Will Atkinson getting back into the groove down under
- Tuesday 6th September 2016
Sept 6th; 2016
Will Atkinson, well-known for his Pennine antics, has just scored a new V10 at Merchant Rock at Conto’s on the south west coast down-under.
Will Atkinson on the first ascent of Half the World Away.
Will was in the news a while back when he bagged a rare ascent of the Yorkshire classic, The News Statesman. Ever the theatrical, Will’s ascent of TNS (click thru here…) came on Christmas Eve when he should have been starting his Xmas shopping! More typically Will’s into bouldering – assuming he’s not pulling fish out of rivers and ponds that is - where his lanky frame cuts a mean figure amongst the blocs. Of late however, Will has been conspicuous by his absence but given he's having a sabatical in Oz for a year or so he's taken a wee while to get up and running down there. He is the latest in a long line of Brits to take extended trips overseas and hopeyfully his ascent of what appears a tasty number suggests he’s getting back into the groove.
CLIMBER have been in touch with Will for the low down on his latest adventure and bloc…
So, what are your first impressions of the scene down-under, where are you based now and what's the bouldering scene like there?
We’ve just moved to Perth in WA; my wife Helen has just started a fellowship at the local hospital here. Since we arrived I’ve been climbing at The Boulder Hub, Perth’s only dedicated bouldering centre, there’s a really good bouldering scene down there, loads of keen folk, and their wall and training facility is as good as anything we have back home. I’ve met some really keen climbers down there and they’ve put me onto a few of the local bouldering areas.
You've kicked off by doing a great looking new problem - can you tell us about it; how you found it, where it is, what else is there?
Thanks!, I’m pretty happy with this one, it’s a real gem. The problem is at the Merchant Rock area down in Conto’s on the south west coast. It’s a really beautiful coastal bouldering area with some amazing boulders, including some good and scary highballs. Also the view out over the Indian Ocean is pretty breathtaking. I was told about this project by the owner of the Boulder Hub, Alan Pryce, he said he’d looked at it before and thought it would be possible. He very kindly lent me a rope and extra pads, so last weekend me and Helen set off on the 3 hour journey down south to go and have an explore. After a quick clean and play on a rope I realised it would go, so I set about trying it from the ground. It took a couple of hours to start getting close and I thought I might have to leave it for another day, but just as the light was fading I managed to stick the crux move and topped it out. I've called it Half the World Away and I think it’s around the V10 mark, probably a grade or so harder for the vertically challenged.
Accepting that you've only just arrived how do you see the potential in the area?
I’ve only been here for about 3 months and I still have a lot of areas to visit and problems to try. I think the majority of the good stuff close to Perth has been developed already but I’m sure there a few projects left to go down. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for stuff.
Are you managing to stay off the tinnies?
Me, off the booze, you’re having a laugh.
How's the fishing BTW?
I’ve been too busy climbing at the moment, as soon as the weather warms up I’ll no doubt be whacking my rod out again so I’ll let you know then.
To watch a video of Will’s ascent see below…