Malcolm Matheson (HB)

Malcolm Matheson (HB)

Malcolm began rock climbing towards the end of 1978 and quickly rose through the grades with skills developed at Mt Arapiles and with repeats of many routes at that crag. 1981 saw him embark on the first of many trips to the USA. An ascent of the nose of El Capitan and a repeat of the famous roof crack A Separate Reality 24 were  the highlights of that first trip. Back in Australia Malcolm started to make a number of first ascents of new routes, both at Moonarie and the Grampians with Angular Perspective 27 in 1983 being the hardest to date.

Another trip to the states in 1984 saw him repeat Acid Crack at Joshua tree, the first of his 5.13a (28) routes and Cosmic Debris 5.13a (28) in Yosemite as well as many repeats of other classic routes at those places. Two more trips up El Capitan with Zodiac A3, 18 pitches and the Salathe wall A2, 35 pitches that year served to broaden his big wall experience.

Back home saw Malcolm work away at repeating many of Australia’s most significant routes with repeats in 1986 of India, then graded 29 now 28 and Masada 30, now 29. In 1987 he established Journey Through Nicaragua 29 in the Grampians and probably his most significant offering Serpentine 29 on Taipan Wall. Both routes established in more traditional style than is done these days, ground up without pre-placed gear ascents of both routes.

Another US trip in 1990 yielded repeats of the famous Sphinx Crack 5.13c (29) in Colorado, Excellent Adventure 5.13c (29) and Phoenix 28 in Yosemite as well as more big wall ascents of El Capital and Half Dome.

The next few years saw a slew of new routes established by Malcolm in the Grampians, Mt Buffalo, Moonarie and in other parts of the country. Of these, the most significant are Monkey Puzzle 28, Redline 28, Welcome to Barbados 29, Contra Arms Pump 30, Demon Flower 30, Central Latitudes 30 and Red October 30, in the Grampians. Vanity Fair 25, Running The Gauntlet 26, The Great Shark Hunt 30 which was at the time the hardest crack climb in Australia, and Shifting Sands 28 at Mt Buffalo. Also Yerba Mate 27 at Moonarie and Kalbarri Gold 26 an 8m roof crack climb at Kalbarri, WA.

Around this time Malcolm also developed a passion for roped solo ascents of big aid routes which included one day solos of Ozymandias Direct A2+,Lord Gumtree A3+ and Holden Caulfield A3+ on the north wall of Mt Buffalo. In 1997 he made a 5 day rope solo ascent of the famous big wall route on El Capitan The Pacific Ocean Wall A4, 28 pitches. Back at Mt Buffalo in 1998 Malcolm rope soloed Lord Gumtree and Ozymandias Direct in one day, a total of 20 pitches of climbing. He then established a new aid route of his own, his hardest to date. Copperhead Road A4+. Another afternoon of rope soloing saw Malcolm climb Ozy Direct A2+, 10 pitches in a time of 4:53!

In his later years Malcolm continues to climb with motivation and passion with the continued establishment of quality new routes such as Eau Rouge 23, Space Odyssey 27, Orinoco Flow 25. and Watermark 30, as well as climbing abroad in Thailand, France and Switzerland.

On his 60th birthday, with his daughter belaying, Malcolm climbed two consecutive laps of Ethiopia 30 at Mt Arapiles.

Malcolm has been Sponsored by BlueWater Ropes and Petzl since 1988.