and stunning action and landscape images.
Tasmania lies 240km south of mainland Australia, smack bang in the path of the Roaring Forties – wild westerly winds that roar across the Southern Ocean and slam into the west coast bringing torrential rain, snow and freezing temperatures, and in so doing help to shape an uncompromising landscape of remote mountains and dramatic coastal cliffs. Just walking in the wilderness of Tasmania is more than enough adventure for most, but for generations of rock climbers in search of adventures at the edge of the world, Tasmania has been a paradise.
The remoteness of some of our mountains, our rugged coastline with the tallest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere, the density of our ancient forests, our peculiar geology with the largest intrusions of dolerite in the world, our wild, unpredictable weather, our small climbing community and uncrowded crags, have combined to make climbing in Tasmania something special.
From the first recorded Tasmanian rock climb on Cradle Mountain in 1914, through the few extreme bushwalkers in the early part of the century, from climbing’s emergence as an activity in its own right in the 1950s and ‘60s, to the lunatic fringe pushing boundaries in the 1970s and ‘80s, up until recent times when it has become a more mainstream activity, adventure has been at the heart of Tasmanian climbing. This history of wild adventure is undoubtedly the result of the wild Tasmanian landscape.
A Tasmanian historian once wrote, “In Tasmania we tell stories to reassure ourselves we have not slipped unnoticed over the rim of the world.” It’s about time the story of Tasmanian climbing was told, so that it doesn’t fall unnoticed off the edge of the world to be forgotten. While I have tried to be faithful to the historical narrative of Tasmanian climbing, I don’t claim it as a definitive history. What started as an idea for a history book, evolved more into a celebration of our climbing, honouring the people involved, enjoying their superlative and exciting adventures, and appreciating our unique and precious wilderness.
Tasmania’s savage landscape has always attracted a particular kind of person… big personalities pulling off massive feats on some of the most improbable rock features in the world. Many of these ‘larger than life’ characters have contributed to the book and their stories form the bulk of what follows. The land that their words evoke is brought to life in Simon Bischoff’s stunning photographs and together I hope this book will be regarded as the collective memory of the Tasmanian climbing community. Immerse yourself and enjoy this record of their Adventures at the Edge of the World.
GERRY NARKOWICZ, JANUARY 2019