My 3 Famous Big First Ascents

In the early 1960s there were three outstanding challenges facing the climbing community of Australia. They were to make an ascent of: The Face of Bluff Mountain, The Face of Frenchman’s Cap and Ball’s Pyramid.

I naturally thought about trying these challenges – like many other climbers. I dreamt I might be able to crack one of these problems. And if I did this, then this would be all the glory I required. But you never know how an ascent will turn out. So naturally I had try all three problems – hoping I might be successful in one of my attempts. As it turned out I was extremely lucky and I managed to do all three. But I do know my own limitations – I am a good, well-organised climber – but I am not in the same class as an outstanding climber like, for example, Henry Barber. So please do not build up any completely false expectations as a how good a climber I am. I was simply lucky to be in the right place at the right period of time.
Big ascents like these take many preliminary investigations, and these take time. The final ascents were all done in the 1964/1965 climbing season. But a lot of investigations went on before this. These ascents are all described in:

Our route up Bluff Mountain

Our route up Frenchman’s Cap

Our route up Balls Pyramid

Please have a look at least one of these ascents.

When this big year was all over and I had time to think about all the things that could have gone wrong, I realised I could be lucky to be alive. So I made a very definite resolution – I would not try to make another first ascent – unless it was sort of my duty to do so. So now I would mostly be a social climber. And on the whole I have followed this rule for the rest of my life.
So climbing would no longer provide the big challenge of my life. But I do tend to like to have a big inspiring challenge to work towards. But to find such a challenge, which is suitable for one’s own limited abilities, is really hard. It is a bit like trying to work out your own “purpose of life”. I certainly had a few false starts (as you will be able to read in the work section of “My Life”).

The challenge I finally chose to follow is almost impossibly hard. But at least this goal is inspiring. I hope I live long enough now so that a few people will have considered my proposals for a saner form of life seriously.

You might now also like to look back at:
my “Home Page” (which introduces this whole website and lists all my webpages).

Updated on14/11/ 2016.